Case Study: Perfect Hardware Partner for Cairngorm

"We trust Carl F Groupco implicitly in their technical and supply abilities. They have performed consistently, and this service was maintained throughout the most challenging periods of the pandemic"

Cairngorm Group, established manufacturers of high energy rated windows, has been supported with hardware supplied by Carl F Groupco since 2005. Pamela Wilson, Carl F Groupco’s Regional Sales Manager for Scotland, has been the key liaison point throughout this 16-year supply relationship.  

Cairngorm is active in trade, commercial, and domestic markets. A significant increase in both new build and local council contracts has seen growth in fabrication to around 500 frames per week which looks set to return as Coronavirus restrictions lift. Services provided by Carl F Groupco include product supply, hardware selection support, and regulations advice.

Commenting on the partnership and latest developments, Pamela reports:

“For Carl F Groupco, the Cairngorm Group consistently ranks in our top five for customer turnover. Founded in 1953, the company is now in its fourth generation under the management of the Dowling family. Over the years, the company diversified from its traditional glass and glazing focus to include double glazing in 1978.

The target market is wide, and this is supported by the Cairngorm Group’s showroom which caters for homeowners and domestic applications alongside the company’s kitchen business.

New profile

The grass doesn’t grow under anyone’s feet at Cairngorm, and the company is constantly evolving, including the introduction of Veka’s M70 profile, as their previous profile was being withdrawn from the market. This project was time-sensitive, as it needed to coincide with the changeover on the profile to ensure that all hardware was suitable, tested, and available for the completion of the switch. As part of the introduction of Veka M70, we worked with the Cairngorm Group team for over two months to ensure a smooth hardware transition to the new profile. All hardware was reviewed and new profile related parts were sourced and assessed to ensure correct fit. Samples were provided and windows trialled to confirm that the quality of their final product was upheld. Stock adjustments were also required to ensure OTIF (on time in full) service level for Cairngorm were maintained up to, and during, the transition to the new profile. We also supported stock management and forecasting, working in collaboration with manufacturer partners as necessary in a liaison role to ensure the best products were supplied to suit the project requirements.

The transition required meticulous planning and cooperation throughout the supply chain, from manufacturers through to the fabricator, to ensure a smooth evolution to the new profile. The trusted relationships developed over the past 16 years meant that the team at Cairngorm could focus on the business management aspects of the transition, confident that Carl F Groupco would give its renowned high level of support and see the project through effectively.  

The Cairngorm Group undertook their own performance and security testing, alongside expert assistance from Roto, ensuring that samples for testing were fitted correctly on the new profile. This process ensured that the Group’s product standards, quality, and security was upheld.

This was a team project at Carl F Groupco with Julie Warner - Product Manager and Darren Gait - Cumbernauld Depot Manager working closely with Cairngorm’s office and factory teams to ensure that they were satisfied with the ironmongery and fittings throughout the process. Our work involved all aspects of support, even including details such as ensuring part numbers were all transferred and ready for fit ups with the factory teams to enable accurate assembly. We also liaised with the technical teams from Roto who assisted throughout the PAS 24 and performance testing processes.

A key product to mention is the Roto NT Tilt and Turn system which was supplied to Cairngorm to support the introduction of the Veka M70. Comprising the modular NT face fix hardware and the Designo fully concealed hinge option, the system is designed for use on timber, PVCu and aluminium window systems: the versatile Roto range features a 16mm eurogroove.

Other longstanding products supplied to Cairngorm include Roto’s FRH gearing including UNI top swing fully reversible window gearing and the TSL espagnolette. All Roto hardware provides Grade 5 exceptionally high corrosion resistance tested to BS EN 1670.

Yale is another major brand of hardware that we supply, with products including the Lockmaster 21 door lock, Platinum 3* and Superior 1* Cylinders, Patriot Plus flag hinge, Sparta Patio handles, and Securistyle Defender friction Stays.

Additional fittings regularly provided are Hoppe Birmingham door handles, our own brand euro profile cylinders, MACO MK1 espagnolettes, and Strand Antipanic hardware.

Carefully curated

We have supported a large number of contracts with hardware carefully curated from our catalogue of over 7,000 product lines; all fittings for Cairngorm are supplied directly from our Cumbernauld depot. For example, Carl F Groupco supplied hardware to assist Cairngorm when they began working with award-winning new home builder, Springfield, in 2013. The contract resulted in Carl F Groupco supplying over ten Springfield developments, with each site ranging from 50-100 mixed dwellings.

Paying testimony to our contribution to the highly significant Springfield contract, Scott Dowling, Managing Director of Cairngorm Group has confirmed that the ability to provide a PVCu alternative for timber windows while maintaining aesthetics and functionality with Roto FRH reversible window gearing, was pivotal in Springfield’s decision to work with Cairngorm. The reversible hinge is particularly important as Scottish Building Regulations stipulate that it must be possible to clean upstairs windows from the inside. Carl F Groupco also supported this contract with the Yale Patriot door hinge, which has been colour matched to complement the design requirements of this development.

Another prestigious contract success for the Cairngorm Group has been achieved in partnership with Compass Building and Construction Services. Working on behalf of Albyn Housing Association, Carl F Groupco supplied hardware for a housing scheme which was originally built in the 1970s to accommodate oil rig workers. Timber windows had previously been replaced and PVCu windows were selected to offer enhanced durability and longevity. Having successfully fulfilled the security and insulation standards required, the social landlord & local authority sector is a market that has seen further development by the Cairngorm Group.

I will conclude with another comment from Scott Dowling that summarises the closeness of our working partnership and the confidence in our products, project support, and technical advice. Scott confirms:

“We have worked closely with Carl F Groupco throughout our 16-year partnership establishing a positive relationship based on honesty, integrity, technical knowledge and devotion to supplying OTIF. They are so much more than just a catalogue company or online shop. We trust Carl F Groupco implicitly in their technical and supply abilities. They have performed consistently, and this service was maintained throughout the most challenging periods of the pandemic.

As business booms after the coronavirus lockdowns, we continue to work closely with Carl F Groupco in a collaborative relationship with complete dedication from the hardware supplier to our projects. Their commitment to supply appropriate fittings that have been carefully considered, reviewed and proposed is part of their consultancy approach which is a key reason we turn to them for comprehensive advice and support.”

Carl F Groupco really cares about customer service and that isn’t a superficial platitude, it is the backbone of their values and ensures strong relationships, such as the Cairngorm Group, continue over decades.


View the article in full on the Windows Active magazine online, page 50

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