Policy & Regulation
The BMF exists to foster business-friendly conditions for its members. Inevitably, this means influencing parliaments and governments to ensure the voice of merchants is heard in a crowded marketplace. We aim to be the commentator of choice for the building materials’ supply chain.
The BMF provides an authoritative, co-ordinated and collective voice for the trade. We are more effective in doing so than individual members. In an uncertain, ever-changing world, this is a vital service (especially to small independents).
In a typical week, BMF staff could work on topics such as:
- efficient use of natural resources - e.g. aggregates, timber and water
- low-carbon solutions - e.g. insulation, boiler replacement and renewable energy
- waste management - e.g. recycling, packaging and end-of-use disposal.
- transport - e.g. fuel costs, driver training and on-street loading of vehicles
- trading standards - e.g. price marking and retail terms & conditions
- capacity and capability - e.g. vocational training and skills inc. apprentices
This is valued by policymakers because the trade is seen as fragmented, without a clear voice. The BMF provides the collective perspective because we advance, defend or support the interest of members - "one industry, one voice".
Industry advice and comment is routinely sought on (for example) product liability or technical standards. Due to BMF action, merchants can be sure proposals are screened for unintended consequences, detrimental impacts and wrongful assumptions to safeguard their interests.
The BMF offers reputable, balanced and convincing input on behalf of merchants to inform strategy, policy and funding options for policy makers to make decisions.
Examples of BMF responses to consultations in the last 12 months:
- relaxing Permitted Development Rights allowing voters to extend homes without prior permission
- proposed changes to the Building Regulations in Wales
- influencing the Green Deal and new Energy Company Obligation
- Government incentives for renewable heating and electricity micro-generation
In the 21st century, it is no longer enough to talk to national government, devolved assemblies, local authorities and statutory bodies.
The BMF collaborates with a greater number of partners than ever before in our 105-year existence. We explore common aims, forge alliances and conduct joint assignments with other trade associations, professional societies, and environmental or consumer groups. The BMF is a regular operator around in Whitehall, Westminster and at Party Political Conferences.
We represent all parts of the merchants' world - irrespective of product, turnover or geography. National FTSE-listed businesses, mid-sized regional chains, and numerous small local independents are proud to be BMF members.
The BMF also channels its members' views through other bodies we belong to. For example, onward representations via voices like the Construction Products Association, Timber Trade Federation, and British Retail Confederation.
BMF Policy Manifesto
With less than a year to go until the General Election, the Builders Merchants Federation is stepping up its campaigning activity with the publication of its own Policy Manifesto outlining how the BMF would like to see the supply chain and government working together.
The BMF Manifesto promotes different ways to get cash flowing through the industry, including a more coherent programme of government schemes to help SMEs raise finance, extending the BMF Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme beyond its initial trial period and the enforcement of the Prompt Payment Code as well as ideas to accelerate new homebuilding, upgrade existing homes and banish poorly-written regulation that makes it harder for BMF members to run their businesses.
Said BMF MD, John Newcomb: “This is possibly the first time that the BMF has so clearly set out its view on a range of policies affecting the building materials market and our members. The Manifesto will back up the BMF’s intensive programme of activity talking to MPs, their departmental officials, key party spokespeople and ministers in the House of Lords as well as local councillors and officers.”
Already this year the BMF has helped to arrange parliamentary visits to EH Smith by local MP and the government’s Women in Enterprise champion, Lorely Burt, and to Pochins by Lord Newby, the deputy government chief whip in the House of Lords.
The BMF also briefed MPs, including Housing Minister Kris Hopkins, on current issues facing self- and custom builders prior to a parliamentary debate on the subject last month.
John Newcomb added: “More merchant and parliamentary visits are planned for the rest of the year and in the lead up to the election as the BMF takes every opportunity to speak with one voice to ensure the industry’s views are heard where it counts.”
Get Britain Building
The full campaign brochure can be viewed or downloaded HERE.
Speaking at the launch of the Get Britain Building Delivery Plan, BMF MD John Newcomb said:
“With the next General Election less than a year away, we have a real opportunity to win cross party support for a coherent construction policy to deliver jobs, economic growth and better homes through a balanced and sustainable recovery.
