Crystal Direct comment: Q2 2016

Steve Halford, Group Managing Director Crystal Direct is BMBI’s Expert for PVC-U Windows & Doors.

The general consensus is that we’ve yet to see a noticeable impact on PVC-U window and door business following the Brexit vote.

Large house building projects continue and housebuilder confidence appears unchanged. We’re mid-way through August, and current and planned build programmes are unaffected. The ‘out’ vote created considerable despondency in the media and London bubble, and economic forecasts paint a grim picture. In the medium to long term the implications are completely unknown, but for most housebuilders and general builders it seems to be business-as-usual for now.

Builders’ merchants’ sales of bespoke PVC-U windows and doors grow at an extremely fast pace. There is also growing interest in conservatories, orangeries and solid roof conservatory-extensions. Fast growth is a combination of factors. Firstly, a growing number of builders are buying PVC-U windows from the builders’ merchants where they buy most of their materials, rather than go elsewhere. Whether it’s for multi-plot developments, self-build or one-off extensions, builders can now buy a full range of bespoke PVC-U windows and doors from their local branch, which is convenient.

Secondly, the styles, quality and colour choice of the windows and doors they’re offered has broadened considerably. So builders can sell a far greater, more attractive range of windows, doors and conservatories to their customers and benefit from added value sales.

Frequent product training at builder and merchant level, backed by the dismantling of the barriers to bespoke products are also closing the skills gap. More builders are installing PVC-U windows and doors directly rather than subcontracting the work. Deliveries on short lead times direct to the builder are an added bonus.

The industry is well down the path of transforming the bespoke PVC-U market for independent merchants, regional chains and large nationals. Expect strong growth to continue.

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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.

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