Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Cost pressures cast a shadow over Construction growth says CPA

The construction industry experienced modest growth in the third quarter of 2018, following a weather-related boost to activity in Q2, according to a quarterly survey of product manufacturers, contractors, civil engineers and SME builders by the Construction Products Association       

The Construction Products Association’s Construction Trade Survey for 2018 Q3 shows that during the quarter, 27% of product manufacturers, 25% of main contractors, 16% of SME builders and 10% of civil engineering firms reported an increase in activity. Output was reported lower for one-third of specialist contractors, however. The new orders and enquiries logged in Q3 indicate that the drivers of growth in the next 12 months will be restricted to private housing, repair and maintenance, and infrastructure, whilst further rises in costs have been reducing profit margins for main contractors and specialist contractors since the beginning of 2017. On balance, 80% of main contractors reported a rise in materials and labour costs, 90% of product manufacturers reported an increase in fuel costs and cost rises for civil engineering contractors reached a three-year high.

Commenting on the survey, Rebecca Larkin, Senior Economist at the CPA, said: “The industry looks to have maintained some of the momentum from its catch-up in the second quarter. However, beneath the top-level growth rate, firms throughout the supply chain are grappling with a narrowing base of activity led by private housing and infrastructure work and rising costs for labour, raw materials and fuel. This triple threat for input costs is placing a clear strain on contractors’ profit margins, worsening confidence in an already-heightened environment of risk aversion.”

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said: “The latest trade survey indicates a general increase in construction output, workloads and enquiries for SME contractors throughout the third quarter of 2018. This trend reflects the effect of the unseasonably warm weather in lifting up overall industry performance. The fall in profit margin for 7% of main contractors and 33% of specialist contractors is rather worrying because it is less than one year since the collapse of Carillion. With the economy facing further uncertainty in future months with the UK’s departure from the EU in March 2019, contractors operating with falling profit margins are a reason for concern.”

Commenting, CECA Director of External Affairs Marie-Claude Hemming said: “We welcome the fact that the infrastructure sector has enjoyed a second quarter in a row of growth, but there are some concerns as to poor growth in future orders. Given the substantial pipeline of work that exists, we would expect that order books would be rising at a greater rate that they have done in the last six months. It may be that clients are wary of investing given the uncertainty surrounding the effects on the economy of the UK leaving the European Union in 2019, and the inability of businesses to plan adequately for the future, given the failure of Brexit negotiations to progress beyond their current impasse.”

Key survey findings include:

  • On balance, 25% of main building contractors reported that construction output rose in the third quarter of 2018 compared with a year ago
  • 10% of civil engineers, on balance, reported an increase in workloads during Q3
  • On balance, 16% of SME contractors reported increased workloads in Q3 compared to three months earlier
  • Main contractors reported that order books were higher in private new housing, and the housing and non-housing R&M sectors
  • 15% of civil engineering firms reported an increase in new orders in Q3, on balance, but new orders fell for 17% of specialist contractors
  • 22% of SMEs reported an increase in enquiries in Q3, on balance
  • Overall costs increased for 89% of civil engineering contractors, whilst 80% of main contractors reported a rise in costs for labour and materials. Fuel costs rose for 90% of heavy side and light side product manufacturers
  • Profit margins fell for 7% of main contractors and one-third of specialist contractors in Q3.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Civil engineering drives construction growth in October

UK construction growth increased during October, driven by a rebound in civil engineering activity.

Having declined in both August and September, civil engineering activity grew at the strongest pace since July 2017. Housing and commercial construction also expanded, but at weaker rates.

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.2 in October, the second highest level in 16 months. This was up on 52.1 in September and against the no-change reading of 50. A figure below 50 indicates contraction.

However, there was a slower rise in new business volumes, with firms mentioning intense market competition and delayed final decisions from clients. Business expectations fell to almost a six-year low.

Consequently, input purchasing increased more cautiously, at the slowest rate in seven months. Despite this, delivery times for construction products and materials continued to lengthen and firms continued to report stock shortages at vendors.

Cost pressures remained strong, despite the rate in input price inflation falling to a 27-month low, with companies highlighting increased costs for fuel, labour, timber and steel.

Duncan Brock, group director at CIPS, said: “These results point to the sector getting stuck in the mud as we approach March 2019, and with ongoing supplier delays and stock shortages, the sector may not be able to respond quickly enough anyway should there by a sudden upturn in fortunes.”

Trevor Balchin, economics director at IHS Markit, said: “Construction firms continued to raise headcounts at a strong pace, suggesting they are not expecting an imminent contraction in demand. That said, if the new orders and expectations indices remain at current levels or fall further, the employment index could also drift back towards the 50 no-change mark.”

Photo: From Shutterstock

Thursday, 1 November 2018

November Job in Focus: General Manager for Bathroom Products in West Midlands - £60k

Our Job in Focus for November is General Manager's position for High-end Bathroom Products. Based in the West Midlands.

You will be handed full responsibility for managing the staff, managing the budget, purchasing and sales as well as all things operations. You will be tasked with driving growth, increasing profitability, health and safety responsibility, implementing process procedures. You will work closely with other departments such as HR as well as Marketing and Sales. £60k + benefits

Our Construction & Building Industry Job in Focus feature takes a detailed look at some of the fantastic sales & marketing construction and building materials job vacancies currently on our books. 

Job in Focus is also promoted on our website. www.pinnacleconsulting.co.uk 


Job Title: General Manager
Job Ref: J11134
Product: Bathroom Products
Location: West Midlands
Salary: £60k

General Manager for Manufacturer of high quality bathroom products. 

Package: £50,000 - £60,000 phone, laptop, pension and 20 days holiday plus bank holidays and Christmas shut down. 

