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Interbuild research points to strong growth in 2006

MATERIALS - Manufacturers say environment regulations and PFI health and education deals will boost sales

ENVIRONMENTAL concerns, safety legislation, the increasing development of brownfield sites, the Olympics and the Government's drive to increase social housing are all boosting prospects for materials suppliers for the coming year, according to research at Interbuild.

Market researcher Sambrook Research International conducted an independent survey with key materials suppliers at the Birmingham show.

It found that the structural steel and timber products sectors were forecast to grow by 7 and 8 per cent a year respectively. Steel producers said that PFI funded health and education projects were giving their sector a boost.

Timber producers said that clients were increasingly driven by environmental concerns and were stipulating that suppliers had to meet chain of custody and EN standard regulat ions.

New work at height legislation, introduced last April, also had a positive impact on the access equipment sector, which is forecasting an impressive 16 per cent growth.

Suppliers said that the legislation, which includes guidance on any work carried out over 1 m, has also been boosted by enforcement from the Health and Safety Executive, as contractors seek to comply with the regulations.

Roller shutter door manufacturers were anticipating a rosy growth of more than 20 per cent per year.

But reduced consumer spending has led to a slowdown in the heating, radiator and boiler market, with manufacturers complaining of a decrease in sales compared with previous years. However, manufacturers were expecting to benefit from the social housing market, which continues to expand. They said the trend of allowing tenants to specifiy their fittings was increasing the demand for higher-quality products.