BMF News

Industry sets fundraising record at merchants’ best-ever Conference  

Jon Culshaw (left) and Gethin JonesThe BMF has confirmed that a record sum of £71,531 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its All Industry Conference in Budapest last weekend.  The total was even higher than the estimate given on the night. The money will be divided equally between Variety, the Children’s Charity, the charity of the Crystal Clear Group, and the Teenage Cancer Trust, the BMF’s charity of the year.  

Conference delegates showed their generosity in many different ways throughout the evening. The highlight was a special auction where the star lot, a Fiat Abarth 595 Tourismo donated by the Crystal Clear Group, sold for £19,000.  

Comedian and impressionist Jon Culshaw, who has strong links with Variety, joined Conference host, Gethin Jones on stage to encourage every member of the audience to get involved. A silent auction of lots ranging from holidays to sporting memorabilia raised well over £30,000 and, after Paddy Ashdown’s excellent speech earlier in the day, there was no surprise when someone bid £3,000 to lunch with him.   

John Newcomb BF MD said: “We hoped to raise an exceptional sum for two very deserving charities and I am unbelievably proud of the industry for achieving even more than we ever imagined. I’m told that this is the highest sum our industry has raised for charity in a single night and I would like to thank everyone who contributed. I must also thank Martin Randall and the Crystal Clear Group whose donation of a limited edition car caught everyone’s imagination and made such a significant contribution to the evening’s overall fundraising.”  

Martin Randall. Crystal Clear Group Chairman and Variety patron said: “I can only echo John’s appreciation of our colleagues in the industry. Their amazing generosity has raised a huge amount of money and these valuable funds will help both charities continue to make a difference to the lives of the people they support.”  

Expressing his appreciation, Keith Yonish, Marketing & Commercial Director at Variety, the Children’s Charity, said:  “We cannot thank enough the BMF, its members and Martin Randall of Crystal Direct for their support and generosity.  We are overwhelmed by the amount raised for Variety, in just one evening. This much needed donation for the charity will certainly go towards helping make a real positive difference to disabled and disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.”    

The Gala Dinner was the climax of what many delegates have described as the best BMF All Industry Conference yet, where they were inspired, educated, entertained and had plenty of opportunities to network.   

Reflecting on the event, Paul Turner, Strategy Director Wolseley UK said: “The BMF conference this year provided insight from within the industry and from some excellent specialist presenters. The whole conference hung together really coherently around Change, Challenge and Opportunity and provided some great networking and food for thought. One of the best conferences I have been to.”  

Malcolm Gough, Group Sales and Marketing Director, Natural Paving Company added his congratulations to the BMF team who organised the event.  “BIG congratulations on pulling off one of the most thought provoking, entertaining and enlightening conferences yet. The speakers were all excellent. My note pad is full of scribbles and ideas that I am definitely taking back to our business.”  

The sell-out BMF All Industry Conference was attended by 430 people.  
Jon Culshaw (left) and Gethin Jones
Industry sets fundraising record at merchants’ best-ever Conference. The BMF has confirmed that a record sum of £71,531 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its All Industry Conference in Budapest last weekend.

The Queen's Speech: BMF comment


House of Lords chamberReacting to today’s Queen’s Speech to Parliament that set out the Government’s legislative programme for the next two years, John Newcomb, BMF Managing Director, said: 

“The Queen’s Speech reflects the Government’s pre-occupation with the complex negotiations to leave the European Union, but we do welcome the very encouraging noises today on housing and industrial policy, which will both help grow the economy, improve living standards and increase productivity”.

“We welcome the clear statement in the Queen’s Speech that proposals will be brought forward to help ensure more homes are built. The Government has acknowledged that not enough homes are being built and that we need to build more of the right homes in the right places, and diversify who builds homes. Our understanding is that the Housing White Paper does not now require further legislation, so we would urge the Government to implement it as quickly as possible”.  

