Construction Industry update Q4 2022
We’ve brought together the headlines from some leading Industry sources to provide a snapshot of the economic outlook for the Construction Industry.
Construction Output expected to fall significantly in 2023 amid looming UK Economic Recession
Headlines from the Construction Products Association (CPA) forecast a reduction in construction output of 3.9% in 2023 (compared to a rise of 2.0% in 2022).
The CPA cite this as “mainly due to the impact of a wider economic recession, exacerbated by the effect of the ‘Mini Budget’, and the consequent fallout from recent political uncertainty.”
Construction Outlook: October 2022
Hewes & Associates forecast the decline of Construction Output in 2023 to be 5% and, state “Tighter public spending, higher inflation, and in turn raised base rates will be the new reality in our view. Efforts to control inflation will, we expect, result in base rates rising to around 4%, while inflation is forecast to peak in 2023, and drop to around 4-5% by 2024.”
They also predict a housing downturn in 2023/2024 due to high borrowing rates, pressure on household incomes and low economic confidence, although “we do not foresee another round of austerity of the likes undertaken over the years 2010-2015”
Some of the levers affecting these predictions:
When it comes to work, convenience is a huge aspect. There are naturally things you can’t control, but everyone tries to make what they can control convenient. That applies to ordering as well, as while that process can be as convenient as possible, how you receive it may not. That is why we have both delivery and collection options available, but which is best for you? And how quickly can we turn things around? In this article, we’ll seek to clear up everything you need to know about delivery or collection. What delivery options do I have available? Depending on where you’re located in the UK, our method of delivery varies, If you are inside our geographic area, then it will be our own vans that deliver your goods. We are very proud to offer a reliable delivery service, with 75% of deliveries arriving before midday. In addition, we also offer next-day delivery, to help you get what you need faster. You can see where we deliver to here, but please note that we are always looking at ways in which we can expand our geographic reach. As such, keep an eye on that link as we will put any changes there. Our drivers will give you a call when they are 10 minutes out and will also insist on a signature upon arrival to sign over the goods. They will also take a photo of the items when they have been successfully delivered, as proof of delivery. In addition, via our customer portal, you can live-track your delivery. This will give you a rough estimated time of arrival, so you can plan your day accordingly. If you are out of our own-van delivery area, then we will still ensure your goods are reliably delivered to you, as we have partnered with a pallet network. This will also be live-tracked and the pallet drivers do normally call in advance like our own drivers do, however this isn’t something we can guarantee. What happens if I want to collect my items? If you wish to collect your items, that is absolutely fine. In fact, if you are able to do so and you are based in London, this is possibly a more effective way of getting what you need, especially if you’re in a hurry. The address for our warehouse is Trinity House, 111 River Road, Barking, Essex, IG11 0EG. In order to do this though, it is best to get in touch with us over the phone, even if you order via the portal. On the portal, it’s possible to set your sender address as the Multifix warehouse, which immediately alerts our customer service team so they can make it a click and collect order. However, it’s best to still get in touch over the phone, so that we can best guide you. We don’t want you turning up and waiting for a while, because the wait is determined by what you’ve ordered. Generally speaking though, we can have most orders ready and processed for you an hour after you hang up the phone with us. Naturally, if it’s a large order, it may take a bit longer to collate. When you arrive at the warehouse, there is a signposted collection point for you to go to. This is located by the side shutter with the ramp. When you get there, someone will be on hand to take your query. Determining what’s best for you Ultimately, it’s about convenience for you. If you’re passing through or live nearby, it may be better to come and collect. However, you may not have time to do so, even if you do live nearby. In this instance, delivery will be your best bet. What’s important to us though is that you have the option to do either. If you would like to get in contact with us at Multifix to discuss either delivery or collection, you can do so by clicking this link.
When it comes to screws, there’s a lot of choice. And with so many different and similar names, it can be confusing to work out which is which. This is especially the case with three types of screws in particular; self-tapping screws, self-drilling screws and countersunk screws, otherwise known as CSK screws. Self-tapping and self-drilling screws are both designed mainly for metal, whereas a CSK screw is designed for timber to steel or any other metal. As such, it’s important to be clear with what you’re using. In this article, we will explain what each of these three screws do, to clear up any confusion. We also have a video on the topic, which you can see below. Self-tapping screws Self-tapping screws are perhaps the most easy to mistake, as they look very similar to a wood screw given the thread goes all the way up. However, there are several key differences between the two. The centre shank of the screw is a lot stronger and heavier than a wood screw, which is the first giveaway, while the thread pitch is also a lot closer together. In addition, a self-tapping screw is very tough as it would’ve gone through a strengthening process before leaving the factory. As for what it does, a self-tapping screw makes its own threaded hole as it’s driven into a material. It doesn’t need a pre-drilled hole, which can make it very convenient. Self-drilling screw As the name suggests, self-drillers – or TEK screws, as they are referred to– are designed to drill their own hole and then tap their own threads as it’s driven into the material. They have a completely different front compared to self-tapping screws, with the front designed to act like a drill. A self-driller will then pre-drill through the material, before then bringing the thread in behind it. This is otherwise known as drilling and then tapping, so it’s easy to see why there could be some confusion with self-tapping screws. However, a self-drilling screw is a more technical screw and is made up of multiple different parts. This in itself should help differentiate it from a self-tapping screw. Countersunk screws The first thing that sets a CSK screw apart is that it is designed for a completely different material than both the self-tapping screw and the self-drilling screw. They have a countersinking head, but also have two small bumps on either side, which are located shortly above the drill point. These are sometimes referred to as wings. The purpose of these bits is to clear out the timber as the screw goes through the material, which prevents it damaging the thread. Once they reach the metal point, they snap off and then allow the screw to tap into the metal material, making it a very effective screw. Brilliant options for brilliant projects All three of these screws are highly beneficial when used properly, but using one in an instance where another should’ve been used can end badly. Hopefully we have helped clear up any confusion around the screws, whether it’s from this article or the video at the top of the page. If you would like to speak to someone at Multifix about any of these screws, we are happy to help. You can get in touch with us via this link.
