British design is among the best in the world. That’s why our UK-based, in-house team design all the products that Dunster House sell online or at one of our sites. By making use of some of the best available expertise, you get to enjoy innovative garden buildings designed to last.
Our experienced CAD design team
Computer Aided Design (CAD) programmes are more commonly used within aerospace and car design. But our experienced team use CAD programmes to design our garden buildings, as we feel it gives us more flexibility and control over every area of the design process.
From concept to modification, we apply a hands on approach to the development of each product. This way we can create higher quality and more reliable products, as design improvements are well thought out and easier to incorporate.
We also ensure our designs use materials that provide high-quality, reliable products which offer you exceptional value. For example, we only ever use full lengths of timber, we never use finger jointed timber (glued together offcuts), to ensure the products are strong. We also pressure treat timber in many of our products to ensure they are durable.
We have maintained a constant presence in our market and have acted upon the feedback of our customers over the years. During the design process we never forget about including features you want to help create the garden environment you’ve always desired. Most of our Log Cabins allow you to choose different glazing and insulation options. Whilst many of our products are available with a range of extras, so you have the flexibility to create your ideal level of garden luxury and comfort.
Prototyping and rigorous testing
To ensure that you don’t end up the guinea pig, we build a prototype of all our products to make sure they’ll withstand practical use. These prototypes are then put through rigorous testing to ensure that the products we supply are safe and fit for purpose. The prototype phase can be time consuming, and sometimes result in us going back to the drawing board, but we feel the results prove its worth.
If you would like to have a look at our product prototype gallery, click here.
The family that owns Dunster House also owns over 14 factories spread across 7 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, ten 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 families 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 330 people in the UK (compared to just over 230 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 has 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.
To make sure our products and services deliver on quality, reliability and value for money, we never rely on others. This is why we use a dedicated and specialist team in every area of the business, including delivery.
Why we use our own fleet to deliver our products
Our aim is to deliver your products securely, with a focus on being as reliable as possible. We believe the best way of doing this is by delivering the products ourselves, through our ever-growing fleet of delivery vehicles. This way, we keep full control over maintaining our high standards and never have the ‘get out clause’ of blaming a courier if something goes wrong.
We believe that all good delivery drivers need a vehicle to match. That’s why we always buy brand new vehicles for our fleet, service them often, and replace them after 3-4 years of use. This way, we keep excuses like “sorry, the van’s broken down” to a once in a blue-moon occurrence. Plus, it helps us to ensure our promises of a reliable service don’t ring hollow.
Our fleet comes in all shapes and sizes
We realise that many of you live in an area where a 40ft articulated lorry is impossible to drive around. This is why we have a fleet of vehicles in various sizes to fulfil the range of delivery-based challenges we face. Almost all our trucks, for example, are small 7.5t models. We also have vans and flat-bed trucks which are both manoeuvrable and capable of transporting heavy loads.
We cherish our fleet of delivery vehicles, as we appreciate the key part they play in fulfilling the final phase of your buying process. In fact, because we feel the personality of each of our vehicles reflects so well upon the business, we’ve come across all maternal. Not only have we given each vehicle their own name, but they are always kept clean, sound and never want for so much as a new air freshener.
Our fleet of drivers and vehicles deliver our products throughout mainland England, Wales, as well as most of Scotland. But we don’t deliver to the Islands and Highlands of Scotland. If you spend over £1000, all deliveries to mainland England and Wales are free. For more information on the delivery cost for our products, click here.
Although we design all our products with self-assembly in mind, we realise that not everybody is confident with DIY. As a result, we offer our own, directly employed, Installers to carry out the installations for you. This service is available to you within mainland England and Wales, and some parts of Scotland, although some exceptions may apply.
We have invested a lot of time, money and effort into training our own installation teams, so that they know our products inside out. This way, if you use us to install your product, you’ll get the same focus on quality and value found in every other stage of our buying process.
Please be assured that we do NOT subcontract to external installers ever, we also do NOT use another Company to carry out any of our installations, unlike all of our competitors. ALL of our Installers are full time employees of Dunster House Ltd, on EVERY Installation. So when you buy your installation from us, then in the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you won’t find yourself trying to negotiate where the blame lies between an installation company and a supplying company, with us there is only one Company involved, Dunster House Ltd. Which keeps the pressure on us to get it right first time anyway!
What you get
Our installation team pride themselves on supplying you with a functioning garden building, as soon as possible. Depending on the size of the product and the features selected, installation can typically take between one and five days. The team, along with the driver, will also unload the product from the lorry themselves, so you’ll have no need to get your hands dirty.
It’s not just the physical aspects of an installation that our dedicated team looks after. We will also take care of all the paperwork involved, so that your experience is as hassle free as possible. All you’ll need to do is read, agree and then sign the required paperwork, before returning it in the pre-paid envelope provided. Then we will start arranging the most convenient date for your installation to begin.
To find out the price of an installation, all you need to do is provide your postcode from a drop down menu on the page of any product on our website. What’s more, the price quoted will be for the whole job – from start to finish – with no hidden charges. Please be aware that we do not carry out painting (except internal walls of modern style Garden Offices) or base work (except when you buy our Rapid Foundation systems). We will not install 3rd party products or customer provided electrics.
What we need from you
We aim to help you, the customer, wherever possible. So to ensure your site is ready for when our installation team arrives, we provide you with our helpful base preparation guidelines or, our RapidPad guidelines if you have bought a RapidPad™ foundation system, along with the Installation Agreement for you to easily check that your site will be suitable prior to the installers arriving.
On the day of the installation, we will need you or someone who can make decisions on your behalf to be present. This is because we will need to perform a routine assessment of your site, to ensure a smooth installation, and you will need to tell us where to site the building and be on hand to answer any other questions that may arise whilst the product is assembled such as placing of windows/doors or any extras.
During the installation we will need access and use of water, electricity and toilet facilities. Oh, and maybe the odd cup of tea… but only if you are offering!
For more information on this service and preparing your site for installation, click here to read our Installation Terms and Conditions.
After installation service
Our installation service doesn’t stop after the strike of the last nail either. Before they leave, the head of the team will go through your installation with you, to check the work against your Installation Agreement. After we have guaranteed your satisfaction, you will then receive an Installation Completion Certificate to read, agree, sign and keep.
So that you can begin enjoying your newly completed garden building straight away, our installation teams always clear up after themselves. If you do need any post-installation advice, our supportive Customer Service Team will also remain on hand to answer any queries you may have.
To find out more or to book your installation please contact us.