“The BMF also welcomes the Government’s commitment to implementing the Industrial Strategy and the new Trade and Customs Bills which will enable our members to trade confidently and continue with their planned investments. The BMF favours an Industrial Strategy that showcases the construction industry, based on a clearly-defined, well-articulated mission to give it purpose, drive and direction. A resilient, functioning and enduring supply chain must be a core component if the Strategy is to succeed”.

“Our latest Builders Merchant Building Index shows that merchants experienced strong growth in the first quarter of 2017, with sales up 5.9% compared to the same time last year. This shows the vital role of builders, plumbers and timber merchants in delivering economic growth. Housing is not built, nor are homes repaired, extended or adapted, without the materials and products that BMF members deliver. We look forward to working with new ministers in the coming months”.
House of Lords chamber
The Queen's Speech: BMF comment. The BMF reacts to today’s Queen’s Speech to Parliament that set out the Government’s legislative programme for the next two years.

Government must focus on building homes and developing industrial strategy says BMF


BMFIn the wake of one of the most unpredictable election results in recent years, the BMF wants to see the new government focus on two major issues - building more homes and developing proper industrial policy – to promote economic growth across the UK.  

The BMF has welcomed both the re-appointment of Greg Clark MP as the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy with responsibility for the building materials’ supply chain, and the re-appointment of Sajid Javid as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.  

John Newcomb, Managing Director of the BMF said: “There remains a high degree of uncertainty regarding the new government’s priorities.  It now appears that the Queen’s Speech will be delayed by several days so it could be well into next week before matters become clearer.  The priorities have to include building homes, supporting businesses, creating jobs and raising productivity, and the fact that two key ministers are remaining in place is a positive sign.  

“We believe that the Housing White Paper must now be progressed as it contains many of the solutions to the ‘broken housing market’.  We want to see strong political determination behind concerted action to simplify and speed up planning approvals to increase housing completions.

“In agreeing and adopting the Industrial Strategy, the BMF favours a strategy that showcases the construction industry, based on a clearly-defined, well-articulated mission to give it purpose, drive and direction. A resilient, functioning and enduring supply chain must be a core component if the Strategy is to succeed.”
Government must focus on building homes and developing industrial strategy says BMF. In the wake of one of the most unpredictable election results in recent years, the BMF wants to see the new government focus on two major issues - building more ho

Microsoft Head of Technology booked for BMF Members' Day  


James AkriggJames Akrigg, Head of Technology for Partners at Microsoft, will share his expertise with delegates at the BMF's Members’ Day in September. 

James has worked in and around the IT industry for over 30 years, the last 16 at Microsoft in the UK.  His passion for technology and what it can do to deliver real value and benefit to businesses of all sizes is clear to see when he presents and meets with Microsoft partners and customers.  He is able to  simplify how to use a mix of technologies to deliver solutions in today’s challenging business environments.  

BMF MD John Newcomb said: “James is an evangalist for new technologies and his ability to talk about this in a language that anyone can understand will make this an unmissable session at this year’s BMF Members’ Day.  

Members’ Day 2017 will be held at Jurys Inn Hinckley Island Hotel in Leicestershire.  The Business Conference and the BMF’s black-tie Awards Dinner both take place on 20 September.  The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament will be held on the previous day, 19 September, along with our other social activities, Quad Biking and Rifle Shooting. 

The BMF thanks Members’ Day headline sponsor, Encon Insulation, and Marsh Industries, Monument Tools and First Event who sponsor the Awards Dinner and Golf Tournament and Social Activities. 

For more information and to book your place at the BMF Members’ Day Event, please contact: june.upton@bmf.org.uk
James Akrigg
Microsoft Head of Technology booked for BMF Members' Day. James Akrigg, Head of Technology for Partners at Microsoft, will share his expertise with delegates at the Builders Merchants Federations (BMF) Members’ Day in September,

BMBI shortlisted for new award!  


Builders Merchant Building IndexThe Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI), a brand of the BMF, has been shortlisted for yet another award, this time for the ‘Best Practice Awards 2017’ organised by the Trade Association Forum (TAF). Only a few months after being shortlisted by the national Chartered Institute of Marketing’s (CIM) ‘Marketing Excellence Awards’, BMBI is a finalist for Commercial Initiative of the Year at this year’s TAF awards. 

