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Forward bookings strong for ductwork firms

Partnering is becoming increasingly important in the ductwork sector, according to a leading specialist in the field. Bryan Welch, commercial director at ASM Engineering puts brimming order books for 2008 down to a significant shift in clients’ attitude. “We’re seeing a lot of work being booked up for 2008 and even 2009, but not for 2007, which suggests a sea change in how clients are looking at ductwork,” said Mr Welch.“Traditionally we’ve been tail-end Charlies, but we’re being approached and tied in to programmes early. Our clients are looking for certainty, they don’t want to look for someone in 18 months time and find that companies are choc-a-bloc. Where companies have landed major contracts they realise there are only a few ductwork specialists that can carry out the work, so they are moving to tie them in.” Mr Welch says the trend is only apparent on higher value contracts. On lower value jobs - £2-300,000’s worth of ductwork – contractors still typically wait until a few weeks before the completion of the project to appoint a ductwork specialist. Paul Roxburgh, director at Boyd & Co agreed that the idea of partnering was filtering through to some extent, but felt the market was still essentially price driven. “We’re seeing more advanced practices, with clients involving us more in the design stage, which is a breath of fresh air. We also have a core group of clients that tend to do repeat business with us, but at the end of the day, the market is still essentially price driven.”