Long-lasting, sustainable materials remain a priority for builders

by | Mar 22, 2024

High-quality building products that are hard-wearing and long-lasting is just one of the prominent trends expected to come out of the building industry this season.

The growing need for high-quality products has become particularly evident in the impressive performance of VUETRADE’S high-quality stainless steel range which continues to gain momentum, according to VUETRADE’s National Key Account Manager, Jason Shedden.

“The need for quality products has become evident with the continued growth of our T-Blade and Cap System, which uses the VUEBOLT, and is popular for larger posts on decks and pergolas. The stainless steel range has become more and more popular as well which is why we are doing a lot of work around educating the greater market and builders on what is available within this range,” Mr Shedden said.

VUETRADE has also found that consumers use higher-quality building materials, particularly in areas that require products to be used in accordance with high standards and best practices.

“This includes swimming pool areas where corrosion would be an issue. Consumers opt for stainless steel products in these areas because they are long-lasting however this has not always been the case. In the past, builders would often opt for galvanised products simply because they are cheaper to use than stainless steel,” VUETRADE Head of Marketing James Renshaw said.

“What we are finding now is that the market is starting to understand the benefits of using stainless products in the right locations and installations. Not only do they look good but they last an awful lot longer as well,” Mr Renshaw said.

Although the price point for a stainless steel product is higher than a galvanised product, consumers have begun to realise that if they invest in a higher quality product now, they are saving money in the long run because they do not have to refit or rework the product in years to come.

“We all know that inflation is high at the moment. Two years ago if you put a stainless steel joist on a deck and a stainless steel post support, it would be significantly cheaper then than it would be now. So consumers are beginning to understand that the cost of doing it now and doing the job properly will save them time and money in the long run,” Mr Shedden said.

New market innovations

VUETRADE has launched several new products already this year including new stud and truss screws, as well as a full range of heavy brackets including L Type and Z Type both in galvanised and stainless steel. While all products have had a healthy response from the market since their release, Mr Shedden says there is always room for growth.

“The trend is that there are a lot of builders demanding this type of product. Our national team of Business Development Managers are the ones who listen to the feedback from end-users as to where there are pain points and where consumers are looking for something else that is available. We try to make sure our product development is heavily market-focused so that we can continue to make the job easier for the end-user.” 

“VUETRADE has quite a detailed new product procedure that we work to and we do have products that are coming through that we will aim to release this year. Our website, Vuetrade.com and all of our social media channels are regularly utilised to implement all of the latest news including new product launches when it comes to hand,” Mr Shedden said.

Combatting shortages

Although there is a significantly reduced number of supply shortages within the building industry when compared to the COVID period, Mr Shedden says VUETRADE has been lucky enough to create a buffer of stock that has seen them through when stock becomes tight.

“Our procurement teams, along with the systems we have developed internally, as well as our local manufacturing here in Australia has put us in good stead to deliver supply continuity. I also believe that the strong relationships we have with our manufacturers and suppliers assists supply as well,” Mr Shedden said.

Being in the market for a long time has also allowed VUETRADE to build strong relationships with key suppliers, here and overseas.

“These relationships have put us in a good position that guarantees supply consistency and takes away some of the issues others might face. We have storage facilities in every state and major facilities in both Melbourne and Tasmania so we can hold a lot of stock,” Mr Renshaw said.

“This also gives our partners confidence that we have stock on hand and our procurement team has done a great job making sure we have stock and shorter lead times, while also delivering high quality, Aussie made products to our customers,” he said.

Sustainable products

From a sustainability perspective, VUETRADE’s range of framing connectors has become a growing trend in the Australian market particularly because the product allows for a highly sustainable practice when well managed.

“Properly managed timber is the ultimate renewable resource when it comes to sustainability, which is why we have a range dedicated to making sure anyone in timber framing has all of the products they need. We always try to make sure our innovations are market-driven by creating products such as the VUESPIKE on the joist hangers which allows them to hang in place hands-free so the builders can get the nails into them. All of these things make life easier.”

“We are also looking to increase our locally made product which cuts down on the transport and the carbon footprint associated with overseas production. We are looking forward to increasing that range and making something that is in demand. We have worked with Australian companies for a long time now and we are really happy with the quality of locally made products that we deliver to the market,” Mr Renshaw said.

Industry outlook

Despite a recent slowing throughout the building and construction industry over the past 12 months, Mr Renshaw believes the outlook is positive because the demand for housing is high and ongoing.

“The industry will turn around because we know there will always be demand for new housing and migration is only set to continue. Clearly, it has been difficult with some companies struggling with the price rises, however, many builders have run their businesses really well and they have been able to work around the price increases. These are the businesses that have put themselves in a pretty strong position when the market will start to turn around and there are definitely positive signs there,” Mr Renshaw said.