As “the trade association for trade associations” TAF represents over 300 of the top trade bodies in the UK. The prestigious awards recognise, reward and promote best practice amongst its members. They are supported by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who are longstanding members of the independent judging panel.    

Linda Cavender, TAF CEO, said: “The Awards offer TAF members an excellent opportunity to showcase their organisation, its expertise and recent achievements. I am always astounded at the quality of the entries and only the very best reach the shortlist. They provide a benchmark for running a successful organisation which focuses on members’ needs.”  

BMF MD, John Newcomb adds: “It is a remarkable achievement for BMBI to be shortlisted at these awards. A new initiative launched with GfK and MRA Marketing in 2015, BMBI is becoming well established and achieving wide exposure in and outside construction. It is also proving to be a powerful vehicle for highlighting the importance of builders’ merchants to the UK economy. BMBI quarterly and monthly reports provide our members and key influencers valuable trend data on main product sectors. Comments from leading industry experts are integral to the BMBI, helping to add perspective and meaning to the data, and helping to make sense of trends for users of the Index.”

The BMBI is a reliable and up-to-date measure of Britain’s Repair Maintenance & Improvement (RMI) activity using GfK’s Builders Merchant Point of Sales Tracking Data, which analyses sales out data from over 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales across Great Britain. The Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. These include: Encon Insulation, Timbmet, Knauf Insulation, Keylite Roof Windows, Hanson Cement, Keystone Lintels, Crystal Direct, IKO PLC, Alumasc Water Management Solutions, Ibstock Brick, Heatrae Sadia and Natural Paving Products.  

The winners will be announced on 12 July at the historic Drapers’ Hall in London.  

Visit www.bmbi.co.uk for more information.
Builders Merchant Building Index
BMBI shortlisted for new award! The Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI), a brand of the BMF, has been shortlisted for yet another award, this time for the ‘Best Practice Awards 2017’ organised by the Trade Association Forum (TAF).

Tarmac joins the BMF  


TarmacTarmac, the largest supplier of heavyside building materials in the UK, has joined the BMF.  

Tarmac Building Products is the market-leading supplier of blocks and mortar for housebuilding and commercial projects.  It operates a national network of bulk and pre-pack bagging operations to serve UK builders’ merchants’ with high quality aggregates, sands, cementitious and bituminous products, and offers a wide range of materials for hard landscaping and groundwork.  

The company is also the manufacturer of specialist building product brands including Pozament, a range of advanced grouts, concrete repair and waterstop materials, and Limelite, which is best known for its breathable renovating plaster.  

Jonathan Earl, Senior Commercial Manager, Tarmac Building Products said: “We are very excited to be joining the BMF and fully expect that we will maximise the opportunities presented by membership as well as contributing to the overall health and wealth of the BMF and the sector.”  

Welcoming Tarmac Building Products into membership, BMF MD, John Newcomb said: “We are delighted that Tarmac appreciates the value of being part of a strong trade body. I am looking forward to working with them in the coming months.”
Tarmac
Tarmac joins the BMF. Tarmac, the largest supplier of heavyside building materials in the UK, has joined the BMF. Tarmac Building Products is the market-leading supplier of blocks and mortar for housebuilding and commercial projects.

BMF shortlisted in Trade Association Awards for third year  


TAF Best Practice Awards  2017 finalistsFor the third year running, the BMF has been shortlisted in multiple categories in the prestigious Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Awards.  

The BMF’s initiative to reach and engage with the full range of its membership at sector specific Forums has been recognised in the Member Engagement category, while the Federation’s ground-breaking Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) has been shortlisted for the Commercial Initiative Award.  

As “the trade association for trade associations” TAF represents over 300 of the top trade bodies in the UK.  The prestigious TAF Awards recognise, reward and promote Best Practice amongst its members. They are supported by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who are longstanding members of the independent judging panel.  

