Brexit boosts fire industry exports but raises costs and tightens margins

FIA Market Conditions Review The Brexit vote has had a mixed impact on the fire sector, the latest FIA Market Conditions Survey suggests. Canvassing the observations of hundreds employed in the UK fire-safety industry the latest instalment Wave 8 reveals both positive and negative effects of the plunging pound. Nearly four in five (78%) of respondents agreed that supplier costs have risen noticeably in the previous six months.

Prices are getting tighter with higher supplier costs and fuel increases, said one. Conversely, the weak pound is obviously beneficial for exporters and the survey results bear this out. In October 2016, four months after the referendum, only 1-2% of exporters said their businesses had grown substantially more in the last six months. Six months on this figure is 10-20 times higher, with 20% reporting strong growth. With the weak pound widely attributed to the economic shock of the vote to leave the EU apparently having beneficial and damaging effects, nearly one in two of those polled do not expect the overall impact of Brexit to be noticeably positive or negative. Slightly more thought it will be positive 30% than negative, at 20%. Around 50% said that they have had slightly more orders in the last six months, down from 56% last time but higher than April 2016 and October 2015, where that figure was around 45%. There also appears to be slightly more responders stating slightly less orders this time around around 15%, up from around 7% last time. The skills crisis in fire engineering has been a perennial issue in previous surveys and this one is no different.

Still a great concern over the skills levels of installers. Many installation companies are sub-contracting labour intensive work which is having a detrimental effect on system commissioning, said one responder. Said another: Too many unqualified people giving bad advice or not completing work correctly at a lower cost resulting in us either losing work or having to reduce our charges meaning we can t afford more training or more engineers. The FIA will be hoping their recent launch of new engineering qualifications in fire detection and design will see this complaint diminish in the coming years. Almost 70% of employers are willing to invest more time, and more money into their technicians if it lead to a nationally recognised qualification. FSEC Global recently caught up with FIA CEO Ian Moore about the FIA s new engineering qualifications, the innovations on show at FIREX 2017, his forthcoming talk at Europe s largest fire-safety show, and the need for a holistic approach to fire safety. Download the Market Conditions Survey to find out more. Visit FIREX International for cutting-edge solutions, essential knowledge and the ability to grow your business by getting direct access to the whole fire safety industry. It is the perfect place to get your product in front of thousands of buyers, across a multitude of featured areas.

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