A clear view

Skaala’s experience is a core factor in ensuring a constantly evolving product for the architect, builder, employer and homemaker of today and tomorrow

During the cold winter months we all become aware of how expensive heating bills can become. With home energy costs rising at a steady rate, an increasing number of construction companies are looking at new ways to conserve energy. Skaala, based in Ylihärmä in western Finland, is a modern company specialising in the manufacture and marketing of windows and doors. With a focus on sustainability, the business’ new double-glazed unit has made a great impact in the market. With exceptional energy saving benefits, the development of this new product resulted in Skaala becoming the only manufacturer in Finland to gain an AClass energy saving certification.

Ville Sulkakoski, marketing and communications manager for the company comments: “Here at Skaala we have embraced energy-saving thinking and we are now one of the leading players in the market for this. We feel strongly that this will be the main issue affecting the construction industry both now and in the future. In Finland, we have recently been involved in a project to design a lowenergy house. Skaala’s task was to design and manufacture windows and doors that meet the high demands of its clients. The goal was to achieve 50 per cent lower energy costs compared to a normal house. After completion, the project reached 70 per cent savings, therefore being very successful. In addition, the total manufacturing costs were only under two per cent higher. The most interesting point within these types of homes is that there is no need for heating systems at all.”

Furthermore, Finland is reputed as a European leader in ecological sustainability. Nothing is more environmentally friendly than wood – Skaala’s timber products are all sourced from sustainable, renewable and environmentally managed forests.

Skaala Issue 1 2008 bSkaala has been operating for approximately 50 years and today is one of Finland’s major window and door manufacturers. In addition to having a strong market share in Finland, the company’s products are also exported to western Europe, the Baltic countries and Russia. In 2007 production volumes will exceed 55 million euros. Skaala’s product range includes domestic wood and aluminium windows (MSE and MSEA), Germanstyle tilt and turn windows, balcony and sliding doors, and outwardopening Scandinavian models. The Skaala door range covers all laminated doors required in demanding construction projects, as well as for outside and inside use, and balconies.

As a result of the excellence of the organisation’s products and customer co-operation, the company has been included among the top 50 Finnish growth companies in 1997 and 1998. Furthermore, all Skaala doors and windows are the product of Finnish craftsmanship and operations are supported by a quality management system certified according to the ISO 9001 standard.

Looking at the company’s key strengths, Ville comments: “We offer the best quality technology available for window and door manufacture, which has enabled us to become one of the leadings players in the Finnish construction industry. We are also extremely customer orientated and we work closely with our clients in order to determine their requirements. We have developed an outstanding reputation in the market – when you deal with Skaala, operations run smoothly and if there is a problem we take care of it straight away. We believe our success is a result of customer feedback – we listen to their requirements and adapt our products and services to meet their needs.”

Skaala products are always made-tomeasure, both for new construction and renovation projects. The customer is free to choose from the different windows’ dimension, shape, colour and glazing options, as well as ventilation components, spacers, ornamental lattices and other accessories such as Venetian blinds that impact on practicality and appearance.

The company’s modern, customerdriven production process means that made-to-measure windows in developments, such as renovation projects, do not result in extra costs. The information and production technology used in planning and production, flexible material deliveries and co-operation with skilled personnel has cut production throughput time to two days. Quality management is a natural part of the process and all employees have a responsibility to correct any defects immediately.

Furthermore, Skaala’s laminate process uses slow grown Northern European red wood to ensure strength and performance. The integrated end joints are double treated before the final finishing process. Paints, stains, seals, window mechanisms, locks and glazing are all to the highest specification. These are constantly evaluated to maintain a leading edge. Every window and door that leaves the factory is ready for installation, therefore eliminating the need for glaziers and decorators on site. This ensures a smooth and speedy build process.

Skaala creates solutions for architects and designers, estate communities and corporations, distributors, builders, investors, building companies and building factories with a total of four manufacturing units in Finland. Ville comments: “The company is doing very well at the moment and there are lots of opportunities for us to grow. All of the markets we operate within are currently very strong, especially the UK. This is a big area for us and there is huge potential to increase our presence there. In fact the whole of Europe is very promising for us. We are also looking for more expansion into the Baltic countries, as they are growing rapidly at the moment.”

He continues: “We are thinking about venturing into new markets, especially in central Europe. We have made no final decisions yet as we understand that you have to plan these moves very well. Products and services have to be tailored to meet each market, as every country has different demands. This requires a significant amount of research, which is what we are currently doing.”

Skaala is a fast-growing and ambitious company with a philosophy to design, build and supply quality products to fit today’s discerning marketplace. Established in 1956, the business has gained unrivalled experience within the industry, which is a core factor in ensuring a constantly evolving product and will enable the company to grow at a steady but controlled rate. By understanding that the future lies in sustainability, Skaala is focusing on the development of new and innovative ways to meet demanding environmental requirements. By doing this, the company is saving costs for its customers and in addition is continually staying one step ahead of the competition.