What’s on our Christmas Autumn Budget Wish List?

What’s on our Christmas (Autumn Budget) Wish List? With Chancellor Phillip Hammond due to release the Autumn budget on Wednesday 22 November 2017, we are waiting with fingers crossed to see if anything on our wish list comes true. As an SME in construction we are certainly feeling the strain. Living Wage, pension auto enrollment and business rate increases not to mention subsequent years of difficult trading are leaving us in choppy waters. We’ve heard that the deficit is at the lowest in ten years but are things looking up?

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Made in Britain: how glazing specialists are beating the Brexit blues


Our Midlands based glazing specialists firm, Howells Patent Glazing, have been a big name in the industry for over 40 years. Now, with the media awash with post-Brexit fears and expectations, we’re keen to show that the phrase ‘Made in Britain’ is more than just a marketing slogan.

We have seen a substantial increase in opportunities arising from both national and international contractors. This is particularly true in Europe.  We believe that this is because people are starting to see the difference in quality when buying from British businesses. This is backed up by our glazing specialists record breaking turnover figures for the past 4 years.


glazing specialists UK

Glazing specialists, Howells Patent Glazing, are beating the Brexit blues!

Glazing specialists like ours here at Howells Patent Glazing are excited about what’s to come.

According to a survey compiled by the EEF Manufacturers organisation, British manufacturing remains strong. With exports on the up as UK trade continues to receive a boost from the weaker pound, an improving global economy is ahead of us. The value of the pound falling has made quality, British manufactured products more affordable for overseas consumers. This boost to the manufacturing industry has already reached the likes of glazing specialists Howells Patent Glazing as we completed our first project in Spain this year.

Tracey Jackson, marketing manager at Howells Patent Glazing said, “We have noticed a definite upturn in the level of enquiries from both the UK and Europe. I think that ‘Made in Britain’ is now less of a marketing slogan and more of a reality for a lot of manufacturers like ourselves. When people buy British goods, they are buying a high quality product. Consumers are not only buying a rooflight from Howells Patent Glazing. They are buying into our glazing specialists businesses ethics of training, quality assurance, rigorous audits, safety tests and people’s futures”.

Howells Patent Glazing aren’t the only ones seeing an increase in demand in European markets.

The same survey notes that 61% of manufacturing firms state that they have seen an increase in orders. The added issue of higher import prices is another deciding factor on where people are putting their business. UK households are starting to move towards British made goods and services. The EEF have revised their forecasts for factory outputs for 2017 and 2018 to 1.3% and 0.5%. This is an increase from 1% and 0.1%.

Tracey Jackson concluded, “We are excited about the shift in patterns in our economy. We’re looking forward to a positive 2018. As a 40 year old, family run British manufacturer, we want people to love our business and its products as much as we do. We aren’t a big business – so every employee matters. Every project, big or small is important to us, and it all comes from the heart of the Black Country. We’re excited that consumers are starting to value the quality of British goods. I hope that this trend is here to stay”.

For more information on Howells Patent Glazing, the British glazing specialists, please visit www.howellsglazing.co.uk


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High profile clients help Howells Patent Glazing aim for another record breaking year


Howells Patent Glazing, our family run manufacturing firm with over 40 years’ experience, are on their way towards another record breaking year with the help of some very high profile contracts. Our already impressive list of prestigious projects include: the NEC, Millennium Point in Birmingham and Albert Docks.

With a full service on offer, from design right through to fitting and finishing a project, Howells are landing new projects with names such as: Aldi, Leeds College and Ferens Art Gallery in Hull. 

As Howells’s service is bespoke to each project, our product can be adapted during the design stage to incorporate a unique set of parameters.  This could be dual colour (one colour outside and another inside), which in itself could be matt, satin, specialist RAL, mill finish or anodised. Whatever the specification and needs of the client, Howells’s dedicated and experienced team are able to work with each client to ensure their requirements are met from start to finish.

Previously, as an example of a company that goes the extra mile for our clients, Howells were able to specifically redesign their HGR1 glazing bar so that a new, glazed structure which they had created for Alton Towers would blend in to the theme park’s existing orangery.

