Lafarge Tarmac’s Dr Bill turns to thoughts of Spring
The wet and stormy weather does not seem to show any signs of letting up, and the first thing that comes to mind is that merchants should stock plenty of bags and also the sand to fill them up with. But, despite the gloomy prognosis, we are hopefully not too far away from the onset of spring (well the snowdrops have started to poke their heads through the soil in the garden at least!). What sort of things will the building trade need to kick off the new construction year?
Repairing properties damaged by flooding will obviously be an immediate priority with the replacement of damaged woodwork and re-plastering featuring heavily in these activities.
But, perhaps the biggest area of demand will still be from house-building. The pressure to build new houses looks certain to continue. As warnings of the dire effects of another housing ‘bubble’ are becoming more frequent, increasing the number of available new and affordable houses seems to be a highly prudent step.
It also seems logical (to me at least) that new houses (alongside improved energy efficiency) should also incorporate a higher degree of flood resilience. Simple measures like the use of concrete ground floors, waterproof brickwork at the base of exterior walls, repositioning power sockets further from the floor and improved drainage around the property, can all contribute. It may not be possible to prevent flooding totally (at least not by the choice of building materials and construction techniques), but it should be possible to reduce the risk of water penetrating the property and to minimise the damage caused if it does so.
The coming year will (as ever) bring a host of challenges, not least the robustness of the recovery in the building sector and limitations on growth caused by a lack of suitably skilled tradesmen. From a materials producer’s perspective, a move towards producing more products that can be used successfully by less skilled workers, and better information on how to get the best out of the products, would be well worth looking at.
Here’s hoping that the weather finally starts to calm down.
Dr Bill Price is National Commercial Technical Manager at Lafarge Tarmac UK