The ‘new norm’ means that small businesses can carry on and nothing stops, so does it this mean that no impact has been felt?   The short answer is no, and it’s true to say that every business has coped differently, depending on their sector and their liabilities. COVID-19 has had an impact on all businesses, but some small businesses have endured substantial hardships, having to close completely for months and even those that have remained trading have restrictions imposed.  That said, many larger companies have felt the pressure too and many that are no longer around to tell the tale, as well as some industries, such as basic amenities, that have flourished.

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Tracey Jackson, business development manager for Howells Patent Glazing explains why aluminium rooflights will be a feature in post-pandemic home design.


Over the past six months, most of our homes have changed beyond all recognition, becoming offices, gyms and classrooms.  Unfortunately, some were left wanting, exposed as impractical spaces for this new way of living.


In our haste to build more houses, often rooms sizes have decreased, and daylight, ventilation and air quality are frequently compromised, while open plan living has tested the patience of many home-workers and their families.


The pandemic may spark a demand for improved work space at home but we will ultimately need better spatial organisation.  This isn’t just about open plan versus traditional layouts, this is about natural light, ventilation and connectivity – homes that connect with nature and the wider world.


Importance of Natural Light

Windows, and more generally, glazed products will play a critical role in meeting this demand for better quality homes.  With this in mind, it would be reasonable to assume that an increase in glazing would be an easy way to boost occupant well-being.  However, installation companies must be mindful of some common misconceptions – just because a room has a window, it doesn’t mean it is the best solution for the space.

Letting in around twice as much light than vertical glazing, and up to three times as much as dormer windows, rooflights are a popular alternative, offering flexibility.


Rooflights are particularly beneficial when designing a new build extension where the vertical windows have been removed.  The National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers (NARM) states that ‘…the glazing is pointing directly at the light source with very little diffused or reflected light.  Consequently, rooflights and roof windows can supply a great deal more daylight into the heart of the home thereby illuminating areas that might otherwise be quite dark.’


Making a room feel bright and airy, rooflights can help cut the cost of energy bills by reducing the demand for electric lighting.  And of course, the greater the rooflight area, the greater the potential savings.


Product Development

With more than 40 years of experience, we are relishing the opportunity that the pandemic presents for the rooflight industry.  Our most recent development, Ultraline answers the appeal for more natural light and ventilation, with ease.  The non-intrusive, low pitch aluminium rooflight has been enhanced to include a vented option and a minimalist steel rafter alternative for smaller roofs.  Ultraline provides homeowners and specifiers with the ability to maximise daylight with large expanses of glass, without compromise.


Insulated Steel Rafter

An option for roofs typically measuring up to 1500mm, a steel bar divider is used rather than Ultraline’s standard glass rafter.  The insulated steel rafter is part of the frame and matches the width of the standard glass rafter (40mm) but unlike the glass option, it need only be 40mm deep to meet load requirements across any span.  The steel rafter offers architects and designers an enhanced minimal look.


On most occasions, the Ultraline rooflight with insulated steel rafter can be delivered assembled as a completed frame.  This is a benefit for both installers and the end-user as it reduces labour and costs.


Vent Option

To enable controlled, natural ventilation, Ultraline can now be supplied with an opening vent.  Synchronised motors lift the glass, with multiple motors required for large expanses.  All of the motors are hidden from view.  Multiple vents are dependent on the capacity of the motors.


The vent is controlled using an open/close switch, as standard.  Customers can upgrade to remote controls or a digital control panel with built-in external rain sensor and internal thermostat.


A Flexible Solution

Natural light and fresh air have ranked high in the what-really-matters list throughout the crisis, unsurprising given their influence on our mental and physical health and wellbeing.  So, as we strive to find a new way of living, it’s vital that our experiences of the past six months influence our future design decisions.


Aluminium rooflights provide flexibility; whether it’s a domestic or commercial new build, extension or refurb, they offer the solution, boosting natural light and ventilation – critical factors in post pandemic building design.


If you’re looking for a stable supplier of high-quality rooflights and bespoke glazed products, please contact Tracey on 01384 820060.




(739 words)




Howells Patent Glazing


T: 01384 820060


For editorial enquiries please contact:

Holly Rogers

Department of Marketing

01242 500558


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Following the success of its GQA approved Rooflight Familiarisation Workshop launched earlier this year, Howells Patent Glazing is pleased to introduce a new basic version, online.

Workshop in action

Divided into three sections the online workshop examines elements of the complete practical workshop and contains useful assembly and installation information for the company’s slimline double-pitched rooflight – from flatpack to handover ready.