Tracey Jackson, Marketing Manager at Howells Patent Glazing said, “Our clients are diverse.  They range from lord of the manor though to celebrities and to public procurement departments. We are really excited to be working together with some incredibly high profile contracts. We gained accreditation from RISQS this year, which means that we have the ability to work exclusively on rail related contracts too – this is a massive boost to our sales team. We exhibited at the FIT Show in the spring and we are excited to see what the rest of this year will bring for Howells Patent Glazing”.

Our Black Country firm have adapted our internal systems over the years, and continue to move with the times. We’ve also dedicated ourselves to plugging the skills gap within the manufacturing industry by providing training for every member of staff and taking on apprentices and work experience pupils every year – great news for our Midlands based business, as we go from strength to strength within the industry.

For more information on Howells Patent Glazing, visit: http://www.howellsglazing.co.uk/

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Top tips for adding value to your home from our experts

With the costs involved in moving house endlessly increasing, and the stress involved in doing so being no secret, it is no surprise that so many people choose to extend or modify their homes rather than sell them. Our experts have put together their top tips on how to really add value to a home before deciding whether to sell up, or stay put.

  • Loft conversions
    Loft conversions have the potential to add around 10% to the value of a home. However, letting in daylight could be a problem unless rooflights are installed, careful planning is a must.
  • Going underground

Underground extensions are becoming more popular, particularly in London where space is tight and the market value can support the high cost of excavating under a home. Underground rooms do not need to be dark and gloomy – it is possible to harness natural daylight by fitting a walk-on rooflight flush with ground level, letting natural light flood in to the area underneath.

  • Kitchen extensions
    An open plan kitchen/living area is a great way to bring everyone together, but the danger of extending kitchens is that they can often result in long, dark spaces where the light struggles to get from one end of a room to the other, leading to a reliance on stark artificial lighting. Consider installing mono-pitched glazing along with bi-folding doors. This not only lets light flood into the room, but also gives a much larger feel to the space.
  • Bathroom updates
    The humble bathroom window isn’t often recognised as something that is useful, or needed, but there’s nothing worse than stepping into a room that feels like it was an afterthought. Then there’s the potential for mold and bacteria clogging up corners and windowsills. Letting in natural light could be the answer to solving this – most diseases, including chronic respiratory problems, are often associated with bacteria and fungi built up in damp areas. Did you know that sunlight is considered to be one of the best natural disinfectants?

  • Make the most of what you’ve got
    Natural light is one of the most appealing lights, and is used by most interior designers to showcase a building in all of its glory. If restrictions apply to buildings and planning, consider getting an expert in to show how to ‘daylight’ a home. It can be a difficult technique to get right, but when it is used correctly it encompasses all of the above benefits whilst showing a building in its best light!


Howells Patent Glazing have an expert design team who help architects and builders alike to make the most of glazing systems and natural daylight on their projects. With 40 years’ experience, and three record-breaking years behind them, the team are hoping to spend the next 40 years delivering professional, trusted and creative solutions to the UK’s glazing industry.

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NVQ offerings for the workforce- is it worthwhile?

Everyone is talking about apprenticeships and NVQ’s at the moment, but how can that help you and your business to prosper?   We have looked at what they can do for your business, how you can access funding to lower the impact on the balance sheet and how everyone can benefit from planning for success.


Our business is based in an area of the UK with the highest levels of inhabitants without any qualifications. The construction industry is facing a skills shortage which is likely to deepen post-Brexit. So what do we do? We keep doing what we have done for the past couple of years…..we offer every single one of our employees the opportunity to develop themselves through NVQs or apprenticeships. With eye watering tuition fees, access to a university education is not necessarily an option for school leavers nowadays. More and more are looking for employment and a way to reach their potential without mounting thousands of pounds worth of debt, but are employers now feeling the pressure to fill the educational vacuum that tuition fees has created? Offering training is an expensive gamble – time away from normal tasks, added pressure to employees, resources required to offer those opportunities are not easy to come by for an SME. So is it worthwhile?


