Exporter focus: Dura Composites

Wed 2 Aug 2017
Posted by: William Barns-Graham

dura composites - queens award winners

As part of our build up to the Queen's Award Gala Dinner this September, we're talking to some of this year's international trade winners.

In this interview, we talk to Essex-based Dura Composites.

What does your business do and where are you at the moment in terms of your exports?

Dura Composites is a leading global supplier of composite products for flooring, structures and façades, which are ideal for the industrial, construction, rail, marine, landscaping & architectural sectors as a long-lasting, cost-effective replacement for wood, steel and concrete.  Products are made from high strength fibreglass (GRP) and from durable low-maintenance composite timber (WPC).

Dura Composites has been selling composite materials both regionally and nationally in the UK for 20 years. But over the past 3 years, increased competition in the UK market has led us to focus on increasing our sales potential through exporting.

Our Overseas strategy is to create, implement & support a strong worldwide network of representatives as part of a controlled expansion in line with Dura Composites long term global sales and marketing plan. We have appointed a network of overseas experts to represent us in some markets, and our export programme helps us to take advantage of areas of weakness in our UK business – for example the garden decking marketing in the UK is very seasonal and relies on strong summer weather. In the Middle East by contrast the weather is fine all year round and therefore has very little adverse effect on decking sales.


Congratulations on winning a Queen’s Award! How did it feel to win one and how has winning one impacted your business?

Thank You! We are absolutely delighted to have won The Queen’s Award which we feel recognises our talented and committed workforce and comes at a really exciting time as we look to the future and the continued growth of our product portfolio. Many of our innovations such as our Dura Slab trench covers and Dura Platform GRP station platforms have revolutionised the categories for which they were designed and help to solve the key design challenges facing everyday businesses. Everyone at Dura Composites is immensely proud and honoured to receive this award, which we are sure will be a springboard for further success both in the UK and Overseas.


You’ve signed up for IOE membership. What was the main factor for you in taking up the membership?

Taking up membership of the Institute of Export & International Trade was a logical step for us. Having support with navigating the challenging and often complex trading conditions in international markets is invaluable and the IOE offers such a diverse range of advice and tools. We’re looking forward to capitalising on our membership to get to grips with new markets and territories that we have never been able to explore before due to lack of resource and knowledge.


Are you looking forward to the Queen’s Award dinner? What are you most looking forward to about it?

Yes absolutely. It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to celebrate such a prestigious achievement in a historic setting. We’re looking forward to hearing from Guest Speaker Cathy Newman and to networking with the other International Trade award winners as there are sure to be some great synergies between the various businesses and opportunity to learn from others who have forged the way in some of our key target markets overseas.


What’s the next big thing for your business?

Dura Composites has a proven track record in supplying innovative GRP and composite timber solutions for projects across the globe and has a reputation as an innovator.  We never rest on our laurels and are always looking at the best and most efficient and cost effective ways to solve the everyday challenges faced by our customers.

Our latest ground breaking product is the Dura Slab Structural Stair Tread. Pre-fabricated and lightweight, the treads and landing can easily be fixed into position, thanks to their single unit construction. Where previous composite treads on the market have been limited in span capabilities, Dura Slab Structural Stair Treads have the ability to span up to 2.1m clear open span, achieving the required 5kN/m2 at L/300 deflection and meaning that additional supports can be avoided in most scenarios. The design has built-in risers, speeding up the install process and a slight fall to assist in the prevention of water pooling which can lead to problems with ice in winter. The Dura Composites systems made from fibreglass are lightweight, high-strength, anti-slip, non-corrosive and non-conductive and so overcome all the problems normally associated with the use of traditional stair tread materials for footbridges and staircases such as wood, steel and concrete.

In recent weeks and months we have also been investing in new technical resources to provide our customers with comprehensive, real world information about the products we supply in a consistent and highly useable format. Our extensive technical resources now include in-house CAD design and Structural Engineering support, Technical Manuals, Live Load Test Data, UV Testing and Anti-Slip Certification.

We now also offer data-rich BIM Objects free from the National Building Specification (NBS) National BIM Library. If you’re not familiar with BIM, these objects allow contractors and specifiers to see up-to-date, accurate data about Dura Composites products and to easily incorporate them into their overall designs. Authored to the trusted NBS standard, each BIM Object details the various surface finishes, profiles, sizes and colour options for each product, and provides specifiers and end clients with detailed information on how the products will perform during their expected lifecycle.

You can sign up to the Queen's Award dinner for a fabulous celebration of the Queen's Award winners' achievements at the Royal Horseguards Hotel here.

You can also apply for an award yourself in this year's International Trade Category - more info.