Home News Could the general election present a window of opportunity?

Could the general election present a window of opportunity?

asks Greg Beachim, Sales Manager – First Degree Systems, Cyncly

The upcoming general election has the potential to bring significant changes to the housing market in the UK, which in turn could have a profound impact on the window industry. Both major political parties have laid out ambitious housebuilding plans as part of their manifestos, each pledging to tackle the housing shortage and boost the construction of new homes. This surge in housebuilding, if realised, could spell a boom for the window industry, presenting both opportunities and challenges.

Housebuilding in the UK has been sluggish in recent years. The Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto set a target of 300,000 homes per year by the mid-2020s, with a pledge to build at least a million more homes by the end of the current Parliament. However, progress has been inconsistent, and these targets haven’t been met. 

In 2019-20, 248,591 new dwellings were added, dropping to 217,754 in 2020-21 due to the pandemic, and remaining below 235,000 in the subsequent years. Despite these setbacks, approximately 935,204 additional homes have been built in England since April 2019.

As the election approaches, the Conservative Party aims to reignite their housing agenda by pledging to build 1.6 million homes, alongside a “new and improved” Help to Buy scheme to assist first-time buyers. Meanwhile, Labour, should it gain power, promises to “get Britain building again,” targeting the construction of 1.5 million homes within five years of taking office.

Of course, all of this remains to be seen. These kinds of numbers often become diluted well before any bricks are laid and in real terms it’s unlikely that any new build projects as a result of governmental changes would break ground within two years.

However, for the window industry, these pledges represent a substantial opportunity, should they be borne out. Assuming an average of ten windows per house, Labour’s target alone could necessitate the production of 15 million windows over five years. This influx of demand could rejuvenate the industry, which has faced recent challenges, not least of which has been the liquidation of UK Windows & Doors Group Limited.

The liquidation has opened the market to a handful of savvy fabricators who have stepped in to meet current demands. However, the question remains whether the industry can scale up to meet the potential surge in demand from these potential new housebuilding initiatives. At Cyncly we would argue in the affirmative, albeit with some caveats.

One of the primary challenges for manufacturers will be scalability. The rapid increase in demand may destabilise some companies, particularly those that are smaller or less equipped to expand quickly. Concerns around the size of premises, existing systems, and staffing will need to be addressed. Additionally, there is a pressing need for robust, shareable, secure, and cost-effective software solutions to manage the increased workload efficiently.

For young manufacturers and smaller-scale fabricators, this period could represent a significant growth opportunity. The potential influx of orders might encourage these businesses to expand their operations and capacity. Furthermore, the promise of a booming market could attract new start-up fabricators, injecting fresh energy and innovation into the industry.

The potential boom in housebuilding could lead to a radical shake-up in the window industry. Established players will need to innovate and expand, while new entrants may disrupt the market with novel approaches and competitive pricing. The key to success will lie in the industry’s ability to adapt to changing demands and leverage technological advancements to enhance productivity and efficiency.

If political parties deliver on their housebuilding promises, the window industry stands to benefit significantly. The projected demand for millions of new windows could stimulate growth, drive innovation, and attract new players to the market. While challenges related to scalability and system efficiency remain, the industry’s ability to rise to the occasion could ensure it remains a vital part of the UK’s housing future. As always, the ultimate impact will hinge on the political will and the translation of promises into tangible action.

www.cyncly.com

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