Linda Cavender, TAF CEO, said: “The Awards offer TAF members an excellent opportunity to showcase their organisation, its expertise and recent achievements. I am always astounded at the quality of the entries and only the very best reach the shortlist.  They provide a benchmark for running a successful organisation which focuses on members’ needs.”

BMF MD, John Newcomb said: “It is a remarkable achievement to be shortlisted for eight TAF Awards in a three year period. We have also gone on to win two of these highly contested Awards and it would be the icing on the cake if we could do so again this year. Many TAF members have far larger operations than the BMF and it is testament to the BMF team that our work to support our members stands comparison with the best of the best.”  

The winners will be announced at the Awards evening in London on 12 July.
TAF Best Practice Awards  2017 finalists
BMF shortlisted in Trade Association Awards for third year. For the third year running, the BMF has been shortlisted in multiple categories in the prestigious TAF Best Practice Awards.

h&b Group members boost BMF membership in South West    


h and b GroupTwo family run firms, Build Supplies of St Columb in Cornwall and Buildrite Trade & DIY Supplies of Weymouth, Dorset are the latest members of the h&b buying group to join the Builders Merchants Federation in the thriving South West region.  

Build Supplies was established 12 years ago to serve mid-Cornwall and the surrounding areas.  Specialising in heavyside and timber products, their user-friendly service quickly helped them develop a £5m turnover business. They have recently acquired a new offsite warehouse & distribution facility to provide an additional 20,000sq ft. of internal storage space allowing them to increase the product range and stockholding at their existing 3-acre site.  

At Buildrite Trade & DIY Supplies, brothers Jason and Luke House have developed their father’s original roofing business into one the area’s most successful independent merchants.  As well as offering a wide range of building, roofing, timber and sheet materials, Buildrite has a well-established kitchen and bathroom showroom, a large self-service area and a tool hire point.  

Welcoming the two merchants into membership, Richard Jones, the BMF’s SW Regional Manager highlighted the positive effect that a regular programme of local meetings and training events has had in boosting membership in the region.  

“I’m delighted that two more thriving independent companies have recognised the benefits of BMF membership and I’m sure that both will participate fully and make the most of the opportunities to network with other members in the region as well as at our national events,” said Richard.  

“The opening of the first SW Regional Centre of Excellence at RGB in Tiverton means we now have a focal point for training as well as meetings.  The South West BMF Diploma in Merchanting study group meets there regularly, we are running two of our most popular one-day courses, Excellence in Customer Service & Maximising Margin, in early November and it will also be the venue for the next SW Regional Meeting on 13 September.  

Richard continued: “Having a regular programme of events in the south west is an undoubtedly helping to boost our presence in the region, and I look forward to welcoming more local merchants, including others in the h&b group, into membership soon.”  

For information on any BMF events, training courses or business support services please contact in the South West please contact BMF Regional Manager, Richard Jones on M: 07980 075863 E: Richard.jones@bmf.org.uk  
h and b Group
h&b Group members boost BMF membership in South West. Two family run firms, Build Supplies of St Columb in Cornwall and Buildrite Trade & DIY Supplies of Weymouth, Dorset are the latest members of the h&b buying group to join the Builders Merchant

Gardiner support for BMF on international trade  


Brett Amphlett (BMF) - left and Barry Gardiner“It is essential the next Government negotiates a mutually-beneficial new trade deal with the European Union before the United Kingdom leaves” was the message from Barry Gardiner to the BMF yesterday.  

“Labour’s absolute priority is to secure tariff-free access to international markets, and ensure there are no new customs and non-tariff trade barriers to hinder British business”, Mr Gardiner said.  

The Shadow International Trade Secretary was answering a question from Brett Amphlett who represented the BMF at a major Labour Party event at Charing Cross in central London. Mr Gardiner gave a keynote speech to set out his Party’s approach to trade negotiations if Labour wins next week’s General Election.  

The BMF wants politicians of all parties to understand that leaving the Customs Union without a comprehensive UK-EU free trade agreement will unsettle business confidence and planned investments - with negative consequences for the merchants and manufacturers it represents. The worry is that proper consideration is not being given to non-tariff obstacles to international trade. 

