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Membership

Five reasons why becoming a member
can help you and your business

  • Training and development
  • Business support
  • Access to market data
  • Networking opportunities
  • Political representation


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Training

The BMF runs a wide range of training and skills development for employees of merchants, distributors and suppliers, from yard staff to company directors. Training ranges from online product knowledge to specialist skills training.

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Publications

BMF publications include One Voice magazine, Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI), Plumbing & Heating News, Timber Forum News, Roofing & Insulation News, Remuneration survey, KPI report and BMF Business News.

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Featured Events

The BMF has a wide range of events, forums and regional meetings to enhance networking opportunities.




BMF Burns Supper 2022

21 January 2022

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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UFEMAT Conference 
28-30 April 2022
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Top 100 Merchant Influencers
19 May 2022

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Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

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Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

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Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

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Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

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Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

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Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

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Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

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Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

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Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

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Latest News



Here are the latest news stories from the BMF


BMF Keynote Speaker uncovers the power of a good story

18 July 2022

Every picture tells a story and photographer Giles Duley, the keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September, has spent much of his career drawing attention to the long-term impact of conflict and humanitarian crises by highlighting individual stories behind the headlines.

Giles’ own story is as dramatic as those of his subjects. Working in Afghanistan at the height of the conflict there, Giles stepped on an IED losing both legs and his left arm, and nearly losing his life.  He became the only civilian to be treated at the military hospital at Headley Court where he underwent nearly 30 operations. Despite being told that he would never walk again, by focusing on what he could do, rather than what he couldn’t, less than two years after the incident, he was both walking and working once more.

Giles offers a look at a world that few see at first-hand, putting things in perspective, but also offering lessons in commitment, goals and values. He considers what businesses can learn from the power and importance of telling a story as well as his own resilience and determination.

The BMF Members’ Conference and black-tie Awards Dinner takes place on 15 September at The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament and other social activities will be held on the previous day, 14 September at the exclusive JCB Golf and Country Club. T

he BMF thanks our Members’ Conference headline sponsor Marshalls Stonemarket who are supporting the event for the third consecutive year and our Keynote speaker sponsor H+H.


To find out more and book your place of the BMF Members Conference and Awards 2022, please visit the events section at www.bmf.org.uk

Every picture tells a story and photographer Giles Duley, the keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September, has spent much of his career drawing attention to the long-term impact of conflict and humanitarian crises by highlighting indi

MKM Founder to speak at first IOBM Conference

11 July 2022 

David Kilburn, founder of MKM Building Supplies is to address members of the IOBM (Institute of Builders Merchants) at its first Conference, to be held on 5 October 2022 at the NEC.

David Kilburn, together with Peter Murray, founded MKM Building Supplies in Hull in 1995.  From humble beginnings in a rented 5,000 sq ft warehouse, MKM rapidly became one of the fastest growing companies in the UK.  The company will open its 100th branch in late September this year.

As one of the merchanting industry’s Top 100 Influencers, David is well placed to share his experience and expertise on the IOBM Conference theme of Building Professional Excellence.

The Conference, which is open to all IOBM members and prospective members, coincides with UK Construction Week and Conference and delegates will have an opportunity to attend the UK Construction Week and Grand Designs Live exhibitions at the NEC.

The Conference is free of charge for IOBM members, with a nominal charge of £49 plus VAT for non-members. Find out more HERE and register for the event by emailing [email protected]
David Kilburn, founder of MKM Building Supplies is to address members of the IOBM (Institute of Builders Merchants) at its first Conference, to be held on 5 October 2022 at the NEC.

BMF’s sustainability drive shortlisted for Award


07 July 2022


The BMF sustainability initiatives have been shortlisted in the prestigious Memcom Awards, which recognise excellence in professional membership organisations.

The BMF was shortlisted for its continuing work towards zero-carbon and sustainability goals. The Federation is taking action to reduce carbon output within its own operations. It is also encouraging and supporting those BMF members applying to be recognised by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) as a Zero Carbon Business Champion and sharing their progress and best practice with their BMF peers, not least through the recently created BMF Sustainability Forum, which now meets twice a year.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “I’m delighted that our work to help deliver the Government’s 2050 target of Net Zero carbon within our sector has been recognised in these awards. This is a critical issue for the construction industry, which is responsible for around 40% of carbon emissions in the UK. Twenty-seven BMF members have already been assessed and approved as CLC Zero Carbon Business Champions for their commitment to carbon reduction, and we encourage others to follow.   Those wishing to be considered for this status should email [email protected],org.uk for full details.”

The winners of the Memcom Awards will be announced on 29 September.
The BMF sustainability initiatives have been shortlisted in the prestigious Memcom Awards, which recognise excellence in professional membership organisations.

Knauf UK to sponsor BMF All Industry Conference 2023


07 July 2022 

Knauf UK has confirmed its headline sponsorship of the BMF All Industry Conference 2023. The Conference, which will be held in Istanbul from 15 to 17 June, takes the theme “Creating Connections”.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “We are delighted to announce Knauf UK as our new headline sponsor for what promises to be an extremely topical industry Conference. Our focus on creating and nurturing connections in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit environment will set an agenda to help to negotiate new trading relationships, and successfully navigate increasingly complex global supply chains. What better place to hold this conference than Istanbul, a city that for centuries has provided a strategic link between Europe and Asia.”

Knauf, one of the leading manufacturers of gypsum-based building materials in the UK, supplies a range of products including plasterboard, finishes, external renders, insulating laminates and drywall accessories.  Knauf UK has also been shortlisted in the BMF Supplier Member Engagement Awards 2022.

Richard Bowes, Sales Director, Knauf UK said: “We are delighted to be the headline sponsor of the 2023 BMF All Industry Conference. The builders merchants community remains extremely important to the Knauf business, and is a cornerstone for the construction industry. We welcome you to speak to our team or me directly during the conference to discover more about how we can grow a successful and sustainable market together. Personally, I am I looking forward to meeting existing and new colleagues at what I am certain will be another engaging event.” 

Registrations for the BMF All Industry Conference 2023 are now open.  Merchants should register online at www.bmfconference.co.uk while Suppliers should email [email protected]
 
Knauf UK has confirmed its headline sponsorship of the BMF All Industry Conference 2023. The Conference, which will be held in Istanbul from 15 to 17 June, takes the theme “Creating Connections”.


BMF Keynote Speaker uncovers the power of a good story

18 July 2022

Every picture tells a story and photographer Giles Duley, the keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September, has spent much of his career drawing attention to the long-term impact of conflict and humanitarian crises by highlighting individual stories behind the headlines.

