Council for Aluminium in Building
Latest CAB Survey highlighting increasing market confidence

Confidence is the Key

In 1995-96 I held a voluntary position as the elected National Chair of the Derby County Supporters Clubs working closely on a week to week basis with the Club Chief Executive. The role also bought very regular contact with a young up and coming coach who had just joined our club (favourites for relegation) from Oxford United. His enthusiasm was infectious but what made him stand out was his understanding of ‘confidence’ – how you could instil it, how you could maintain it and also just how fragile it was in human beings, especially footballers. Some may think this a tenuous link to market confidence in our sector  but there are some parallels and with several recent indicators (including CAB’s own Q3, State of Market Survey) revealing growing levels of planned capital investment and head counts together with more firms working at over 90% capacity, it is a factor that we are all watching eagerly.

None of us know yet exactly where the current market confidence will lead us, or for that matter, how long it will last hence our obsession with forecasts and surveys. History tells us more about market fragility and that markets will prosper if stable conditions exist and if there is some degree of certainty about factors such as interest rates. For the first time in over a year, our Q3, 2013 Survey shows a greater net balance of members believing that all the capital investment metrics will be greater over the next 12 months than for the previous year. The most notable improvements are forecast in e-buiness and property. Factors that affect constraints on CAB Members’ activity have also changed quite dramatically over the last 12 months with only 48% of respondents now citing ‘demand’ (compared with over 80% in Q3, 2012), 9% citing ‘labour availability’, 17 % citing ‘capacity’ and encouragingly 17% citing ‘no constraints’.

However strong the market confidence it is always advisable (like the football coach) to be aware of what might undermine it. In our case, one key factor is lack of fair payment and this was an issue that CAB and some of its members brought to the attention of senior Politicians and figureheads in construction at the recent Construction Products Association (CPA) Parliamentary Reception on 22 October. We highlighted the results of the recent cross-party inquiry which revealed that an incredible £36 billion is owed to 124,000 SME’s many in construction. It was at least good to hear a clear message at the event, from the Rt Hon Michael Fallon, Minister of State for Business & Energy, about the importance of Fair Payment. However, we await sight of the promised ‘Fair Payment Charter’, due before the end of 2013, which is being progressed by the 31 members of the Construction Leaders Council as part of the Government’s Construction Strategy (launched on 2 July 2013).

It is essential that we understand the issue of what affects ‘confidence’, monitor it and use it wherever possible to our advantage – our football coach who was in fact Steve McClaren gained immediate promotion to the Premiership, was then hired by Manchester United before their famous treble in1999 and later became England Manager.

CAB 20th Anniversary (1994-2014)

CAB is proud that next year will be its 20th Anniversary year and to launch it in style the first Regional Member’s Meeting will take place at the Manchester Concorde Museum on 27 March 2014. The meeting and dinner will take place underneath one of the few remaining Concorde’s still in existence and include a tour of the iconic aircraft itself. Our first guest speaker to be announced is Neesha Gopal, Associate Director, Meinhardt Façade Technology.

CAB is also pleased to announce that it is organising a day of seminars on ‘Essential Business Services’ that will consider areas such as credit control, varying forms of insurance and contractual awareness. The event which will take place in mid-February 2014 and is planned to be repeated in other Regions is directly as a result of member feedback. The format of the day will be such that members will easily be able to attend parts that are most relevant to them and their businesses.

Other key dates announced for 2014 include:

  • CAB Annual Technical Conference, Loughborough University –
    Thursday 15 May 2014
  • CAB 20th AGM/Golf & Activities Day, The Belfry, Warwickshire – Friday 3 July 2014

For further details of CAB, its activities and membership opportunities for 2014 contact the office on 01453 828851 or email