After the warm glow of recovery that we all began to feel during last year, the most recent surveys have tended to take a more measured look at the market.
This can be no bad thing in itself as too many times in the past, the building industry has suffered a collective bout of amnesia and repeated the mistakes of the past. It’s ended up, like the alcoholic, in the gutter and wondering how he ever could have tripped into the smelly part of the street again.
In the latest findings that we have included in this week’s Editor’s Corner, we find warnings from the usual suspects – Glenigan, the Construction Products Association and the Federation of Master Builders.
I was going to include the despairing assessment of the Glass and Glazing Federation on the government’s Green Deal, but its damning indictment is well know already. How poorly the scheme has worked out after all the effort can best be shown by these figures:
Only 17 window installations had taken place using Green Deal Finance up to November 2014.
64 windows were installed with Cashback up to the end of November 2014 in England and Wales.
The hoped for work has not materialised and stories of rogue traders have made the pages of the national press. In January this year, The Guardian reported on a company called Trivium that cold called householders, stating it was part of the Green Deal scheme. ‘The company….made doorstep sales calls offering free home improvements through the scheme, ranging from new boilers to solar panels. It said work could only be completed after an assessment report costing £299 upfront. Some of those who signed up complain they never received a report, while others say they are still waiting months later for any sign that work will be carried out and that they have been unable to get a refund.’
It is no wonder that with the twin handicaps of a flawed government scheme and dodgy traders, that people are opting for other means of improving the energy efficiency of their homes.
SHOWS THAT WORK
On a more positive note, the BAU exhibition in Munich, Germany, last month has been reported a great success by the organiser and many of those exhibiting and visiting. The six days of the event, in which all the exhibition space has long been fully booked, saw 251,200 visitors which was an increase of over 16,000 from the last show in 2013.
BAU proved once again the lie that exhibitions have had their day. If they are well organised and focused they can and do succeed and the Germans are past masters in this – in our own sector, we only have to look at fensterbau and glasstec to see what an attraction they are, even with a little bit of air travel. The Munich show saw an increase in overseas visitors by 20% on 2013.
Next month we have Ecobuild at ExCel in London and somehow I feel that the UK’s attempts at trying to ape big exhibitions in recent years, come a poor second. Ecobuild has not performed particularly well with the change of ownership and the huge gaps and usual ‘fillers’, proved that last year.
Of course, we have an entirely new event (6-11 October, NEC, Birmingham) with UK Construction Week, an umbrella show that may or may not fill the hole that Interbuild had. If you go by the PR blurb, how can it fail? ‘Each of the nine event sections at UK Construction Week will retain its own feature areas, and as well as a heavyweight seminar and debate programme. This will now be supplemented by new additional content in the expanded programme of event – which will include Show Homes, Live Building areas, CPD, Political debate, Skills workshops, heavy plant demos, materials and surfaces features, and Smart Building demonstrations.’
Time will tell if it’s the bee’s knees or a dog’s dinner
Caption An example of the exciting products and systems on display at BAU was from sedak, a southern German producer that showed a pane of laminated glass measuring 3.2m x 14m, printed with ceramic inks, as well as a triple glazing unit measuring 1.1m x 14m.