With all the current Brexit uncertainty you’d expect the house building world to be tentative. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have seen our best six months trading at Robinson Manufacturing and the opportunities to tender, and subsequently orders, continue to drop in at unprecedented levels. It fills me with complete confidence that the brand continues to go from strength to strength and enjoyed as a trusted business partner for our customers, regardless of geography or size. Our customer care team and design team continue to grow, reflect and learn from our interactions and combine this with ensuring our 360 review process makes us an easy place to do business with. Beyond Brexit new house building, combined with the consistent agitation of the market from politicians, forms a core part of all political party manifestos. We certainly don’t see the current insatiable appetite for growth and new units diminishing any time soon!

One thing the market continues to see is nervousness in the strength of the Euro against the Pound. The pound continues to weaken with fears of a leave result and this in turn results in timber import prices rising. Whilst the veracity of research goes well beyond such a simplistic market view a leave vote would certainly cause timber price fluctuation for the foreseeable future and move against the fall in price truss manufacturers, and in turn house builders, have enjoyed over the last 18 months. Most economic journals will point to the forthcoming referendum becoming, sadly, a predominantly immigration led referendum instead of the complete benefits, and challenges, of being part of the EU.

Declaring a brief moratorium on Brexit two things, from a supplier perspective, seems to be holding our customers productivity up. We still see a skills gap, evidentially as a direct result of the last recession, on sites. With house production accelerating and passing the unit builds of pre 2008 we are yet to see the numbers of skilled workers back on the sites. Recruitment in this sector is high. Latterly we have seen challenges for customers obtaining thermal blocks as the kilns continue to produce manufacturing volume at record numbers. Whilst these challenges aren’t exclusive we see these as two major factors in keeping growth steady. With that in mind and a key eye on the markets for half year results I anticipate a steady growth increase in units for the first half of the year and slightly accelerated unit output in half year two as material challenges are overcome and the recruitment train gives moving.

So, as we come towards the half way point of the year we continue to look forward with excitement whilst watching with interest as the Brexit debate, and subsequent referendum, – and its impact on house building – unfolds. As always I welcome an feedback from our suppliers and customers and can always be contacted at simon.kidney@eppiea6.sg-host.com

In the interim it’s always a pleasure engaging,

Simon Kidney

Chief Operating Officer