Polish sandwich panels market – prospective but also increasingly demanding

More information on this topic is presented in the PMR report:

In 2015, sandwich panels and related products were the most popular materials used by construction and assembly companies whose business involves the installation of facade materials in Poland. Although the segment reported robust growth last year and the outlook for the industry remains positive, forthcoming years can be very challenging to some manufacturers of sandwich panels, according to the findings of PMR’s latest report entitled “The facade panels market in Poland 2016 – Market analysis and development forecasts for 2016-2021”.


For the needs of the report, PMR conducted a survey of nearly 300 construction and assembly companies operating in the Polish market. The survey results thus obtained and PMR’s estimates and assessments were subsequently confirmed during in-depth interviews with manufacturers and distributors of products used in the installation of ventilated, non-ventilated and curtain facades.


High popularity of sandwich-panel facades

The survey indicates that the installation of sandwich-panel facades and facades made of related products (mostly trapezoidal sheet, corrugated sheet, flat sheet and sheet metal panels) was the most popular type of work carried out in 2015, pursued by 46% of the surveyed companies. Only a slightly smaller proportion of companies (44%) were involved in projects involving the installation of ventilated facades, while 36% of respondents admitted to working with curtain facades.

In the period under review, almost half (45%) of all installation work related to the fixing of sandwich panels and related products (in terms of the installed facade area) was performed on industrial buildings.

At the same time, seven out of every ten orders (71%) involved the installation of facades made of sandwich panels and related products in newly-constructed buildings, while the remaining 29% jobs was represented by orders consisting in the renovation of existing buildings.


Fast-paced growth of the market in 2015

Based on interviews with the largest manufacturers, we estimate that in 2015 the Polish market of sandwich-panel facades (domestic output+imports-exports, external wall-cladding panels) grew by 7% to 7.5 million m2 (with the total size of the domestic market of sandwich panels totalling approximately 12.5 million m2). In terms of sales value, the growth rate was robust, too (5%), though it was slightly slower than the volume growth due to a slight price decline last year.


The main growth drivers of the sandwich-panel facade market in 2015 included:

The continued strong growth of the Polish economy and relatively positive forecasts, which encouraged investment

The dynamic growth of the industrial and warehouse construction segment

The growing awareness (on the part of investors, designers and contractors) of state-of-the-art materials and methods of building construction resulting in a gradual change in attitudes and departure from the traditional products towards sandwich-panel facades which are less expensive and easier to install

Increasingly stringent requirements for energy performance of new buildings, which oblige the investors to use modern facade solutions and materials of improved quality.


Growing market share of polyurethane-core sandwich panels

Data gathered from our interviewees indicate that around three-quarters of the Polish sandwich-panel market is currently represented by polyurethane-core (PUR and PIR) panels, which are characterised by top thermal insulation properties. These panels have grown in popularity in recent years at the expense of the least expensive styrofoam-core panels. It should be noted that at the end of the previous decade panels with styrofoam core enjoyed the largest market share accounting for around 50% of the market. Furthermore, though they steadily gain popularity, mineral wool-core panels remain the least preferred option – these panels are used wherever high fire-resistance and sound insulation performance is required.

However, while it should be borne in mind that the proportions of core materials used in sandwich panels for external walls covered in the report are more balanced, the balance of responses provided by the companies whose business involves the installation of facades in terms of how often they used the individual types of sandwich panels in 2015 appears to confirm the above tendencies. It indicates strong growth in popularity of polyurethane-core panels, increased use of mineral-wool panels, while styrofoam-core panels were applied slightly less frequently than in the year before.


Positive outlook and increasingly stringent requirements

Market participants we talked to during in-depth interviews indicated that growth in the sandwich-panel facade market should continue this year, too. Among the potential threats to the continued recovery, the respondents mentioned the increased political instability in the country and abroad, slow distribution of EU funds available under the current financial perspective, delayed payments under the Common Agricultural Policy and significant uncertainty as to the outlook for the global economy, which can have an adverse effect on investment activity in 2016.

On the other hand, although the outlook for the sector is moderately positive, some manufacturers of sandwich panels are likely to face great challenges in forthcoming years. Firstly, August 2015 saw the entry into law of the amended standard, which clearly lays down all the requirements which manufacturers are obliged to comply with. Moreover, the new competences of the General Office of Building Control (GUNB) allow it, as of 2016, to publish the names of inspected companies that fail to meet the declared product parameters. Cases of companies striving to obtain an unfair competitive advantage will also be eliminated by the ongoing creation of an association of sandwich panel manufacturers. At the same time, the planned launches of several new lines for production of polyurethane-core panels will drive up supply and result in a fiercer competitive environment among market participants. As a result, some market players, whose products fail to meet the set requirements or who have miscalculated their investment, will have a difficult time surviving as a going concern.

More information on this topic is presented in the PMR report:
The facade panels market in Poland 2016 . Market analysis and development forecasts for 2016-2021