Council for Aluminium in Building

Member Engagement is key for CAB

Towards the end of Quarter 2  CAB is already planning for its 6th major event in 6 months. To date these events have consisted of Regional Members’ meetings, an Aluminium in Building Conference, an Aluminium Pavilion at Ecobuild 2016 and the first of several Contractual Awareness Seminars. To come an AGM and Annual Dinner and Specialist Marketing Forum.

There is one key denominator to all of the above and that is a high level of member engagement – over 600 members and sector industry guests will be involved in these events. This is also self-perpetuating because it has been a factor in new membership for 2016 reaching double figures in under 5 months. During this time CAB has welcomed a number of leading brands as well as established regional and new businesses into the Association who have been attracted by technical and marketing support together with new training seminars. These new member companies are: Adshead Ratcliffe & Co; AGC Glass UK; Alchemy Architectural Aluminium Systems; Alimatic Architectural Aluminium Systems; Dyer Environmental Controls; IDF Aluminium; Norwich Aluminium; Ridgeway Glazing; Sherwin-Williams Diversified Brands and Vulcan Aluminium.

The list highlights CAB’s diverse supply chain membership with companies involved in fabrication (6), weatherproofing (2), glass (1) and hardware (1).

CAB State of the Market Survey – Q1, 2016

CAB members have contributed for nearly 4 years to a unique quarterly state of the market survey which has acted as a leading confidence indicator for the whole of the aluminium in building sector.

It is clear from the marketplace that a few large projects predominantly in the South East have stalled with a degree of uncertainty surrounding the EU Referendum on 23 June. However, from speaking to a range of members these delays do not appear to have so far extended to regional projects.

The latest figures highlight that overall the construction industry reported an increase in activity in Q1, 2016 which marked 12 straight quarters of expansion in activity. CAB members anticipated an increase in sales for the following quarter and the year ahead although the net balance of 44% and 50% respectively is the lowest for 3 years reflecting uncertainty and expectations of a pause in activity in the run up to the Referendum. However, demand for CAB member products tends to be towards the end of the building process and weaker performance in Q1, to some extent, reflects slower activity from the rest of the supply chain at the end of 2015.

In other surveys compiled by the Construction Products Association, enquiries balances improved for specialist contractors and SME builders in Q1 suggesting a sustained level of underlying demand.

In common with the rest of the Construction sector, the key driver of cost inflation for CAB members continued to be wages and salaries in Q1, reflecting the rise in demand for skilled labour. Highlighting wider developments in the global economy, fuel costs were lower for 22% net balance of members.

Demand was reported as the key constraint to sales growth over the next 12 months (67%). The other expected major constraint was capacity (11%). 6% of members reported labour availability, finance availability, capacity and imports as potential constraints.

In Q1, 57% of members on balance reported that investment in plant & equipment was higher than a year ago. A balance of 47% also reported increased investment for property and product development. For the 12 months ahead, product improvement was the focus of capital investment intentions with 76% of members on balance anticipating increased capital investment in this area. Members forecast that expenditure on R&D and plant & equipment (both 53% on balance) would also increase in the year to 31 March 2017.

Regional Members’ Meeting, Leicester – February 2016

The first Regional Members’ event of 2016 brought 3 varied presenters together. Robert Palmer, Palmer Market Research discussed the findings in his latest Commercial Glazing Market Report 2015. Kevin Smyth, Project Management, considered ‘Health & Safety risk mitigation through knowledge’ which included an explanation of legal duties and considered what training and competency is and where ‘cards’ fit in. Geraldine Fleming, Executive Vice President, Knowles presented a brief overview of contractual issues to look out for and highlighted the free programme of Contractual Awareness Seminars for CAB members during the year. Our next Members contractual awareness course is in Sheffield on 7 June 2016 and is entitled ‘Formation of Contracts and General Contract Conditions’ and will be well attended.

Members were also presented with an update on the latest CAB technical and marketing activity.

Ecobuild, Docklands – March 2016

CAB headed up an Aluminium in Building Pavilion at the show – the 9th consecutive time we have exhibited there. The support and engagement of members was critical with 7 member company stands exhibiting on the Pavilion and around 35% of the membership visiting the stand during the 3 days of the show in early March. The resulting synergy created an excellent level of high quality leads and CAB has gained new members directly as a result of the show.

Our CAB lounge acted as a technical information point but also as a key networking area for members and exhibitors alike.

CAB Aluminium in Building Conference, Loughborough ­ – May 2016

Our 2016 conference entitled ‘Pushing the Envelope’ was attended by over 110 members and guests and featured the following four key themes: energy efficient facades, fire performance, chromium (VI) free coatings and the latest developments in standards and regulations.

The conference considered a number of key issues including, What makes an energy efficient façade and where are the energy regulations heading? What are the implications for the supply chain from chromium (VI) free coating technology? How should the fire performance of a façade be tested?

A morning session began with a keynote address by Neesha Gopal, Regional Director at Meinhardt (UK) entitled, ‘Pushing the Envelope: Opportunities and Threats’.

CAB’s approach of increasing its provision of training seminars and focusing on providing relevant, informative and ‘take-away’ content continues to be central to its strategy of providing added value propositions for all its members. High levels of member engagement have been key to this success.