Recognising customer needs regarding high-quality aluminium door and window systems and finding solutions for them is one of the main trademarks of KAV Hungária. András Szabados, our company’s project coordinator, often thinks together with the architect and the client for months to create custom door and window solutions that meet the wishes of the clients, in terms of both their functionality and appearance.
– If one approaches KAV Hungária in connection with aluminium doors and windows for exclusive family homes, what needs and special questions do you encounter during your work?
– I find that, for clients with truly exclusive needs, a solution-centric approach is the way forward. So I also primarily like to serve needs where it isn’t accepted that there isn’t any solution. Many domestic companies think differently, so most of our competitors pass through this sieve. When our clients receive ongoing assistance and see that we are investing energies beyond our sales tasks into the process, it generates trust. Our consultations are not necessarily just about doors and windows, but also about façade construction and interior design solutions, or about connection or shading technology issues that, although related to doors and windows, already require more engineering thinking. We are able to think in a more comprehensive and abstract manner than our competitors. We consider it our task to be able to fix all problems, and the doors and windows are often only part of it.
In this sense, we aren’t a classic aluminium door and window manufacturer, as we often think like a designer. We can’t say that we don’t care about façade construction or shading technology, since they will influence the doors and windows. In order for us to be able to put together the client’s needs in terms of doors and windows, we also have to deal with those things that are beyond our competencies. I really enjoy doing this; it’s an exciting task.
Of course, one needs to find the boundary, from where things are no longer worth dealing with. I think that even if we do not reach the contract conclusion stage, this work still has added value. After a consultation process, KAV leaves a positive impression on the clients. They see that professionals work here, with individual way of thinking, and this strengthens our reputation.
– What problems and issues can arise in a door and window consultation process that can be resolved? How should someone imagine this process?
– Exclusive clientele always have their own, commissioned technical people, architects or management consultants who are responsible for that specific project. They’re practically responsible as one person towards the client to ensure that the workmanship and construction are carried out to the highest possible standard, in line with their needs level and in a timely manner and order. These commissioned professionals are aware that the ideas of architects need to be adapted into feasible technical content.
Ideas need to be made feasible. In the optimal case, they already notice the questionable points, so the negotiations are also about the solutions provided for these issues. If not then we need to point them out ourselves. A resolvable issue may be size, structural connections, a three-dimensional connection problem of shading technology, insect netting, and façade cladding. It’s also possible that the “façade membrane” does not fit the door and window system dreamt with the shading technology and insect protection on the envisaged plane. Or there may be structural connection solutions that work on paper, but not in practice, because let’s say we missed the point that these systems need to be dewatered.
These aluminium door and window systems are not only visual elements in the building, but have a secondary function that they also have to perform. These things cannot be circumvented. In an exclusive environment, force studies are thorough, professionals know more precisely how the needs can be met. If during the construction it turns out that something cannot be done or is worth doing, it often turns out to be more expensive, as it is more difficult to find solutions during the process. This is more common in simpler projects. It may be that someone may not want to see the threshold, but they don’t know what this process implies. For example, if the terrace has already been built by the general contractor, the floor layer order must be broken up on the outside, because the height of the built floor would already lift up the threshold profile.
– Apart from having a function, aluminium doors and windows are also a design element. Which aspect is more important?
– I’m more inclined towards function – I like to make it easy for the product to be convenient for the customer. For me, design is only secondary, but these two aspects can’t be separated. You need to make a distinction between the dreams about the look of the façade and how it is when someone wants to use it. Some people aren’t really bothered about profile dimensions and cross-sections, but the main trend is that support structures should be as thin as possible. Many people say that, but it isn’t certain that the most exclusive needs will always choose the filigree style.
My hobby-horse is that you need to be able to add something to each and every house, to establish a point, an environment that gives the essence of the building. It gives the feeling that somebody is proud of their house, their doors and windows, and is happy to share this experience with visitors. So compromises should only be made in places where the house’s dominance isn’t so important.
Narrow strip windows also appear on buildings increasingly often. In most cases this is also a forced solution, as regulations determine the opening sizes of bathrooms and restrooms. This is how force can become a design element: designers often play by placing them along the house like a ribbon. Soon we will be ordering the materials for the aluminium system of a building like this. It took many long months to reach an agreement, until we really got to the point where all issues were identified and solutions to them were found. The success is that we were able to have them accepted; we were able to agree. It also shows that small projects are sometimes more difficult than the big ones. We already have solutions for big ones. It may pose a challenge to meet both function and visual needs in small sizes. For me, this has been one of the significant experiences of this past period: it’s also worth thinking carefully about what can be done in such cases.
– Then this means that you sometimes consult with the client for months?
– Yes, but of course with interruptions. There is usually an initial proposal, with some feedback. We quote a basic budget, which is mainly about what is on the drawings. It makes sense to continue to address things when questions arise on the other side. It usually means that they believe that KAV could add something to the building in terms of competence, knowledge and ideas that serve the original purpose; in other words, we’re in the contest. It’s important not to let a job get lost, and not to get tired. Where I see an opportunity and feel that it makes sense to invest energy, it usually pays off.
My experience is that it is usually after three, or rather four months that you get from an inquiry to a contract. There are shorter processes than this, but in those cases we’ve usually worked together and they’ve had a good experience with us; we sense each other’s needs and requirements. This is rarer; preparation time is often many times longer than the time needed for production. The more complicated part of our job is to figure everything out, and by the time the aluminium door reaches its ready to manufacture state then all issues should be clarified.
– Where do you see KAV’s position in the domestic door and window market?
– I’ve always been somebody that cares about my own job and ourselves. I also used to say to Károly, our managing director, that you don’t need to worry about what the other guy ‘s like, because then I’ll always shape myself to be like him. I know the competitors, but I focus on us. I know what we are capable of, how determined we are, what grey matter we have as our own resources and what energy and enthusiasm we maintain.
Our aim is to produce good and beautiful aluminium door and window systems and to love the customer. For me, these are the most important things, and if we focus on these, we will always keep our competitive edge. Soul and good intentions transcend substance. Soul, expertise, and engineering knowledge have to be present in parallel. In my opinion, this is KAV’s strength. When a client visits us, I always start thinking about what I could do differently where it’s needed. And how to best implement a given door and window solution. Nothing feels better than when a façade drawing and the images of the opening are sent to us and the details aren’t specified but just left to us. That’s when I feel like we’ve stepped up to a higher level, and both the designer and the customer really trust us.