Giles’ own story is as dramatic as those of his subjects. Working in Afghanistan at the height of the conflict there, Giles stepped on an IED losing both legs and his left arm, and nearly losing his life.  He became the only civilian to be treated at the military hospital at Headley Court where he underwent nearly 30 operations. Despite being told that he would never walk again, by focusing on what he could do, rather than what he couldn’t, less than two years after the incident, he was both walking and working once more.

Giles offers a look at a world that few see at first-hand, putting things in perspective, but also offering lessons in commitment, goals and values. He considers what businesses can learn from the power and importance of telling a story as well as his own resilience and determination.

The BMF Members’ Conference and black-tie Awards Dinner takes place on 15 September at The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament and other social activities will be held on the previous day, 14 September at the exclusive JCB Golf and Country Club. T

he BMF thanks our Members’ Conference headline sponsor Marshalls Stonemarket who are supporting the event for the third consecutive year and our Keynote speaker sponsor H+H.


To find out more and book your place of the BMF Members Conference and Awards 2022, please visit the events section at www.bmf.org.uk

Every picture tells a story and photographer Giles Duley, the keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September, has spent much of his career drawing attention to the long-term impact of conflict and humanitarian crises by highlighting indi

MKM Founder to speak at first IOBM Conference

11 July 2022 

David Kilburn, founder of MKM Building Supplies is to address members of the IOBM (Institute of Builders Merchants) at its first Conference, to be held on 5 October 2022 at the NEC.

David Kilburn, together with Peter Murray, founded MKM Building Supplies in Hull in 1995.  From humble beginnings in a rented 5,000 sq ft warehouse, MKM rapidly became one of the fastest growing companies in the UK.  The company will open its 100th branch in late September this year.

As one of the merchanting industry’s Top 100 Influencers, David is well placed to share his experience and expertise on the IOBM Conference theme of Building Professional Excellence.

The Conference, which is open to all IOBM members and prospective members, coincides with UK Construction Week and Conference and delegates will have an opportunity to attend the UK Construction Week and Grand Designs Live exhibitions at the NEC.

The Conference is free of charge for IOBM members, with a nominal charge of £49 plus VAT for non-members. Find out more HERE and register for the event by emailing [email protected]
David Kilburn, founder of MKM Building Supplies is to address members of the IOBM (Institute of Builders Merchants) at its first Conference, to be held on 5 October 2022 at the NEC.

BMF’s sustainability drive shortlisted for Award


07 July 2022


The BMF sustainability initiatives have been shortlisted in the prestigious Memcom Awards, which recognise excellence in professional membership organisations.

The BMF was shortlisted for its continuing work towards zero-carbon and sustainability goals. The Federation is taking action to reduce carbon output within its own operations. It is also encouraging and supporting those BMF members applying to be recognised by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) as a Zero Carbon Business Champion and sharing their progress and best practice with their BMF peers, not least through the recently created BMF Sustainability Forum, which now meets twice a year.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “I’m delighted that our work to help deliver the Government’s 2050 target of Net Zero carbon within our sector has been recognised in these awards. This is a critical issue for the construction industry, which is responsible for around 40% of carbon emissions in the UK. Twenty-seven BMF members have already been assessed and approved as CLC Zero Carbon Business Champions for their commitment to carbon reduction, and we encourage others to follow.   Those wishing to be considered for this status should email [email protected],org.uk for full details.”

The winners of the Memcom Awards will be announced on 29 September.
The BMF sustainability initiatives have been shortlisted in the prestigious Memcom Awards, which recognise excellence in professional membership organisations.

Knauf UK to sponsor BMF All Industry Conference 2023


07 July 2022 

Knauf UK has confirmed its headline sponsorship of the BMF All Industry Conference 2023. The Conference, which will be held in Istanbul from 15 to 17 June, takes the theme “Creating Connections”.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “We are delighted to announce Knauf UK as our new headline sponsor for what promises to be an extremely topical industry Conference. Our focus on creating and nurturing connections in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit environment will set an agenda to help to negotiate new trading relationships, and successfully navigate increasingly complex global supply chains. What better place to hold this conference than Istanbul, a city that for centuries has provided a strategic link between Europe and Asia.”

Knauf, one of the leading manufacturers of gypsum-based building materials in the UK, supplies a range of products including plasterboard, finishes, external renders, insulating laminates and drywall accessories.  Knauf UK has also been shortlisted in the BMF Supplier Member Engagement Awards 2022.

Richard Bowes, Sales Director, Knauf UK said: “We are delighted to be the headline sponsor of the 2023 BMF All Industry Conference. The builders merchants community remains extremely important to the Knauf business, and is a cornerstone for the construction industry. We welcome you to speak to our team or me directly during the conference to discover more about how we can grow a successful and sustainable market together. Personally, I am I looking forward to meeting existing and new colleagues at what I am certain will be another engaging event.” 

Registrations for the BMF All Industry Conference 2023 are now open.  Merchants should register online at www.bmfconference.co.uk while Suppliers should email [email protected]
 
Knauf UK has confirmed its headline sponsorship of the BMF All Industry Conference 2023. The Conference, which will be held in Istanbul from 15 to 17 June, takes the theme “Creating Connections”.

Dean Hayward is appointed Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings & Workwear Forum 


1 July 2022

Dean Hayward, Head of Sales & Marketing at NMBS, has been appointed Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings & Workwear Forum, taking the reins from the sectors previous chair, Simon Bicknell, Marketing Director at Toolbank. 

Having been at NMBS for 19 years, Dean is responsible for developing and implementing the sales and marketing strategies at NMBS while also having the commercial responsibility for the Power Tools and Tools categories. Dean is also a Key Account Manager for NBG, H&B and IBC. 

Dean Hayward said the following: “It is a great honour to be elected as the Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings, Workwear and PPE forum. I am excited to continue my work with the BMF to proactively collaborate with suppliers and merchants. The aim is to create an eagerly attended forum for merchants, manufacturers, and distributors to share best practice and enjoy networking opportunities with their fellow peers within Tools, Workwear and Fixings categories.”

John Newcomb made the following comments: “I am delighted to have Dean as one of the BMF’s sector forum Chairs. Deans first meeting was a success and I look forward to seeing what he will bring to the forums to come.”
 
Dean Hayward, Head of Sales & Marketing at NMBS, has been appointed Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings & Workwear Forum.

New team elected to head BMF Young Merchants


18 October 2021

Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to replace Jo as Vice Chair.

