IKO PLC Comment: Q2 2019

Paul Owen, Commercial Director Distribution IKO PLC is BMBI’s Expert for Roofing Products.

The second quarter started strongly in the roofing sector with sales up year on year, notably among roofing specialists. The month of June, however, took the shine off with sales to the general merchant and distributor sectors faltering a little. Year-to-date, the sector remains very buoyant.

After a very difficult start in the retail sector during Q1, sales of roofing products recovered very well in Q2. The retail sector is often overlooked by roofing specialists. It tends to be serviced by the retail giants and a few retail-focussed builders’ merchants. However, there is a growth in demand for those products linked to our appetite for multi-use garden buildings that extend our living space. These include shed felts through to more aesthetically pleasing shingles and lightweight slates.

Demand for the specialist application systems remains very strong, with some contractors reporting full order books to Q1 2020. Hot-melt and inverted roof systems are a popular specification choice for clients in residential urban development projects. The Midlands and South-East, particularly, show a lot of activity with these types of projects.

Enquiry levels are steady, indicating a degree of client optimism and continuity, but some sectors are reporting a slight drop in project enquiries for Q4, perhaps acknowledging the uncertainty ahead.

Quarter three is traditionally a busy period for the roofing sector, particularly for those who are involved with the refurbishment of buildings in the education sector. Delivering projects on time, safely, and within budget, requires a collaborative approach across the whole client, contractor, merchant supply chain because it isn’t just product. They also benefit from technical back up, support and service innovation. IKO, for example, has invested in developing and expanding our range of self-adhesive and torch-free membranes to further support Safe2torch best practice.

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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.