Role: General Manager - You will be handed full responsibility for managing the staff, managing the budget, purchasing and sales as well as all things operations. You will be tasked with driving growth, increasing profitability, health and safety responsibility, implementing process procedures. You will work closely with other departments such as HR as well as Marketing and Sales to maximise the exposure for our client's high-end bathroom products 

Location: West Midlands based candidates could live in Shropshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, or Worcestershire 

Candidate: We are looking for candidates who have experience managing a large manufacturing business at either general manager level or operations manager level. Candidates with experience in the bathroom market would be at an advantage but this is not essential. 

To find out more about this opportunity contact James on 01480 405225 or apply online.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Builders' merchants sales continue to be up on the year

The latest data from the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) shows that the value of sales at UK builders’ merchants was up 3.5% in August 2018 compared with August 2017 but down 3.4% on July 2018.

Year on year, Timber & Joinery Products were up by 9.5%, Landscaping was up by 6.9%,   Heavy Building Materials were up by 1.6% and Plumbing Heating & Electrical products were up by 1.2%.

Compared with the previous month, however, all product categories saw sales dip in the holiday month of August except for Workwear & Safetywear, which was up 2.5%.

For the first eight months of 2018, average daily sales were up 3.9% overall compared to the same period of 2017 and the rolling 12-month period saw an increase of 4.8%, driven by Plumbing Heating & Electrical (up 8.7%) and Timber & Joinery (up 6.9%).

The Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) tracks builders’ merchants’ actual sales to builders and contractors using GfK’s Builders’ Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data. The BMBI represents over 80% of the value of the builders' merchants' market.

August’s BMBI index was 124.7, with one additional trading day. Seasonal category Landscaping was top (142.4) followed by Timber & Joinery Products (129.3) and Ironmongery (124.4). Ten of the 12 categories exceeded 100. The average sales a day index for August 2018 was 117.6.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Latest news from FMB's State of Trade Survey

Growth among construction SMEs slowed in most parts of the UK in the third quarter of this year, according to the Federation of Master Builders.

Key results from the FMB’s latest State of Trade Survey, which is the only quarterly assessment of the UK-wide SME construction sector, included:

  • Construction SME workloads remained positive in Q3 2018 but grew at a slower rate than they did in the second quarter of 2018;
  • 86% of builders reported increasing material prices in Q3 2018, up from 76% in Q2 2018;
  • More than two-thirds (68%) of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers and 59% are struggling to hire carpenters and joiners;
  • More than half (58%) of construction SMEs expect salaries and wages to increase over the next six months.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Growth among the UK’s construction SMEs slowed in the third quarter of this year. A range of factors are at work here, not least ever-increasing material prices. Anecdotally, we are hearing worrying reports of banks withholding previously agreed funding for projects which is delaying start dates and dampening growth.

“This may or may not be related to Brexit-nerves. The construction skills shortage is also taking its toll. More than two-thirds of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers – brickies are easily the most sought-after tradespeople in the building industry currently. These latest figures match the highest we’ve noted since records began a decade ago.

“These skills shortages are also leading to projects being stalled because there physically aren’t enough people to build them. Worse still, the scarcity of trades means that when construction employers can find people, they are paying huge salaries which is putting further pressure on margins.”

“This slowdown in growth should ring alarm bells for the UK Government and give rise to a total rethink of its misguided post-Brexit immigration proposals. Currently, the Government wants to significantly limit the number of construction workers coming into the UK post-Brexit, labelling them ‘low skilled’ and therefore somehow surplus to requirements. Migrant construction workers are indispensable with 13% of our construction workers being from outside of the UK. If construction firms are unable to hire migrant workers post-Brexit, the already severe skills crisis will worsen. This will mean we won’t be able to build the new homes the Government is keen on delivering and infrastructure projects will grind to a halt.

“It is imperative that the post-Brexit immigration system allows construction firms to continue to hire workers of varying skill levels. We hope the Government heeds the warning that these latest results show before it is too late.”

Monday, 22 October 2018

New team for Builders' Merchant Federation's Young Merchant Group

Glenn Paddison, Branch Director at MKM Building Supplies is the new Chair of the Builders’ Merchants Federation’s Young Merchant Group.  He will be supported by Jo Callow, Merchant Sales Support Manager at Knauf Insulation, who was elected to replace Paddison as the Vice Chair.

Paddison takes over from Victoria Fiddies of Catnic who has just completed her two-year term as Chair.

Paddison and Callow took up their new roles following the BMF Young Merchant Group’s first Conference which was held at the NEC during National Construction Week in October.

The Conference, organised as part of the BMF’s Anniversary Year, was a great success, attracting 150 delegates drawn from current, past and potential Young Merchant Group members.  Highlights included keynote speaker George Clarke, the architect, television presenter and campaigner, who not only spoke passionately on the need to attract more young people into the whole construction industry including the building materials sector, but also voiced some ingenious ideas to help overcome the country’s housing shortage.

Membership of the BMF Young Merchant Group is open to merchants and suppliers aged between 21 and 40 holding a key management position within their organisation.  The Group meets twice a year in the autumn and spring, and also organises an annual trip overseas.

As well as offering opportunities to network and share experience, the meetings regularly feature one or more speakers to encourage and inspire members.  Another Conference highlight was the lively Q&A session following an Industry Forum led by Peter Hindle MBE, BMF Chairman, Andrew Harrison, Deputy CEO P&H of Travis Perkins, David Kilburn, Executive Chairman of MKM Building Supplies and Steve Durdant-Hollanby, MD of Alumasc Water Management Solutions, himself a former member of the Young Merchant Group

Paddison and Callow are keen to continue developing the BMF Young Merchant’s work and influence.

