The active fire protection sector is mature and has been primarily driven by the wider performance of the UK building and construction market. That said, changes to building regulations in the wake of the Hackitt Review will provide additional demand for the fire protection industry, particularly with regard to sprinkler systems in high buildings.
Increasingly, businesses are adopting integrated fire and security systems, which is likely to remain a key feature of the industry. The wider adoption of IP technology into fire protection products has helped facilitate this trend, with IP functionality now standard in many fire control panels, along with many smoke detectors having wireless capability. Integration has also enabled more sophisticated analytics of video images, where mathematical algorithms are used to detect heat, smoke or flames.
The active fire protection market is comprised of detection / alarms and suppression systems. Alarms and detection systems account for more than half of the market, with the majority of installations of products and systems going into the non-domestic sectors. Domestic smoke alarms only account for a small portion of total market value.
Over the last decade or so, innovations in detection technology have significantly reduced the likelihood and number of false alarms, through such developments as improved capability of sensor technology in smoke detectors. However, the number of false alarms due to apparatus faults has stabilised in the last three years, suggesting that more recent product improvements are no longer having an impact on the number of false alarms.
The most important market driver will continue to be the overall health of the construction market, particularly non-residential construction. Overall construction output across the economy is forecast to dip significantly during 2020 following the Covid-19 lockdown before recovering at a moderate rate from 2021.