Neil Hargreaves BMBI Expert for Mineral Wool Insulation: Quarter 4 2021

By Knauf Insulation UK & Ireland
March 03, 2022

The latest data shows an industry that accelerated over the finish line in 2021. November & December sales of heavy building materials (including insulation) were up significantly on 2019 levels, and fears Omicron might bring things skidding to a halt proved unfounded.

The road ahead looks smoother too. Ongoing shortages of some critical materials, like bricks, might apply some drag to construction, but the worst of the supply disruption appears behind us. Our own stock levels are higher as we move into the new year.

Merchants still face challenges. Soaring energy, raw material and distribution costs have pushed construction product prices up, and insulation is not unaffected. High energy costs are likely to have a positive effect on the demand for Mineral Wool insulation though, as doubling domestic bills make investment in efficient building fabrics even more necessary, and the returns more attractive.

There’s an even more significant driver for improved energy efficiency coming in the form of new building regulations. December brought the long-awaited publication of the new Part L standards, to come into force in June this year. It enforces a welcome step-up in the energy efficiency of buildings – new and existing – and introduces greater scrutiny of the fabric ‘as-built’ in a foretaste of further regulation changes to come.

That’s the key watchword for insulation this year – scrutiny. The imminent Construction Products Regulator, for example, will monitor claims about product performance, with robust enforcement powers to address inaccurate or misleading data. It was created in response to a recommendation in the Hackitt Review, as was the Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI), a proactive industry-led initiative to raise standards for the provision of clear, unambiguous product data.

For merchants, who often play a critical advisory role in the supply chain, the Code gives confidence that their product recommendations are grounded in technical accuracy, and will ultimately deliver the performance needed. Knauf Insulation contributed to the development of the Code, and has applied to be an early adopter. So, as scrutiny shifts up a gear in 2022, opportunities to sell high quality Mineral Wool insulation will too.