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FIA assesses state of play in fire industry with 2020 Market Conditions Survey

21 September 2020

THE FIRE Industry Association (FIA), Europe’s largest Trade Association for the fire safety sector, is currently carrying out its latest large-scale survey designed to assess the current conditions in play within the UK’s dedicated fire market.

The twelfth edition of the survey, which is conducted every year, asks businesses within the fire market to voice their opinions on various areas of trade, such as the number of orders and quotations provided, and also tracks their views on the ongoing need for training and personnel.

The FIA is asking businesses working within the fire sector to contribute to the survey, as this will form an essential piece of research and assist when it comes to predicting the market trends within the industry.  As an added incentive, those taking part will be able to receive the full report once the answers have been collated and, in addition, the chance to win an Amazon voucher worth £50..

The FIA promises full confidentiality. No individual names or businesses will be singled out within the report.

To take part, click on the link below that is applicable to you, depending on whether you or your business is a member or a non-member of the FIA:

FIA members survey

Non-FIA members survey

2019 results

Results of the eleventh edition of the survey conducted this time last year were extremely informative. The UK’s construction industry was forecast to grow by 5% in 2020 following a 1% forecast fall last year and an 8% fall in 2018. However, there were varying reports around these figures without any certainty based on the unknowns of the outcome of Brexit.

At the time, the FIA stated: “We should not be too disillusioned with these figures as there is and will be significant refurbishment works to bring existing buildings up to standard. To support this, according to the survey results, sales enquiries are definitely on the decrease compared with last year with a significantly higher percentage from the private sector over the public sector.”

Geographically, increases were only seen in London, in the North East and (slightly) Scotland. There was also a good indication of conversion rate with orders mirroring the enquiry downturn and the private sector split slightly ahead. The FIA noted: “With the downturn in orders comes the inevitable reduction in recruiting, especially so at the skilled level, and the reduction in taking on apprentices.”

On the training front, there was a clear increase in those taking up training, perhaps in view of the “inevitable changes” coming from the post-Hackitt Review recommendations and a realisation that our industry’s competency levels need to be increased and defined. The predictions at the time only indicated further increases in training over the next 12 months.

There were various views on the number and value of tenders throughout this year, but more tenders require third party certification of the supplying company as a prerequisite. “This could be attributed to nervousness from the ‘Responsible Person’ following the shortfalls in checking the levels of competency of their suppliers in the past.”

Costs for FIA members’ suppliers were found to be increasing with the lead times remaining static overall. This time last year export sales were static (not surprising given the unknowns around Brexit). 50% (up from 30% in 2018) of SME businesses stated that they had begun their preparation for Brexit.