The family that owns Dunster House also owns over 14 factories spread across 10 sites all over Europe, each of which is dedicated to making specific parts and products for Dunster House, as well as for the export market. As a British family we like to keep jobs in Britain wherever possible but we recognised that lower costs in overseas manufacturing would allow us to offer better value to our customers. Rather than continuing to buy in from overseas companies owned by other people, as we had been doing, and accepting the designs they gave us, twelve years ago we instead decided to set up our own separate production Companies overseas. Now, more than ever, this foresight allows us to keep our quality high, our product designs specific to the UK market, and to offer you exceptional value for money.
We use Baltic and Siberian timber in our products as it is far denser and better quality than UK grown timber due to the low temperatures and shorter growing seasons in those regions. Unfortunately, slow growing timber of this quality simply cannot be grown in the UK due to our comparatively warm climate. By locating our factories close to the sawmills we are able to significantly reduce the transport of waste materials, which would not be the case if we manufactured these products in the UK. Add to this the comparatively low running costs of our family's overseas companies, and you can see how we offer such high quality timber products at such low prices.
This focus on low prices and high quality has meant that Dunster House itself has grown year on year, as have the number of people employed, with the Company now employing in excess of 320 people in the UK (compared to just over 250 people in the family’s overseas companies).
We also continue to maintain a sizeable element of manufacture here at Dunster House in the UK for those product lines where this makes good economic sense. This includes our uPVC windows and doors, prototyping, limited run wooden products, and spare parts in our very well equipped carpentry section, where we can quickly make any replacement parts necessary without having to wait to source these from overseas.
Ensuring quality, reliability and value for money through investment
Our family's investment in these factories has been spent to buy the best equipment and hire experienced staff needed to run our dedicated stations. We make so many timber windows and doors that we even have a dedicated production factory just for them!
Our CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine is an ideal example of our focus on investing in the best machinery. The CNC machine works by cutting each of the hundreds of specified lengths of timber we need each day, with computer guided precision. This has proved invaluable for coping with the increased demand for our products, as we've been able to achieve efficiency without compromising on quality.
Ensuring quality, reliability and value for money through quality control
To ensure you receive total satisfaction and value for money, we perform tight quality control of every component we use in manufacturing. This means, wherever possible, we make each component ourselves. But when we do bring components in, we do so from suppliers whom we absolutely trust and have been working with for years.
We also use Quality Control Teams in all our factories, to check our products as they go through the production process. Their role includes checking line items and comparing photographs at various stages to confirm we are maintaining our high standards. Only once we're happy we've maintained those standards, do our Quality Control Teams sign the product off for dispatch to the UK branches.
The pressure treatment process
The process involves placing timber on a pallet, lathing it, before placing into a very strong sealed chamber at our pressure treatment plant.
A pump then removes the air from the chamber and in doing so also sucks moisture and air from the timber. The treatment is then pumped into the chamber and it rapidly soaks deep into the timber to replace the moisture and air that has been sucked out. Pressure treatments such as this give wood the best protection from rot and infestation and we guarantee this for 10 years, with no need for you to apply any further treatment.
We choose to pressure treat our own wood, rather than buy it from a supplier, for two reasons. It saves us time, which means we can dispatch our products quicker. But it also allows us to cut timber to the correct size before treatment. This ensures the ends of the wood get treated too, so you can enjoy timber with all-round protection. This is very unusual, most companies buy in full lengths of timber that have been pressure treated elsewhere and they then cut this timber to the lengths they require, leaving the ends untreated.
Within recent years we have gone one step further than this even, as we now add an additional colourant to our pressure treatment so that instead of the products being the green colour that is is more normally indicative of pressure treated timber, our products are a far more attractive brown colour which further enhances the look of our products and gives a nice contrast to our customers' green gardens.
As we continue to grow both Dunster House and our overseas Companies, we will carry on investing in improving our manufacturing infrastructure to ensure the great value of our products; we don't own forests yet, but we already own everything required all the way back to a sawmill. This way, we can continue to make sure each product that we make gets produced with as much care and attention as the last one.
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