QUALICOAT State of the Market

As the lockdown now begins to ease, the construction sector begins to get back onto its feet and QUALICOAT members return to production following strict government guidelines. The supply chain for both powders and pretreatment systems is generally working well with no shortage in supply and reported quick deliveries.

At the outset of the lockdown, most coating members closed down plants in late March due in part to a slow down in orders, but primarily due to an uncertain forward workload. Some members remained open but with a much reduced labour force and an implemented safety policy in line with government regulations. It is reported that by the end of May most members were back into production at various levels of capacity, although members in Scotland have yet to see demand begin to pick up at this this time.

Social distancing has been a challenge for all businesses, but in the coatings workplace the two metre distancing can be achieved with a little planning. Staggered starting times ensures that changing rooms are in light almost constant use and with staggered lunch breaks, social distancing can be complied with. Members have trained staff in new safety regimes and have implemented COVID-19 Safety Handbooks.

Supply of PPE for operatives does not seem to have been an issue and it is reported that costs for such kit has almost quadrupled in some sectors. One member having access to 3D printers has been meeting the need for masks by printing these and working with the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes to get these distributed though to hospitals and other health care facilities.

The forecast view is patchy, but some coaters are suggesting that they will be back up to 50% or more capacity in June, but there is a fear that as construction sites run slower, that business will not get back to near pre-lockdown throughput until late in the year or even into 2021. There is also a real fear that if there is an increase in the alert level alongside a second peak, this may send businesses back into lockdown.

Copies of the sixteenth edition of the QUALICOAT Standard, is available through the UK Association website, www.qualicoatuki.org together with an up-to-date list of licenced Powder Suppliers, licenced Pretreatment Suppliers and licensed Applicators. Printed literature and telephone support is available from QUALICOAT UK & Ireland Head Office in Birmingham on 0330 236 2800 or email enquiries@qualicoatuki.org. The Association can also be followed on Twitter @Qualicoatuki