Jo takes over from Glenn Paddison, who completed his term as Chair at the BMF Young Merchant Conference held this year at the NEC, Birmingham during National Construction Week and attended by 150 people.

Jo has been an active member of the Young Merchant Group for seven years, serving as Vice Chair since 2018.  She joined the Group after winning the BMF Young Supplier Achiever Award in 2014, just a year after she entered the building materials industry as a member of Knauf Insulation’s Merchant Support Team. Jo continued to work closely with merchants in her subsequent roles at Knauf Insulation as Area Sales Manager and National Merchant Support Manager. She was promoted to her current role in 2020.  
 
Jo is keen to continue developing the BMF Young Merchant’s work and influence. She said:

“I am delighted and honoured to take on the role of Chair and looking forward to working with Ed to build on all that Glenn achieved during his chairmanship. The current drive to achieve net zero makes this a particularly exciting time, offering even more opportunities for young people entering the industry. I know from my own experience how the interaction within the Young Merchant Group helps members as they build their careers. Our focus will be on delivering quality events to support this.”

Vice Chair, Ed Parlato, is currently involved in the purchasing side of Browns an independent, family run merchants in Derby, but has tackled many other roles in the business over the years. He is also part of the NBG Category Management team for tools and workwear.

Commenting on his appointment as Vice Chair, Ed said:

“The Young Merchant group has grown enormously in the past few years. When I first joined there were 20 people at the meeting, the latest Conference had over 150. Every Chair has built on the work of the last and I’m looking forward to working with Jo and supporting her over the next two years, and I will be listening to members of the group to make sure their views are represented. If the last 18 months has shown us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. I always marvel at the intelligence and creativity of all the people in Young Merchants, and I hope I can capture part of that to share with the wider industry.”

The BMF Young Merchant Group supports merchants and suppliers aged between 18 and 40 in their career development. Membership is open to those holding a key management position within their organisation. They benefit from twice yearly meetings and networking events, and an annual fact-finding trip, normally overseas.

For further information on the BMF Young Merchant Group contact [email protected]
 
Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to rep

Hundreds of Travis Perkins apprentices join IoBM 


06 October 2021

Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IOBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

More than 800 Travis Perkins apprentices joined the IOBM on 1 October 2021. New apprentices joining Travis Perkins will also be given the opportunity to join the Institute.

Student members benefit from the IOBM’s role as an independent accreditation body and its structured framework for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Bi-annual conferences for student members are also planned and due to begin in autumn 2022.

Unlike most employers, Travis Perkins is an accredited provider of apprenticeships with over 40 apprenticeship programmes on offer, suited to a wide range of candidates. These include existing employees who want to develop their skills or build expertise in other areas as they progress to new roles, as well as those joining the industry, either from school or university or migrating over to an apprenticeship having joined the business from the Government’s Kickstarter programme, or those switching from a former occupation and joining the sector later in their careers.

Andy Rayner, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers for Travis Perkins Group, said:

“We pride ourselves on providing a full range of apprenticeships from the branch counter to the Boardroom. Our apprenticeships are designed to support existing employees as well as individuals with no prior knowledge of our industry or our business, to give them the skills they need to become valued colleagues.  

“This is very much in line with the ethos of the IOBM and by introducing our apprentices to the Institute as student members, they will be able to assess how active membership can support them as they continue to develop their careers. We asked our 1,000 apprentices if they wanted to become members of the IOBM and we were delighted that the vast majority did.”

Announcing the news at the Builders Merchants Federation’s Young Merchant Conference, BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“The IOBM Management Committee set a membership target of 1,000 new members by the end of the year. With the support of Travis Perkins, we will achieve this by the end of October. 

“It is particularly encouraging to see the largest builders’ merchant in the UK bringing such a significant number of new recruits to the industry into membership. Through accreditation and CPD the IOBM has set out a pathway to professionalism in the merchanting industry which can support them through their entire career. We hope others will now follow this example.”

The IOBM merged with the BMF earlier this year and operates as a separate brand of the BMF, with its own management body. The IOBM has a clear aim to become a Chartered Institute, supporting the highest standards of professionalism within the industry.  
 
Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IoBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

Haulage a priority for BMF


3 September 2021

Haulage a priority for BMFNew data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK. 

A snap survey of BMF members found 67% of builders’ merchant respondents and 86% of supplier respondents are affected by haulage issues, citing it as their number one concern.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“Haulage, and in particular the shortage of HGV drivers, has become our industry’s number one concern, and the results of our member survey have been fed into discussions between the transport industry and government.

“Some suppliers are reporting that the standard five-day lead time has more than doubled. In some cases, we are even seeing increases of up to four weeks. We have heard reports that suppliers are asking merchants to collect orders as they cannot get enough drivers to complete deliveries.

“Driver recruitment is the main challenge. Both suppliers and merchants are prepared to recruit or retrain existing staff as drivers, but there are limited opportunities for training and testing.  They want more testing to be made available to help get new HGV drivers on the road.”

The issue is not confined to the building materials industry.  The Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have contributed to haulage challenges, with transport industry bodies estimating a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, with an estimated 15,000 lost following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Logistics UK’s May 2021 tracker survey found 61% of respondents considered recruitment of HGV drivers to be a ‘severe’ or ‘very severe’ challenge, while 50% cited the availability of testing as a ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’ barrier to recovery.

John Newcomb added: 

“Builders merchants have done a fantastic job managing product demand and supply in the face of high global demand and reduced capacity resulting from the pandemic. Haulage is the latest challenge and our top priority.  We are doing everything we can to assist discussions between the freight industry and government as they seek to agree both short and long term solutions.”
 
Haulage a priority for BMF
New data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK.

Dean Hayward is appointed Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings & Workwear Forum 


1 July 2022

Dean Hayward, Head of Sales & Marketing at NMBS, has been appointed Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings & Workwear Forum, taking the reins from the sectors previous chair, Simon Bicknell, Marketing Director at Toolbank. 

Having been at NMBS for 19 years, Dean is responsible for developing and implementing the sales and marketing strategies at NMBS while also having the commercial responsibility for the Power Tools and Tools categories. Dean is also a Key Account Manager for NBG, H&B and IBC. 

Dean Hayward said the following: “It is a great honour to be elected as the Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings, Workwear and PPE forum. I am excited to continue my work with the BMF to proactively collaborate with suppliers and merchants. The aim is to create an eagerly attended forum for merchants, manufacturers, and distributors to share best practice and enjoy networking opportunities with their fellow peers within Tools, Workwear and Fixings categories.”