Paddison said: “I am honoured to have the opportunity to take on the role of Chair and would like to thank everyone who voted for me as well as MKM Building Supplies for supporting me in taking up this role. I would also like to thank Victoria Fiddies for her excellent leadership during the last two years.  I’m looking forward to working with Jo to broaden the Group’s scope even further.  I believe there is more to achieve through the BMF Ambassador programme to promote careers in our industry to school and college leavers and this group is in a great position to take a leading role in that.  I can also see an opportunity to strengthen our ties with European merchants to learn from their experiences and share best practice, perhaps in the form of a European Conference.”

Commenting on her appointment as Vice Chair, Callow, said: “I’ve been a passionate and committed member of the group for five years and the interaction has definitely helped me as I’ve progressed my career.  As a keen advocate for women in our industry, I’m delighted that I will be continuing the strong and encouraging female presence following Vic’s term of office and look forward to working with Glenn to take forward the baton to continue to grow the group and deliver quality events.”

Callow was also pleased to announce that Knauf Insulation will host the BMF Young Merchant overseas trip in 2019, which will tour the company’s manufacturing facility in Toulouse as well as visiting French builders’ merchants.

Monday, 15 October 2018

BMJ Industry Awards 2019 – Nominate Now!!

We are pleased to let you know that nominations are now open for the BMJ Industry Awards 2019.
Click HERE to nominate your favourite merchants, supplier brands, trainees, showrooms and industry people.
The awards celebrate the very best brands, merchants and people at the heart of the builders’ merchants sector.
This year the Showroom category has been split into two: Merchant Kitchen and Bathroom Showroom of the Year and Merchant Showroom of the Year, while Timber Merchant of the Year is a new category alongside the new ‘Diversity Award’. This will recognise a company that has demonstrated the conscious removal of bias and barriers and introduction of initiatives designed to encourage positive change and development throughout the business. These new additions will join the existing merchant categories Brand accolades and the individual awards.
Companies and individuals are invited to submit an entry for themselves, or to nominate other companies. Full criteria for all categories can be found on the refreshed BMJ Industry Awards website, along with the simple online entry and nomination form.
The winners at the BMJ Industry Awards luncheon, taking place in the heart of London in May 2019.
The event is supported by heavyweight industry names including Knauf Insuation, Hanson Cement, Rockwool and Lakes Bathrooms.
There is a range of sponsorship packages available to support the awards. For more details email Editor-in-Chief Fiona Russell-Horne at frussell-horne@datateam.co.uk

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Construction growth slips to six-month low as Brexit concerns hit

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index slipped to 52.1 in September, down on 52.9 in August and against the neutral 50 reading. However, still showing growth.

Civil engineering was the worst performing sub-category, and while housing and commercial construction increased at a solid pace, the index signalled the weakest upturn in output for six months.

Delivery times for construction products and materials continued to lengthen and intense supply chain pressures were attributed to stock shortages at vendors and stretched transportation capacity. However, the downturn in vendor performance was slightly less marked than the three-and-a-half year low seen in August.

There was a sharp and accelerated increase in average cost burdens in September, with the overall rate of input price inflation the fastest for three months. Respondents widely cited higher fuel prices and greater raw material costs, particularly timber.

The degree of positive sentiment reported by respondents was the second-lowest since February 2013, amid political uncertainty and investor concerns about Brexit.

Duncan Brock, group director at CIPS, said: “A cause of this malaise pointed to increased cost burdens with both fuel prices on the rise, and acute shortages in raw materials, as supplier delivery times have lengthened to an extent not seen since 2015.”

Tim Moore, associate director at IHS Markit, said: “Construction companies continued to note that political uncertainty acted a key drag on decision-making, with Brexit worries encouraging a wait-and-see approach to spending among clients. The main areas reported as likely to see a boost in the coming year were construction work related to large-scale energy and transport projects.”

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Job in Focus for October: Commercial Manager for Electrical Products in London - £100k OTE

Our Job in Focus for October is a management opportunity for supplier of high-end interior cable management products selling to architects, interior designers, consultants, contractors and corporate end users. Tasked with leading a team of 30 people including 4 internal sales executives this person will be office based and be tasked with taking full control of the team.

Our Construction & Building Industry Job in Focus feature takes a detailed look at some of the fantastic sales & marketing construction and building materials job vacancies currently on our books. 

Job in Focus is also promoted on our website. www.pinnacleconsulting.co.uk 


Job Title: Commercial Manager
Job Ref: J11000
Product: Electrical
Location: London & South East
Salary: £100k
Sector: Management

Management opportunity for supplier of high-end interior cable management products to architects, interior designers, consultants, contractors and corporate end users 

PACKAGE: Salary of £60,000 to £100,000 plus 10% bonus and profit share, mobile, laptop and travel expenses 

COMPANY: A well-established company within the cable management products and electrical solutions for the more bespoke market. 

ROLE: Commercial Manager / Sales Director Designate: Tasked with leading a team of 30 people including 4 internal sales executives this person will be office based and be tasked with taking full control of the team, gathering market trends, competitor analysis and product launches. You will form a key part of the senior management team reporting directly to the Managing Director and stepping in when she is away. 

LOCATION: Office based in South East London - Commutable from Dartford, Bromley, Croydon, Twickenham, Crawley, Tonbridge or surrounding areas. 

CANDIDATE: We are seeking an experienced manager of salespeople who comes from an SME background working for a manufacturer of commercial interior projects and has knowledge of the specification process with architects. You need to be a hands-on manager able to lead from the front and be diverse enough to manage salespeople as well as the manufacturing, warehouse and admin sides of the business. 

For further information or to discuss your career options contact Natalie Matthews on 01480 405225 or apply online.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

NHBC private sector registrations up 7% - June - Aug

Encouraging news from the NHBC as private sector registrations rose 7% during the June to August quarter, according to NHBC’s latest statistics.

