It may have been a blustery start to 2014, but as we welcome in the New Year will it be more stormy weather ahead for the construction industry, or is the sun set to shine at last?
Who better to forecast the future for the construction industry than Lennart Jonnson, board member of the Council for Aluminium in Building (CAB) and MD of Senior Architectural Systems, the UK’s most successful privately owned provider of fenestration systems to the construction industry.
“Happy New Year and welcome to 2014!
The construction industry has had some difficult times since the recession hit in 2008, but the signs are good for a more prosperous 2014.
Signs of a UK recovery
During last year we could see a steady improvement in the UK economy despite all the gloom in Europe and news that China’s growth was slowing down.
Even the media is finally starting to talk about positive signs and statistics. Unemployment is down, a record number of people are in work, growth is up, recession is over, house prices are recovering, banks are starting to lend again, stock markets are at record highs and inflation is under control. The news hasn’t been so positive for years, so it’s no wonder that the markets are so confident.
Good news for construction
The construction industry was particularity badly affected by the downturn but we are now seeing a recovery in house building with record numbers of new houses being started and sold. Despite the government’s cut backs there is still public infrastructure work coming online and the education sector, led by the universities, is going strong.
According to the latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI survey, the overall construction sector is seeing its strongest growth for 6 years, with accelerated rises in both civil engineering and commercial activity.
At Senior we are so confident in the upturn that we have already committed to more investment in both machinery and software across the group, during 2014, to help us handle more volume, new products and give a better service.
Focus back on the environment
With the government focused on austerity measures, their “green” agenda seems to have taken a backseat of late. Now thanks to the economic upturn predictions for 2014, all that is set to change. Climate change and global warming are back in the headlines and focus is turning once more to environmental issues.
For the construction industry that means a growing emphasis on BREEAM, the foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for new buildings. At Senior we have already established a BREEAM team to help specifiers and architects achieve a BREEAM excellent rating by careful specification of the fenestration material and glass. In 2014 we will also be running a series of our own RIBA approved CPD seminars throughout the UK, enabling architects and specifiers to learn more about BREEAM certification.
Greater need for energy efficiency
One thing’s for sure – energy prices are set to rise in 2014, fuelling the demand for energy efficient buildings. At Senior we already supply thermally enhanced window, door and curtain wall systems, to help cut fuel bills. But we’re continually looking for improvements and have invested heavily in new product development. We look forward to the release of some very exciting and ground breaking products during 2014.
With so many positive signs, plus the investment and product development at Senior, I feel very confident about 2014 and beyond and am really looking forward to some good growth both for Senior, our customers and the UK economy.”