HVP Column March 17 – Heatrae Sadia

Builders’ Merchants report strong Plumbing, Heating & Electrical sales

The Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) November report shows builders’ merchants’ sales to builders and contractors were 12.1% higher in November 2016 than in November 2015. They were still 7.0% up when adjusted for one additional trading day. Heavy Building Materials was 13.8% ahead. Kitchens & Bathrooms (+12.0%) and Timber and Joinery Products (+10.5%) were also well up.

November 2016 was 1.1% higher than October 2016, although 3.5% lower when adjusted for a difference in trading days. Workwear & Safetywear (+20.1%), Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+14.2%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+11.2%) were particularly strong.

Sales in the three months September to November 2016 were 5.3% higher than the same three months in 2015. Heavy Building Materials, the largest BMBI category, was 6.2% higher.

Compared with the previous three months (June to August 2016), September to November sales were 0.2% down. Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+17.1%) and Workwear & Safetywear were 13.3% up. Timber & Joinery Products, the second-largest category was 2.3% higher.

John Newcomb, Managing Director of the BMF said: “Despite political uncertainty and turmoil, builders’ merchants’ sales in November were well up compared with last year and have increased in 11 of the last 12 months.”

Paul Rivett, Managing Director Heatrae Sadia, BMBI’s Expert for Water Heating says: “Reflecting upon 2016, the demand for water heating products held up well regardless of Brexit, which caused uncertainty in the market. New private house building grew in volume and light commercial electric water heating also did well.

“The devaluation of sterling after the EU Referendum is starting to affect the market, with reported price increases of up to 8%. Looking at 2017, the inflationary impact of higher prices combined with the investment uncertainty in construction projects, will result in a challenging year. We expect a flat market during the first half and a further softening in the second period as these two pressures start to bite. At times like these it’s important to understand the customer and continue to differentiate to add value with real innovation and strong end user benefits. Boiling water dispensers is one area where we expect strong growth this year.”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities.

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Launched in 2015, the award winning monthly Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report is the only reliable measure of repair, maintenance & improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. Filling an important gap, it can be widely used in construction, and by economists, Government, national media, commentators and influencers outside the industry.