Strategy needed to balance risks in 2017

Joinery sales have risen for the tenth successive quarter but increasing labour and material costs are taking their toll, according to the latest Joinery State of Trade Survey released by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF). 

The survey conducted among BWF members revealed healthy sales performances in the third quarter of the year, despite Brexit concerns. Manufacturers were also confident that sales would improve in the next quarter, with a balance of 50% predicting an increase for Q4 2016 and a balance of 45% predicting an increase over the next year.

While 59% of respondents said they had order books of future work between one and three months, 28% of companies reported an order book extending beyond three months, a slight decrease (3%) on the previous survey.

More than half of joinery businesses had increased their investment in product improvement, and 41% reported increasing their labour force in the last year, with 36% anticipating creating more new jobs next year. However, more than two thirds had encountered higher labour costs so far, and 86% expected increases in the coming year.

Matt Mahony, BWF policy and communications executive, said: “Anecdotal evidence suggests that our members are working harder and more efficiently than ever, but supply chain finance issues, rising costs of raw materials and salary increases threaten to impact on businesses and potential investment opportunities in 2017.”

  • A series of fact sheets to boost knowledge of the correct joinery and timber products to be used in listed properties and conservation areas has been published by the British Woodworking Federation’s (BWF) Heritage and Conservation Joinery Group

The fact sheets are designed to give consistent advice on key areas which affect heritage and conservation joinery. These areas include the legislation which impacts on listed buildings and conservation areas, Building Regulations associated with the replacement of timber joinery, and the issues around aesthetics versus technical performance when replacing timber joinery. 

The fact sheets also provide advice on obtaining listed building consent, glazing, and recommendations when placing orders for narrow cavity insulating glass units. 

According to English Heritage, the main threat to conservation areas is “unsympathetic replacement windows and doors – usually PVC-U”.

In a survey published in December 2013, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors listed the top 10 crimes against period homes. Number one on the list was “Replacing original good quality sash windows with inappropriate modern aluminium or PVCU casements and stripping out original period doors”.