The market for mechanical fasteners in construction applications has grown by an estimated 5% during 2014, higher than in previous years. Underpinning growth has been improvements in housebuilding and other construction output and also some increases in the global prices for commodities such as steel.
However, the construction market for mechanical fasteners is mature with the result that annual growth rates are typically quite low and in addition, the vast majority of standard products used on building and RMI works are made up of low-cost imports.
Mechanical fasteners are broadly split between threaded products (screws, nuts and bolts) and non-threaded, e.g. nails, tacks and staples. In the UK it is estimated that by value, construction accounts for some 15 -18% of mechanical fastener demand, though estimates may vary depending on the definition.
Specific areas of growth in demand for mechanical fasteners have been infrastructure works, especially tunnels and bridges /gantries and in particular the Thameslink and Crossrail programmes, external wall insulation on social housing RMI projects, curtain wall and rainscreen cladding on medium-high rise office developments and steel building envelope systems on warehousing developments, driven by the growth in online retailing.
The overall supply chain structure is very complex with many different routes to market. The key channels are specialist fasteners wholesalers, merchants (general builders, plumbing, roofing etc.), interiors products distributors, DIY stores, multi-channel distributors and direct sales from fasteners manufacturers (or their sales subsidiaries) to fabricators and building systems manufacturers or suppliers e.g. drywall, cladding and flat roofing. Import penetration is extremely high in the UK at over 90%. Unbranded low cost, standard products are mostly imported from Asia and distributed by the specialist fastener wholesalers. The main channels for these are builders’ merchants, DIY stores, plumbers’ merchants etc.
“Market conditions for mechanical fasteners are expected to continue to improve in 2015 and with the continuation of the Crossrail project and the planned HS2 programme, demand for added-value high tensile fasteners should remain strong” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research. “Other likely areas of demand growth include housebuilding, online distribution warehousing, utilities improvement programmes, medium-high rise office new build and the leisure sector“.
Recovery is, however, likely to be slow, limited by public sector spending cuts and dependent on growth in orders across the construction industry, and growth from 2016 onwards is likely to be more modest at 3-4% per annum to reach a value of around £190m by 2019.
Skills shortages among both trades and construction & engineering professions, cost pressure and the need for high volumes of new housing may well drive the need to increase the specification of offsite over traditional construction methods. This could lead to increased used of fasteners in offsite assembly processes as an alternative to traditional on-site ‘wet’ trades.
The ‘Mechanical Fasteners in Construction Market Report – UK 2015-2019 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at www.amaresearch.co.uk or by calling 01242 235724.