British Gypsum Comment: Q1 2020

Stacey Temprell, Marketing Director British Gypsum is BMBI’s Expert for Drylining Systems

How the world has changed. In my last quarterly summary, I reported we were entering 2020 with renewed energy and drive – and then COVID-19 hit us all.

As we now enter a recession of unparalleled speed and depth it’s difficult to draw on the insights of economic studies, for the most part the global impact of Coronavirus has been so sudden there is a real lack of evidence-based data to make any solid predictions about the next month, let alone any real longer-term economic predictions. What we can do, and must do, is respond to the immediate challenges before us.

What we can anticipate is a sharp decline in Q2 with a gradual recovery in Q3 and Q4, with construction output falling by 25% this year with a corresponding growth of 25% in certain sectors in 2021. The contribution of the construction sector to the UK’s immediate economic needs is critical, a fact recognised by the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, addressing business leaders in an open letter of 31st March. At British Gypsum we have responded to this directive by supporting the many and varied ‘essential’ schemes around the UK and working closely with our customers to meet this vital demand while keeping our own colleagues safe and protected.

As we enter a new phase of gradual easing and the COVID-19 strategy shifts we are now able to begin a phased approach to reinstating manufacturing and despatch, supporting both essential projects and protecting the livelihoods of our customers and colleagues. Without question, we are far from the other side of COVID-19, but as we all look to the next quarter there is a real sense of community that unites this sector that will hopefully remain long after the immediate threat has passed.

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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.