Barry Gardiner was asked if the HMRC and port authorities have sufficient resources to deal with millions more customs’ declarations that will be necessary when the UK leaves the EU Customs’ Union. The BMF argues that if inspections at ports are not properly resourced, consignments will be stuck on quaysides causing unnecessary backlogs, rising costs and delayed deliveries.  

Mr Gardiner said that ‘no deal’ would be the worst possible deal for Britain and it was “illiterate” to say it ahead of the forthcoming negotiations. “Labour rejects the idea that we can walk away without a deal” he added. Mr Gardiner cautioned against relying on World Trade Organisation rules and in the absence of a deal, said there will have to be transitional arrangements.   The speech took place at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in front of an invited audience of businessmen and women and the national print and broadcast media.   Since the Prime Minister triggered the EU Article 50 clause, the BMF has been lobbying to persuade the Government to negotiate a mutually-beneficial new customs agreement based on zero or low tariffs. More should be done to prepare for the possibility of no deal with the EU and the unwanted bureaucratic and financial burdens that will arise from non-tariff barriers.


Pictured: Brett Amphlett (left) and Barry Gardiner
Brett Amphlett (BMF) - left and Barry Gardiner
Gardiner support for BMF on international trade. “It is essential the next Government negotiates a mutually-beneficial new trade deal with the European Union before the United Kingdom leaves” was the message from Barry Gardiner to the BMF

Lecico joins Builders Merchants Federation  


Lecico bathroomsLecico Bathrooms has marked its 30th anniversary by becoming a supplier member of the BMF.  

Lecico, which is based in Bedford, is one of the world’s largest designers and manufacturers of bathroom suites and fittings. Exporting to more than 50 countries worldwide, its outstanding reputation is founded on design-rich, competitively priced sanitaryware that has been crafted to the highest manufacturing standards.  

In 1987 Lecico first ventured into the UK market and it is now firmly established as a market leader.

Paul Gemmell, Head of Marketing at Lecico, said: “The merchant sector is crucially important to our business in the UK and we are delighted to be joining the BMF.

“We supply our products to the vast majority of the national and independent merchants and believe our already strong relationships with the merchants will be further cemented by being members of the same trade association.  

“We plan to play a full and active role in BMF meetings, events and activities.”   John Newcomb, BMF MD said: “I am delighted that Lecico Bathrooms have joined the growing number of supplier members within the BMF. They have already made clear their intention to fully utilise their membership to the full and I am looking forward to working with them.”  

All Lecico products are subjected to a wide range of quality checks and controls throughout design and production. For more information visit www.lecico.co.uk
Lecico Bathrooms
Lecico joins the BMF. Lecico Bathrooms has marked its 30th anniversary by becoming a supplier member of the BMF.

Leaving the EU and Customs arrangements: BMF lobbying


DExEU David Jones“Our negotiating aim is a bold and ambitious free trade agreement, greater in scope than any such agreement before” was the message from David Jones, Minister for Exiting the European Union to the BMF. “We are confident that a Conservative Government is going to be able to secure a deal that works for the UK and the EU”, Mr Jones added.  

The Minister was responding to representations made by the BMF before the General Election was announced about customs arrangements following the Article 50 announcement to leave the EU.  

The BMF wants politicians of all parties to understand that leaving the Customs Union without a comprehensive UK-EU free trade agreement will unsettle business confidence and planned investments - with negative consequences for the merchants and manufacturers it represents. The worry is that full consideration is not being given to tariffs and other obstacles that hamper trade.  

The Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) was asked whether the HMRC and port authorities have sufficient resources to deal with millions more customs declarations that will be necessary when the UK leaves the EU Customs Union. The BMF argued that if border inspections at ports are not properly resourced, consignments will be stuck on quaysides causing unnecessary backlogs and delays in fulfilling customer orders.  

David Jones said the whole of Government has undertaken work to make sure it is ready to begin negotiations. The Government will ensure it is appropriately staffed to deal with the task, he said.  