The e-learning experience is open to all but will most likely appeal to glaziers, rooflight installers and sales representatives, or those seeking an introduction to the fenestration industry.


Providing a valuable insight into the construction of aluminium rooflights, and designed to improve technical and practical understanding, the online workshop comprises three videos and a short online assessment via email link.  Those who achieve 70% or above will receive a Howells certificate of completion.


Successful participants will be able to explain the assembly process and limitations of a Howells flatpack rooflight; follow instructions using the installation guide; describe how to handle materials onsite and understand the benefits of using the Howells Patent Glazing system.


Training is provided by ASPIRE.  Places are chargeable and the course must be completed within two months, from the date of purchase.


The online training videos are presented in English.  It is the responsibility of the person booking the course to ensure that the participant/s can fulfil the written elements.


GQA approved Rooflight Familirisation Workshop

Alongside the online version, Howells continues to offer the UK’s first GQA approved Rooflight Familirisation Workshop from its premises in Cradley Heath, Birmingham.  The six-hour workshop is provided by GQA accredited trainers, ASPIRE and sessions are held in accordance with the current government guidelines on coronavirus.


Trainees will learn about the components, assembly and installation of the company’s slimline rooflight, with hands-on experience. Successful completion of the GQA approved Rooflight Familiarisation Workshop will result in a Howells certificate of attendance and unlike the online workshop, the opportunity to gain a GQA certificate and skills card.


Places are chargeable once again and limited to six per training session, with one session per month.  The charge for the practical workshop can be claimed back against the purchase of a Howells hipped rooflight.


Coming Soon

A new workshop for the company’s popular low-pitch, non-intrusive aluminium rooflight, Ultraline is due to launch this autumn.  The workshop will include the standard Ultraline rooflight alongside the vented, steel rafter and glass rafter options.


To book a place on the Rooflight Familiarisation Workshop, participate in the online course, or express interest in the Ultraline workshop, please call 01384 820 060 or visit


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As construction sites across the UK reopen and contractors return to work, we are presented with an extraordinary opportunity for change.  Beyond flexible working, employee health and wellbeing, and green business practices, lies a chance for self-improvement – advances that can lead to higher profit margins and business efficiency.


By developing your rooflight installation technique and broadening your product knowledge, you can look to step away from ‘off-the-shelf’ rooflights and vents and explore bespoke products with a higher value.

Register | Thrive at Work

Tackling Technique

A professional installation makes good business sense.  Fitted poorly, and even the very best rooflight can end up costing valuable time and money.  Call-backs are a financial drain, and at the very least, a waste of everyone’s time.

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The importance of Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Continuing professional development might be a pain, but we all need to do it.  Adding to our growing pile of knowledge and skills, keeping our hand in the qualifications that we may have done years ago.

You may not even think you are doing it, but you are.  Every time you watch a webinar, or research a subject deeper you are adding to your already vast information base and creating new resources in your brain that may be useful to complete that project or report.

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A testimony to stamina

This gallery contains 2 photos.

In these trying times we could all take a leaf out of the Queens book of stamina.  She has successfully reigned over us for 68 years and during that time as seen 14 UK prime ministers through her doors.  She … Continue reading

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COVID – 19 Update

Howells Patent Glazing Statement

COVID – 19 Update


In light of the recent developments surrounding the government’s response to COVID-19 we have put into place a number of measures to ensure we are able to maintain a normal service to our customers and to ensure business continuity, the safety of our staff and customers.

We already have crisis management plans in place to ensure the continuation of our business regarding COVID-19 such as social distancing and the use of temporary labour via agencies if required.   Further measures include home working of staff where possible, cancellation of internal and non-essential external meetings or site visits, and stringent PPE requirements when visiting our premises.


Our business remains open and trading as normal via our main site and delivered orders.  We maintain good stock levels of our main products and have contingency stock at an alternative premises, so, unless the situation becomes prolonged, we are confident in our ability to supply.

We believe our plans will protect the safety of both our people and our operations and we will continue to follow guidance from Public Health England to ensure the safety of all parties involved in our business operations.

We will continue to take calls, emails and make collections / deliveries as normal. We are all in this together and will support our customer base as best we can.


Whilst the situation continues to develop and the scale of disruption remains uncertain, we hope the measures we have put in place will allow us to continue to trade normally during this difficult period. Should the situation change we will update as soon as possible.   This page is monitored, any queries can be directed via messaging, email at or telephone 01384 820060

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When I’m Cleaning (Roof) Windows


Hands up for easy to clean windows! For rooflights most people want self-cleaning glass, Pilkington’s patented material.  However, this glass needs a minimum pitch of 30 degrees to work optimally. It can work beautifully on windows or a rooflight with a steeper pitch. Make sure to find out more about Pilkington’s glass options here Pilkingtons glass types.

