Total cost solutions the trend for tanks

Suppliers of tanks must meet regulatory and industry standards without compromising on the quality and reliability of products. David Cox explains.

Continuing on from 2008, this year is set to be very challenging for any supplier in the construction marketplace.

Domestic house building was hit first and hardest in 2008. It seems that as we moved from the last quarter of 2008 into 2009 commercial construction projects were experiencing budget reductions, program delays and in some cases scheme cancellation.

As a result, suppliers of tanks and storage vessels will inevitably see a more competitive market this year and going into 2010, with increased focus on cost - this has not reduced the general trend over the past ten years from the construction industry for suppliers to meet increasing standards of quality and reliability of service.

For suppliers such as Conder Environmental Solutions, which meets and exceeds regulatory and industry standards, the challenge is to provide total cost effective solutions without compromising product quality and service.

Integration
There can be a temptation for contractors and clients to look at cheaper priced products or solutions from suppliers who do not necessarily meet all required standards. On the face of it taking this option saves money, but in many cases this route has actually ended up costing contractors and clients significantly more.

Suppliers must aim to develop products and solutions that reduce the overall installed cost to the contractor and end client. In some applications the size or number of tanks for a scheme can be reduced through integration of processes into the storage vessel.

Reducing the "carbon footprint" of installed product, through its working life, is also an ongoing development that is of particular interest to Conder. By using more efficient manufacturing processes, pumps, blowers, for instance, this can be achieved.

With the ongoing difficult fluctuations in oil, energy and other raw material pricing improving material utilisation in manufacturing of tanks and vessels is critical.

Legislative changes provide both challenges and opportunities for tank and vessel suppliers. Conder has put significant resource and investment into meeting CE marking requirements in certain sectors of the market - packaged sewage treatment plants for instance.

New opportunities will arise as a result of recent and proposed legislation on flood prevention, rainwater harvesting, greywater re-use and adoptable pump stations.

Market pressures
There are also changes in the manufacturing base as a result of the current market pressures.

There is continuing consolidation of manufacturers and suppliers. For example, the acquisition last year by EPS of Conder Environmental Solutions brought together one of the largest Irish-owned water and wastewater solution providers with one of the UK's most experienced manufacturers in this market.

There are also inevitably manufacturers and suppliers exiting the market. Only those suppliers and manufacturers that have the financial stability and have managed to change their businesses effectively to meet the market challenges, will be able to ride out the current market situation and be well placed to continue to support the market in years to come.

David Cox is general manager at Conder Environmental Solutions. T: 0870 264 0004.

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