Since Mrs May triggered the EU Article 50 clause, the BMF has been lobbying MPs to persuade the Government to negotiate a mutually-beneficial new customs agreement based on zero or low tariffs. More should be done to prepare for the possibility of no deal with the EU - and the unwanted extra bureaucratic and financial burdens that will arise from that - said the BMF.
DExEU David Jones
Leaving the EU and Customs arrangements: BMF lobbying. “Our negotiating aim is a bold and ambitious free trade agreement, greater in scope than any such agreement before” was the message from David Jones, Minister for Exiting the European Union to

Strong start to 2017 for UK Builders Merchants

GfK BMBI dataThe latest figures from the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirmed a strong start to 2017 with a further three months of growth in the sales of building materials through UK generalist builders’ merchants in Q1. The relatively mild and dry weather throughout first quarter of the year helped to produce 5.9% total sales growth on Q1 2016.

The overall result was boosted by a particularly strong performance in March, although the 11.4% year on year total sales growth recorded for the month is a slightly artificial figure as a late Easter gave two more trading days compared to March 2016.  Nonetheless, the adjusted growth figure of +2.6% per trading day for the quarter is a positive result against a backdrop of political uncertainty.

Tools (+8.8%), Ironmongery (+7.2%) and Plumbing, Heating and Electrical (+6.8%) were the fastest growing categories during Q1. The ability to start external works in a warmer, drier winter lifted sales in other areas with Timber & Joinery +6.7%, driven by timber and sheet materials; Landscaping +6.7%, largely due to sales of block paving and kerbs; and Heavy Building Materials +6.2% on the back of higher sales of bricks, blocks and insulation.  All saw growth greater than the total builders merchants channel.

GfK’s Builders’ Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data, which represents over 80% of the value of the builders’ merchant market, is used to create the Builders Merchant Building Index of actual sales to builders.

Commenting on the results, John Newcomb, BMF managing director said: “The good news is that the positive market trend experienced throughout the last three years continued into 2017.  Trading was undoubtedly helped by a mild, dry winter, but if you look at these results in conjunction with the Federation of Master Builders’ Q1 State of Trade Survey of SME builders, the sentiment both amongst builders’ merchants and their SME builder customers is optimistic.

“However, all Q1 data was gathered before Theresa May called a snap election. There is always a period of uncertainty leading up to a national vote when people put plans on hold pending the outcome. We may well see a degree of stagnation in Q2 until the colour and shape of the new government is clear.

“Looking further ahead, stability in the property market is required.  Every one of the major political parties has acknowledged the need for many thousands of new homes for sale and rent.  We need to see those promises being delivered, which ever party comes to power.”  

GfK Channel Manager, Ricky Coombes, believes the immediate outlook is largely positive: “Based on a backlog of project orders, the current outlook for the Repair Maintenance and Improvement sector is positive. The new build market is also healthy with the ONS reporting the highest level of new home registrations in 10 years in Q1 2017.  Similarly, GfK’s April Consumer Confidence Barometer found consumers’ intentions to spend on property/renovation in the next 12-24 months at their highest levels in 10 years.  

“That said, with inflation growing at a faster rate than wages, the squeeze may impact on consumers’ intentions to spend on home improvements. While anticipated price rises could lead to ever more price-savvy trade customers looking for the best deals.”
GfK BMBI data
Strong start to 2017 for UK Builders Merchants. The latest figures from the BMF’s BMBI confirmed a strong start to 2017 with a further three months of growth in the sales of building materials through UK generalist builders’ merchants in Q1.

Fernox joins the BMF  


Fernox joins the BMFLeading chemical water treatment and filter manufacturer, Fernox has joined the BMF, providing an additional platform to promote best practice and reach out to customers through the federation’s unique forum of merchants and suppliers.  

Joining the BMF will enable Fernox to participate in numerous political lobbying sessions and events, which form the BMF’s ‘One Industry, One Voice’ ethos, as well as working closely with allied industry groups and regulatory and planning bodies. 

