Covid-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge for the construction industry but as we move towards a “new normal”, there will also be huge opportunities for SMEs in the sector, says William M Snape, director of StormMeister Flood Protection
Those of us of a certain age will have been through a number of ups and downs in the construction industry but nothing like this, Covid-19 is a game-changer like nothing that has gone before.
Lockdown came to the UK on 23 March, some companies in the construction industry tried to battle on but suppliers on the continent had closed down as far back as February. Most UK suppliers closed down in March and many in the construction industry who had tried to keep going were forced to shut down.
More than four months on and we are where we are, the arguments about whether the country should have locked down earlier are now largely irrelevant. Some suppliers are back up and running but by no means all and some of the companies that supply the suppliers are still in lockdown. There are shortages everywhere, even of basic materials such as sand, cement, bricks, plaster and paving slabs.
It’s going to be months before we get back to anything like normal, perhaps we never will everyone seems to be talking about a “new normal”.
The future is bright
OK, that’s the downside out of the way, now for the upside. There will be many facets to the upside but perhaps most importantly a new appreciation for all of our colleagues in the industry, the people who kept the country running through lockdown have earned new respect from the public at large. The builders, roofers, scaffolders, plumbers, electricians, engineers, drivers, sewage and utilities workers, cleaners, sweepers, garbage disposers; all those without whom life wouldn’t function, thank you all of you.
From an industry point of view, the “new normal” we keep hearing about will involve more people working from home and more people, especially vulnerable people, spending more time at home. People will want to be secure and that has resulted in my particular sector of the industry, flood protection, being very much in demand. Through May and June at StormMeister, we have experienced an unprecedented volume of enquiries not only from the UK but also Europe, Australia and the USA.
Security is at a premium in times of uncertainty and as well as security people spending more time at home will require more comfort and more space. The future is therefore bright for SMEs in the business of building and home improvements.
There will be huge demand for extensions, garden offices, loft conversions, kitchens, bathrooms, windows, doors, driveways, garages and, of course, flood protection! Home energy too, heat pumps and photovoltaic will become more important as people become more environmentally aware.
Security, quality and value will be the watch-words, the days of the cut-price merchants are thankfully over. As I have said, Covid-19 is a game-changer and when we look back we will hopefully regard at least some of those changes as being for the better.
StormMeister® Flood Protection was founded by Malcolm Snape in 2010 with the aim of solving the problem with difficult conventional flood doors. He decided to do this with his novel idea of hydrodynamic power of floodwater to seal the flood doors.
Most conventional flood protection doors use technology that relies on handle forces, which makes them often more difficult to use. An advantage of using a StormMeister’s® flood door over conventional flood doors is ease of operation, due to the active seal, which means they are no more difficult to use than a regular door.
Also of major importance, StormMeister’s® doors and windows are flood sealed all the way around and not just at the bottom.
StormMeister® is more than flood doors and flood windows, we also produce a wide range of other user-friendly flood protection for both commercial and residential purposes. This ensures we cover all customer’s needs and design flood protectors, which can be up to 6m wide.
Our wheelchair-friendly access flood doors provide low threshold access for both domestic and commercial customers.
We have also developed a unique industrial floodgate, which can operate on a sloped surface. Just one of the products developed in the StormMeister® purpose-built research and development facility in Preston, Lancashire, where we continually test for performance, user friendliness, installer friendliness and reliability.
William M Snape Manufacturing Services (UK) Ltd.
Trading as StormMeister Flood Protection
Tel: +44(0)1772 704429
Please note: this is a commercial profile.