Post Brexit vote HVAC & smart energy falls by £95 million

Andrew Giles

Andrew Giles

BSRIA has released its first snapshot of the UK heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and smart energy market landscape for products post Brexit.

The HVAC and smart energy product market is estimated to be worth £4.5 billion in the UK per annum. Market growth was expected to be a healthy 3.1% for 2016 prior to the Brexit vote, but BSRIA research with suppliers post Brexit now anticipates this will shrink to a “meagre 1.1%”, knocking off £95 million compared with the pre-Brexit view.


Andrew Giles, director of worldwide market intelligence, BSRIA, said: “Around 80% of the £2.2 billion market is domestic boilers, water heaters and radiators. Renewable alternatives remain niche markets. Heat pumps are falling with the Renewable Heat Incentive having a limited impact. The main heating markets are saturated and over 90% of sales for replacement and extensions/refurbishment.

“With the death of the Green Deal and other schemes, BSRIA had expected a flat market for heating but now expect a small proportion of consumers to delay going ahead with refurbishment because of the general uncertainty surrounding Brexit resulting in a drop of 1.2% in the market.

“The UK has the biggest boiler market in the world, by a considerable distance, with nearly 1.7 million boilers sold a year and this is expected to be the case until 2020.

“There are no longer any British owned boiler manufacturer companies in the UK. The boiler market is entirely controlled by EU-owned companies, with their headquarters elsewhere in the EU.

“The EU boiler manufacturers are well established in the UK market and three–quarters of sales are produced here, but there are a significant number of companies importing who will be suffering from the lower pound. Furthermore, some imported component costs may rise. The UK boiler market is sold nearly entirely through wholesalers and is already one of the most price competitive markets in Europe.

“Also post-Brexit, subsequent trade deals between the UK and the EU could prove difficult once Brexit negotiations are defined and Article 50 is invoked. Due to likely increased red tape, importing boilers or components into the UK could be harder.

“In the short term, companies manufacturing in the UK will gain competitive advantage in the UK because of the lower pound, which is positive.

“The long term remains unclear. As such, this is a risk for the UK economy and especially so if EU boiler manufacturers decide to ease their presence in the huge but challenging UK market.”

Smart technologies

Commercial fire and security and building control products account for 68% of the 1.6 billion smart technologies market. These products are more likely to be put in towards the end of commercial projects.

In 2017 the continued pull through of commercial projects nearing completion, which were started two years ago, will mask any further falls from Brexit, with almost no effect on fire, as it is regulation driven.

Building control products should follow a similar pattern to central plant, but growth is lower as many sales are to public areas (health, education, central government).

Andrew said: “For domestic controls the main markets are valves and actuators, thermostats and domestic controllers. This is a very large market ranging from simple thermostat and valves, to very sophisticated smart home devices linking in with apps and other housing devices and services. It has a strong link with the heating market and is principally sold for refurbishment and replacement applications.

“There will be a maximum effect on the market in 2016 of two per cent lower growth, a large chunk of which of which can be attributed to Brexit. Looking further ahead, the uncertainty could start to affect the market adversely in 2017, but will be partly offset by a high level of project completions, so it will not be until 2018 that suppliers see the full implications.”