John Newcomb made the following comments: “I am delighted to have Dean as one of the BMF’s sector forum Chairs. Deans first meeting was a success and I look forward to seeing what he will bring to the forums to come.”
 
Dean Hayward, Head of Sales & Marketing at NMBS, has been appointed Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings & Workwear Forum.

New team elected to head BMF Young Merchants


18 October 2021

Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to replace Jo as Vice Chair.

Jo takes over from Glenn Paddison, who completed his term as Chair at the BMF Young Merchant Conference held this year at the NEC, Birmingham during National Construction Week and attended by 150 people.

Jo has been an active member of the Young Merchant Group for seven years, serving as Vice Chair since 2018.  She joined the Group after winning the BMF Young Supplier Achiever Award in 2014, just a year after she entered the building materials industry as a member of Knauf Insulation’s Merchant Support Team. Jo continued to work closely with merchants in her subsequent roles at Knauf Insulation as Area Sales Manager and National Merchant Support Manager. She was promoted to her current role in 2020.  
 
Jo is keen to continue developing the BMF Young Merchant’s work and influence. She said:

“I am delighted and honoured to take on the role of Chair and looking forward to working with Ed to build on all that Glenn achieved during his chairmanship. The current drive to achieve net zero makes this a particularly exciting time, offering even more opportunities for young people entering the industry. I know from my own experience how the interaction within the Young Merchant Group helps members as they build their careers. Our focus will be on delivering quality events to support this.”

Vice Chair, Ed Parlato, is currently involved in the purchasing side of Browns an independent, family run merchants in Derby, but has tackled many other roles in the business over the years. He is also part of the NBG Category Management team for tools and workwear.

Commenting on his appointment as Vice Chair, Ed said:

“The Young Merchant group has grown enormously in the past few years. When I first joined there were 20 people at the meeting, the latest Conference had over 150. Every Chair has built on the work of the last and I’m looking forward to working with Jo and supporting her over the next two years, and I will be listening to members of the group to make sure their views are represented. If the last 18 months has shown us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. I always marvel at the intelligence and creativity of all the people in Young Merchants, and I hope I can capture part of that to share with the wider industry.”

The BMF Young Merchant Group supports merchants and suppliers aged between 18 and 40 in their career development. Membership is open to those holding a key management position within their organisation. They benefit from twice yearly meetings and networking events, and an annual fact-finding trip, normally overseas.

For further information on the BMF Young Merchant Group contact [email protected]
 
Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to rep

Hundreds of Travis Perkins apprentices join IoBM 


06 October 2021

Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IOBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

More than 800 Travis Perkins apprentices joined the IOBM on 1 October 2021. New apprentices joining Travis Perkins will also be given the opportunity to join the Institute.

Student members benefit from the IOBM’s role as an independent accreditation body and its structured framework for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Bi-annual conferences for student members are also planned and due to begin in autumn 2022.

Unlike most employers, Travis Perkins is an accredited provider of apprenticeships with over 40 apprenticeship programmes on offer, suited to a wide range of candidates. These include existing employees who want to develop their skills or build expertise in other areas as they progress to new roles, as well as those joining the industry, either from school or university or migrating over to an apprenticeship having joined the business from the Government’s Kickstarter programme, or those switching from a former occupation and joining the sector later in their careers.

Andy Rayner, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers for Travis Perkins Group, said:

“We pride ourselves on providing a full range of apprenticeships from the branch counter to the Boardroom. Our apprenticeships are designed to support existing employees as well as individuals with no prior knowledge of our industry or our business, to give them the skills they need to become valued colleagues.  

“This is very much in line with the ethos of the IOBM and by introducing our apprentices to the Institute as student members, they will be able to assess how active membership can support them as they continue to develop their careers. We asked our 1,000 apprentices if they wanted to become members of the IOBM and we were delighted that the vast majority did.”

Announcing the news at the Builders Merchants Federation’s Young Merchant Conference, BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“The IOBM Management Committee set a membership target of 1,000 new members by the end of the year. With the support of Travis Perkins, we will achieve this by the end of October. 

“It is particularly encouraging to see the largest builders’ merchant in the UK bringing such a significant number of new recruits to the industry into membership. Through accreditation and CPD the IOBM has set out a pathway to professionalism in the merchanting industry which can support them through their entire career. We hope others will now follow this example.”

The IOBM merged with the BMF earlier this year and operates as a separate brand of the BMF, with its own management body. The IOBM has a clear aim to become a Chartered Institute, supporting the highest standards of professionalism within the industry.  
 
Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IoBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

Haulage a priority for BMF


3 September 2021

Haulage a priority for BMFNew data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK. 

A snap survey of BMF members found 67% of builders’ merchant respondents and 86% of supplier respondents are affected by haulage issues, citing it as their number one concern.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“Haulage, and in particular the shortage of HGV drivers, has become our industry’s number one concern, and the results of our member survey have been fed into discussions between the transport industry and government.

“Some suppliers are reporting that the standard five-day lead time has more than doubled. In some cases, we are even seeing increases of up to four weeks. We have heard reports that suppliers are asking merchants to collect orders as they cannot get enough drivers to complete deliveries.

“Driver recruitment is the main challenge. Both suppliers and merchants are prepared to recruit or retrain existing staff as drivers, but there are limited opportunities for training and testing.  They want more testing to be made available to help get new HGV drivers on the road.”

The issue is not confined to the building materials industry.  The Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have contributed to haulage challenges, with transport industry bodies estimating a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, with an estimated 15,000 lost following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Logistics UK’s May 2021 tracker survey found 61% of respondents considered recruitment of HGV drivers to be a ‘severe’ or ‘very severe’ challenge, while 50% cited the availability of testing as a ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’ barrier to recovery.

John Newcomb added: 

“Builders merchants have done a fantastic job managing product demand and supply in the face of high global demand and reduced capacity resulting from the pandemic. Haulage is the latest challenge and our top priority.  We are doing everything we can to assist discussions between the freight industry and government as they seek to agree both short and long term solutions.”
 
Haulage a priority for BMF
New data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK.


BMF Keynote Speaker uncovers the power of a good story

18 July 2022

Every picture tells a story and photographer Giles Duley, the keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September, has spent much of his career drawing attention to the long-term impact of conflict and humanitarian crises by highlighting individual stories behind the headlines.

Giles’ own story is as dramatic as those of his subjects. Working in Afghanistan at the height of the conflict there, Giles stepped on an IED losing both legs and his left arm, and nearly losing his life.  He became the only civilian to be treated at the military hospital at Headley Court where he underwent nearly 30 operations. Despite being told that he would never walk again, by focusing on what he could do, rather than what he couldn’t, less than two years after the incident, he was both walking and working once more.