During the period, 30,738 new homes were registered in the private sector compared to 28,660 over the same timeframe in 2017. Meanwhile, those for the affordable sector grew 23% to 11,809.

NHBC said that in London, “a considerable increase in the number of private rental sector developments and large housing association projects” during the period helped drive a 145% increase in registrations against the same quarter in 2017.

Total registrations for the rolling quarter rose 11% to 42,547 new homes.

In August, the number of new homes registered increased 1% to 13,713 year-on-year. Private sector registrations were slightly down during the month, slipping to 10,588 new homes against August 2017’s 10,738. Those for the affordable sector were up from 2,801 in 2017 to 3,125.

NHBC’s chief executive Steve Wood said: “We continue to see strong numbers in many parts of the UK with a substantial uplift in London, driven by increased activity by housing associations and the continued flow of inward investment on for-sale and private rental developments.

“The continuing uncertainties around Brexit and the UK’s economic outlook do not seem sufficient to dent confidence in the new homes market, where NHBC’s focus remains on helping developers to build more, high-quality homes for people across the country.”

Thursday, 13 September 2018

We have moved. Are you ready for a move too!?

We are nearing the end of our first week in our plush new offices - just down the road from our old ones.

We all had fun moving in and the team spirit was a delight with all our staff and directors working together. 

It has enthused everyone as often a change of environment does. Are you ready to make a move too?

If you are, we'd be delighted to hear from you. Please call us on 01480 405225 or email us at recruit@pinnacleconsulting.co.uk Before you call, you might want to take a look at our latest vacancies here.

In the meantime, here is our new address. Phone and email remain unchanged.

Pinnacle Consulting UK Ltd 
1 Xenus House
Sandpiper Court
Eaton Socon
PE19 8EP
Tel: 01480 405225
Email: recruit@pinnacleconsulting.co.uk

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Job in Focus for September - Product Development Manager for Kitchen Products - £60k

Our Job in Focus for September is for a Product Development Manager for Kitchen products based in Nottingham responsible for managing product development, research, technical specifications and working with Sales & Operations to manage product lifecycle. The package is worth up to £60k.

Our Construction & Building Industry Job in Focus feature takes a detailed look at some of the fantastic sales & marketing construction and building materials job vacancies currently on our books. 

Job in Focus is also promoted on our website. www.pinnacleconsulting.co.uk 


Product Development manager leading a team for a leading Kitchen Product Manufacturer. 

Package: £50,000 - £60,000 plus bonus, healthcare, pension, company car and 23 days holiday plus bank holidays. 

Role: Product Development Manager - This role will see you take responsibility for driving profitable growth via range development and enhancement. This high-profile role will take the lead in managing product research requirements, product / technical specifications, identifying, developing and launching new products and collaborating with the sales, operations and marketing teams to deliver category development and increased market share. This will be managing a team of 6 whilst also managing the full cycle from strategic planning to product launch. 

AREA: Office based with candidates ideally living in Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Mansfield or surrounding areas. 

PERSON: To be considered for this role you will need to have experience as a product development manager and be experienced in managing a team as well as your own workload. Product experience in the Kitchen, Bathroom or furniture markets is desirable. 

For further information or to discuss your career options further contact James on 01480 405225 or apply online.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Construction sector lead times are worst for 3 years due to rising demand and stock/labour issues

Construction sector vendor lead times lengthened in August to the greatest degree in more than three years, according to the latest PMI.

Rising demand, low stock and labour shortages among suppliers impacted delivery times, meaning vendor performance deteriorated to its worst level since March 2015.

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index slipped to 52.9 in August, down on 55.8 in July and against the no-change reading of 50.

Commercial building was the best performing sub sector, followed closely by residential work, while work on civil engineering projects decreased for the first time in five months.

Purchasing activity increased for the 11th consecutive month in August, though the latest upturn was the weakest since March. Despite stretched supply chains and rising energy-related costs, data indicated input price inflation edged down to its lowest since July 2016.

Duncan Brock, group director at CIPS, said: “If there is anything positive to note from this month, it would be that the rate of hiring remained strong. However, persistent pressures from skills shortages and slow rates of new orders will continue to hit business optimism still trailing below the survey’s average.

“The sector is hovering too close for comfort to the no change mark which makes it a contender for more disappointment next month. Though the path to Brexit is paved with good intentions, without significant progress the sector will soon be building castles in the air rather than on solid ground.”

Tim Moore, associate director at IHS Markit, said: “The degree of optimism reported in August remained constrained by external factors, including domestic political uncertainty, stretched supply chains and shortages of suitably skilled labour.”

Monday, 3 September 2018

Builders’ merchant role models inspire the next generation

Three representatives from the builders’ merchant sector will be sharing their career journeys with young people over the next few weeks. The merchant sector is one of the most popular and vibrant sectors of the building products industry, and one where we place an increasing number of Candidates. The Role Model campaign as part of UK Construction Week is a really good initiative and one we really endorse at Pinnacle Consulting.

They have been shortlisted as part of the Role Models campaign, which aims to inspire young people and show them the range of jobs available in the industry.

A shortlist of 36 people in construction has been announced, with Lauren Haines, Director at Elliott Brothers, Roger Tarry, merchant at Elliott Brothers (pictured) and Magda Dexter, Customer Experience and Internal Communication Director at Jewson, representing the builders’ merchant sector.

Haines said: "I was surprised to be nominated as a Role Model as I have taken it as part of my job to help others develop their roles within the business.

"I have gained experience from role models during my 45-year career at Elliotts and I’m pleased be in a similar position now to help others.

“I think that it’s extremely important to encourage others to build a career within the builders’ merchants industry as it is very diverse with loads of opportunities – helping customers build is very rewarding. It has been a fairly tough industry in the past for women as it has been dominated by men. However, this has changed over the years and I feel that by pushing myself forward it has helped women to secure more senior positions within the building industry.”

