Industry outlook interview with Victaulic

  • 12 Feb 2020

The following article is a industry outlook interview with Sebastian Matijasevich, European Sales Director at Victaulic.

What is the main focus for your business as we move into 2020?

“For Victaulic, converting the market to mechanical piping solutions is more than a business objective, it is an ideology. Over the last few years, we have noticed engineering and contractor communities positively responding to our solutions, and we’ll look to build on this momentum in 2020 and beyond.

Going forward we will continue to provide industry-leading Building Information Modelling (BIM) services and solutions that are redefining project milestones and efficiencies for MEP projects.

Enlarging our footprint in the digital phase of building development has become a significant goal for us as we see more customers benefit from pre-planning and pre-drawing. 

As we deliver on this, we will also focus on growing Victaulic’s international reputation as a company situated at the vanguard of cost-effectiveness and innovation within the piping solutions industry.

What are the biggest trends in the construction industry going forward?

A key trend we are seeing emerge in the industry is the increased usage of prefabricated piping systems. Mature prefabrication markets such as the UK and the Netherlands have long understood the benefits to using prefabrication.

Connecting spools offsite means that significantly less installation time is spent onsite, increasing site safety, productivity and efficiency, while reducing project cost and risk.

We fully expect digitalisation to increase, which is why Victaulic has positioned itself at the forefront of using BIM technology and even developed an add-on to Revit® to enable engineers to design faster and more efficiently.

As customers ultimately start designing the majority of projects through technology, it is likely we will see standardisation – a modular approach applied to different projects to affect speed, quality and safety – play a much larger role, especially as contractors seek greater performance at no extra cost.

Another trend is an increase in the use of pipe materials other than carbon steel. Thin wall stainless steel is an increasingly popular construction material, owing to its high corrosion resistance, ease of material handling and its cost-effectiveness compared to other materials.

Likewise, continued growth in non-metallic pipe materials, like HDPE, are set to keep on growing over the coming year – particularly in Central Europe where we are seeing strong levels of demand.

What’s more, Victaulic’s patented Installation-Ready™ solutions allows for fast, easy pipe connections, and reduces the number of loose parts to drop or misplace.

Finally, with the lack of skilled labour a growing issue, Victaulic’s products provide a fast and simple installation, so projects  can stay efficient and finish on time.

Do you think the construction industry in Europe will be stronger in 2020?

At Victaulic, we expect the business to remain at a steady growth level, due mostly to a continuous focus on innovation and market widespread acceptance of Victaulic solutions.

While construction growth across the European economy may have been more modest in recent months on a macro level, at Victaulic we feel optimistic due to the large-scale number of megaprojects, which are now on the horizon in Europe.

As we look to 2020, we believe Europe continues to present opportunities for growth, especially as non-residential construction levels are predicted to grow at 1.5% per year between 2019 and 2021. We are again forecasting that Norway and the Netherlands in particular will build upon their successful gains over the past couple of years.

Thanks to a strategic multi-market focus and innovation development, Victaulic has been able to beat the trend and show growth across the Middle East and Europe.

How did global construction fair in 2019, compared to the previous few years?

Commercial construction registered as holding steady in the US in 2019 while key emerging markets like India and China continued to see growth.  Looking specifically at Europe, there were also good levels of sectoral growth in some of our markets last year.

Two of our biggest markets in the region – Germany and Scandinavia – reported good performance for our industry.

We witnessed growth in ambitious, large-scale transport infrastructure projects across EMEA, such as large metro projects in the Middle East, Crossrail and HS2 in the UK.

Similarly, the German Government plans to invest €270 billion in transport infrastructure by 2030 and Norway’s largest transport project, the Follo Line, are also currently underway.

Has Brexit had an impact on construction in the UK in 2019? Do you think it will in 2020?

At Victaulic, we have a core team that monitors the ongoing situation and is responsible for implementing our Brexit strategy. Commercial construction growth in the UK has been sluggish since it voted to leave the EU, due mainly to uncertainty leading to delay.

However, as negotiations continue and businesses are offered more certainty over what the future will hold, we expect the longer-term outlook for the sector to be positive.

What are you excited about for next year?

This year’s commercial construction outlook in several of our target markets continues to look promising. We also foresee increasing demand for our solutions within the oil and gas industry, off the back of rising oil prices and the increased capital investment that will generate.

With the digital era in full throttle, we can expect even greater demand for our solutions in the data centre market. Data centres present an exciting prospect for Victaulic, as we continue to embrace new trends such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and prefabrication.

Personally, I am excited to see how we can grow our solutions in the infrastructure and commercial buildings sectors, both areas likely to have a promising year. It’s great to see our products playing a key part across projects using these new construction technologies.

As always, it’s exciting to bring new products to market, and we will continue to do so in 2020. One that comes to mind is our new Series E125 Installation-Ready™  Butterfly Valve.

In response to market demand for more efficient valve installations, the Series E125 butterfly valve offers the best of both worlds: the benefits of a grooved valve combined with the ease and speed of installation of an Installation-Ready coupling.

The solution is designed with HVAC applications in mind to eliminate the lengthy installation and cumbersome maintenance of flanged wafer valves.

Which markets do you expect will be more challenging next year? Why?

The economic challenges which Brexit presents to the UK’s commercial construction sector may result in the market performance declining over the coming year, although we may see this counteracted as levels of business uncertainty decrease.

Likewise, we may see work in the mining industry decline driven by a slowdown in the commodity market.

In terms of geographical considerations, the Iberian Peninsula is seeing some stagnation while conversely, we are seeing positive projection of growth in Eastern Europe. 

Many markets, including Europe, are seeing increasingly stringent environmental requirements around construction projects. Is this an opportunity or a challenge for the industry?

We see it as an opportunity. As a member of several Green Building Councils around the world, Victaulic is committed to sustainable construction as a means of improving natural ecosystems and reducing the global carbon footprint.

We focus on providing sustainable solutions at every stage – from research and development, product manufacturing, system installation and efficient operations, through to the life of a building or plant piping system. 

Our products, for example, are made from natural and recycled resources, and eliminate waste, emissions and noise while maximising energy efficiency.

We also see the potential for financial opportunity, especially as environmental regulation continues to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and drive down construction sector costs in the longer term.

By looking at environmental regulations through a positive lens, all parties involved can benefit; governments get to implement good policies, the industry produces greater efficiencies through innovation and the planet is positively affected by a reduction in damaging practices. By working together, we can all make a significant difference.”



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