‘Rising to the Challenge’

by Phil Slinger – CAB Chief Executive

The world is changing ever quicker and not necessarily for the good of all humanity at the moment, however as we continue to face changes I am reminded of two great quotes:

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“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”


“If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy.”

The quotes come from the American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler, whose most well known work was a book called ‘Future Shock’, published over 50 years ago the content  of which is still relevant today.

Whilst there are global issues that CAB cannot influence, there is much that our association can do and are doing to support its membership and the wider aluminium fenestration industry in the UK and Ireland. Our Association in many ways has been quite traditional over the last decade or so and under my tenure I hope to bring in changes for the association which will benefit all its members.

Networking remains key for our members and time is included in our meetings programme to allow members and their guests to mingle within an interesting venue. I also have plans to expand communication between members which I am currently reviewing for introduction later this year, so as they say, watch this space. Members’ meetings must also remain educational and we continue to source inspirational speakers that informs and allows us to question what we are doing. Our Spring Forum at Williams Formula 1 was a well attended event with some valuable ‘take-aways’ for attendees.

New in 2022 is the formation of our CAB Academy headed up by Andrew Mather our Training and Technical manager based at our offices at Bonds Mill. Together with our ‘Curtain Wall Foundation’ course, CAB now offer a range of ‘Office Function’ courses for members’ professional staff. Courses cover ‘Effective Sales’, ‘Marketing & Digital Marketing’, ‘Managing People for Results’, ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and ‘Finance for Non-finance Managers’. Details of each course are available through the CAB website, the first of which, ‘Effective Sales’, is due to take place in April 2022. In conjunction with members’ needs, further new courses are currently being worked on.

Aluminium has always been virtually 100% recyclable since its commercialisation in the 1880’s, this is something we have all grown up with, but did you know that the metal can be recycled many times over with no loss of its physical properties? CAB is pioneering a ‘Closed Loop’ recycling initiative in the UK, where a specific window extrusion alloy, such as 6063, can be kept within its alloy specification so it can simply go back into a further extrusion. Importantly this ‘Closed Loop’ recycling all takes place in the UK using existing recyclers and smelters. CAB encourages all members to join the scheme that benefits the industry and could benefit in higher prices paid for scrap aluminium, both pre-consumer and post-consumer scrap.

The closed loop scheme feeds into the growing requests for EPD’s – Environmental Product Declaration’s. An EPD supports carbon emission reduction by allowing specifiers to choose between materials and products to maximise sustainability. Manufacturers on the other hand are able to minimise their environmental impact and market their carbon transparency. EPD’s are valid for five years and whilst we use the EN 15804 standard in the UK, EPD’s can also be compiled using ISO 14040/14044, ISO 14025 or ISO 21930 standards. EPD’s can also offer credits towards certification schemes such as BREEAM and LEED, so expect the request from specifiers for EPD’s to be common place very soon. The association has looked at producing a ‘Generic EPD’ covering various fenestration types, but at this time members feel that product specific EPD’s, produced by members, remain more accurate and this is what is being called for by specifiers.

The sustainability of aluminium, the fenestration material choice for many specifiers, is key to ensure aluminium’s continued use into the future. Whilst the sustainability credentials of the material itself cannot be questioned, some pundits suggest that the impending changes to Document L will mean aluminium will simply not be able to compete on thermal grounds, our members’ have a differing viewpoint and one that I will be discussing next month.

Based at the picturesque Bonds’ Mill development in Stonehouse, CAB staff are always on hand during normal working hours to answer any membership, training or technical aluminium fenestration related questions. News and event information is regularly updated on the CAB website at www.c-a-b.org.uk and also in the Association monthly ezine ‘A Window Into Aluminium’, which is free to sign up to. If you are not a member of CAB and wish to learn more about membership, please contact Jessica Dean at the CAB offices by email jessica.dean@c-a-b.org.uk or telephone Jessica at the office on 01453 828851.