Senior’s Top 3 Predictions For The Industry Come True
General News, Project News

Senior’s Top 3 Predictions For The Industry Come True

Lennart Jonsson, MD of Senior Architectural Systems

Lennart Jonsson, MD of Senior Architectural Systems

At the turn of the New Year, Lennart Jonsson, founder and MD of Senior Architectural Systems, the UK’s largest privately owned supplier of windows, doors and curtain walls to the construction industry, gave his 3 top predictions for the construction industry. As we head into the second quarter of 2014, it’s time to see if these predictions are proving correct.

Prediction 1: Accelerated growth

Back in January Lennart was so confident in the upturn that Senior Architectural Systems had already committed to further investment for 2014 in both machinery and software across the group, to help handle the anticipated greater volume.

Just as well because 2014 quarter one sales for Senior Architectural systems were up 6.5% on 2013 figures for the same period.

Senior is not alone in experiencing the upturn. According to the latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey, construction firms report their brightest outlook for business activity since January 2007. In fact the March PMI signalled a steep overall expansion of UK construction activity. Housing activity was the best performing sector, but commercial construction activity continued to rise sharply amid improving economic fundamentals, with the pace of expansion again close to its fastest since the summer of 2007.

The recently completed Morrisons store, Elland

The recently completed Morrisons store, Elland

Already there are concerns within the industry that the rapid pace of expansion is starting to stretch resources and supplier capacity. According to Tim Moore, Senior Economist at Markit “Lead-times for the delivery of construction materials lengthened in March by one of the greatest amounts since the survey began in April 1997, while sub-contractor availability fell at the fastest rate for thirteen-and-a-half years.”

Thankfully because of Lennart’s foresight, lead times are not a problem for Senior Architectural Systems “Our new machinery and software have enabled us to more than keep pace with demand” said Lennart “In fact our lead times remain some of the shortest within the fenestration industry and we are confident that we will be able to keep our reputation for outstanding customer service by meeting delivery schedules over the coming year.”

Prediction 2: Focus back on the environment

As the austerity years come to a close, Lennart predicted that the government would once more turn its focus to environmental issues.

Already this shift in focus is evident, as this week the government approved 8 major renewable energy projects which Energy Secretary Ed Davey said would help power up to three million homes and provide around 8,500 jobs.

In the construction industry, the new Part L of the building regulations came into force on 6th April, requiring a 6% carbon compliance uplift for new dwellings and 9% for new non-domestic buildings.

According to Lennart “These changes together with the need for material certification are driving product development at such a pace in the fenestration industry that at Senior we are having to make changes to our products and data sheets on an almost daily basis”.

“Literature cannot keep pace with the changes, so it is important to involve us at the specification stage. Early involvement allows us to help ensure the required thermal performance for optional guidelines such as BREEAM certification or the Code for Sustainable Homes, which may require thermal performance to be 20% better than Part L.”

Prediction 3: Greater demand for energy efficient buildings

With the continuing increase in energy prices, Lennart predicted that there would be a greater demand for energy efficient buildings.

Major retailers such as Marks & Spencer have already seen the value in designing stores with greater energy efficiency. Take the groundbreaking Marks and Spencer Cheshire Oaks store in Ellesmere Port, which was designed by architects Aukett Fitzroy Robinson to be the most carbon efficient Marks and Spencer store to date, and which boasts a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating along with countless award wins.

The energy saving Marks & Spencer Cheshire Oaks store in Ellesmere Port

The energy saving Marks & Spencer Cheshire Oaks store in Ellesmere Port

An independent evaluation of the performance of the building’s environmental features carried out by Faithful and Gould after the store’s first year of operation showed annual energy consumption to be 42% lower than that of a benchmark store. A tremendous saving for Marks & Spencer.

“The store featured Senior’s fenestration products including our Hybrid series 3 high performance curtain walling systems, which helped contribute to the store’s energy efficiency” said Lennart.

“Clients and architects are now demanding even greater performance from their chosen fenestration products, which is why Senior have invested heavily in R&D. The result is a range of new products to be launched in the coming months. With improved U values and greater thermal efficiency these new products will more than meet the building regulations and guidelines now and for the foreseeable future.”

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