Gavin McLeod, Fernox Product Manager, said: “Fernox is delighted to join the BMF, which shares our vision of delivering leading customer care and support. Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do at Fernox and input from our customers is especially important when it comes to developing our market leading ranges of filters and chemical water treatments.  

“The unique value of the BMF is that it represents the entire building industry from the market contractor, merchant wholesaler to the supplier and manufacturer. A demonstration of our commitment to our merchant partners, by joining the BMF we hope to better understand the industry challenges at both a micro and macro level to aid the progression of the heating and plumbing sector.”  

John Newcomb, BMF MD said: “I am very pleased to welcome Fernox to membership.  The BMF is the trade association that brings together merchants and their suppliers and I’m delighted that Fernox are already planning to take a very active role with the BMF and I look forward to working with them in 2017.”  

For more information on Fernox, visit www.fernox.com.
Fernox joins the BMF
Fernox joins the BMF. Leading chemical water treatment and filter manufacturer, Fernox has joined the BMF, providing an additional platform to promote best practice and reach out to customers through the federation’s unique forum of merchants and s

New BMF Apprenticeship Training Agency to boost apprentice employment    


BMF Apprenticeships PlusThe BMF has formed an accredited Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) that will help its members gain maximum benefit from the opportunities created by the Apprenticeship Reforms – whether or not they are required to pay the Apprenticeship Levy.   BMF Apprenticeships Plus is an entirely new division of the BMF that utilises the expertise of an existing ATA, which has supported apprentice training for the Electrical Distribution Association (EDA) for the past five years.  During that time EDA apprentice numbers have seen a six fold increase, rising from 54 in 2012 to 391 in 2016.  

BMF Apprenticeships Plus is designed to remove potential administrative hurdles and make it easy for BMF members to take on apprentices in any job role.  The BMF ATA qualifies as a levy payer and will act as the apprentices’ formal employer - taking full administrative responsibility - and place them with a host member.  After the successful completion of the apprenticeship, employment is seamlessly transferred to the host member. 

Another key aspect of the scheme is the flexibility it offers to both the host member and the apprentice.  This is particularly helpful if merchants or suppliers are unable to commit to the length of time needed for a full apprenticeship.  If the member company’s circumstances change during the apprenticeship BMF Apprenticeship Plus will aim to find alternative and appropriate employment for the apprentice. This also gives the apprentice the reassurance that they will complete their training and gain a qualification.  

John Newcomb, BMF MD, said: “The experience of the EDA gives us confidence that establishing a sector specific BMF ATA will have far-reaching and positive consequences for the merchant sector.  Removing the administrative burden and giving access to a far wider range of training will encourage members to increase their recruitment of young apprentices or take them on for the first time.”  

BMF members will be able to continue to use their existing preferred training providers but they will also have access to a far wider portfolio of established and pre-vetted training providers covering all areas of the UK offering new qualifications and funded training opportunities.  

Richard Ellithorne, BMF Membership Services Director said: “BMF Apprenticeship Plus will enhance the appeal of merchanting as a career option. Young people entering the industry using this route are supported by a full employment contract and apprenticeship agreement that gives them the opportunity to train and be recognised as proficient across the range of skills that our members need, as well as providing increased security for the duration of their apprenticeship.”  

To find out more about BMF Apprenticeship Plus contact James.Spillane@bmf.org.uk or on 02456 854980.
BMF Apprenticeships Plus
New BMF Apprenticeship Training Agency to boost apprentice employment. The BMF has formed an accredited Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) that will help its members gain maximum benefit from the opportunities created by the Apprenticeship Reforms

The BMF welcomes new members in Northern Ireland  

BJ Mullen L-R: James O’Hagan (General Manager, BJ Mullen), Shane Mullen (Director, BJ Mullen), John Newcomb (BMF Managing Director), Graham Bolton (BMF Regional Manager)The BMF is delighted to welcome two new independent merchant members in Northern Ireland:  

The first local independent merchant in Northern Ireland to sign up is B J Mullen & Sons Ltd, bathroom, tiles, building and plumbing supplies are based in Moy, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, B J Mullen was founded in 1977 and is in its third generation of family ownership, employing 20 people. By joining, BJ Mullen show commitment to continuous development and standing at the forefront of industry advances, reassuring their customers of professionalism and expertise.  