Giles offers a look at a world that few see at first-hand, putting things in perspective, but also offering lessons in commitment, goals and values. He considers what businesses can learn from the power and importance of telling a story as well as his own resilience and determination.

The BMF Members’ Conference and black-tie Awards Dinner takes place on 15 September at The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament and other social activities will be held on the previous day, 14 September at the exclusive JCB Golf and Country Club. T

he BMF thanks our Members’ Conference headline sponsor Marshalls Stonemarket who are supporting the event for the third consecutive year and our Keynote speaker sponsor H+H.


To find out more and book your place of the BMF Members Conference and Awards 2022, please visit the events section at www.bmf.org.uk

Every picture tells a story and photographer Giles Duley, the keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September, has spent much of his career drawing attention to the long-term impact of conflict and humanitarian crises by highlighting indi

MKM Founder to speak at first IOBM Conference

11 July 2022 

David Kilburn, founder of MKM Building Supplies is to address members of the IOBM (Institute of Builders Merchants) at its first Conference, to be held on 5 October 2022 at the NEC.

David Kilburn, together with Peter Murray, founded MKM Building Supplies in Hull in 1995.  From humble beginnings in a rented 5,000 sq ft warehouse, MKM rapidly became one of the fastest growing companies in the UK.  The company will open its 100th branch in late September this year.

As one of the merchanting industry’s Top 100 Influencers, David is well placed to share his experience and expertise on the IOBM Conference theme of Building Professional Excellence.

The Conference, which is open to all IOBM members and prospective members, coincides with UK Construction Week and Conference and delegates will have an opportunity to attend the UK Construction Week and Grand Designs Live exhibitions at the NEC.

The Conference is free of charge for IOBM members, with a nominal charge of £49 plus VAT for non-members. Find out more HERE and register for the event by emailing [email protected]
David Kilburn, founder of MKM Building Supplies is to address members of the IOBM (Institute of Builders Merchants) at its first Conference, to be held on 5 October 2022 at the NEC.

BMF’s sustainability drive shortlisted for Award


07 July 2022


The BMF sustainability initiatives have been shortlisted in the prestigious Memcom Awards, which recognise excellence in professional membership organisations.

The BMF was shortlisted for its continuing work towards zero-carbon and sustainability goals. The Federation is taking action to reduce carbon output within its own operations. It is also encouraging and supporting those BMF members applying to be recognised by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) as a Zero Carbon Business Champion and sharing their progress and best practice with their BMF peers, not least through the recently created BMF Sustainability Forum, which now meets twice a year.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “I’m delighted that our work to help deliver the Government’s 2050 target of Net Zero carbon within our sector has been recognised in these awards. This is a critical issue for the construction industry, which is responsible for around 40% of carbon emissions in the UK. Twenty-seven BMF members have already been assessed and approved as CLC Zero Carbon Business Champions for their commitment to carbon reduction, and we encourage others to follow.   Those wishing to be considered for this status should email [email protected],org.uk for full details.”

The winners of the Memcom Awards will be announced on 29 September.
The BMF sustainability initiatives have been shortlisted in the prestigious Memcom Awards, which recognise excellence in professional membership organisations.

Knauf UK to sponsor BMF All Industry Conference 2023


07 July 2022 

Knauf UK has confirmed its headline sponsorship of the BMF All Industry Conference 2023. The Conference, which will be held in Istanbul from 15 to 17 June, takes the theme “Creating Connections”.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “We are delighted to announce Knauf UK as our new headline sponsor for what promises to be an extremely topical industry Conference. Our focus on creating and nurturing connections in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit environment will set an agenda to help to negotiate new trading relationships, and successfully navigate increasingly complex global supply chains. What better place to hold this conference than Istanbul, a city that for centuries has provided a strategic link between Europe and Asia.”

Knauf, one of the leading manufacturers of gypsum-based building materials in the UK, supplies a range of products including plasterboard, finishes, external renders, insulating laminates and drywall accessories.  Knauf UK has also been shortlisted in the BMF Supplier Member Engagement Awards 2022.

Richard Bowes, Sales Director, Knauf UK said: “We are delighted to be the headline sponsor of the 2023 BMF All Industry Conference. The builders merchants community remains extremely important to the Knauf business, and is a cornerstone for the construction industry. We welcome you to speak to our team or me directly during the conference to discover more about how we can grow a successful and sustainable market together. Personally, I am I looking forward to meeting existing and new colleagues at what I am certain will be another engaging event.” 

Registrations for the BMF All Industry Conference 2023 are now open.  Merchants should register online at www.bmfconference.co.uk while Suppliers should email [email protected]
 
Knauf UK has confirmed its headline sponsorship of the BMF All Industry Conference 2023. The Conference, which will be held in Istanbul from 15 to 17 June, takes the theme “Creating Connections”.

Dean Hayward is appointed Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings & Workwear Forum 


1 July 2022

Dean Hayward, Head of Sales & Marketing at NMBS, has been appointed Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings & Workwear Forum, taking the reins from the sectors previous chair, Simon Bicknell, Marketing Director at Toolbank. 

Having been at NMBS for 19 years, Dean is responsible for developing and implementing the sales and marketing strategies at NMBS while also having the commercial responsibility for the Power Tools and Tools categories. Dean is also a Key Account Manager for NBG, H&B and IBC. 

Dean Hayward said the following: “It is a great honour to be elected as the Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings, Workwear and PPE forum. I am excited to continue my work with the BMF to proactively collaborate with suppliers and merchants. The aim is to create an eagerly attended forum for merchants, manufacturers, and distributors to share best practice and enjoy networking opportunities with their fellow peers within Tools, Workwear and Fixings categories.”

John Newcomb made the following comments: “I am delighted to have Dean as one of the BMF’s sector forum Chairs. Deans first meeting was a success and I look forward to seeing what he will bring to the forums to come.”
 
Dean Hayward, Head of Sales & Marketing at NMBS, has been appointed Chair of the BMF Tools, Fixings & Workwear Forum.

New team elected to head BMF Young Merchants


18 October 2021

Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to replace Jo as Vice Chair.

Jo takes over from Glenn Paddison, who completed his term as Chair at the BMF Young Merchant Conference held this year at the NEC, Birmingham during National Construction Week and attended by 150 people.

