Mike Beard, Merchant Development Director Encon Insulation is BMBI’s Expert for Insulation Products – Distribution
The year started positively for insulation but various factors have set the market back in the last quarter. Ongoing product shortages, especially in PIR insulation, have affected lead times and consistency in supply. However, the uncertainty caused by the General Election affected our industry more widely. A poorly prepared Manifesto saw the Conservatives lose their majority and strength in Parliament. This took the country by surprise and knocked confidence, triggering doubt in the Government’s ability to achieve a positive and firm Brexit negotiation. With the Government’s negotiating hand undermined, what kind of deal can we now expect?
A key priority for the Government is to create a period of stability so confidence can rebuild. House building and RMI are key drivers for the insulation market, builders’ merchants and wider construction. But Government policies on building new homes need to be clearer, more consistent and take a longer term view to avoid a collapse in confidence. Housing has a lot of ground to make up and it’s in everyone’s interest to build and improve more, not less.
A stronger focus from Government on policies to improve the energy performance of our buildings would be widely welcomed, with schemes to help upgrade the energy efficiency of our existing homes in particular. Insulation is an obvious solution, with proven benefits in reducing heating costs and carbon dioxide. The UK housing stock is among the least energy efficient in Europe. It’s about time this was recognised and action taken. Everyone, including Government, benefits.
The Construction Products Association (CPA) has welcomed an independent review of building safety and regulations in high-rise residential buildings by the Department of Communities and Local Government, which we fully support. The review will look at current building regulations and fire safety with a focus on high-rise apartments and flats. This may lead to higher performance solutions being specified in the future, which is good news.
Events in the first half of the year have certainly eroded consumer and business confidence, and sapped the UK economy. We hope to see more stability and positivity as we move into Quarter 3.
See the full Q2 Report here: https://www.bmbi.co.uk/the-index/