Brighter times ahead
BRIGHTER times could be ahead if predictions by the ductwork contractors' trade body ADCAS are proved correct.
ADCAS's belief that major projects in the pipeline will see a significant growth in ductwork demand in the second half of this year augurs well for the rest of the air conditioning industry.
'Although times are still tough in the south,' comments ADCAS president Paul Adlam. 'there are some big projects on the horizon. Developments such as the O2 Building, the conversion of Battersea Power Station and Project Hal for News International.
'Ductwork business in the south east depends on how well the financial institutions are doing - and currently they're doing fine. As a result there's a flurry of new projects in the City, in Bishopsgate, Cheapside and, of course, Canary Wharf. Demand for quality office space - new and refurbished - is also on the rise. It may not be a return to the halcyon days of the 90s, but things are getting better. And all of this is before the construction programme for the London Olympics gets under way.'
Up in the north east his colleague Paul Roxburgh is equally confident: 'The present level of enquiries indicates that the market should be pretty buoyant for the next twelve months.
'We may not have the Olympics, but there's a new 50m swimming pool for Sunderland and possibly a major town centre development there, while in Newcastle both the University and the airport are being expanded. We also expect further regeneration of the Newcastle/Gateshead quayside area and continuing retail development.'
The only concern is whether the industry can cope with the increased demand. 'The hard times of the past few years have seen a lot of skilled workers leaving the industry,' says Paul Adlam, 'and they haven't been replaced.'