It’s been nearly a decade since the British public made the decision to leave the European Union and we continue to feel the impact of that every day. In terms of industry though, the UK construction industry has certainly had some notable changes since the referendum, which have brought their own challenges. In this article, we will take a look at how things have changed since the vote in 2016 and how those changes impact the UK construction sector. Construction costs have shot up Things have gotten a lot more expensive for people in UK construction since the decision to leave the EU and at an alarming rate, too. As reported by The Guardian, data analysis from both the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Eurostat, the central EU database, showed that the cost of materials, including steel, cement and timber, rocketed up by 60% between 2015 and 2022. Rising costs affected everybody in Europe, be it from the Covid-19 pandemic or general supply chain problems, but the UK was stung the most. For context, in the same period, the average rise for EU countries was 35% The reason for the 25% increase compared to the average rise across EU countries comes down to things like added costs, admin or bureaucracy and it is smaller firms who will feel the pinch a lot more. Across the same time period and according to the same data analysis, the cost of labour also soared – in the UK, it rose by 30%. This is also significantly more than other EU countries. For comparison, Denmark and the Netherlands saw their cost of labour rise by 14%. There’s been a notable shortfall in the UK labour force It has been estimated by a thinktank that 330,000 people have left the UK labour force since Brexit, which includes the construction industry. As a result, the situation has gotten pretty dire – so much so, that in July 2023, the UK government relaxed visa rules for foreign builders to try and combat this. Jobs such as bricklaying, carpentry, roofing and plastering, amongst other construction jobs, were all added to the ‘shortage occupation list’, which offers a huge incentive to those from abroad. If you have a job role on the shortage occupation list, you are eligible for 80% pay in addition to a skilled worker visa and a lower application fee, assuming you have a sponsored job offer and can speak English. As per UK law, employers are allowed to offer 80% to EU migrants instead of the full 100% they’d have to pay domestic citizens, if they are filling a job listed on the shortage occupation list. Construction worker shortages have always been problematic, but not quite on the post-Brexit level. Since Brexit, EU workers need a visa to work in the UK, which became a major issue after Covid-19, when a lot of EU construction workers returned home. The change will no doubt help with the dwindling figures, which is great for the construction industry. Making the most out of challenging circumstances The construction industry, perhaps more so than any other industry in the UK, has always found a way to be resilient in the face of adversity. It is determined, dogged and strong. In a post-Brexit world, that is no different. The challenges are very much real and have a big impact, but those in UK construction still find a way to deal with it as best they can and bounce back. If you would like to read more articles on construction, you can find several – in addition to videos – on our Expert Hub. You can find that here.
A question we are often asked relates to countersunk screws (CSK screws) and whether they should be used on metal applications. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward, as it’s both yes and no. However, we can explain and that’s what we’re going to try and do in this article. Here, we will discuss both sides of the coin and hopefully, that can help you. We also have a video for you, which explains the reasons for not using CSK screws on metal applications. You can watch that below. What are the reasons for not using CSK screws on metal applications? It is generally advised not to use CSK screws on steel-to-steel fixings. This is because whenever a CSK screw comes into contact with metal, all of the pressure is where the screw head comes into contact with the steel plate. This can cause the screw to malfunction, which is less than ideal. As such, hexhead screws are a much better bet as they stop the fixing from breaking, while also keeping the material flat. In addition, a CSK screw can actually distort the material it is being used on. Because of the nature of CSK screws, they can bend the material – especially if it’s thin metal – out of shape. This won’t happen with a hexhead screw, which will instead make sure that the material remains flat. As such, it’s advised not to use CSK screws with metal applications. And what are the reasons for using CSK screws on metal applications? However, that doesn’t mean you can’t full stop. There is a way around the above, which is actually a very simple solution. If you countersink the corresponding hole, which will allow it to accept the screw head instead, then you’ll be able to use CSK screws on metal applications. This is because by countersinking the corresponding hole, the load will be spread evenly across the CSK screws, instead of all the force being on one small CSK screw. If all the force is on one small CSk screw, a failure is almost certain. As such, use a hexhead screw or countersink the corresponding hole to use CSK screws. Finding a solution As we stated earlier in the article, it’s not just as simple as saying yes or no, but hopefully with the explanation above, you’ll have some clarity around the situation. If you would like to speak to Multifix about CSK screws, then please feel free to do so. You can get in touch with us by following this link.
