Lead times continued to decline in the past quarter, with only three packages taking longer to arrive on site, according to Mace. Gardiner & Theobald reveal how technology is raising the performance of the lifts
In the period up to September 2002, six sectors were quicker to obtain and three increased lead times. The summer months are traditionally quiet, what with the summer holidays, and this is reflected in the feedback from suppliers.

On average, rotary piling → lead times remained at five weeks, despite some suppliers saying that four weeks would be acceptable. The recently cited shortage of steel reinforcement may drive up prices, but suppliers do not think lead times will change again in 2002.

Concrete works → remain at nine weeks. Design and approval periods have reduced, but increases in manufacturing time have offset this reduction. As with piling companies, concrete contractors are highlighting the serious reinforcement issues affecting the sector. Some suppliers are paying cash for reinforcement in an effort to maintain deliveries to continuing projects.

Panellised metal cladding → remained at 41 weeks with no changes intimated. Similarly, reconstituted stone cladding → was steady at 31 weeks and terracotta cladding → at 27 weeks.

The overall lead time of the curtain walling ↓ sector fell one week to 19. Procurement periods remain constant with the determining factor being glass.

The overall lead time of 32 weeks remains for atrium roofing → although minor fluctuations have occurred in the figures that make up this total. Companies report that no significant changes to overall lead times are expected.

A drop of one week means the lead time for membrane roofing ↓ has fallen to six weeks. Companies expect this to revert to seven by the end of the year as projects make it onto site.

Demountable partitions ↓ fell one week to seven overall. Many European suppliers completed large orders prior to their summer breaks and have some capacity in their factories for autumn, although they note this is not likely to remain for long.

A fall in enquiries has meant that lead times for specialist joinery ↓ are reduced by one week to 15 weeks overall. Design approval estimates have been reduced as design workshops resolve the issues prior to formal design submission. The minor increase in manufacturing time represents an increase of in-house works, instead of subcontracted elements, which made up a large proportion of recent works.

Raised flooring ↑ companies now require seven weeks notice before beginning on site, a rise of one week. However, companies have stated that enquiries are tailing off and some are quoting six weeks, given that standard products are already manufactured and in holding stores.

Non-standard passenger lifts ↑ jump significantly to 41 weeks, an increase of three weeks. Material supply is generally good and no future problems are expected. The continuing shortage of skilled lift fitters has led to an increase in mobilisation period. Workload is generally high and the summer holiday period has increased pressure on design offices – again leading to an increased design period.

Mechanical packages → remained steady at 18 weeks, whereas ductwork ↓ companies reported a two-week drop in lead times to 15 weeks overall. This drop has occurred in manufacturing. New projects and enquiries are busier than in the last six months, but no problems are foreseen.

Air-conditioning plant suppliers ↑ are currently busy with specialist subcontractors booked out to the end of the year. This workload has led to an increase in lead time of three weeks to 10 overall.

All electrical ↓ companies are reporting reduced lead times of about two weeks, which brings them to 16 overall, as summer comes to an end. Times are expected to increase again at the end of the year as projects start. A few companies cited the rapid decrease in demand for internet switching centres to explain the increased capacity in their work schedules.

This information is now available on line at www.mace.co.uk/mace/db/foresite. If you would like to contribute please register your company details at the same address.

Going up

↑ Non-standard passenger lifts
↑ Air-conditioning plant
↑ Raised flooring

Staying level

→ Rotary piling
→ Concrete works
→ Panellised metal, reconstituted stone and terracotta cladding
→ Atrium roofing
→ Mechanical packages

Going down

↓ Curtain walling
↓ Membrane roofing
↓ Demountable partitions
↓ Specialist joinery
↓ Ductwork
↓ Electrical packages