John Sinfield, Managing Director Knauf Insulation is BMBI’s Expert for Mineral Wool Insulation
The markets for glass and rock mineral wool remain robust following strong sales in the six months to June.
We ourselves have seen between 5-7% growth in Q2 compared with the same period last year, despite some uncertainty across the construction sector.
As I highlighted in last quarter’s index, polls ahead of June’s general election predicting a Conservative landslide missed the mark. The hung parliament has done little to moderate the uncertainty caused by the ongoing Brexit process, but there now appears to be a stronger opposition. That’s helpful when it comes to the debate surrounding issues like energy efficiency and housing policy.
As we enter EU negotiations, inflationary pressures caused by the weaker pound will lead to the continued high cost of importing both finished goods and raw materials. This upward pressure on price exacerbates the wider raw material shortages that continue to affect parts of the industry. We’ve certainly been conscious of this and have partnered with Veolia to invest £10 million into a recycled glass processing facility at our St Helen’s site to help secure the supply of raw materials for our glass mineral wool products and help shield us from the effects of shortages.
Finally, the insulation industry has been under the spotlight like never before following the Grenfell Tower fire. I, and no doubt everyone in the sector, offer my condolences to everyone affected by the terrible tragedy. Perhaps understandably, we have seen a marked increase in enquiries about the fire performance properties of our products. The industry is participating fully in the groups set up by DCLG in the wake of the fire, and it is to be hoped that those groups result in well thought through changes to current regulations.
See the full Q2 Report here: https://www.bmbi.co.uk/the-index/