A leading UK foam sealant tape supplier remains optimistic about the prospects for sector growth in 2019, despite uncertainty around Brexit and the long-term economic outlook.
Andy Swift, national sales manager of ISO-CHEMIE, says that while Brexit could stall new commercial construction and investment in infrastructure projects, the housing shortage will continue to drive demand for window and door sealants in the next 12 months.
The country is in the grip of a chronic housing crisis and the government has said that 300,000 new homes need to be built annually to meet the current shortage.
Andy Swift says: “The housing shortage will create new build opportunities, particularly in offsite and timber framed construction. In turn, this will drive demand for cost-effective window and door sealing tapes, which are quick-to-install and provide long term energy efficiencies.
“So, as we look forward, the market appears future proof for companies like ISO-CHEMIE, and who knows, it may even be better than expected.”
Following Brexit, the free movement of labour between the UK and EU might also add up to become a concern for the industry.
“This country will undoubtedly face a skills shortage following the departure of foreign workers post Brexit,” says Andy Swift. “We also saw significant numbers leave the trade in the wake of last recession, never to return.
“A lack of take up by millennials of construction and building trade careers, is also contributing to worker shortfalls across the fenestration sector. It’s a challenge for both recruiters and the industry, but not necessarily an impossible one to overcome.”
The skills shortage is being addressed through ISO BLOCO 600 and ONE among other products, which offer ease-of-installation benefits to accommodate the dearth in expertise, says Andy Swift.
However, he says more action will be required in 2019 to attract young people to the sector: “One solution to address this, is to offer more industry specific apprenticeships. Or as we are doing, introduce products that don’t require specialist skills or expertise to install.”
Undoubtedly, companies will need to remain streamlined, cost conscious and well run if they are to survive the next 12 months, says Andy Swift.
“State-of-the art products and quick delivery, backed up by good on and off-site technical support, will be key to this, along with theincreased use of foam-based technology to close off more sales and develop new business opportunities.”
Photocaption: ISO-CHEMIE’S ISO BLOCO ONE, which is easy-to-fit, helps to address sector skills shortages.