Sustainability a major market opportunity for local building supply firms

Invest Northern Ireland has urged local construction supply firms to take advantage of the huge potential offered by the growing market for sustainable building products, worth over £13 billion in the UK alone in 2008.

With challenging government targets for the energy efficiency and carbon output of new homes and public buildings driving the market, there are significant opportunities for local manufacturers and suppliers of a wide range of innovative building materials and energy efficient products.

Now Invest NI has produced a report, Future Opportunities for Sustainable Building Products, which sets out the increasing scale of market demand and makes recommendations on how local businesses can take advantage. The report was launched today at a seminar attended by around 50 local companies.

Speaking at the event in Templepatrick, Invest NI’s Director of Transport, Construction and Tourism, Kevin McCann, said: “With government policy increasingly reflecting a growing focus on the environment and climate change, the need has never been greater for new buildings to be energy efficient and produce as little carbon as possible. There is also considerable scope for the retrofit of new energy efficient and low carbon components into older buildings.

“Achieving this requires new materials which prevent heat loss and cut energy wastage. As set out in our report, there are many opportunities for local companies to design, develop and supply new product solutions which not only meet these needs but which are also cost effective.”

Mr McCann continued: “Invest NI offers a range of financial and advisory support that can help companies position themselves strongly to capitalise on the opportunities in this emerging construction sector. There is support to help companies identify and develop new product and process ideas through research and development, without necessarily requiring a sizeable investment.

“We can also help businesses identify opportunities to collaborate with each other, and with the local universities, in order to transfer knowledge and build capability. Alongside this is support for companies to develop the skills of their people to complement and support the development and roll-out of new products.

“Although the local construction sector has been hit hard by the recession and building activity has reduced significantly, economic recovery will gradually see this situation turn around. Sustainability will be a major factor in future new build projects and local companies can work now to benefit from this.”