John Duffin, Managing Director Keylite Roof Windows is BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows.
The NHBC reported a busy summer for house builders, which went some way to settle post Brexit vote nerves. August house
registrations were 20% ahead of 2015, with significant regional differences, and London and Scotland in particular were less positive.
While not recorded specifically in BMBI reporting, the roof windows market has also been strong.
Q3 is traditionally a very active few months for Roof Windows as loft convertors and the Repair Maintenance & Improvement sector in general push to get projects watertight before the onset of winter. From our perspective, we see a strong market moving from summer into autumn as projects started in a strong first half of the year received their roof windows. Underlying demand for housing remains as strong as ever, so merchants must hope that consumer confidence and the availability of finance is not undermined by political events.
Headlines in the press about giants such as Apple and Unilever implementing sharp currency related price increases will not have gone unnoticed in construction. The industry will be watching sterling closely over the next few months, with the expectation of continuing building materials’ price instability heading in to 2017.
A review of the construction industry’s blogs and twitter accounts reveals an urgent, accelerating search for solutions to the UK’s deepening construction skills shortage. In some regions, major projects such as Hinkley Point are predicted to be a critical drain on the existing labour pool. Construction companies are now searching for radical solutions, but the risk represents one of the biggest blockages to builders’ merchants’ and builders’ sustained growth in the immediate future.
Progressive manufacturers like Keylite are aware of the need to innovate and produce installer friendly products for builders to use as part of the solution to labour shortages.
We certainly see our own ongoing investment in innovation to make installation easier as one of the best ways to help stockists’ continued growth.