Despite the difficult weather and the recent decline in construction activity, SR Timber has reported double-digit growth in sales of roofing batten.

In the first half of 2018, the timber supplier reported 12% growth in its Premium Gold batten.

Trading Director Shaun Revill (pictured) credits the strong sales to two reasons: the strength of SR Timber’s supply chain, which means it has a constant supply of timber being imported and delivered to customers within 48 hours, and the quality of its products, which always meet the British Standards requirements.

Revill advocates the adherence to BS5534 so that customers can be sure they are buying quality roof battens, linked to an established and experienced distributer.

He said: “There are still instances where inferior products are being used on roofs – with the worst offenders being those products that are masquerading as compliant batten.

“We continue to work with the roofing industry to explain the requirement for batten to conform to BS5534 and to help contractors to spot the differences between compliant batten and materials that really aren’t suitable to use on a roof.”

Revill believes his company’s honesty and its high-quality products have been key to its success. As customers might be tempted to buy from cheaper, less reputable places, he thinks it is important that merchants can offer technical expertise and advice to their customers, as that is something that online retailers like eBay or Amazon cannot offer.

He said the industry had been playing catch-up from the work that was postponed due to the extreme weather conditions at the start of the year, although this is starting to slow again.

He said: “While the housing market is healthy, the problem is that there is not sufficient skilled labour available to meet targets.”

In order to combat this, Revill said the industry needs to attract more young people, male and female, which can be done by supporting colleges with materials, and offering advice to students and apprentices.

In terms of next year and the effect that Brexit might have on the industry, Revill says the biggest issues are the potential rise in costs to export timber, and the possibility that EU workers will leave the country, which would be detrimental to the construction sector as it relies so heavily upon their labour.

In terms of 2019 and what it might bring, Revill says it’s a case of “keep calm and carry on”.

He says it is important for businesses to keep moving with the times, and to remain optimistic for the future.

Read more about this in the September issue of BMN. Subscribe here.