Jo has been an active member of the Young Merchant Group for seven years, serving as Vice Chair since 2018.  She joined the Group after winning the BMF Young Supplier Achiever Award in 2014, just a year after she entered the building materials industry as a member of Knauf Insulation’s Merchant Support Team. Jo continued to work closely with merchants in her subsequent roles at Knauf Insulation as Area Sales Manager and National Merchant Support Manager. She was promoted to her current role in 2020.  
 
Jo is keen to continue developing the BMF Young Merchant’s work and influence. She said:

“I am delighted and honoured to take on the role of Chair and looking forward to working with Ed to build on all that Glenn achieved during his chairmanship. The current drive to achieve net zero makes this a particularly exciting time, offering even more opportunities for young people entering the industry. I know from my own experience how the interaction within the Young Merchant Group helps members as they build their careers. Our focus will be on delivering quality events to support this.”

Vice Chair, Ed Parlato, is currently involved in the purchasing side of Browns an independent, family run merchants in Derby, but has tackled many other roles in the business over the years. He is also part of the NBG Category Management team for tools and workwear.

Commenting on his appointment as Vice Chair, Ed said:

“The Young Merchant group has grown enormously in the past few years. When I first joined there were 20 people at the meeting, the latest Conference had over 150. Every Chair has built on the work of the last and I’m looking forward to working with Jo and supporting her over the next two years, and I will be listening to members of the group to make sure their views are represented. If the last 18 months has shown us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. I always marvel at the intelligence and creativity of all the people in Young Merchants, and I hope I can capture part of that to share with the wider industry.”

The BMF Young Merchant Group supports merchants and suppliers aged between 18 and 40 in their career development. Membership is open to those holding a key management position within their organisation. They benefit from twice yearly meetings and networking events, and an annual fact-finding trip, normally overseas.

For further information on the BMF Young Merchant Group contact [email protected]
 
Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to rep

Hundreds of Travis Perkins apprentices join IoBM 


06 October 2021

Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IOBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

More than 800 Travis Perkins apprentices joined the IOBM on 1 October 2021. New apprentices joining Travis Perkins will also be given the opportunity to join the Institute.

Student members benefit from the IOBM’s role as an independent accreditation body and its structured framework for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Bi-annual conferences for student members are also planned and due to begin in autumn 2022.

Unlike most employers, Travis Perkins is an accredited provider of apprenticeships with over 40 apprenticeship programmes on offer, suited to a wide range of candidates. These include existing employees who want to develop their skills or build expertise in other areas as they progress to new roles, as well as those joining the industry, either from school or university or migrating over to an apprenticeship having joined the business from the Government’s Kickstarter programme, or those switching from a former occupation and joining the sector later in their careers.

Andy Rayner, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers for Travis Perkins Group, said:

“We pride ourselves on providing a full range of apprenticeships from the branch counter to the Boardroom. Our apprenticeships are designed to support existing employees as well as individuals with no prior knowledge of our industry or our business, to give them the skills they need to become valued colleagues.  

“This is very much in line with the ethos of the IOBM and by introducing our apprentices to the Institute as student members, they will be able to assess how active membership can support them as they continue to develop their careers. We asked our 1,000 apprentices if they wanted to become members of the IOBM and we were delighted that the vast majority did.”

Announcing the news at the Builders Merchants Federation’s Young Merchant Conference, BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“The IOBM Management Committee set a membership target of 1,000 new members by the end of the year. With the support of Travis Perkins, we will achieve this by the end of October. 

“It is particularly encouraging to see the largest builders’ merchant in the UK bringing such a significant number of new recruits to the industry into membership. Through accreditation and CPD the IOBM has set out a pathway to professionalism in the merchanting industry which can support them through their entire career. We hope others will now follow this example.”

The IOBM merged with the BMF earlier this year and operates as a separate brand of the BMF, with its own management body. The IOBM has a clear aim to become a Chartered Institute, supporting the highest standards of professionalism within the industry.  
 
Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IoBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

Haulage a priority for BMF


3 September 2021

Haulage a priority for BMFNew data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK. 

A snap survey of BMF members found 67% of builders’ merchant respondents and 86% of supplier respondents are affected by haulage issues, citing it as their number one concern.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“Haulage, and in particular the shortage of HGV drivers, has become our industry’s number one concern, and the results of our member survey have been fed into discussions between the transport industry and government.

“Some suppliers are reporting that the standard five-day lead time has more than doubled. In some cases, we are even seeing increases of up to four weeks. We have heard reports that suppliers are asking merchants to collect orders as they cannot get enough drivers to complete deliveries.

“Driver recruitment is the main challenge. Both suppliers and merchants are prepared to recruit or retrain existing staff as drivers, but there are limited opportunities for training and testing.  They want more testing to be made available to help get new HGV drivers on the road.”

The issue is not confined to the building materials industry.  The Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have contributed to haulage challenges, with transport industry bodies estimating a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, with an estimated 15,000 lost following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Logistics UK’s May 2021 tracker survey found 61% of respondents considered recruitment of HGV drivers to be a ‘severe’ or ‘very severe’ challenge, while 50% cited the availability of testing as a ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’ barrier to recovery.

John Newcomb added: 

“Builders merchants have done a fantastic job managing product demand and supply in the face of high global demand and reduced capacity resulting from the pandemic. Haulage is the latest challenge and our top priority.  We are doing everything we can to assist discussions between the freight industry and government as they seek to agree both short and long term solutions.”
 
Haulage a priority for BMF
New data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK.

Price inflation driving sales value growth at P&H Merchants in Q1


Price inflation driving sales value growth at P&H Merchants in Q1  Figures released by the Builders Merchants Federation in its latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index (PHMI) shows that sales values in Q1 2022 increased by +2.9% against Q1 2021. However, with sales volumes this year down by -5.5% on the same period last year, any growth is entirely the result of price inflation (+8.9%).  Comparing the first quarter of 2022 with Q4 2021, and removing trading day differences between the two periods, Q1 sales were down by 0.9%.   The P&H sector continues to be adversely affected by availability issues for certain key products, in particular gas boilers, where supply has been delayed by the global shortage of semi-conductors.    The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.19 May 2022

Figures released by the BMF in its latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index (PHMI) shows that sales values in Q1 2022 increased by +2.9% against Q1 2021. However, with sales volumes this year down by -5.5% on the same period last year, any growth is entirely the result of price inflation (+8.9%).

Comparing the first quarter of 2022 with Q4 2021, and removing trading day differences between the two periods, Q1 sales were down by 0.9%. 

The P&H sector continues to be adversely affected by availability issues for certain key products, in particular gas boilers, where supply has been delayed by the global shortage of semi-conductors.  

The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.
 
