explore our market researches

Market reports

See all

News I published 14 November 2022

How can manufacturers of installation products get a piece of the prefab pie?

Labour shortages among installers are increasing. Meanwhile, they are in high demand due to the quest for sustainability and the accelerating energy transition, both of which need a lot of installation work to succeed. One way to deal with labour shortages and meet the demand for labour is to use more prefabricated products that allow installers to work faster and more efficiently on site.

As we saw in a previous article, about half of European HVAC installers and plumbers use some form of prefab in their projects. This share varies between different-sized companies and installers in the six major European markets included in USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Mechanical Installation Monitor. Interesting to know is where the installation companies that do use prefab actually acquire those prefabricated products?

The leading supplier of prefabricated installation products varies per country 

After asking over 650 European plumbers and HVAC installers about their prefab usage, we asked the prefab users who supply them with prefabricated products. In four out of the six countries, wholesalers appear to be the main supplier. In the United Kingdom, Poland, and Belgium, a whopping 55-65% of the prefab-using installers mention buying prefabricated products at wholesalers.

In Germany and the Netherlands, however, the main suppliers of prefabricated products are not the wholesalers, but the installers themselves. This means the installation companies buy separate installation products and have a workshop in which they assemble said products before transporting their custom-made prefabricated solution to the worksite for the final installation.

UK plumbers and HVAC installers use the widest variety of purchase channels for prefab 

Aside from these, the UK stands out. Wholesalers are the leading supplier of prefabricated installation products, mentioned by 64% of the installers in the UK, but large shares seem to make use of all other channels for acquiring prefab products as well. Almost half of the prefab-using installers in the UK also report preassembling installation products themselves.

More interestingly, a large share of UK installers also buys prefabricated elements directly from manufacturers. On top of that, UK installers report also buying from dedicated prefab suppliers quite often. An explanation is that the UK is richer in manufacturers and suppliers of prefabricated elements like for instance bathroom pods. What the example of the UK points out though, is that there is a profitable opportunity for manufacturers or other companies to become suppliers of prefabricated installation solutions.

Potential for manufacturers to supply prefabricated solutions 

On average, the wholesalers, and the installers themselves are currently the leading suppliers of prefabricated installation products. In many countries, the role of manufacturers in the supply of prefabricated installation products is still limited. That means that there is potential for manufacturers to offer prefabricated solutions as well, which is already quite common in the UK.

The success of this rests upon the installers’ demands and criteria for choosing prefab suppliers. In most countries, installers mention the quality and price of prefabricated solutions as the most important criteria when choosing a supplier, but in Germany and Belgium, a significant share of installers would also like the prefab solutions to be simple and safe to install.

The specific prefab products, solutions, and services installers would like manufacturers to offer to vary more widely per region. In Germany, there is a preference for prefabricated products for wastewater and hot and cold water, while installers focus more on prefabricated bathrooms and boiler rooms in Belgium, and more on prefab design and product bundling services in France.

For a full overview of installers’ desires from manufacturers regarding prefabricated products and services in six major European markets, we refer you to the Q2 2022 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Mechanical Installation Monitor. 

Fresh Insights Await

Our latest reports

Delve into the newest findings across various market segments, crafted for a cutting-edge overview. Explore our latest reports, brimming with up-to-date data, trend analyses, and in-depth examinations, all tailored to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the current market dynamics.


Home Improvement



BIM Q4 2023

2024 246 pages

Key insights regarding the BIM usage and behaviour of European architects, and our latest future building volumes prognoses


Purchase Channels H2 2023

2024 123

Explore the buying and ordering behaviour among contractors in H1 2023. Uncover the key channels used, share-of-wallet and much more.


Behavioural segmentation and media usage report 2023

2023 75 pages

This report provides a comprehensive overview of purchase behaviour, products, and media usage, specifically focusing on European handymen. It delves into how handymen use media, and for what purposes, and examines their habits and preferences in terms of purchasing behaviour.


Purchase behaviour 2023

2023 64 pages

Uncover the purchasing behaviors among painters in 2023. Understand the factors driving their choices and how they relate to product and brand preferences.


Sustainability Q2 2023

2023 94 pages

Uncover architects' perspectives on sustainability in Q2 2023. Explore the evolving sustainable practices and the impact on architectural designs and project implementations.


Media orientation Q1 2023

2023 95 pages

Unravel the media engagement trends among European architects in Q1 2023. Delve into how different media channels are utilized for information, inspiration, and professional growth.

Home Improvement

DIY or DIFM Q4 2023

2024 70

Explore the prevailing trends between DIY and DIFM in Q4 2023. Understand consumer preferences and the factors influencing their choice between DIY and DIFM.

Home Improvement

Branding Q3 2023

2023 93 pages

This report offers an extensive overview of the home improvement industry, with a focus on branding and the most popular brands within different categories. Within this report, you will gain insights into how customers perceive home improvement brands and what motivates them to buy certain products.

Home Improvement

Purchase channels Q2 2023

2023 114 pages

The European Home Improvement Monitor offers valuable insights on purchase channels in the European home improvement industry, examining the evolving preferences and behaviors of consumers across traditional retail and emerging online platforms.

Home Improvement

Rise of digital natives Q1 2022

2022 120 pages

Explore the impact of digital natives on the home improvement sector in Q1 2022. Discover how digitalization is shaping consumer behaviors and market trends.

Home Improvement

Purchase Channels Q2 2022

2022 124 pages

Uncover the prevalent purchase channels in the home improvement sector during Q2 2022. Delve into consumer preferences and the factors influencing their purchasing decisions.

Home Improvement

Do-it-yourself or do-it-for-me Q4 2022

2022 93 pages

Explore the prevailing trends between DIY and DIFM in Q4 2022. Understand consumer preferences and the factors influencing their choice between DIY and DIFM.


Training needs Q4 2023

2024 110 Pages

This report explores the training needs of installers, both digital and personal. The full report covers all important training needs & aspects and offers a comprehensive overview of business development in the installation sector across important European countries.


Purchase channels Q4 2023

2024 97 pages

This report offers a comprehensive view of the buying and ordering behaviour among electrical installers in Europe. Within the report, you will find key information on the purchase channels installers use, the share-of-wallet per channel, the way of ordering and much more.


Services in the Installation market Q2 2023

2023 111 pages

This report explores the type of support installers anticipate from manufacturers and to what degree. Alongside a thorough examination of installation services, the report presents a comprehensive overview of business development in the installation sector across important European countries.


Sustainability Q1 2023

2023 99 pages

The European Mechanical Installation Monitor report provides a detailed analysis of the plumbing and HVAC industry. This report specifically focuses on sustainability aspects in the industry.


Purchase channels Q3 2023

2023 106 pages

This report provides a comprehensive view of the attitudes of installers toward purchase channels, specifically among HVAC installers. In the report, you will find insights into buying behaviour, which channels are mostly used, which are growing, and whether online channels are gaining acceptance.


Sustainability Q1 2023

2023 73 pages

Delve into sustainability trends in the home improvement sector in Q1 2023. Discover consumer preferences and the shift towards eco-friendly home improvement solutions.