Knauf Insulation comment: Q1 2016

John Sinfield, Managing Director Knauf Insulation is BMBI’s Expert for Mineral Wool Insulation.

Knauf Insulation is pleased to be associated with the BMBI. In this increasingly unpredictable world any source of good, authoritative information is to be applauded.

Unpredictable is the right word to describe the insulation sector this year. While the overall market has performed in line with the BMBI indices there have been some significant sectoral shifts. New build housing has been strong and housebuilders’ use of the higher performing products in the 032 lambda range continues to increase.

By contrast mineral wool sales for housing RMI, the housing refurbishment sector, has been very poor this year, due to the effective demise of the Green Deal. Office refurbishment is one bright spot where we’ve seen strong activity in all major cities.

In non-domestic new build, warehouses remains very strong, as is the South East generally.

All the merchants have referenced some ‘Brexit hangover’ in their public statements, and I feel the entire industry will breathe a sigh of relief on the 24th June irrespective of the result. At least we will know one way or the other.

So – the future. As has become the norm in the insulation market, we have an ever shifting legislative pipeline. No Zero Carbon Homes; no improved Part L; no clarity about thermal & acoustic regulations over the next few years. Try selling that lack of visibility to your board as a base for an investment plan!

As I write this, we’re waiting for the final report from The Bonfield Review to be published. I and the rest of the industry hope this will provide a robust framework the industry can adopt and use as a solid foundation for reviving the semi-comatose domestic refurbishment market.

Next time I put pen to paper we will be post-referendum. Will be an interesting one I feel…

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