We have been working closely with our local, Dudley College, for the past 3 years to offer every member of our workforce the opportunity to develop their skills. The vast majority have taken up the offer meaning that around 90% of those at Howells Glazing are developing their skills through us in one way or another. We recognize that investment in our people builds a loyal and motivated team and obviously by developing our staff they become more skilled in the workplace which is a direct benefit to us. We recognize however that there are downsides to this too.

It would be foolish to ignore the added pressure people can feel when plunged back into a classroom environment, or perhaps haven’t had to sit an exam for decades (although exams are not compulsory). This can be unnerving and something to give consideration to. Also there is a great deal of time away from normal work duties which can have a short term impact on productivity. However we feel strongly that by investing in our workforce in an investment in the company and the local community. Based in the West Midlands it is perhaps important to note that this area has the highest level of inhabitants with no official qualifications compared to the rest of England and Wales (around 18% of people with no qualifications according to the Office for National Statistics in 2014).  An NVQ at level 3 is accepted as being equivalent to A-level and level 5 equivalent to a foundation level degree. When you consider that the average student graduating from university is burdened with between £35-£40k of debt it is easy to see the appeal of working for an employer where you can gain qualifications that will benefit you through life and also earn at the same time.

Many employers might be nervous about offering such qualifications in case those employees gain one and then leave. This is of course a possibility and no investment is without its risk, but we feel that our employees feel more valued as a result of being offered the opportunity to study while at work. Let’s not overlook the obvious – our workforce are becoming more skilled as a result.

So is it worthwhile? There is clearly an appetite for NVQs from employees, otherwise why would 90% of our staff jump on board? NVQs can be tailored to the individual employee and to the relevance of the employer making it an ideal win-win. We have benefited from an upskilled workforce and observed an upturn in staff engagement and motivation. Yes there is the risk that an employee may gain a qualification and leave, but there is a greater possibility that they will stay.





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How to get a job in construction; our top tips!

How to get a job in construction – the demand for skilled laborers with solid employability skills is becoming more prominent. We’re hoping to help more young people into the profession in a bid to plug the domestic skills shortage gap.

Here are some interesting statistics if you are wondering about how to get a job in construction. The construction industry in the UK accounts for 2.6 million jobs and it is expected to expand by 3.3% over the next five years. What’s more, according to recent RICS figures, an exit from the single market could mean that the construction industry will have to fill the void of 176,500 EU workers that the UK currently employs.

Tracey Jackson, marketing manager at Howells Patent Glazing said, “The UK’s exit from the single market will put even more pressure on companies like ours to recruit and train our domestic workforce.  The construction industry will need to recruit 178,700 additional people over the next five years to fulfill the Annual Recruitment Requirement (ARR) of 35,740.  We have always made investing in our staff a priority for our business and we’re really excited at the prospect of helping to train a whole new generation of skilled laborers.”

How to get a job in construction

How to get a job in construction – Howells Patent Glazing’s top tips

We have put together a handy tip sheet below to show you how to get a job in construction:

  1. Decide on which construction career is right for you.

The first thing you need to do is decide which construction career interests you. If you’re not sure, you can use resources like the Careers in Construction Career Finder to help you narrow down your options. Also have a look at the different Types of Construction to get a better idea of what career to pursue.

  1. Get to know your chosen career

Once you know what area of construction interests you, call local construction companies and see if there are any job sites which you can tour, or call some local unions and ask if they can put you in touch with a journeyperson in your chosen trade, so you can ask them about what their job entails. Speaking to people in the industry and to learning what their field of work is like will prove invaluable, and is a sure fire way of deciding whether it’s the career for you.

  1. Once you’ve decided on a career in construction, you need to decide on which route of training you’d like to persue:
  • Register as an apprentice and combine on-the-job training with in-class learning.
  • Enroll for post-secondary training at a university, community college or a technical institute.
  • Or, find a job as an entry-level construction worker and learn the skills you need on the job.

    We see our continuous investment in staff as an enrichment programme, to ensure that every member of their workforce is satisfied in their job role, and is able to obtain the relevant skills needed to remain ahead of the pack within the manufacturing & construction industry. We regularly take on young work experience pupils in the hope of inspiring a new generation into the construction industry.

