Whilst the glass and construction industries have both seen exponential growth in demand, the glass sector faces a unique challenge. This challenge is the cold maintenance programme due in the spring and summer, pre-committed to by Saint Gobain and Guardian.
Cold maintenance runs between 12-20 weeks and creates a significant reduction in capacity. Covid has already caused strain on the industry and reduced output, but delaying cold maintenance is not an option. Scheduled years in advance, the cost, complexity and the impact of not doing it are so significant that once it’s planned, it’s almost impossible to adjust time frames.
Saint-Gobain is on schedule with their UK production facility ‘cold’ repair. This £30m investment will support glass supply with increased volume and greater efficiency. However, the rebuild does mean that glass production is halted whilst the old furnace is demolished and rebuilt. All the glass is being imported from ‘sister’ plants across Europe.
Allocations were already tight, and as the reduced output meets the sustained demand, the pressure will be monumental on supply. Analysts have reported that building material costs could see price inflation hit as much as 5% by 2025.
The UK glass sector is feeling the pinch of rapid growth in demand coupled with disruption to supply. With the resurgent demand in the US swallowing up product from China, plus freight costs, the pressure on price surges.
Today it is about availability and price increases. That doesn’t define where the industry is going long term, but it will still continue to change in the landscape