An Industry Classic

They say that time flies and it’s hard to believe that it’s over 30 years since the industry’s original conservatory roof system – the Classic Roof from Ultraframe – was first established. Unsurprisingly for a company known for innovation, there have been many milestones along the way.

Commenting about the long and momentous history of the Classic system, Ultraframe Marketing Director, Alex Hewitt, said: “Our Classic system was the first systemised conservatory roof, designed and launched by our founder John Lancaster not long after Ultraframe was established in 1983. The company hasn’t swayed from its original aims and ideals – Ultraframe has always, and will always, be about innovating, and pushing the boundaries of product design to ensure we deliver unique, high performing systems to our installers across the UK. In fact, we’ve recently launched the latest enhancements to the Classic Roof, and it set us thinking about all of the milestones in its history. The team at Ultraframe enjoyed the trip down memory lane, and we thought that the many loyal Classic users across the UK would also enjoy a look back at how the system has developed over the years.”

  • 1988 – launch of the Classic Roof (or Victorian System as it was known at the time).
  • 1996 – Classic was the first conservatory roof to gain third party accreditation from the British Board of Agrement – an accreditation we are extremely proud to still hold today!
  • 2001 – the Conservaglass range of dedicated roof glass was launched.
  • 2002 – our patented Speedlock was launched which reduced fitting time and ensured that bars at the ridge end were securely held in place.
  • 2004 – the launch of the Ultra Installer Scheme –the first scheme of its type in our sector.
  • 2006 – patented Chambered Top Cappings were added to the Classic Roof which help reduce torsional movement as well making the roof more thermally efficient and secure.
  • 2006 – this year also saw the launch of the Certificate of Authenticity. A document, which is still used today, to gives reassurance to homeowners that they have received a Classic Roof, and not one of the many imitators which are often passed off as Classic.
  • 2006 – the Tie Bar Replacement Kit was offered for the first time. Another landmark enhancement which meant that tie bars were no longer needed on some roof designs. Twin Bolts were the next system enhancement which ensure that every glazing bar is securely locked in place to eliminate glass slippage.
  • 2009 – Ultraframe launched the first range of coloured foils for Classic as the market for colour was taking off. Other enhancements to the industry’s favourite conservatory roof over the next few years included Anchor Clips and Conservaflash.
  • 2010 – the Livinroom internal pelmet became the latest addition to the system.
  • 2011 – in a nod to the emerging trend for slimline aluminum aesthetics for modern home improvements, the Classic Aluminium system was launched.
  • 2012 – the Loggia launch, incorporating Super-Insulated Columns into a Classic conservatory to enhance the warmth and give a more substantial, stylish look from the exterior.
  • 2013 – the Livinroof solid roof was launched, based on the Classic chassis and using the same beam, bars and ridge.
  • 2014 – the next enhancement to Classic was Livinlight – a new insulated electrical housing system for lighting.
  • 2015 – a new roof based on Classic but with aluminium internals, a slimline thermally broken ridge, and no radius ends was previewed at The FIT Show – the Ultrasky Orangery.
  • 2018 – a new contemporary flat Cornice was added to the curved range already available for Classic.
  • 2019 – slimline aluminium roof vent was launched for use with the contemporary Classic Aluminium system – offering ventilation and modern good looks.
  • 2021 – a host of new enhancements were added to the Classic System – Chambered Box Gutter, Slimline Ridge, suite of Bolstered Eaves Profiles, 30% price reduction on Classic Aluminium, and a new Electronic Structural Design Guide.

Commenting about the many milestones in Classic’s history over the years, Alex said: “Of course, these are just a few of the milestones there have been along the way for Classic. It really is true at Ultraframe that we never stand still in terms of product development, and this is certainly true for our Classic Roof. Our most recent enhancements for Classic (which have been available since January 2021) include a Chambered Box Gutter, which means that that gallows brackets will no longer be needed for spans up to 4M, a Slimline Ridge, which is perfect for any contemporary conservatory, and a new suite of bolstered eaves profiles for use on large conservatories to increase the spanning capabilities of the system. The Bi-Fold Support Beam and Super-Bolster mean that Classic is now perfectly engineered to create the large spans demanded by modern conservatory designs and coupled with a 30% price reduction on the Classic Aluminium exterior option, mean that Classic is now an ideal choice for contemporary extensions. Finally, our trusty paper-based Structural Design Guide which was created many those years ago has been replaced by our new Enhanced Structural Design Guide (eSDG). This valuable digital tool allows Classic Roof customers to determine how big openings for doors can be in order for the roof to be structurally sound and is situated within our existing Udesign conservatory software.”

There have also been many developments in the support available for Classic users over the years too, such as the first ever conservatory retail brochure overprints, and the tremendous training resource which has been used by thousands of Classic fabricators and installers over the years – The Training School of Excellence.

Concluding, Alex said: “Ultraframe is a fast-paced environment with many creative minds, and this is demonstrated perfectly when you look back at the history of the Classic System. For anyone wanting to find out more about the latest enhancements to the system, visit https://bit.ly/3vu3Cyf.”