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The BWF CERTIFIRE Fire Door & Doorset Scheme Quarterly Trends Report

No Slowdown in Timber Fire Door Sales

Sales, quarter-on-quarter

In the three months January to March 2005 48% of timber fire door manufacturers saw sales rise compared with the previous three months. Only 5% reported a fall and 47% stayed the same.

The difference between the number of companies reporting an increase over those reporting a decrease is the net balance, expressed as a percentage. A positive net balance indicates growth, a net balance of zero implies no change.

On this basis, a net 43% of manufacturers reported an increase in sales in the first quarter of 2005 compared with the previous quarter (chart 1). Of these, 70% recorded growth of 10% or more.

Sales, year-on-year

A net 48% of manufacturers also experienced growth in the last three months compared with the same period last year (chart 1). Sixty nine per cent of these firms increased by 10% or more.

Eighty one per cent of manufacturers' timber fire door sales were sold with a FD30 rating, sixteen percent a FD60 rating and three percent were sold with a FD90 and FD120 rating (chart 2).

Forecasts

A balance of just under three in ten manufactures forecast a rise in sales of timber fire doors over the next three months compared with the previous three months (chart 3).

Year-on-year expectations are even stronger with a balance of just over one in two expecting better sales in the coming quarter compared with the same period last year (chart 3).

Orders

A net 33% of manufacturers increased order volumes compared with three months ago (chart 4).

Selling & Buying Prices

A balance of 19% of timber fire door manufacturers raised prices in January to March 2005 compared with the last quarter of 2004 (chart 5). Few reported dropping prices. Small and large manufacturers (26%) were more active at increasing prices than mid-sized manufacturers, who reported no change.

A net 52% of manufacturers saw an increase in purchase costs (chart 5). Manufacturers in the Midlands and North were most affected.

Prospects

A net 24% of manufacturers are more confident now about the overall prospects for the timber fire door market than three months ago (chart 6). Large firms (46%) and manufacturers in the Midlands (50%) are most positive.


“The timber fire door market continues to see significant growth. There is a greater demand for high performance, aesthetically pleasing fire doors which not only comply with fire regulations but also government legislation: Document Part E 'Protection against sound within a dwelling-house etc'.

“We have seen important year-on-year growth of timber fire door sales in the social housing sector because of Part E and the need for stronger, low maintenance, noise reduction and fire protection doors.”

Mr Dareth Daley, Commercial Director
Vicaima UK Ltd, Swindon


Problems

Margin squeeze (57%), lack of skilled staff (48%) and price cutting in the market (43%) were among the three main problems facing timber fire door manufacturers in January to March 2005.

Low sales volume (19%) and lack of skilled staff (14%) are identified as the two biggest individual problems affecting manufacturers in the last three months (chart 7).

Internal & External fire doors

Unchanged since the last survey, 91% of timber fire doors sold in the last 12 months were internal, and 9% were external doors.

Fire Doorsets

Thirty-nine per cent of timber fire doors sold in the last 12 months were sold as fire door sets.

Merchants' sales

A net 20% of merchants sold more timber fire doors in the first quarter of 2005 compared with the previous three months. Similarly, a net 24% of merchants' sales of timber fire doors were up in January to March 2005 compared with the same period in 2004.

Merchants are bullish about future sales of timber fire doors. A net 62% of outlets expect to sell more in April to June 2005 compared with the previous quarter.

Comment

“If anything, the level of confidence amongst fire door manufacturers increased during the first quarter of 2005,” says Richard Lambert, Director of the British Woodworking Federation. “Sales are growing quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year. The number of companies reporting sales increasing by more than 10% year-on-year is astonishing. The sentiments emerging from this survey are backed up by our own internal analysis of the market, which suggests that, if the year continues as it began, we could be looking at the volume of the timber fire doors market growing by around 15% for the third year running.

“There was no sign during the election that the Labour Government was likely to change tack on the need to provide more housing and the planning policies which have led to increasing numbers of blocks of flats being built. This will continue to underpin the demand for fire doors. There are early indications of a greater proportion of fire doors being sold for non-housing new-build, which could be the earliest indication of a revival in the commercial office building sector moving through the pipeline. If it is, then this could bring a further boost to the market.

“Manufacturers are still increasing their prices, although a growing number are reporting that their margins are being squeezed. The competitive market means that many find themselves caught between rising costs and merchants cutting prices. It's interesting to compare this with our parallel merchants' survey, which suggests that merchants' buying and selling prices are tracking each other closely.”

The Timber Fire Doors Report, a quarterly trends survey, is produced by Michael Rigby Associates, and sponsored by the BWF-CERTIFIRE Fire Door and Doorset Scheme in conjunction with Timber Trades Journal.

For survey details or a free copy of the full report call Lucia Di Stazio on 01453 521621 or visit www.521621.com.

© Copyright BWF and Michael Rigby Associates 2005

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