A great alternative on a flat rooflight is Ritec –  a solution applied to the surface of ordinary glass to make it extra slippery. It’s something I would recommend on low pitched rooflights. If you want to find out more click here


Talk to a member of our sales team for expert advice on the best glass type for your project or check out our website



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It would be reasonable to assume that an increase in glazing in new dwellings and buildings would improve the amount of natural light entering the space.  The challenge arises when solar gains in the summer are factored in.


Combating Solar Gains

The current Part L1A (Conservation of Fuel and Power in New Dwellings) addresses limiting the effects of solar gains in summer.  ‘Solar gains are beneficial in winter to offset demand for heating, but can contribute to overheating in summer.  The effects of solar gain in summer can be limited by an appropriate combination of window size and orientation, solar protection through shading and other solar control measures, ventilation (day and night) and high thermal capacity.’

Part L1A

Part L1A also recognises, when seeking to limit solar gains, ‘…consideration should be given to provision of adequate levels of daylight.’  Yet, Building Regulations in England do not specify a minimum daylight requirement.  Instead, the BS 8206-2 Code of Practice for Daylighting recognises that good lighting goes beyond achieving minimum illumination for task performance


It’s fair to say, it’s a balancing act.


Balancing Performance & Light

Reducing the window area of a new dwelling is one of the suggestions for limiting solar gains in summer yet it has ‘…conflicting impacts on the predicted CO2 emissions: reduced solar gain but increased use of electric lighting.  As a general guide, if the area of glazing is much less than 20 per cent of the total floor area, some parts of the dwelling may experience poor levels of daylight, resulting in increased use of electric lighting.’


With Part L focussed on lighting methods and delivering efficiencies through design, it would be easy to think that new build homes across the UK are in a no-win situation – having to compromise on the number and size of windows (glazed areas) in order to limit solar gain while still providing a happy, healthy living space.


Letting in around twice as much light than vertical glazing, and up to three times as much as dormer windows, rooflights are a popular solution.


Let there be Light

The National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers (NARM) states that ‘…the glazing is pointing directly at the light source with very little diffused or reflected light.  Consequently, rooflights and roof windows can supply a great deal more daylight into the heart of the home thereby illuminating areas that might otherwise be quite dark.’


Making a room feel bright and airy, rooflights can help cut the cost of energy bills by reducing the demand for electric lighting.  And of course, the greater the rooflight area, the greater the potential savings.


NARM reports that ‘ the amount of energy needed to light a building artificially is often much greater than the amount of energy used to heat it, and is often the greatest single energy use in operating the building.’  The impact is both financial and environmental with ‘…electricity used for lighting being more expensive in terms of CO2 than gas used for heating.


Rooflights are particularly beneficial when designing a new build extension where the vertical windows have been removed.  Rooflights allow daylight to penetrate further into the building, illuminating areas that would otherwise be gloomy.


When addressing solar gains, the location and orientation of the dwelling must be considered during the planning stage, to assess the shading benefits of neighbouring buildings and trees.  This will also help determine the best position for the rooflight.


Glazing Options

Many rooflight manufacturers combat the issue of solar gains through high performance glazing, with suppliers offering a wide variety of glass options including coated and uncoated.  Solar control glass, for example, can help retain heat in cooler months, with a leading glass manufacturer achieving a thermal insulation U-value of 1.0 Wm2K.


While coatings can sometimes change the colour inside the building, there are options which are neutral in appearance and have low internal reflection.  Both of these factors help to give a clearer view to the outside.


Self-cleaning glass is now widely specified and is a popular choice for vertical and roof windows, conservatories and rooflights.  A unique coating breaks down the organic matter and even works on cloudy days and at night.  Some glass manufacturers also combine self-cleaning properties with solar control performance.


Benefit from Experienced Rooflight Manufacturers

All too often, rooflights are ordered within a few clicks but the UK rooflight industry has so much more to offer than a quick-buy on the internet.  With several rooflight companies starting as early as the mid-sixties and seventies, there’s a lot be gained from working with an established rooflight expert, not least the experience and knowledge to help realise the benefits of natural light in the built environment.


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Members of the Howells Patent Glazing management team have successfully completed a Chartered Management Institute (CMI) development training programme, achieving the highest professional status within management.


Business development manager, Tracey Jackson and HR and finance manager, Deborah Willetts have been awarded Fellowship of Chartered Management status.

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