If you’d like to know more about Howells Patent Glazing, visit our homepage – www.howellsglazing.co.uk 

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NVQ’s – We’re proud to offer training to all of our staff!

Our rapidly growing local manufacturing firm is continuing to invest in our workforce, and the future of manufacturing by offering NVQ training to all of our staff!

Investing in NVQ training for staff has become an important part of Howells Patent Glazing’s working environment. Our firm is keen to address the skills shortage that is affecting businesses in the UK. We’re so dedicated to ensuring the whole team are educated to the highest level that we’ve been entered into the Construction News Awards for the ‘Training Excellence’ award!

According to The Employer Skills Survey (ESS), manufacturing businesses are most likely to encounter skills shortages. As a result, this accounts for 30% of hard-to-fill manufacturing vacancies.

One of our most recent employees to enroll on an NVQ course is Lewis Marsh, who has taken a role in sales administration.  He has since started undertaking a Level 2 NVQ in ICT and functional skills level 2 in ICT.

Debbie Willetts, training mentor at Howells Patent Glazing said, “We have to keep up to date with training with IOSH, CSCS, Platform etc. More importantly, we feel that it’s our responsibility as employers to invest in our staff.  Our long-term growth strategy isn’t just about processes; it’s about developing our staff by building on their qualifications and in turn, passion for our business.  We are excited to be rolling out new NVQ qualifications to all our staff in 2017”.

The ESS say that employers are spending £4.9billion to train their workforce. Continued training from manufacturing businesses like ours is consequently aiming to have a positive effect on the UK skills shortage.

Our investment in staff is, most of all, an enrichment programme. It’s important to obtain the relevant skills needed to remain ahead of the pack within the manufacturing industry.

As a result, of over 41 years of experience, Howells is continuing to show that we’re here to stay!



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Celebrate Easter in UK – predicted to be hotter than Spain!

Easter is fast approaching Sunday April 16th 2017 followed by Easter Monday, and here at Howells we are all looking forward to our Easter celebrations. Apparently it is predicted to be hotter than Spain according to the Met office so fingers crossed this happens.


Warm up to Easter

Not only is Easter the end of winter is also marks the beginning of spring.  The weather gets warmer, the daffodils are out and the trees are budding, so what’s not to like.  Easter conjures up bunnies, and chocolate Easter eggs and we adults can especially enjoy an Easter egg especially if you are a lover of chocolate, as many of us are here!

What holiday traditions do you have?   Fostering a happy work environment is key for a productive work force so maybe you could decorate your office with Easter decorations. This will create a happy festive atmosphere and get everyone in a Spring like mood.  Just putting up some Easter cards or maybe giving you work staff an Easter egg each might suffice in lifting the mood to more festive cheer.  One of our colleagues always brought in eggs around Easter and this became one of his favourite traditions




Not a lover of chocolate, no fear the answer is here

If you don’t like chocolate maybe you could eat an Easter egg made of cheese. This actually exists, but not to my taste to be fair.


http://buff.ly/2nwW11z  pic.twitter.com/Oxp5MGblGJ

Maybe you could have an Easter egg hunt if you have a young family, this would be a fun idea as it gets the kids out into the fresh air and they will love the idea of searching for eggs or maybe Easter bunnies.

End the break refreshed and relaxed

Easter is a Christian festival and whilst some of us may go to church a lot of us on Easter Sunday will take the the opportunity to indulge in some rest, relaxation and of course, chocolate ready to come back after the Easter break refreshed and ready to tackle anything life throws at us.

Enhance your home

With hopefully some beautiful Spring sunshine on the way what better time to improve your home.  Have you considered getting one of our domestic rooflights installed? This would not only enhance your property, increase the value, and now that Spring is here and Easter is upon us bring light into your home.  We have bespoke and standard size rooflights assembled and constructed from thermally broken aluminium system.




Enjoy your Easter celebrations from all at Howells

Whatever your plans are, we at Howells Patent Glazing wish you all a Very Happy Easter and enjoy the first long bank holiday weekend of the year!







