Rising demand for push-fit and press-fit pipe fittings in the UK construction market is expected to continue to support the growth of plastic usage in the sector, according to a new report.
The total size of the UK pipes and fittings market in 2015 was around £785m, according to studies conducted by Cheltenham-based AMA Research, with annual growth since 2012 of approximately 15%.
This, AMA said, suggested it had nearly recovered to levels last seen at its 2007 peak, before the financial crash of 2008.
While copper is extensively used in the pipes and fittings market, the plastic element accounts for 54%, according to AMA.
“Flexible plastic plumbing pipe systems are the dominant material used in hot and cold potable water installations, and although the majority of heating installations and refurbishment projects use copper pipe, the market for copper pipe has remained relatively static in recent years.
“There has also been steady growth in the demand for flame-free and low-skill fittings such as plastic push-fit and press-fit pipe fittings.”
AMA's report said that factors driving the growth of the plastic sector included technological developments and improved reliability, as well as the availability of a wider range of products and price.
“The focus on recycling and the use of recycled materials in the plastic sector has also increased in recent years. Underfloor heating has also increased in popularity between 2010 and 2015, and growth in this sector is likely to continue to have a positive impact on the market for plumbing pipe systems.
"In addition, with increasing health and safety legislation, there has been a continuing shift in the market towards flame-free jointing.”
AMA said PVC-U continued to dominate the above ground rainwater guttering, soil and waste pipework sector: “There is continuing demand for seamless aluminium guttering and cast iron effect PVC-U guttering, which provides the effect of cast iron.
“Increasing pressure to conserve resources and mounting public concerns about the cost of water usage have also led to a growing interest in rainwater harvesting systems, and there is an increased interest in general in water management, supported by the heavy rainfall and more volatile weather patterns over the last four years, across the UK.”
Keith Taylor, director of AMA Research, said: “The outlook for the UK pipes and fittings market in 2016 is positive, supported by the growth of new construction levels and repair maintenance expenditure.
“Private housing completions are forecast to experience steady growth in the medium to longer term, while the private commercial sector is likely to drive new-build demand in the non-domestic market,” he added.