Price inflation driving sales value growth at P&H Merchants in Q1  Figures released by the Builders Merchants Federation in its latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index (PHMI) shows that sales values in Q1 2022 increased by +2.9% against Q1 2021. However, with sales volumes this year down by -5.5% on the same period last year, any growth is entirely the result of price inflation (+8.9%).  Comparing the first quarter of 2022 with Q4 2021, and removing trading day differences between the two periods, Q1 sales were down by 0.9%.   The P&H sector continues to be adversely affected by availability issues for certain key products, in particular gas boilers, where supply has been delayed by the global shortage of semi-conductors.    The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.
Figures released by the BMF in its latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index (PHMI) shows that sales values in Q1 2022 increased by +2.9% against Q1 2021.

Price inflation outstrips volume growth in Q1 merchant sales


Price inflation outstrips volume growth in Q1 merchant sales18 May 2021

The BMF’s Builder Merchants Building Index (BMBI) latest report on sales of building materials in the UK, underscores the growing impact of price inflation on the sector. The value of sales in the first quarter of 2022 was up by +17.7% against Q1 2021. Almost all of this was driven by price increases with volume rising by just +1.5%.

While the figures indicate a continuing demand for building materials, they also confirm price inflation as a critical issue, with the impact of rising energy, fuel and raw material costs on product price clear to see. 

Q1 2022 vs Q1 2021

Drilling down to year-on-year performance comparisons for the three largest product categories, the largest, Heavy Building Materials, increased +17.4% by value, but +5.0% by volume.  This category includes many energy-intensive products, and bricks, blocks, cement, plasterboard and roofing products all saw their highest quarterly prices to date.

Timber & Joinery products have been even more affected by fluctuating prices over the past 12 months.  Year on year results show sales value up by +21.4%, with volume down by
-11.3%, a price increase of 36.9% over Q1 2021.   However, this must be tempered by the fact that Q1 2022 Timber & Joinery prices decreased by -6.7% against Q4 2021, which may indicate that prices in this category have already peaked.

Landscaping, one of the strongest performers throughout the pandemic, saw a value increase of +14.4% against Q1 2021, with volumes down by -3.5%.

John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF said:
“Taken at first sight there are some astonishing value growth figures in this quarter’s BMBI, but this must be tempered by the disparity between price and volume growth.  The supply chain was already facing uncertainty before the outbreak of war in Ukraine. The conflict can only exacerbate this. Continuing pressure on availability coupled with rising costs for raw materials, energy and labour suggests that price inflation will be the main story of 2022.”

Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK added:
“Growth forecasts have been revised down across the world since Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February. At this stage it is difficult to make any sensible prediction, but there’s an expectation that market conditions will become increasingly more difficult as prices continue to rise and consumer spend is stretched further and further.”
 
Price inflation outstrips volume growth in Q1 merchant sales
The BMF’s Builder Merchants Building Index (BMBI) latest report on sales of building materials in the UK, underscores the growing impact of price inflation on the sector.

CBI Economist confirmed for BMF Members Day Conference


6 July 2021

CBI Economist confirmed for BMF Members Day ConferenceAnna Leach, Deputy Chief Economist at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), will provide insights into the state of the UK economy, following a video introduction by CBI Chief Economist, Rain Newton-Smith, at the BMF Members Conference on 23 September 2021.  

Anna heads the economic intelligence team which produces and analyses the CBI’s economic surveys and provides the CBI’s macroeconomic forecast.   She joined the CBI in 2008 and moved on to head the economic analysis team in 2012 where she leads on the CBI’s assessment of near-term economic conditions.

Before this Anna worked in the Government Economic Service (GES) and at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).  She also undertook a secondment to the Treasury Select Committee to work on their inquiry into the private equity industry and their early inquiries at the start of the financial crisis.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive said: “BMF members are always keen to hear expert analysis of the economy. The extraordinary times we have lived through recently makes this session even more pertinent than usual and I am delighted that the CBI has responded with a ‘two-for one’ speaker opportunity.   I look forward to welcoming Anna in person and Rain via video link.”

This year’s BMF Members’ Day Conference and Awards, which takes the theme “Reshape, Renew, Rebuild” will be held at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor, Berkshire, a new venue for the event, which marks the BMF’s return to hosting large scale physical meetings.  The event’s headline sponsor is Marshalls Stonemarket.

While the Awards Dinner is now sold out, we can accommodate a few more delegates at the Business Conference. To find out more please email [email protected]
 
CBI Economist confirmed for BMF Members Day Conference
Anna Leach, Deputy Chief Economist at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), will provide insights into the state of the UK economy, following a video introduction by CBI Chief Economist, Rain Newton-Smith, at the BMF Members Conference on 23 S

Building materials sales continue upward growth trend 


26 May 2021

Building materials sales continue upward growth trendThe latest report from the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) shows sales of building materials continuing their upward growth trend during Q1 2021.

One year on from the onset of the Covid pandemic, comparisons with Q1 2020 inevitably reference the initial fall in sales during the first lockdown period, which began on 24 March 2020.   The reality of the bounceback is impressive nonetheless with Q1 2021 sales volumes continuing the upward trend seen in Q4 2020, and comparing well with the pre-Covid levels seen in Q1 2019.

Looking at Q1 2021 in detail, January was down -3.7% on the same month the previous year, with February seeing annual growth of 2.3%. March however was a record month for the industry, with sales increasing by 47.4% against March 2020 and by 23.0% against March 2019.

This results in overall Q1 growth of 15.1% against Q1 2020 and 6.0% against Q1 2019.  The figures also confirm overall growth of 8.6% against Q4 2020, helped by three more trading days in Q1. Average sales a day were up by 3.4%.

Q1 2021 vs Q1 2020
The strongest year on year performers were Landscaping, up by +41.4% on Q1 2020, and Timber & Joinery (+30.5%).  Sales of Tools increased by +15.9% year on year, and were also up for the largest product group, Heavy Building Materials (+10.3%) and Plumbing, Heating and Electrical products (+3.7%).  

Workwear and Safetywear (-8.9%), one of the strongest performers a year ago when PPE was in great demand, was one of only four categories to record a fall in year on year sales for the quarter.

Q1 2021 vs Q1 2019
Comparing Q1 2021 with Q1 2019, Landscaping (+32.3%) and Timber & Joinery (+15.8%) were again the strongest performers.  Heavy Building Materials also increased (+1.3%), but sales of Tools (-1.8%) and Plumbing Heating and Electrical products (-4.4%) were both lower on the two year comparison.

