Optimism despite uncertainty
Iso-Chemie 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, said 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 housing shortage will create new build opportunities, particularly in offsite and timber framed construction,” Andy said. “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,” Andy said. “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, the company said.
However, the company said 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 Iso-Chemie is doing, introduce products that don’t require specialist skills or expertise to install.