Neil Hargreaves BMBI Expert for Mineral Wool Insulation: Quarter 3 2023

By Knauf Insulation UK & Ireland
December 01, 2023

Construction confidence has taken a battering of late, with geopolitical instability picking up even as interest rate rises have slowed. Despite this mixed picture, the market outlook for insulation remains positive. The urgent need to address rising energy costs and the climate crisis means demand for insulation is assured, even in the face of some retrenchment of green policies.

The amount of insulation merchants sell is likely to remain high, but that doesn’t mean change isn’t coming. The type of insulation that’s sold, and the way customers engage with merchants, will be transformed as the industry adapts to new regulations. Chief among them the Building Safety Act. The Act is a major milestone in the push for higher safety standards in construction. And while its stricter provisions only apply to certain high-risk buildings for now, it’s indicative of the direction of travel for the industry: a one-way journey to increased scrutiny and accountability. Woven into its heart is the golden thread – the essential digital record that will need to be created for every building. With that comes a much greater focus on product information and compliance.

Merchants will need to be ready to confidently advise their customers on compliant solutions and provide relevant and accurate product data to support that advice. All underpinned by robust record-keeping and up-to-date product information supplied by manufacturers.

More guidance on this is expected from government shortly, and for our part, we stand ready to review this as soon as it’s published and share any insights with our customers.

In the meantime, it’s prudent to prepare for this shift now, by collaborating closely with manufacturers, reviewing product portfolios, adopting enhanced data management strategies, and actively engaging with customers to help them navigate these new requirements. Those merchants who do this early are most likely to preserve their privileged position as trusted advisors.

Significant change is coming, and it will be most disruptive to those least prepared for it. When it comes to the golden thread, merchants will find that a stitch in time saves nine.