AWMS comment: Q4 2015

Steve Durdant-Hollamby, Managing Director Alumasc Water Management Solutions (AWMS) is BMBI’s Expert for Civils, Metal Rainwater & Drainage.

Civils, Metal Rainwater and Drainage was 3% up in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the same three months of 2014. December was marginally up on December 2014. With a broad range of water management products that collect and channel rainwater from roofs or from the surface to below ground and away, this market moves broadly in line with Heavy Building Materials.

Last year started well but, coming too soon after the Scottish referendum, the national elections and the threat of further austerity cast a shadow over the economy. The uncertainty this created caused delays in planned investment in new and refurbishment projects and took some of the momentum out of the market in the first half. However both Q3 and Q4 were ahead of the same quarters in 2014.

We expect steady growth in 2016 for Civils, Metal Rainwater and Drainage, and January started well, helped by the exceptionally mild weather. However, labour and skills shortages, and rising imports of cheaper products are a threat to our market and many other sectors in the industry.

Six devastating storms in six weeks at the end of Q4 2015 underlined, as nothing else could, the importance of water management to the economy. It also exposed how poorly prepared Britain is to manage the effects of climate change.

We have to get a lot better at forecasting rain, and a lot better at dealing with it when it gets here. But that can only be done if we stop looking at solutions or projects in isolation. We need to account for a changing climate in the way we build, and look at every aspect of project design.

We can’t prevent floods, but we can try to minimise the damage to buildings and infrastructure by working together as an industry to invest, budget and build for the future not the past

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