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Women in construction; manufacturing firm tackles gender divide

Women in construction; There are many industries that are seen as male dominated, but few as much as construction.  Our family run industrial firm, based in the Midlands, want to show the trade that things are changing. Women are finding niches in every industry, including construction, showcasing the importance of inclusion.

According to UCATT, only 11% of construction workforce is female, and only 1% of workers on site are women. In fact, the Office for National Statistics states that the number of women in construction working as roofers, bricklayers and glaziers is so low, the numbers are unmeasurable. However, we’ve proved that the statistics are changing, and it isn’t all ‘doom and gloom’.

Tracey Jackson, our wonderful marketing manager here at Howells Patent Glazing said, “Whether you are a woman or a man, there is room for you within the construction industry.  For women in construction, picking the job, and company for you will be your first hurdle, but your success will completely be down to your tenacity and dedication to pursuing and developing your skill set.  There is a lot of support out there and we’re hoping to help women access the tools they need to ‘get ahead’ within construction. As a business, Howells Patent Glazing have always been a gender neutral business, and we’re hoping that by encouraging women to pursue a career in the industry, we can help to break some of the barriers that women feel are holding them back”.

Ranstad’s study ‘Women in Construction Industry 2016’ states that, by 2020, women are expected to make up at least a quarter of the construction workforce. The study also indicates that women’s pay packets rose by 6% per year between 2005 and 2015, and the number of females in senior roles within the industry was up to 16% in 2015.  A quarter of those in senior management roles earned more than £75,000 and 2% earned over £100,000 per year.

Debbie and Tracey from Howells Patent Glazing wave the flag for women in construction.

Tracey Jackson from Howells Patent Glazing explains why there should be more women interested in working within the construction industry.

The advice from us here at Howells Patent Glazing is that businesses are the ones who need to take charge, and drive change in order to attract more women into the industry. There’s currently a skills shortage within construction, and we believe that fellow companies need to harness and nurture the dynamics that women can bring to a workforce, in order to fill the void and bring the industry into the 21st century working environment.

To find out more about Howells Patent Glazing, visit www.howellsglazing.co.uk


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Marking the Days in March

March has seen many developments, but it has been also a tale of two very diverse stories this month, with it containing a celebration and a very sad farewell.

Colin Boyle was a long serving employee  of  9 years, who retired over 9 years ago, whilst we were at our last premises on Forge Lane, Cradley Heath.  Colin was our estimator for windows for our supply and install side of the business. He was much loved by all our staff so it was an emotional goodbye to a lovely gentleman.

To the other extreme, Walter Howells, our Managing Director has celebrated his 70th birthday this month!

He started the business in 1973 in the front room of his 2 up 2 down in Walsall with his wife Patricia.  At that time he was supplier and subcontract labour only.  The business developed over the next 10 years and by that time they moved to an office only above Castle Glass just outside Dudley Town Centre.  As the business grew, Walter decided better control was needed for the manufacturing process and lead times, so he took the leap and brought his first manufacturing premises in Junction Street in Dudley, West Midlands.

At this time he started to employ more and more people and these included 2 of his 3 children.  Gary, moved into manufacturing and sales and Debbie into accounts and admin.  It was not long after this that Dave joined the company in around 1996 and this saw the beginning of the development of office and admin staff support.

In 1997, the business could no longer operate with the limitations of the small factory, so another move occured to a 13000 sq ft factory on Forge Lane, Cradley Heath.  Walters remaining daughter joined the team, as a PA and contract support at this point. The staff levels increased to around 25 people here and manufacturing was happening all the time, even weekends to catch up.

It is also during this time frame that Walter joined CAB (council for aluminium in building), he became chairman of the Patent Glazing division and was pivitble  in writing the standards for Patent Glazing.

Manufacturing really took off by 2008 and more space was needed to really develop the Rooflight side of the business.  A new 20000 sq ft factory was acquired, on Woods Lane, Cradley Heath  and this is where we reside today.  Our staff have increased to 40 people and our accounts have never been stronger.


Phew!  Its safe to say that there have been a lot of moves and changes over the years and not to mention the impact of the recessions and high interest rates, but Walter has weathered all the storms to realize great success and respect from his peers.





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