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The BWF-CERTIFIRE Fire Door & Doorset Scheme Quarterly Trends Report

Expectations for Timber Fire Door Sales stay Strong

Fire door manufacturers reported increased sales of timber fire doors in April-June compared with the previous three months. Forty-five percent of manufacturers improved, 5% decreased and 50% 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 little has changed.

On this basis, a net 40% of manufacturers increased sales of timber fire doors in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter (chart 1). Fifty-six percent of manufacturers recorded growth of more than 10%. Both medium (50%) and large companies (50%) recorded increases. Manufacturers in the Midlands did best.

Sales, year-on-year

A net 30% of manufacturers reported higher sales in the second quarter of 2004 compared with the same time last year. Thirty-eight percent of manufacturers recorded an increase of more than ten percent.

Small companies were ahead of others with a net 50% reporting growth in sales. Manufacturers in the South picked up with 46% recording an increase in sales followed by the Midlands (25%). A net 27% of manufacturers selling more than an average of 1000 fire doors a month increased sales.

Timber fire doors with a rating of FD30 accounted for 80% of sales in the last 12 months. Seventeen percent were 60-minute rated doors with the remaining three percent FD90 and FD120.

A net 25% of manufacturers said they increased sales of FD30 rated fire doors in the last 12 months. A net 30% saw a rise in sales of FD60 rated fire doors over the same period.

Forecasts

Sales forecasts are strong this quarter with a net 55% of manufacturers expecting to sell more in July to September compared with the previous quarter. Medium sized firms and companies in the Midlands are particularly positive with a net 75% expecting higher sales.

The pattern is the same for year-on-year forecasts with a net 55% of manufacturers expecting sales to go up in the next three months compared with the same time last year. Manufacturers of all sizes expect widespread growth. While the South (64%) and Midlands (50%) expect increased sales, the North and Scotland (25% and 0% respectively) lag behind.

Orders

Order volumes increased for a net 45% of manufacturers from April to June compared with the previous quarter.

Prices

Cost of materials saw a sharp rise compared with the last quarter with a net 55% of manufacturers reporting higher costs. In contrast, only a net 5% of companies put up prices.


“Enabling the easy specification and procurement of performance doorsets will be the key to ensuring fire doorsets retain their market leading position in the prevention of the spread of fire in a constantly changing marketplace.

“The easiest way to ensure that a door meets performance standards is by ordering a performance doorset from a reputable company that has third party certification to support the fire performance claims. Alternatively a BWF Approved Fire Door Centre can provide guidance on purchasing the right elements that go to make up a performance product.”

Marian Thomasson, Group Marketing Manager
LS Group Ltd, Nottingham


Capacity

Forty percent of timber fire door manufacturers are currently working to capacity. There is little variation in capacity utilization by size or region.

Prospects

The outlook across all manufacturers for the next 3 months is good with a net 45% more positive than last quarter.

Problems

Lack of skilled staff, price cutting in the market, slow payments, and bad debts were among the problems mentioned this quarter. Lack of skilled staff is identified as the single biggest problem with 42% manufacturers affected by it.

Internal & External fire doors

Ninety per cent of timber fire doors sold in the last 12 months were internal and 10% were external doors.

% of fire doors sold in the last 12 months
ManufacturersMerchants
InternalExternalInternalExternal
Flush doors88%96%74%80%
Panel doors2%1%17%9%
Die formed doors6%0%4%2%
Laminated timber cored flush doors3%0%5%6%
Other1%3%0%3%


“Our company policy is to provide our customers with information and instruction on fitting fire doors correctly with the right specification hardware by way of advising them and supplying Operations and Maintenance manuals.

“Of the hundreds of fire doors we supply every year, 75% of customers ask for information. We do our bit to make sure fire door regulations are followed.”

Mr Darren Whiting, Branch Manager
Woodline Building Products Ltd, Kent


Fire Doorsets

Twenty-seven percent of timber fire doors sold in the last 12 months were sold as fire door sets.

Merchants' sales

A net 32% of merchants increased sales of timber fire doors in the last three months compared with the previous three. Year-on-year sales are healthy too with a net 41% of merchants selling more compared to the same time last year.

Ninety-one percent of all fire doors sold in the last year by merchants had a 30 minute fire door resistance rating. A net 32% of merchants saw sales of FD30 fire doors go up in the last 12 months.

Merchants' outlook for the next three months is positive. A net 37% expect to sell more in July to September.

Comment

“Our campaign to raise the awareness of the importance of supplying and using compatible components with fire doors is making a real impact,” says Richard Lambert, Director of the British Woodworking Federation. “The level of enquiries for more information has barely dropped since the BWF-CERTIFIRE Scheme launched the campaign last year. Now we're seeing that interest translate into a perceptible change in attitudes and understanding in the market, not least in the growing market for doorsets.

“There are still too many merchants who don't see it as their responsibility to recommend to the builder that they should be using the right components for the fire door, or who assume that the customer knows what they are buying. This ignores their liability as a supplier to provide a product fit for the purpose for which it's intended. I wonder if these merchants know whether the components they stock actually are compatible with the fire doors they sell.

“Some merchants have been brought up sharp by what we've told them. Several BWF Approved Fire Door Centres had to change their stocking policies to meet their commitment to hold the right components for the doors. Nevertheless, they have benefited from having trained staff, who now understand fire doors, and can make the most of the cross-selling opportunities.”

The Timber Fire Doors Survey, a quarterly trends report, is produced by Michael Rigby Associates, and sponsored by The BWF-CERTIFIRE Fire Door & Doorset Scheme and featured in TTJ. The aim is to keep a finger on the timber fire door market pulse, and to view manufacturers' and merchants' expectations of market movements.

Michael Rigby Associates specialises in fact based marketing in home improvements, DIY and building materials markets.

The survey covers a representative sample of timber fire door manufacturers as well as 100 timber and builders merchants. Telephone interviews took place between the 8-13 July 2004 across a balanced spread of size of firm and geographical area. Numbers employed was used as an indication of company size.

© Copyright BWF and Michael Rigby Associates 2004 Further information: Lucia Di Stazio on (01453) 521621 or from www.521621.com

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