They will take part in an outreach programme to help build connections with local schools and colleges, and share their thoughts on key industry issues as guest bloggers for the Construction Matters Blog.

Nathan Garnett, UKCW Event Director, said: “This is an amazing opportunity for people to be celebrated in an industry that often gets negative press.

“It’s also an opportunity to celebrate the work the role models are doing, not just on a day-to-day basis, but the work they’ve personally taken on to make this industry better.

“It’s about sharing their construction career journeys and inspiring the next generation by dispelling the myths surrounding the construction industry.”

The winner will be announced on 10 October at the UKCW Stage at the NEC, Birmingham, followed by a champagne reception and a meet and greet with keynote speaker Barbara Res, who oversaw the construction of Trump Tower.

New to UKCW this year is the first Builders Merchants Federation’s Young Merchants’ Conference. A range of guest speakers will attend, including two-time Olympic silver medallist Steve Backley OBE and TV presenter and architect George Clarke.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Construction slows but civils surge

Civils are a bright spot on an otherwise dull horizon for construction, according to a recent report.

The latest figures from Glenigan, which provides data on the UK construction market, show a drop in both project starts and in value of the work started in the last year. But civil engineering saw a 35% increase on 2017 due to strengthening in both infrastructure and utilities projects.

According to the report:

  • Starts in the three months preceding July were 15% down on last year
  • Residential starts were 20% lower than a year ago, with a weakening in both private and social housing projects
  • Non-residential project starts were 18% lower than last year
  • Civil engineering was 35% higher than last year due to a 12% increase in infrastructure starts and an 80% increase in utilities work
  • The value of work starting on-site in the three months preceding July was 15% lower than last year
  • London saw the sharpest decline in starts, at 45% down on last year
  • The South East, East of England, Yorkshire & the Humber, Northern Ireland and Scotland also saw double-digit falls of 16%, 18%, 30%, 37% and 11% respectively
  • The value of project starts in the East Midlands was 41% up on last year and was 14% higher in both the West Midlands and North East.

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation, said: “The private new homes sector has been extremely robust in recent years, so it is somewhat surprising to see residential starts fall back at this stage.

“It may be a hangover from the poor weather at the start of the year.

“However, repair, maintenance and improvement work continues to grow, with the Office of National Statistics reporting 0.9% growth in overall construction output.

“The BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index reported 7.2% growth in sales value over Q2 2018, and we remain confident of continued growth throughout the rest of the year.”

Steve Turner, Director of Communications at the Home Builders’ Federation, added: “We have seen a massive 74% increase in the number of new homes built over the last four years, and all indicators suggest output will continue to grow. Demand for new homes remains extremely strong.

“Starts on new sites in the early part of the year were affected by the adverse weather that also hindered output on existing sites. We anticipate any falls will be reversed in the latter part of the year as builders continue to strive to build more, desperately needed homes.”

Allan Durning, Managing Director of the H&B Buying Group, said:

“Builders’ merchants have seen many cycles over the previous decades, and we manage through them.

“What’s interesting with the timing of this announcement is the current round of shortages of key primary building materials such as bricks, and Class B engineering bricks in particular. Plasterboard, and insulation amongst others.

The housing space remains buoyant as we know, fuelled by taxpayer’s subsidiaries, and RMI is holding up given the desire to ‘improve and not move’ at local levels.

“But we have to be conscious that capital projects, with the Brexit implications, is going to impact on investor confidence. Major organisations such as Barclay are currently commenting on their concerns about demand going forward.”

Monday, 20 August 2018

8% value growth in the UK bathroom and kitchen PODs sector

The UK market for bathroom and kitchen PODs market was estimated to have grown by 4% in 2017, in terms of the volume of POD installations. The market also saw an 8% increase in value, which can partly be attributed to higher prices for steel and GRP resin being passed on. There has also been some growth in demand for higher specification PODs in the luxury apartment and upmarket hotel sectors, which has contributed towards value growth.

Overall demand for PODs has been driven by a combination of factors; including demand for design standardisation and fast-track construction; ongoing key skills shortages; growth in the number of sites where there is restricted space; and increasing demand in the main end-user markets. The key sectors where PODs are used are; purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), hotels and apartment blocks. Between them, these three sectors account for over 80% of installations, while the remainder of the market is split between hospitals, care homes, MoD accommodation and custodial buildings.

The largest area of demand for bathroom and kitchen PODs is in purpose-built student accommodation in medium-high rise steel and concrete mainframe buildings. In the hotel industry, clients will often specify offsite building methods to achieve fast turnarounds to enable occupation as quickly as possible, and for many of the major hotel brands, a need for high levels of standardisation in design is also important. In the apartments sector, there has been extensive use of bathroom and kitchen PODs on both social housing and luxury, high-rise developments.

By value, PODs manufactured from either glass reinforced plastic or composite (GRP) account for the largest share of the market, closely followed by steel frame, while concrete and other materials, such as timber, account for lower shares. GRP PODs are mostly used in PBSA and budget hotel rooms, while in higher specification developments concrete or steel PODs are typically preferred.

Kitchen PODs account for less than 10% of the market, the core application being multioccupancy residences such as purpose-built student accommodation, holiday resorts, military barracks and apartment blocks. Other areas of application include permanent and temporary use at hospital sites and as temporary stand-alone modules for large-scale events.

Over the next five years, it is anticipated demand for PODs could grow steadily at a rate of 4- 5% per year, there being reasonably strong construction pipelines in key end-use sectors, although the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations may have some negative impact on demand. On the other hand, associated skills shortages may also lead to an increase in demand for offsite solutions and contribute towards growth in the PODs sector.

