Happy New Year! A familiar greeting, but what can we really expect from 2015? Will it bring the growth and profits experienced in 2014 or should we be bracing ourselves for dealing with the deficit?
Listen to the news and the future can look bleak. Europe in recession, tumbling oil prices causing instability, Russia dogmatic over Ukraine, Africa struggling with Ebola and Chinese growth slowing not to mention terrorist atrocities.
Back in the UK there’s a May election where potentially the SNP and/or UKIP could hold any future minority government to ransom. And whoever comes in to govern will have to cut spending to fulfil their promise of ‘balancing the books’ by the end of the next parliament
So what will all this uncertainty mean for the UK construction industry? Lennart Jonsson, Chair of the Board of Senior Architectural Systems and board member of the Council for Aluminium in Building (CAB) gives his view:
Growth set to continue
“2014 saw a very good growth for our industry and the forecast is for that growth to continue in 2015. London and the South East are very active but we are also seeing more activity across the UK. There is a strong demand for housing and the continued influx of people is also increasing demand for more schools, hospitals, student accommodation, office space and hotels.”
Challenges from legislation and building regulations
“The government is now asking for BIM compliance on all their contracts from 2016 and this will put a strain on many small to mid-sized fabricators. To help ease the strain Senior are adding BIM objects for all our products to the National BIM Library, so that they are readily available to architects, contractors and fabricators.”
“New legislation is scheduled for even stricter U-values for new buildings by 2016. The fenestration and façade elements of the building are where most improvements can be made, and Senior have invested heavily in the development of an innovative range of new products with U values that exceed current and will meet future building regulations.
“CE marking continues to cause much confusion in the market place. Many products are being sold without CE marking even though this is now a legal requirement. At Senior’s we try to make sure that all our fabricators are fully aware of their legal obligations. Our trade associations, CAB and GGF, are also working hard to lobby governments as well as educating and supporting their members and need to be given credit for what they are achieving.”
Exciting times ahead for Senior
Mark Wadsworth, recently appointed MD of Senior Architectural Systems has already put big plans into place to capitalise on the expected growth for the construction industry and meet the challenges ahead.
“We are looking forward to a really exciting 2015. Early in the New Year we are launching the PURe window system utilising an innovative new thermal break to give ultra-low U-values and the SF52 curtain wall system which has specifically designed to make fabrication simple and straightforward.”
“This is in addition to our recently launched Hybrid Series 3 Window and the revamped SPW501 door. These new products will help to open up new markets, particularly the PassivHaus and GreenBuild markets and keep us ahead of the competition”
Improved Production Facilities
“A new horizontal paint line which uses state-of-the-art technology to reduce waste, improve quality and increase production capabilities to cut turn-around time will be installed at Denaby early in 2015. New racking to increase warehouse capacity is already on order allowing us to increase our stock levels and reduce lead times still further.”
“Meanwhile at our dedicated glazed unit facility in Scarborough, the new heat soak oven is now fully operational and installation of our new commercial furnace should be complete in February. This investment in new plant will give us a much improved facility both in terms of quality and capacity.”
Fully BIM Compliant
“BIM objects for many of our products are already available at the National BIM Library and the remainder will be added in the New Year. This will put us ahead of the competition as we become the first and only UK fenestration systems company to be fully BIM compliant.”
Improved Customer Service
“We have been working closely with our customers to develop a dedicated Fabricator area of our website which will allow customers to log on to access additional support items and services. Similar areas for Architects and Main Contractors are planned for later in the year.”
Once again in 2015 we will be running our CPD seminars for architects and specifiers at the RIBA CPD Providers roadshows and exhibiting our products at Trade events throughout the UK including EcoBuild in March.
Our Hybrid windows have been chosen for the prestigious UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015 in May which will generate a massive amount of publicity for the product on a global stage. An estimated 200 million visitors will be able to experience our timber composite windows including many of the world’s leaders.
“Building work on our new Biomass plant is well underway and will be up and running in the next couple of months, heating the warehouse using waste packaging and timber and reducing the amount we send to landfill.”
“To reduce fuel usage still further we will be trying out the Nissan EV300 van which will complement the two Mitsubishis Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid electric cars bought in 2014. Charging points are now available at all our branches.”