Shane Mullen, Director of B J Mullen said: “We are excited to be joining the BMF as a smaller independent and we are looking forward to working with the BMF in all areas, but especially training and health and safety.”  

Kellys Point cover South Down and South Armagh areas, leading into Southern Ireland, and employing around 30 staff. They operate out of a four acre site which is shared by their sister companies Kellys Point Hire Ltd and Kelly Bros Building Contractors. With a reputation for good service, product knowledge and reasonably priced products, Kelly’s Point have a vast array of products, catering to both builders and DIY enthusiasts.  

Kenny Toner, General Manager of Kellys Point said: “We are delighted to be joining the BMF as the latest local independent merchant in Northern Ireland. We are looking forward to building upon the already strong relationships enjoyed with our suppliers and customers.”  

John Newcomb, BMF MD said: “I am delighted B J Mullen and Kellys Point see the value in being part of the BMF. We are looking forward to working with them both. The Federation has changed a lot in recent years and has a great deal to offer every merchant, no matter where they are in the UK, or the size of their operation.”
BJ Mullen L-R: James O’Hagan (General Manager, BJ Mullen), Shane Mullen (Director, BJ Mullen), John Newcomb (BMF Managing Director), Graham Bolton (BMF Regional Manager)
The BMF welcomes new members in Northern Ireland. The BMF is delighted to welcome two new independent merchant members in Northern Ireland: B J Mullen and Kellys Point

Hosts announced for BMF Members’ Day

Miriam StaleyMiriam Staley, who kick-started a high profile career at the age of 26 when she made it to the final five of the first series of The Apprentice, will host the Business Conference at BMF Members’ Day on 20 September.  

Following her appearance on the TV show she joined Lloyds TSB, heading up their Corporate Sponsorship programme during their partnership with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  Since then she has developed her career as a dynamic facilitator as well as an engaging speaker.  Miriam, who is one of the few people Lord Sugar has publicly apologised for firing from The Apprentice, says her life’s purpose is “to communicate and inspire”.  

The day-long business programme takes the theme “Building Beyond Brexit” and will include construction industry speakers, expert economic analysis, thought-provoking presentations from business leaders beyond the building industry, and workshop sessions where delegates can raise issues and question experts directly.  

Members Day concludes with an Awards Dinner to celebrate the achievements of young people working in our industry, hosted by Dominic Holland.  Described by the Sunday Times as “the UK’s master of observational comedy”, Dominic’s material is accessible to all audiences.  He has performed three sell-out shows at the Edinburgh festival, winning a coveted Perrier Award, written and performed in two comedy series for BBC R4 and appeared on numerous TV and radio shows as well as theatres and comedy clubs all over the country.  

BMF MD, John Newcomb said: “Members’ Day has a new look this year with a more in-depth programme of business presentations and, for the first time, our Award ceremony held on the same day.  With this in mind we wanted to refresh the overall presentation of both elements and I know our two great hosts, Miriam and Dominic, will add that extra dimension.”  

Members’ Day 2017 will be held at Jurys Inn Hinckley Island Hotel in Leicestershire.  The Business Conference and the BMF’s black-tie Awards Dinner both take place on 20 September.  The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament will be held on the previous day, 19 September, along with our other social activities, Quad Biking and Rifle Shooting  

The BMF thanks our Members’ Day headline sponsor, Encon Insulation, and Marsh Industries, Monument Tools and First Event who sponsor the Awards Dinner and Golf Tournament and Social Activities.  

For more information and to book your place at the BMF Members’ Day Event, please contact: june.upton@bmf.org.uk
Miriam Staley
Hosts announced for BMF Members’ Day. Miriam Staley, who kick-started a high profile career at the age of 26 when she made it to the final five of the first series of The Apprentice, will host the Business Conference at BMF Members’ Day on 20 Septem