The urgent need for more affordable and rented housing in London and other major urban areas is expected to continue to drive demand for fast-build apartment blocks, while the hotel sector in London and other major cities should continue to provide impetus for growth in demand for bathroom PODs in the medium term, although a substantial proportion of schemes will be conversions.

Despite a high level of PBSA development in some cities, such as Leeds and Manchester, a relatively large proportion of student halls built in the 1960s/1970s are now reaching their end of life and in need of redevelopment. There also remains an ongoing shortage of high-quality accommodation in many cities, suggesting there is still an urgent need for PBSA, and predicted strong future build levels in this sector should continue to drive demand for PODs.

The ‘Bathroom and Kitchen PODs Market Report – UK 2018-2022’ report is available now and can be ordered online at www.amaresearch.co.uk or by calling 01242 235724.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Job in Focus: Internal Business Development Job in London for Fit-Out Products - £75k OTE

Our second Job in Focus for August is an exciting internally based job for Office Fit Out products. You would be selling award-winning products to corporate end-users. You would be responsible for an outbound calling team of 20 to make appointments for the field sales team. This is a highly target driven role.

Our Construction & Building Industry Job in Focus feature takes a detailed look at some of the fantastic sales & marketing construction and building materials job vacancies currently on our books. 

Job in Focus is also promoted on our website. www.pinnacleconsulting.co.uk 


Job Title: Business Development Manager
Job Ref: J10812
Product: Fit Out
Location: London & South East
Salary: £75k


PACKAGE: On offer is a basic salary of up to £75,000 plus pension, 20 days holiday increasing per year of service up to 25 days and other excellent company benefits.

COMPANY: A leading brand in the office fit out market boasting an impressive client list.

ROLE: Business Development Manager - office based - This is an excellent opportunity to join an established team of 20 working in South East London. You will be responsible for outbound calling an account base including warm and cold calls selling office relocation and fit-out service and booking appointments for the field based sales team to attend. This is a highly sales targeted environment where you will be expected to achieve a minimum number of calls and appointments booked. The office hours are 7.30am to 5.30pm.

 Office based in South East London area close to Dulwich, South Norwood, Thamesmead, Lambeth. Candidates must live within one hour of the offices.

To be considered for this role you need to have experience working in a target driven sales environment ideally in a high volume telephone calling new business role. Product experience or customer base knowledge is not important but anyone from the office fit out / interiors market or who has sold into corporate end users would be an advantage. 

For further information or to discuss your career options contact Natalie Matthews on 01480 405225 or apply online.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Job in Focus for August: Key Account Manager for Timber Engineering Solutions in North - £50k OTE

Our new Job in Focus for August is a Key Account Manager's job selling high-quality innovative products providing timber engineering solutions to fabricators. Responsible for accountant management & new business generation. You would be responsible for the Midlands and the North - £50k OTE.

Our Construction & Building Industry Job in Focus feature takes a detailed look at some of the fantastic sales & marketing construction and building materials job vacancies currently on our books. 

Job in Focus is also promoted on our website. www.pinnacleconsulting.co.uk 


Job Title: Key Account Manager
Job Ref: J10801
Product: Fixings
Location: West Midlands
Salary: £45k


PACKAGE: On offer is a basic salary of up to £45K plus up to £5K bonus. As well as company car, mobile phone, laptop, pension, 25 days holiday plus bank holidays. 

EMPLOYER: Our client is a global leading company offering a range of fixings, fastenings and drilling systems for the construction market with a superb reputation for brand quality and innovation. 

JOB DESCRIPTION: Key Account Manager - You will be tasked with selling our clients full range of timber engineering solutions to fabricators. These products will include connectors used for engineered wood products, timber frame and truss to wall plates. The area already has a number of existing key accounts and plenty of new business to go after, meaning this role will be a good mix of account management and new business. 

AREA: Covering the North (not including Scotland) - Candidates will ideally be located between Peterborough and Sheffield. 

PERSON: To be considered for this position you need to have field sales experience within the construction market, although candidates with knowledge of the roof, floor and timber frame industry will be of particular interest. You will be lively, dynamic and an excellent account manager. 

For further information or to discuss your career options contact Kerry Grimes on 01480 405225

Monday, 6 August 2018

Latest survey states that the Construction sector buyers are 'busier than ever'

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index climbed to 55.8 in July, up on 53.1 in June and against the no-change reading of 50.

Growth was underpinned by the fastest increase in residential work in more than two-and-a-half years, with commercial work picking up and civil engineering increasing only moderately. Respondents commented on improving demand conditions and higher volumes of new project starts.

Despite an upturn in tender opportunities, construction companies are cautious about the business outlook over the next 12 months with the degree of positive sentiment unchanged since June and weaker than the long-term average.

Input cost inflation eased to a three-month low in July but remained strong in comparison to the post-downturn trend. Respondents reported rising fuel bills and higher prices for steel-related inputs.

Duncan Brock, group director at CIPS, said: “Purchasing managers were busier than ever this month with a welcome surge in new orders and the fastest rise in construction work since May 2017.

“The fly in the ointment was longer lead times across the construction supply chain. Rising demand meant that supply chains creaked under the strain and delivery times lengthened to the greatest extent seen in 12 months.

“Material shortages, limited inventories and capacity pressures bore down, as constructors caught up on previous weather delays and stocked up for new orders.”

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Construction Output set to fall for first time in 6 years but growth predicted for 2019 and 2020

The UK’s construction industry is expected to experience a moderate fall in 2018, following five years of consecutive growth. The Construction Products Association’s Summer Forecasts anticipate growth for the whole of 2018 to fall 0.6%, before accelerating to 2.3% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020, with house builders the primary drivers of growth for the whole industry.

