Steve Durdant-Hollamby, Managing Director Alumasc Water Management Solutions (AWMS) is BMBI’s Expert for Civils, Metal Rainwater & Drainage.
Market activity is good. Metal Rainwater & Drainage is ahead of last year and fairly buoyant compared with other heavy building materials. Civils is lagging because some projects have been temporarily paused following the Brexit referendum. Others have formally been put on hold and will be reviewed later in the year. We expect the uncertainty to continue to affect projects into the next quarter.
Rising material costs from a weak pound are putting manufacturers’ margins under pressure. However on the upside, there has been increased interest in buying British, and exchange rates are already boosting export activity which is experiencing a surge.
Aside from the initial turbulence and uncertainty, Britain’s vote to leave has not created any major problems so far. However the vote was a severe shock to many people, particularly to the media and economic forecasters who were taken unawares, so the industry is watching closely as data becomes available to see how the real economy responds. In an effort to stimulate housebuilding, the previous Government eased planning restrictions. The new Government is focusing on building more homes and improving infrastructure. Taken together they should give a welcome boost to our industry.
Climate change is not some far away threat. It’s affecting many aspects of our lives now. Last year was the warmest on record; this year is hotter still. Warmer means wetter, and water is recognised as one of the six biggest threats facing the UK. The challenge is how we prepare and modify our built environment so we can live and work in a far wetter world without risk.
It’s encouraging therefore that expectations are rising across the supply chain from architects and specifiers, through to stockists and installers looking for products that demonstrate the best quality, performance and environmental credentials. It’s also encouraging to see strong growth in end-to-end water management solutions.