Dr Bill’s gone all festive
It’s impossible not to notice that the annual campaign to get us to spend more than we should in the shops over the holiday season is well under way. The mince pie mountains and the piles of puddings (of the Christmas variety) are well in evidence.
But when it comes to building materials, ‘festive’ is not quite the first thing that comes to mind. Tools are possibly a good present for the practically minded, but a friend of mine discovered not so long ago that gift wrapping a spade without giving the game away is nigh on impossible.
The cold weather, combined with the need for builders to take a well deserved rest at the end of an ‘interesting’ year, generally means that sales are slow. It’s probably a time to reflect on what next year may bring and how best to profit from it.
It would appear that the upswing in the housing market will continue, but the New Year weather can always throw a spanner into the works (and usually does!). Another constant is the ever increasing rise in energy prices and the ensuing debate on how to minimise future energy consumption.
It therefore seems probable that improving insulation of both dwellings and commercial premises will take on a growing degree of importance as time goes on. Traditional cavity wall masonry construction easily lends itself to integral insulation, but with much of the housing stock (including my own home) still being solid brick wall construction, external insulation which is usually subsequently rendered, is often the only practical way to reduce heat loss through walls. Installing loft insulation and efficient double (or triple) glazed windows is of course a given these days.
So combining a potential housing bubble with a need for better insulation, logic suggests that perhaps products used in these areas may well be worth stocking in 2014.
Bill Price is National Commercial Technical Manager at Lafarge Cement UK . Follow him on Twitter – https://twitter.com/ConcreteDrBill