Crittall Windows Limited
Francis House Freebournes Road
Witham, Essex CM8 3UN United Kingdom
+44 (0)1376 530800 / 011441376530800 (from the U.S.)
Crittall Windows Limited was established over 160 years ago in Braintree, Essex, England. Over the years, Crittall pioneered and standardized the steel window industry and became the dominant source of steel windows and doors internationally with manufacturing facilities on five continents.
Crittall is equally active in new construction and refurbishment. Projects ranging from replacing and replicating thousands of architecturally significant 1920’s windows, to supplying windows for the most contemporary buildings designed by today’s foremost architects.
No other manufacturer of steel windows offers as comprehensive a range of hot-rolled sections. This ensures maximum custom capability and responsiveness to individual project requirements.
Crittall’s ISO 9001 certified factory is unparalleled in its engineering and production capacity. The Company’s in-house test facility and finishing plant are among the most advanced in the world.
Historic Replica Replacement
Crittall Windows Ltd has developed a peerless reputation in the specialist field of replacement windows for buildings of historic importance. Our technical and design teams are able to offer guidance to planners, developers and architects to ensure that the original architecture is preserved, while at the same time introducing market leading contemporary features, such as true hot dip galvanizing, ‘Duralife’ polyester powder coating and the use of insulating glass units.
New Build Projects
The market leading design service offered by Crittall assists project professionals to develop fenestration solutions of contemporary or traditional design for new construction. Our focus is to add value to the window package by working with architects, developers and contractors at concept stage, ensuring that client requirements are met and best value is achieved.
The Crittall Experience
Meet the Sponsor: Darren Joyce
1)Have you won awards for your work? If so, which ones?
Over our many years we have won a variety of honours and awards – but to name of few of the more recent and memorable ones……
We were extremely honoured on the 15th July 2010 at our headquarters in Witham, Essex, England – to be officially presented with the Queen's Award for Enterprise 2010 by the Queen's representative, The Lord Lieutenant of Essex. This special day was attended by the company's entire workforce, local MPs and over 100 VIP special guests. Members of the Crittall family who attended the event included: Ariel Crittall, wife of John Crittall, who was managing director from 1950 until the mid '70s; Laura Russell and husband, daughter and son-in-law of Ariel and John Crittall; and the Hon. Mrs K Richardson, daughter of Sir Valentine Crittall (Lord Braintree), owner during the 1930s until 1950. We received the award in recognition of our export achievements in the notoriously difficult American market where we had seen the value of our sales increase significantly over recent years. We are now a very significant supplier of steel windows in the United States, having re-built our entire distribution network there.
More recently we received the Best of Houzz 2015 design award from Houzz.com – a rapidly growing and significant on-line home design resource.
Closer to home, we are proud to have been voted Steel Company of the year in the National Fenestration Awards in 2014. The awards are the window industry's equivalent of the players' player of the year awards in football. Votes are cast by our colleagues in our own industry, so were delighted that our efforts had been recognized by our peers.
We also had our expertise in 'Duplex 'galvanizing protection recognized with an award from The Galvanizers Association. We won ' Best Duplex ' in the Association's 2013 Annual Competition for the hot rolled galvanized steel profiles and cold-formed galvanized steel doors we supplied during the refurbishment of the iconic Falmer House at the University of Sussex. The building, which houses various University services and the University of Sussex Student Union, was designed by the world renowned architect Sir Basil Spence in the 1960s.
2)What types of clients do you work with? Residential, Commercial, Institutional? Do you work mostly with owners or with architects and contractors?
In our industry we are lucky enough to be able to truthfully say that “everybody” is a customer. Whether they be homeowners, architects, Institutional or Commercial. The pure flexibility of mild steel windows and doors mean that every different product we produce has, at some time, been used in every genre of building. That is a fact. It is much more the building type and era of erection, than the type customer we work with, that defines the need for our products and services.
The large lites of glass permitted in the strong profiles we use mean that modernism architecture could take place, the slimness of profiles meant that large multi-lite windows could be used in light and airy Art Deco buildings, and the same could also be said for small residential windows where daylight counts. The strength and longevity of the systems also mean that commercial buildings benefit just as much.
This is the very fact why windows suddenly grew larger in size and glass content. The introduction of relatively easy-to-work mild steel profiles resulted in windows stopping being produced by small village blacksmiths in the late 1800’s, and at the height of steel window production in the 1920’s and ‘30s – they defined the architecture of the time not followed it. An architectural period we cherish and preserve.
We tend to work through approved distributors in the US, who themselves would normally be working with contractor and architects. Thankfully, architects are the drivers behind the need or desire for our products and have a much better understanding of the historical context. It is then just a case of the architect holding firm with their principles whilst the tendering process runs through the contractor phase…….
3)What values are important to your clients when working on historic preservation and traditionally inspired new construction?
Putting the important, obvious and unfortunately “necessity-to-meet-budget” to the side - our customer’s values are the same as ours in essence, and represent the generic features of mild steel windows. That is generally strength, flexibility, finesse and ability to match historic sight lines. These are the most important factors in product selection and route to clients finding us. After that come the “value-added” Crittall benefits of:
Longevity and maintenance in service (by way of our unbeatable full duplex protection system of hot dip galvanizing and factory applied polyester powder coating),
Thermal efficiency and noise reduction (by the careful introduction of Insulating Glass Units without compromising the building aesthetic)
Innovative and progressive window systems (…but without straying too far away from the roots of what a steel window is about for our clients)
Experience and stability of our company (history goes a long way…..)
4)Tell us about your crew or staff? What are they like in terms of skills and capabilities?
A good measure of this is the Crittall Long Service Awards luncheon I recently attended. We had a number of 20 year awards, a couple of 40 year awards and even a couple of 50 year awards. This year’s award holders had between them 406 years with the company.
You can only imagine the levels of skills and capabilities learnt by these employees over the years, and the experience they have bestowed upon newcomers. We have a worldwide reputation for quality and craftsmanship coupled with innovation, and are the class leaders in the world for the production of steel windows and doors. This is a reputation we aim to keep and so we ensure from the top down, that the knowledge and experience is passed down before it is lost forever.
5)Do you have special approaches to work that you have developed of which you are especially proud?
Never stop learning, and never stop looking back - to look forward.
Although I have personally been in the steel window industry for just under 30 years, I am a relative newcomer. Since steel windows started to be mass produced by Crittall around 120 years ago – nearly everything you think is innovative, is already in one of the brochures produced by Crittall running back to original publications in the late 1800’s. Who would believe dual-pane windows in our 1930’s brochures?
One fact that always stays with me is that in 1978, we celebrated production of our 50 millionth window. That is a lot of manufacturing, and to produce that many windows – you really have to go through a lot of engineering, expertise and ingenuity.
A new phase of window technology is already happening around us to increase thermal efficiency and noise insulation values - and with the need to continue with our philosophy of sympathetic replica replacement on historic buildings, we will be working hard to encapsulate these new technologies into systems that maintain an historic aesthetic. Always an interesting task, but one we relish! one we relish!