The last few months have seen a real shift in people’s attitude within the building products and construction industry as a whole. This is obviously great news, having myself witnessed the downturn first-hand, which was eight months before most other industries became worried in 2008/9. With order books near full, and manufacturers struggling to meet demand, there is now pressure on material output and a “blue collar” skills shortage.
The pressure has now shifted significantly from people trying to keep hold or find positions, to two main areas. Firstly there would seem the need to find and attract quality people in areas where squeezed margins are resulting in manufacturers/contractors working cuter via their distribution networks, supply chain agreements, manufacturing processes and qualities of finished products. Sustainability is also the other big word on everyone’s lips, especially amongst energy-intensive manufacturers.
Having met and spoken with a number of companies exhibiting last month at EcoBuild, and seen the interest created around Sustainability Live, it is good to see a real enthusiasm – this would seem to be now driven by individuals and the market and not solely due to EU directives. At EcoBuild I would estimate more than a third of those exhibiting were directly involved in the energy efficiencies market – showcasing within solar, pumps or timber products amongst others. Naturally, manufacturers are driven to innovate and improve their offerings in order to get products specified and thus improving specifiers/contractor’s emissions and footprints. However, with my optimistic head on, over the past few weeks, people would seem genuinely interested in the topic.
If time permits, I would recommend reading the news of the largest solar installation at Worseley’s main distribution outlet. This picture alone is pretty impressive and highlights the increased shift to improving efficiencies even further than the past ten years, and evidentially not just within manufacturers.
Next on the agenda is surely a simplified process of recording key information and a way of calibrating measurement equipment to accurately read CO2 levels within completed buildings.