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RCI December 2017

MATERIAL TRENDS CMO Ecommerce, micro homes and eco-living dominate market Using sales data collected from e-tailers Roofing Superstore and Insulation Superstore, brands of eCommerce leader Construction Materials Online, Liz Orgill, marketing director, highlights some of the biggest industry trends dominating the market, as well as what From a boom in micro-homes, to ambitious government deadlines on energy efficiency creating an increase in demand for eco-structures, 2017 has been a year of innovation for the construction industry. Fuelled by technology and new building practices, professionals are increasingly changing the way they are specifying and purchasing materials. At the same time, the industry has experienced widespread shortages of some of its most popular building materials, critically impacting construction across the UK. This has led to a need for the supply chain to adapt, with professionals sourcing alternative materials to combat these shortfalls. Roofing tiles With a dramatic increase in house-building and as one of the most cost-effective forms of roofing, the demand for concrete tiles has created a supply shortage across the construction market. Popular due to durability and versatility, this shortage has meant contractors are either having to allow more time for sourcing the tiles and / or delivery turnarounds, or are having to consider other materials. As a result, Roofing Superstore has seen a 20% increase in sales of non-concrete alternatives. Perhaps surprisingly however, total sales of concrete tiles at Roofing Superstore have dropped by just 15% in 2017, showing that many are prepared to wait out the shortage. Smaller spaces Concrete is not the only material in short supply, with an explosion at a German manufacturing plant causing a major shortage of PIR insulation boards across Europe. This situation was further complicated by a technical malfunction at one of the only other alternative plants and currently PIR supply cannot meet building demand. Evolution of building trends and changes in application are also altering insulation buying habits as customers seek to do more with less. The market for garden buildings and structures has boomed in recent years and with many facing rising housing costs in urban areas, alongside popular creative home design TV shows, selfbuilders are turning to their gardens as a costeffective means of adding more room, without the expense of moving. The trend is no longer focused on simple garden sheds, and instead is about creating an extension of the home, which functions in the same way as any interior space should – i.e. fully insulated and warm. As a viable alternative to PIR, sales of multifoil insulation at Insulation Superstore have risen by 82% year on year, along with an increase in interest and enquiries for vacuum insulated panels. As space is only set to become more limited and with house prices rising, the increase can certainly in part be attributed to a growing desire for smaller, more economical homes and spaces. Up to five times thinner than traditional forms of insulation, multifoil and vacuum insulated panels are an ideal solution for smaller spaces, with the ability to perform in line with their thicker counterparts and hit Building Regulations. Coupled with ease of installation and excellent thermal transfer properties, homeowners are benefitting not just from added space, but also from significant energy savings. Healthy Homes One of the biggest trends of 2017 is the concept of ‘healthy homes’; going beyond the eco trend and covering light, warmth, acoustics and even air quality. A home that is essentially both good to humans and to the environment, its overall ‘health’ can be determined by everything from its location, interior design, materials and indoor climate. As awareness of the benefits of eco-homes and eco-living grows, sales for materials with these properties have increased – for example, we’ve seen a 43% increase in sales of natural insulation products, including sheep’s wool and hemp. Eco building is a sector which continues to evolve and innovate as a direct response to an increase in demand, particularly from the self-build market. With the public becoming more educated on the advantages of eco building processes and Liz Orgill, marketing director, Construction Materials Online: “At the same time, the industry has experienced widespread materials (largely fuelled by home, property and lifestyle TV shows), eco home designs and products are fast becoming essential elements of every new home. Specialist products One of the most surprising sales trends from this year is of low pitched roof tiles, with purchases up by 151%. Because low pitched roofs are less common and therefore less in demand, we can only assume that an increase like this is more about the choice offered online rather than buying from an over the counter merchant. Fast becoming a trusted alternative to that of the traditional builders’ merchants, eCommerce providers are generally able to offer a wider choice of products, including very specialist materials. B2B eCommerce is radically transforming the construction industry, easing pressure on contractors and developers. Made-to-order and bespoke products can be sourced quickly, dramatically reducing onsite waste, whilst expert online support teams can advise how best a project can both meet and exceed Building Regulation requirements. With a recent survey revealing that over 94% now purchase building materials online, buying online is a trend which is only set to continue to rise in popularity. www.constructionmaterialsonline.co.uk 026 RCIMAG.COM DECEMBER 2017 this means for the industry long term “One of the biggest trends of 2017 is the concept of ‘healthy homes’; going beyond the eco trend, and covering light, warmth, acoustics and even air quality” shortages of some of its most popular building materials, critically impacting construction across the UK. This has led to a need for the supply chain to adapt, with professionals sourcing alternative materials to combat these shortfalls” “As a viable alternative to PIR, sales of multifoil insulation at Insulation Superstore have risen by 82% year on year, along with an increase in interest and enquiries for vacuum insulated panels”


RCI December 2017
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