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The BWF CERTIFIRE Fire Door & Doorset Scheme Quarterly Trends Report

Strong sales and strong forecasts for timber fire doors

“Rising costs have taken some of the shine off the continuing strength of the fire doors market,” comments Richard Lambert, Chief Executive of the British Woodworking Federation. “It would be wrong to call this a drop in confidence after all, no one felt negative about the next three months - people always get nervous when their margins start to squeeze. Fire doors are often regarded as a commodity product, which means there is a general perception that the market is reluctant to pay higher prices. The fact that 58% of manufacturers have been able to increase their prices illustrates their confidence in the market.”

“The fire doors market is driven by changes in regulation. No doubt the changes in the fire safety regime introduced in October and the revised Approved Document B, published just before Christmas, will give further grounds for confidence, not least through the changes in guidance for loft conversions, which now recommends a fire door on every exit onto the staircase intended as the escape route, rather than just one door to hold the fire back from the loft extension itself.”

“The BWF-Certifire Fire Door and Doorset Scheme has promoted the benefits of certification for many years as the only way to be sure that the product you buy and install will actually perform as expected in the event of a fire. The new Approved Document has given the strongest ever recommendation towards using certificated fire safety products. If Building Control Bodies are being told that they can accept products certificated under recognised schemes to have proved their compliance with the required standards, then manufacturers need to get their products certificated.”

The latest timber fire door survey assesses the timber fire door market in terms of the percentage of manufacturers experiencing a particular business trend (eg a sales rise) over those experiencing the opposite, expressed as a net balance. On this basis, a balance of 32% of manufacturers sold more timber fire doors in October to December 2006 compared with July to September 2006 (chart 1).

Year-on-year sales also increased with a net 37% of manufacturers reporting better sales in October to December 2006 compared with the same quarter of 2005 (chart 1). Of those reporting a rise, most (75%), saw increases of 10% or more.

Forecasts are good with a net 26% of manufacturers expecting better sales in January to March 2007 compared with the previous three months (chart 2). A balance of 58% also forecast a growth in sales over the next three months compared with the same period of 2006 (chart 2).

“There are several contributing factors for the growth we are experiencing in sales of timber fire doors. New legislation and building regulations play a large role but people's awareness of health and safety regulations has also influenced sales. We expect this to continue to build and for our sales to grow in tandem.”

Mr Richard Tresise, Sales & Marketing Manager
Cavendish Joinery, Hertfordshire





“The Timber Fire Door market continues to expand. The introduction of the regulatory reform Fire Safety Order of 2005 has meant more people have reviewed their requirements, resulting in the updating and upgrading of fire doors.

Large buildings including multi-storey apartments and office blocks have also contributed to a rise in sales.”

Mr John Abbott, Manager
Chelford Joinery Specialists, Cheshire

On balance 21% of manufacturers are more optimistic now about the overall prospects for the timber fire door market than three months ago (chart 3). None of the manufacturers interviewed are less optimistic.

Orders for timber fire doors also increased, with a balance of 32% of manufacturers reporting fuller order books compared with three months ago (chart 4).

On balance 79% of manufacturers reported a rise in purchase costs of materials compared with three months ago. A net fifty-eight percent also increased their selling prices to counter rising costs (chart 5).

A net 53% of manufacturers are working at capacity (chart 6). Specifically for timber fire doors, 28% are working at capacity (chart 7).

The main problems facing manufacturers in October to December were supplier price rises (84%) and equally, price cutting in the market, margin squeeze and supplier service and availability (53%). However, the single biggest problem affecting manufacturers over this period was supplier price rises, mentioned by 50% of respondents (chart 8).

Ninety percent of fire doors sold over the last twelve months by manufacturers were internal doors. Ten percent were external doors.

Timber fire doors sold in last 12 monthsManufacturers' % of fire doors sales
By type of Fire DoorInternalExternal
Flush doors64%69%
Panel doors18%16%
Die formed doors5%0%
Laminated timber cored flush doors12%15%
Other1%0%
Total100%100%
All Timber Fire Doors90%10%

Forty-four percent of timber fire doors sold over the last twelve months were in fire door sets. Sixty-three percent of manufacturers continue to sell fire door frames and 47% supply additional components e.g. fittings for fire doors. The vast majority of manufacturers (95%) advise customers which components to use for fire doors.

Merchant Sales & Confidence

A balance of 20% of merchants sold more timber fire doors in October to December 2006 compared with July to September 2006. Of those reporting a rise, 40% saw increases of 10% or more. A net 31% of merchants also sold more timber fire doors in October to December 2006 compared with the same period of 2005.

On balance 42% of merchants forecast better sales in January to March 2007 compared with the previous three months. Confidence remains steady. On balance just over a quarter of merchants are more optimistic now about the overall prospects for the fire door market than three months ago.

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 call Jenny Reilly on (01453) 521621.

© BWF/Michael Rigby Associates, 2007

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