In private housing, first-time buyer demand, enabled by the government’s Help to Buy scheme, continues to boost sentiment and encourage an increase in housebuilding activity outside London. The sector’s output is forecast to rise 5% in 2018 and 2% in 2019. The infrastructure sector also remains a primary driver of growth for the whole construction industry, with output forecast to hit a historic high of £23.6 billion by 2020, driven by large projects such as HS2 and Hinkley Point C. However, the sector will be hoping government will push to ensure delivery on the ground with work on both projects already significantly delayed. Without the forecast growth in infrastructure and private housing activity, total construction output would fall by 3% in 2018 and remain flat in 2019.

The demise of Carillion resulted in a poor performance for the industry at the start of the year, which combined with the bad weather, lost UK construction £1 billion of work. It is estimated 60% of this work may be recovered, but Carillion’s collapse will cause further delays at two major hospitals as work on the £335 million Royal Liverpool University and Birmingham’s £350 million Midland Metropolitan hospitals is on hold until at least 2019.

Brexit uncertainty continues to drive the sharpest decline for construction in the commercial sector, particularly felt in the offices sub-sector which is expected to fall 20% in 2018 and a further 10% in 2019. Meanwhile, the shift to online shopping is causing woes for the high street, with new retail construction expected to fall by 10% this year.

Noble Francis, Economics Director at the Construction Products Association said: "Clearly the first quarter of the year was difficult for the industry due to the demise of Carillion and the bad weather. Things improved markedly in the second quarter due to a catch-up in work as we would have expected but, overall, it’s mixed fortunes for contractors at the moment. On the positive side, house builders are keen on accelerating building rates outside of London and that is expected to be enough to offset sharp falls in house building in the capital.

"Firms working on major infrastructure projects also have a lot of work in the pipeline. Infrastructure output is forecast to rise by 3% in 2018 and 13% in 2019. This growth is highly dependent on large projects such as HS2 and Hinkley Point C, the first of the new nuclear power stations but, as ever, there remain concerns about government’s ability to deliver infrastructure projects without the cost overruns and delays that we have seen on Crossrail and HS2 recently.

"On the negative side, the elephant in the room is clearly Brexit uncertainty, which has had a big effect on international investment, especially where it is high up-front investment for a long-term rate of return, which is now highly uncertain. It badly affects demand in sectors such as prime residential in London, commercial offices towers and industrial factories, which is dependent on manufacturing.

"Overall in construction, there is forecast to be a slight fall in activity, of -0.6%, in 2018 after five consecutive years. However, in 2019, we are anticipating of growth of 2.3% due to house building and infrastructure."

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Hot Summer starts to make up for cold Winter for Construction

The Construction Products Association’s State of Trade Survey for 2018 Q2 shows that the £56 billion UK construction products manufacturing industry began its catch-up of activity lost to adverse weather conditions during the first three months of the year.

Construction product sales act as an early indicator of wider activity in the supply chain and these results signpost to a rise in total construction output levels over the next 12 months.

Heavyside manufacturers reported an increase in activity, with sales in Q2 rising for 40% of firms, following two previous quarters of falling sales. For light side manufacturers,  29% of firms on balance reported a decrease, which was the weakest performance since 2012 Q3. This reflects the lagged impact of the industry’s decline in Q1, as light side products such as insulation, boilers, glass and lighting tend to be used at the end of the building process. 

Manufacturers anticipate a return to growth in the coming quarters, with 43% of heavy side firms and 27% of those on the light side expecting an increase in sales over the next 12 months. Input cost inflation continues to persist, however, particularly for the energy-intensive heavy side, which is experiencing the pass-through of rising global commodity prices on fuel and energy costs.

Rebecca Larkin, CPA Senior Economist said: “These results fit the profile of construction catch-up from a weather-affected Q1. As we’ve moved from a freezing Spring to a hot Summer, groundworks and work on external structures has been able to resume, and this has been reflected in increased sales for heavy side manufacturers. The disruption in Q1 is likely to have delayed interiors and finishing works starting on site which is evident in the decline in light side sales during Q2.

“Manufacturers’ product sales, capacity utilisation and new hiring are all still expected to increase over the next year, but price pressure is coming from all directions across fuel, energy, raw materials and labour, which is likely to be felt throughout the construction supply chain.”

Key survey findings include:

  • A balance of 40% of heavy side firms reported that construction product sales rose in the second quarter of 2018 compared with the first quarter. 29% of light side firms, on balance, reported a fall in sales in Q2.
  • On an annual basis, sales increased for 20% of heavy side firms and 12% of firms on the light side, on balance
  • On balance, 43% of heavy side manufacturers anticipated a rise in sales in the next year, increasing from a balance of 37% in the previous quarter
  • On the light side, 27% of firms expected an increase in product sales in the next year, compared to a balance of 16% in 2018 Q1
  • 27% of heavy side firms increased headcount in the past year, the lowest balance in nearly five years
  • Annual cost increases were reported by 73% of manufacturers on the heavy side and 50% on the light side
  • Raw materials costs rose according to 87% of heavy side manufacturers and 88% of those on the light side.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Finding the support you need to change Career: Healthcare to KBB Sales

Change can be forced upon us, or it can be something that we crave. Either way, making it happen can be a daunting prospect, especially when it involves our career.

Whether through circumstance or choice, our professional lives often need a complete change of direction. However, moving from one career to a different profession can often make us feel lost, unsupported and unsure of what the right choice is, let alone how we are going to get there.

In the latest of our series of interviews with Sales professionals from the building and interiors products sector, we focus on people who have not only come from a different sector but from a totally different profession and the challenges they faced.

The key message to recruiters is to have an open mind when appointing Salespeople and to not just look at alleged ‘relevant’ experience. This will open up a whole new Candidate pool to select from and can bring great rewards for all concerned.

From a Care job in the healthcare industry to KBB Sales

Miquela McDonald worked for Mencap in the healthcare sector for five years as a Senior Support Worker. Although she enjoyed her job, she needed something more challenging and with significant career development opportunities.