Masking tape is something of an essential for those in the trade, be it carpentry or refurbishment. Easy to use, flexible and generally pretty small, it’s a necessity for most toolboxes. But, does it matter how much you pay for your masking tape? Is there really much difference between the market leader and cheaper products? And if not, can a bargain be had? At Multifix, there are two types of masking tape in particular that we stock – unbranded masking tape and our Multifix blue masking tape. To find out, we did a test pitting them against Frogtape, the market leader, which you can see in the video below. We wanted to determine how the tape peels off and how it impacts any paint it is trying to separate, which brought interesting results. Unbranded tape For the test, a standard paint was used and the 25mm unbranded tape, the cheapest out of the three, fared pretty well all things considered. It peeled off very easily and left no marks at all on the rough surface it was placed upon, which was a very good start. The width of the unbranded tape was thinner than the blue Multifix tape and the Frogtape, but there were no real issues. There was enough from the test to show if you wanted to use the unbranded tape and wanted to put one strip partially over another to get a bigger width, you could do so without any problems. The only slight blemish was that when you peeled the tape away, the paint was maybe a little bobbly and could be picked at once it had fully dried. It wasn’t anything too detrimental, but compared to the others, this is where the cheaper price tag definitely came to fruition. Multifix blue masking tape Alongside the unbranded tape was the 50mm Multifix blue masking tape, which was much stickier than the unbranded tape, but came away just as easily. It is also double the size of the unbranded tape, which naturally means it can cover more space, but this doesn’t make any difference to how easily it peels away, also leaving no marks. The increase in price when it comes to how sharp the paint lines are is warranted compared to the unbranded masking tape too, as the Multifix blue masking tape leaves a much sharper finish. However, there is still a slight element of crumbly paint, which could be picked at once it had dried and would otherwise leave an imperfect finish. That being said, it’s a big upgrade on the unbranded and especially useful if you have to cover more ground, too. Frogtape The reputation Frogtape has earned as a market leader is thoroughly deserved and in this test, it came up trumps compared to the other two. In very much a vase of “you get what you pay for,” the lines left behind from the Frogtape were the sharpest out of all three, easily winning the best finish. It also peeled off very easily, but there is less of it in a full tape compared to the other two. Both the unbranded and Multifix blue masking tape are in rolls of 50m, while the Frogtape comes in rolls of 41m. In terms of width, it sits in-between both the unbranded and the Multifix blue with a width of 36mm, but peels off very easily and does its job brilliantly. Even though you get less per roll, it is the most expensive out of the three options, but the caveat to that is that you’re getting the best out the three by acquiring it. Tale of the tape To wrap things up, there is very good reason why we stock what we do. Both of them have strong positives and in relation to all three, some are better than others in certain areas. In regards to what is best for you, that would depend on your project. If you need to cover more width, then the Multifix blue masking tape won’t let you down. If you need something cheaper but reliable, then the unbranded tape will do a good job. However, if you want precision on the paint, then the Frogtape will be the best bet for you and you’ll get what you pay for. You can find Frogtape on many stocklists, including Amazon, Screwfix and Toolstation. To find out more about Multifix’s range of masking tape, you are more than welcome to get in touch with us. You can do so by following this link.
An essential for those in the trade, EPDM washers come in handy for a number of different scenarios and are a good friend to those who use them. But, what exactly are they? What is their main purpose? What makes them so useful? And what does EPDM even stand for? In this article, we will explain all of those questions in detail, but we have also put together a brief video for you on the matter. You can watch that below. Tell me then – what is EPDM and what does it stand for? EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, so it’s easy to see why it was abbreviated. In its simplest form, this is a type of synthetic rubber that goes around a screw. It can be removed from the screw if you so wish, but there are several benefits to keeping it on – especially if you’re working on something that will be exposed to the outdoors. Essentially, the rubber provides an airtight seal between the screw and the material it is being screwed into, with the seal also being watertight. You mentioned about the outdoors – what makes them stand out? EPDM washers are incredibly resistant to the weather, chemicals and temperature on either side of the scale, which makes them essential for outdoor projects. The washers generally have a temperature range of -40 to 120 degrees, while they can more than deal with ozone, UV exposure or general weathering. In addition, they are fine when it comes to acids and solvents, so if you are working in an environment where chemical exposure is an issue, they will be more than up to the task. Is there anything else I need to know about EPDM washers? They are built to last, which is another reason why they are so popular with those in the trade. They are incredibly durable and can withstand repeated compression and expansion cycles without losing any of their sealing properties. As a result of their airtight nature, they’ll also keep just about anything out. Be it dust, water, air or other contaminants, they will stop pretty much everything from getting through. Finally, they are very flexible. Whether it’s an ideal, smooth surface or a very irregular and rough one, EPDM washers will still deliver. If you would like to contact Multifix for more information about EPDM washers, or to find out more about wanting to buy them, you can get in touch with us here.