The construction industry traditionally favours tried and tested methods,but with increasing time and cost demands on all trade professionals,new products and services can help tackle day-to-day challenges. Innovation is alive and kicking and essential to growth, says Paul D’Arcy, innovation project manager at British Gypsum.

People often prefer a tried and trusted method and getting everyone on board with an innovation – whether a new product or service – can be a challenge. Despite this, it’s essential that, as a sector, we continue to innovate.  In fact, in tough economic times it is of increasing importance.

Our customers face daily pressures, from time constraints to limited budgets. As product manufacturers, it’s our job to respond and drive improvements for our clients.

Product development is a constant area of focus and improvements are increasingly going to market offering time and cost saving benefits by addressing the common issues faced by trade professionals. We term this ongoing innovation
‘incremental innovation’ – a marked enhancement to an existing product – for instance, a new size or re-formulation.

Incremental innovation is what all product manufacturers should be doing to support the industry. If done properly, with significant investment and product testing, these improvements can make work that little bit easier for the trade and save vital minutes on a job.

Other ways of bringing growth to the industry include ‘Radical innovations’, such as brand new products and concepts, or new solutions that appeal to all audiences, from the contractor to housebuilder, and the specifier, to the end user too.

Innovation is increasingly multi-faceted. As well as providing a product or service that is better than what’s already available, it needs to look beyond the day-today and offer a solution to unmet needs. By taking this insight-driven approach, manufacturers can bring about a new and exciting era of product development that meets needs beyond ‘traditional’ requirements and addresses previously unexplored areas.

With radical innovations like our new Thistle Uni-Finish plaster, a solution which eliminates the need to pretreat surfaces with PVA, it’s possible to save significant time, money and reduce the hassle of certain jobs. Our challenge is to give tradesmen that favour traditional methods the confidence to try new products and services. We
encourage them to share their experiences with us so we can maximise the benefits that innovation can bring.

Paul D’Arcy is innovation project manager at British Gypsum.