She decided that she wanted to get into Sales. This desire was based on her instinct that as she enjoyed communicating with people, a career in Sales would be a good natural fit. The process of making this transition was not simple, however.

Nobody is interested in me!

To start the process, Miquela sensibly revised her CV to focus on those skills she felt were transferrable into Sales. She then sent her CV to a number of recruitment agencies, registered on some of the leading job boards, and started to target companies and vacancies which interested her. However, she found it hard even to get a response, let alone an interview with anyone.

This was a frustrating experience, as she knew she had the right credentials to succeed in Sales as she explains:

“I quickly realised that despite having transferrable skills such as, leading a team, problem-solving, being able to make quick decisions, and dealing and communicating effectively with a wide range of people, potential employers just saw ‘Healthcare Senior Support Worker’ and dismissed me as a viable option.”

It is worth remembering, the old adage, ‘people buy from people’, and if you can build trust through clear communication and understand a customer’s problem and how you can solve it, then you can succeed in building long-term relationships in Sales and produce profitable outcomes. Product knowledge and contacts can be acquired.

The person’s qualities and matching them to a company’s culture are key areas to focus on, and often with a fresher, more dynamic and objective approach, the results can take a company’s Sales strategy into new territory.

Everybody loses

Miquela’s job-seeking experience demonstrates that we are all very busy in our working lives, so when it comes to tasks such as recruitment, we want the quick fix. We don’t think we have the time to really invest in someone or open our eyes to the bigger potentially more rewarding picture. This applies to all sides of the process, including recruitment agencies.

With this ‘too busy’ mindset, everyone can suffer. The fact is, there is a shortage of excellent Candidates in many sectors, and as recruiters, we need to be more creative in finding them - thinking differently than others is what keeps people ahead of the game.

For the Candidate, they need someone willing to really invest in helping them to be considered for a role, and a potential Employer should be open to taking a different approach regarding Candidate selection.

As well as bringing something fresh to the Sales approach, it increases the chances of bringing someone to the business who is more interested in career-development at the same employer, building long-term relationships with customers, less likely to move every couple of years, and will ultimately reduce recruitment costs and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

We all understand the benefits of employing someone with solid Sales and relevant industry experience, and this should never be ignored and is likely to still be the dominant criteria, but we need to be open-minded that there are other potentially exciting options.

Investing in people and looking beyond the CV is key

At Pinnacle Consulting, we agreed, after a recommendation, that we would meet with Miquela. It reminded us that we must see the person behind the CV and understand their story, experience, personality and transferrable skills. This will ensure we have a wide-ranging pool of quality Candidates to match with Employers’ requirements - both in cultural fit and the skills needed for the job.

After understanding what she had to offer, we identified a company and a role where we thought Miquela would be a perfect fit, and persuaded the company - CDA Appliances (in the KBB sector) - to invite Miquela to interview as a ‘wild-card’ option.

Miquela impressed, and after a second interview in which she had to prepare and give a presentation, she was offered the job!

The proof of the pudding is in the eating though. Miquela commented:

“During the first month or so, the only aspects of the job which were a little unfamiliar to me were the amount of driving, having to learn about the products quickly, reporting, and getting used to their CRM database system.

"Other than that, and with the support of my colleagues, my confidence quickly grew. I made sure if I needed help, I asked for it, this is vital in any job, as otherwise it is assumed you know. Asking questions is usually very positive in Sales as it increases understanding.”

It was reassuring to hear that her colleagues were supportive and didn’t react negatively to an ‘outsider’ coming into the business. This proves that the cultural-fit decision was correct.

“I am enjoying my role, which includes training, managing business relationships with merchants and retailers, introducing new product ranges and promotions, merchandising, and dealing with day-to-day queries and issues. The role requires a high level of self-motivation and a need always to be friendly, helpful and available to chat or meet with my customers. But this wasn’t new to me, as I needed to be like this at Mencap too. In fact, looking at it now, with the benefit of hindsight, there are many parallels between the two experiences.

“My computer skills have developed to be more Sales relevant, and I feel confident and comfortable in my role and excited about the challenges ahead of me.”

Will companies start to adopt a more flexible recruitment policy?

A year or so into the role, she is excelling in the job, and CDA is delighted with her progress. We asked Miquela if she thought her appointment had changed CDA’s approach to recruitment.

“CDA was open-minded enough in the first place to see me, and then take a chance, so clearly they had a very positive approach to finding the right person for the job. However, I think my appointment has certainly made them more willing to look beyond the standard Candidates when recruiting, and this has been proven by that fact they have appointed two more people from different sectors and job roles, including another one from the healthcare industry!’

However, she also identified if it hadn’t have been for the assistance, support and investment given by Pinnacle Consulting, then she might never have got the chance to start her Sales career.

“I am grateful for all the help James and the team gave me at Pinnacle. Their belief in supporting my cause shows the importance of getting to know someone and not having pre-determined opinions. The same applies to my employer at CDA. I wish more companies were willing to help, train, and show investment in people looking to change careers and not have prejudiced views.”

Keep an open mind to recruitment

The lesson we can learn is that to make a change, you need belief, support, and the willingness to open your mind to avenues previously blocked.

So if you are looking to recruit, why not see a wildcard as well. You have nothing to lose, and the person from a different job function could add real value to your business, regardless if they are from the same industry sector or not.

If you’d like to discuss your recruitment requirements or are looking for a career change, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01480 405225 or at recruit@pinnacleconsulting.co.uk

Thank you to Miquela McDonald for agreeing to chat with us about her experiences.

Thank you also to CDA Appliances for their willingness to have an open mind to their recruitment. For more on CDA, please take a look at their website. www.cda.eu