Wave 4 of the FIA’s must-read Market Conditions Review is now available and the news is that orders are up though margins are squeezed, and that healthy growth in the sector means that there is an increased need for more skilled labour and training.

20 April 2015

Report’s main points

  • 65% of respondents have reported an increase in orders when compared with the preceding six months with the private sector driving growth
  • Similarly the last six months has seen a 73% increase in the number of enquiries received by companies that participated in the Review
  • Tender invitations have increased over the last six months with 54% of companies indicating either ‘a lot more’ or ‘slightly more’ invitations
  • 35% of companies that replied have recruited skilled labour in the last six months whereas only 9% have shed skilled labour
  • The need for workforce training continues to increase with 58% of respondent companies anticipating an increase in training over the next six months
  • Suppliers have continued to increase prices over the last six months with only 5% of respondents reporting a decrease
  • 87% of companies that contributed to the Review reported that they are receiving payment in 60 days or less
  • In the last six months FIA member companies received 40% more invitations to tender than did non-members

What the respondents think

Excessive amounts of fire safety companies within the UK competing for business hammering already decreasing prices. Increases in material prices in turn increasing supplier cost. Businesses using fire safety companies for advice then taking their business to online suppliers to reduce cost. Over the past couple of years a lot more reverse auctions are being used when tendering for work.

Whilst the number of tenders has increased, so has the number of unaccredited and unregulated contractors tendering for fire related projects and this has the effect of both pushing down margins and complicating issues with the consultants and end users who do not at first hand see the differences so more needs to be done with the industry to reinforce the need for both FIA/BAFE contractors and also for post installation audit by non-affiliated contractors working without knowledge, accreditation, PI insurance or suitable levels of competence and expertise

Austerity Cuts have seen substantially less activity resulting in less enquiries and sales orders. The so called economic recovery has not reached our sector; banks are not lending to property developers...only large organisations are benefitting from the Coalition policies

Download the report