CAB Ceo Justin Ratcliffe reports on a busy Q2 for the Association. With Confidence in future sales growth for the material still strong despite rising costs, CAB delivered a key conference on Fire and Flanking Acoustics at the Jaguar Experience Centre, Castle Bromwich in mid May
The latest Q1, 2018 CAB State of the Market Survey highlighted that confidence in the future remained in terms of expected sales volumes increasing for the next quarter, 80% net balance (47% in Q4) and the next 12 months, 79% net balance (same as Q4). This was despite the weather-related disruption and ongoing economic and political uncertainties relating to Brexit.
Construction growth over the past year has been driven by private housing, infrastructure and RM&I which has benefitted most product manufacturers. 43% of CAB members reported significant rises in sales (rises of over 5%), compared to a year earlier and 29% reported that sales had increased by up to 5% over the same period.
Demand was again reported as the key constraint on sales growth over the next year. 80% of members reported that demand was likely to be the key constraint compared to 63% in Q4. The other constraints, both under 10% net balance were labour availability and raw material prices. 7% claimed that there were no constraints.
Although the annual CPI inflation rate fell to 2.7% in February from 3.0% in January, it remained above the Bank of England’s 2% target. In Q1, cots increases were reported by 60% of members, on balance, compared to 95% in Q4. Looking ahead, members’ cost pressures were expected to continue over the next quarter (67%) and the next year (80%). The key drivers of cost inflation in Q1 were wages and salaries (87% net balance), followed by raw materials and fuel costs (80% and 60% respectively). These increases were linked to the weak Sterling, rising global oil prices and higher demand for skilled labour. The results, which mirror the trends in Q4, also cited energy costs and taxes as important drivers for members.
In the year to Q1, capacity remained sufficient. 20% of members reported that they had operated at between 90% and full capacity over the last 12 months, down marginally from 21% in Q4. In 12 months’ time, capacity utilisation was anticipated to be 90% or higher according to 20% of members.
In Q1, on balance, 40% and 27% of members reported that investment in customer research and property was higher than a year earlier. The balance for e-business (60%) was nearly double that of the previous year (33%), while product improvement remained very high at 73%, the same as the previous year. The balance for R&D at 53% for the next 12 months was slightly lower than the previous year (60%).
Fire and Flanking Acoustics Conference – 16 May 2018, Castle Bromwich
Mid May saw the annual CAB Aluminium in Building Conference at Jaguar Experience, Castle Bromwich entitled, ‘The Façade as a Protection against Fire and Flanking Acoustics’. Nearly 100 delegates listened attentively to a series of eight presentations. The first session was focused on fire safety and Merlyn Forrer, Fire Protection Manager with Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, set the scene with his keynote address: “External Fire Spread”. Merlyn stressed the need for a holistic view of fire safety and illustrated through case studies that fire loading in the event of an accident is subject to many variables that need to be considered. As David Cooper, Fire Safety Engineering Manager at International Fire Consultants went on to stress, we must learn from history and ensure that we raise the knowledge levels throughout the industry, particularly when it comes to fire safety. The reminders were timely, coming the day before the publication of “Building a Safer Future”, the Final Report of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.
CAB AGM & Golf Day 28 June 2018
A few places are still available for The CAB AGM and Golf Day on 28 June which already has over 230 members and guests booked and will once again be held at the Forest of Arden Hotel and Country Club in Warwickshire.
For further details on any of our 2018 activities or how to join CAB, please contact the office on 01453 828851 or email firstname.lastname@example.org