Keystone Lintels Comment: Q4 2019

Derrick McFarland, Managing Director Keystone Lintels is BMBI’s Expert for Steel Lintels.

Quarter four was disappointing, and all the gains made earlier in the year were eroded away in this quarter, as neither October nor November achieved their expected values. We may look back on 2019 and surmise, that with all the ongoing domestic political challenges and arguments during the long drawn out Brexit debate, 2019 was better than what could have happened. In the event, a strong majority government provides us with stability and renewed optimism and, while January 2020 is not breaking records it has been a positive trading month with orders that had been delayed now being placed.

One key question is how much of a bounce will we get from this optimism? The Bank of England’s recent view on the outlook for growth was downbeat, and it will be interesting to see the economic predictions in the Budget in March. Pledges made during the election campaign were implicitly confirmed after the election with Boris Johnson’s promises to ‘level up the economy’. These pledges and promises now have to be funded, and with the government’s positive message on house building, we look forward to the potential expansion of this sector. No doubt 2020 will still create its own set of challenges.

The fabric of the building is once again a key focus in the Future Homes Standard for 2025. Amendments to Part L of Building Regulations are expected to be introduced in October 2020, and Keystone is participating with the regulatory body on the most practical steps to take. The significant advantages of thermal performing lintels, which can be installed with the same confidence as steel lintels, is that in relation to Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) they allow for ease of quality control on sites. The individual plot specification and scheduling service we offer provides the beginning of the chain of custody on which these new regulations are also focusing.

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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.