Roofing Expert Paul Owen, Commercial Director – Distribution Division, IKO PLC, comments exclusively for BMBI on Q2 2018.
There are mixed fortunes in the roofing sector with retail sales struggling but a more positive private housing market.
The Construction Products Association (CPA) forecasts total construction output to fall 0.6% in 2018 before rising 2.3% in 2019, with commercial offices and retail output down 20% and 10% respectively in 2018. B&Q, Wickes and Homebase have problems resulting in restructuring, planned reviews, restructuring or scaling down of their estates. Bunnings sold for £1 and exited the UK market.
The CPA’s RMI forecasts vary sector by sector but are generally down.
However, private housing new build starts are forecast to rise by 2% in 2018.
After the disruption caused by the ‘Beast from the East’ in Q1, the sustained period of good weather was very welcome, allowing catch-up. It is likely to take several more months, however, before everything is fully back on track.
There are positive signs for the rest of the year from distributors and contractors on sales and future opportunities. Merchants and specialist roofing distributers report Q2 sales significantly up on Q1, and more importantly up on Q2 2017. Major roofing contractors have healthy order books and enquiry levels are up on 2017 in size and value. Small and medium sized contractors also report steady opportunities in a competitive market.
A safe working environment is always a key concern in roofing. In flat roofing, client awareness of the NFRC (National Federation of Roofing Contractors) Safe to Torch campaign continues to grow, with all reputable roofing contractors and specialist suppliers actively promoting safe specification and safe practice.
Another occupational hazard for the roofing trades, as the long hot summer continues, is being out in the sun without sticking to ‘wear sun screen’ advice.
Coverage of t-shirt tans on social media sites bore testament to that, as well as showing our industry’s good humour.