"The BMF will be at the major party conferences this autumn to put forward the campaigning messages from our own BMF policy manifesto, and from the Get Britain Building 2020 delivery plan. While it’s important to meet politicians in their own backyard, if we want them to truly understand our industry we need to get them out of Westminster and County Halls around the country, and into merchant yards, manufacturing facilities and building sites. If politicians see how a business operates and hears from real people about the issues they are facing, they are more likely to understand, to remember and to act.
“I’m encouraging BMF members to get behind this campaign. Start by including the campaign logo on your website. And remember local issues inform national campaigns. If you think your business would benefit from direct engagement with local politicians, the BMF can offer advice and assistance in setting this up.”
A classic BMF function is to campaign for or against something - usually to coincide with an occasion like the Budget or the Queen's Speech. Campaigns also spring from (for instance) opposition to funding or tax changes, or when legislation impinges on members' livelihoods.
Examples of BMF achievements over the last 3 years:
- Energy Act 2011: we led merchant efforts to shape energy-efficiency legislation during the passage of a Government Bill in both Houses of Parliament
- 'Get Britain Building': we spearheaded a campaign to lobby the current & former Government to invest to build new homes, renovate existing ones and improve their carbon performance - inc. authors of industry manifestos for the last General Election and Autumn Statement
- Boiler Scrappage Scheme: we helped design and implement this joint industry & government heating replacement scheme
- Road Fuel Duty: we campaigned to have the Chancellor of the Exchequer abandon planned above-inflation tax rises
- 'Conservatory Tax': we persuaded ministers to scrap proposals forcing voters to have energy-efficient consequential improvements carried out when having conservatories or extensions done
Most politicians have little or no grasp of how construction products move from factories to
end-users. To overcome this, we take them to visit merchants or manufacturers in their constituency to gain insight into the building materials’ supply chain.
The gallery above shows a selection of visits by MPs - including some elected for the first time in 2010. More are in the pipeline, as diaries and the weather permit.
This page showcases a selection of policy and public affairs' work since the last General Election.
The material displayed here is not intended to be an exhaustive list. It illustrates just some of the work we do on behalf of merchants and their suppliers & customers.
News ReleasesThe Budget Statement: Jam Tomorrow - March 2013 David Cameron hears about 5% VAT - February 2013 No extension to CERT scheme - October 2012 Thumbs down for changes to Welsh Building Regulations - October 2012 DECC seeks BMF advice on Green Deal and SME Benefits - July 2012 EU Construction Products Regulation: BMF helps members prepare - March 2012 BMF pushes for another Boiler Scrappage Scheme - February 2012 HMRC crackdown on cash-in-hand builders - January 2012 Government steals clothes from BMF - November 2011 Balls pledges Labour Party support for 5% VAT - September 2011
Consultation ResponsesExtending Permitted Development Rights - DCLG December 2012 Green Deal and New Energy Company Obligation - DECC January 2012 Solar PV Feed-In Tariffs Comprehensive Review - DECC December 2011 Draft National Planning Policy Framework - DCLG October 2011
ArticlesPermitted Development Rights Right to Reply - PBM June 2013 Permitted Development Rights Special Report - PBM May 2013 Green Deal and the Federation - BMJ March 2013 Heseltine and the BMF talk about growth - BMJ January 2013 Countdown to the Green Deal - BMJ March 2013
OtherEditor's Viewpoint: Surveying the Scene - PBM - December 2012 ReXpo Conference: Supply Chain Opportunities slides - September 2012 Rising Road Fuel Costs: BMF and HM Treasury letters - March 2012 Building For Growth autumn campaign leaflet - September 2011
BMF Legal Helpline – [0870 420 7373]
The BMF legal helpline is provided for Members by carefully selected employment and commercial lawyers at law firms Halborns and DCH Law.
The helpline provides high quality legal advice, quickly and conveniently. The first 15 minutes of your call to the helpline will be free of charge.
The helpline is available for use between 9am to 5pm on weekdays (excluding bank holidays). Outside of those hours you can leave a message for the legal team and your call will be returned within two hours of the start of the next working day.
The helpline will provide advice on any employment, commercial, civil or criminal matter (excludes health & safety) relating to your normal business activities.
For any query which cannot be resolved within your 15 minute free call, your lawyer will ask you if you wish to take the matter further. No further work will be undertaken without your consent or agreement to the additional cost.
Benefits to you
- Commercial and employment law advice from straight-talking lawyers
- Solutions focused advice
- Lawyers with a practical understanding of our sector
- Clear and concise communication
- Outstanding client care
- Adding value to your business