Q1 2021 vs Q4 2020
A similar picture emerges when comparing quarter on quarter results. Sales increased in 11 out of 12 categories in Q1 2021 vs Q4 2020, again led by Landscaping (+26.2%) and Timber & Joinery (+12.9%), strongly supported by Tools (+9.9%), Heavy Building Materials (+5.9%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+5.9%).  

Kitchens and Bathrooms was one of the few areas to record a fall in sales in Q1 2021 against all three comparators, at -2.1% vs Q4 2020, -1.8% vs Q1 2020 and -6.7% vs Q1 2019.  This may be due to showrooms being deemed non-essential retail and closed during the period.

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said:

“The first three months of the year may have seen the country once again in lockdown but even this could not prevent a boom in construction activity.  This is an excellent start to the year and we are already seeing strong product demand in many areas, notably timber which has been one of the main drivers for growth during the quarter.  Managing product demand and supply will be a recurring theme this year and the Construction Leadership Council, product availability group, which I co-chair, is issuing monthly updates to assist with forward planning.” 

Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK added:

“To say the first quarter, and March in particular, has gone well is an understatement. It was not only the big hitters such as timber, bricks, aggregates, insulation, cement and plasterboard reporting record sales, but also areas such as tool hire, plumbing equipment, power tools, hand tools, boilers, tanks and boiler accessories.  Repair, maintenance and improvement is expected to be the main driver during the first half of the year, and quite possibly beyond, which bodes well for the industry if supply can keep up with demand.”
 
Building materials sales continue upward growth trend
The latest report from the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) shows sales of building materials continuing their upward growth trend during Q1 2021.

Ibstock to host Sustainability Forum at BMF All Industry Conference


29 October 2021

Ibstock to host Sustainability ForumWith this year’s BMF All Industry Conference taking place at the same time as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, the subject of sustainability takes on particular importance.  The BMF has responded with a dedicated Sustainability Forum, sponsored and hosted by Ibstock Brick. 

Ibstock is one of the 18 BMF members to date who have achieved net zero carbon Business Champion status supporting the Construction Leadership Council’s CO2nstruct Zero initiative.

Commenting on his company’s commitment to sustainability, Michael McGowan, Group Sustainability Manager, Ibstock said:

“Ibstock is proud to be sponsoring the Sustainability Forum at the BMF All Industry Conference.  Sustainability is a key strategic driver for us and our ambition is to be the most sustainable manufacturer of clay and concrete building products in the UK. As a market leader it is our responsibility to be at the forefront in this vital area, a responsibility we take very seriously.  We have developed strong relationships with our merchant partners over many decades so to be sponsoring a forum on such a vital subject for the future of our industry is a great way to continue to strengthen these relationships further as we all work together to identify ways to address the challenges and opportunities that we face in the years ahead.”

Michael will be joined on the platform by James Mitchell of Kerridge Commercial Systems.  Kerridge believes that sustainability and profitability go hand in hand and focus on supporting merchants with digital solutions that support both these twin goals. James Mitchell explains: 

“We view the acceleration of Digital Transformation in the UK’s merchant sector as key to improving performance and customer service and to creating sustainable working practices. We are proud to support the BMF initiatives to promote the Net Zero Carbon strategy, we believe that sustainability and profitability go hand in hand.”

The sold-out, dual-centre BMF All Industry Conference takes place in Harrogate and York from 4-7 November 2021. Further details are available on the Conference website, www.bmfconference.co.uk

The headline sponsor for the second year is the Crystal Group.  Other key sponsors include the Conference Host sponsor ACO, plus BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Knauf Insulation, Marshalls, Marsh Industries, Rockwool, SIG and Xtratherm.
 
With this year’s BMF All Industry Conference taking place at the same time as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, the subject of sustainability takes on particular importance.

Haulage a priority for BMF


3 September 2021

Haulage a priority for BMFNew data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK. 

A snap survey of BMF members found 67% of builders’ merchant respondents and 86% of supplier respondents are affected by haulage issues, citing it as their number one concern.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“Haulage, and in particular the shortage of HGV drivers, has become our industry’s number one concern, and the results of our member survey have been fed into discussions between the transport industry and government.

“Some suppliers are reporting that the standard five-day lead time has more than doubled. In some cases, we are even seeing increases of up to four weeks. We have heard reports that suppliers are asking merchants to collect orders as they cannot get enough drivers to complete deliveries.

“Driver recruitment is the main challenge. Both suppliers and merchants are prepared to recruit or retrain existing staff as drivers, but there are limited opportunities for training and testing.  They want more testing to be made available to help get new HGV drivers on the road.”

The issue is not confined to the building materials industry.  The Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have contributed to haulage challenges, with transport industry bodies estimating a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, with an estimated 15,000 lost following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Logistics UK’s May 2021 tracker survey found 61% of respondents considered recruitment of HGV drivers to be a ‘severe’ or ‘very severe’ challenge, while 50% cited the availability of testing as a ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’ barrier to recovery.

John Newcomb added: 

“Builders merchants have done a fantastic job managing product demand and supply in the face of high global demand and reduced capacity resulting from the pandemic. Haulage is the latest challenge and our top priority.  We are doing everything we can to assist discussions between the freight industry and government as they seek to agree both short and long term solutions.”
 
Haulage a priority for BMF
New data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK.

Labour and product shortages putting pressure on the construction industry

21 July 2021

Labour and product shortages are having a significant impact on the construction industry’s supply chain across the UK leading to delayed deliveries and rising prices.

An unprecedented demand for building products has been reported throughout the year, but the latest statement from the Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability Group has identified a lack of labour as a rising concern.

All regions are reporting that hauliers, HGV and LGV drivers are in short supply and very difficult to recruit.  There are further issues with recruiting skilled and unskilled staff, including experienced bricklayers and yard operatives, across the supply chain and these labour shortages are being exacerbated by the high number of staff being required to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 and being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Test and Trace programme.

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation, and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability Group, said:

“The supply chain is extremely stretched on all fronts, but our members are pulling out the stops to keep supplies in branches and deliveries out to customers in very challenging. circumstances.

“Alongside pricing, stability and accuracy of supply remains the overarching concern and regular, accurate and transparent communication throughout the supply chain to the end client is deemed vital by all.  It is important that all parties recognise the extent of the extraordinary challenges we are currently experiencing and adopt a flexible and collaborative approach to finding solutions. 

The latest Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability Group report is available here
 
Labour and product shortages are having a significant impact on the construction industry’s supply chain across the UK leading to delayed deliveries and rising prices.

Concerns over HGV driver shortages raised by construction trade body

14 July 2021

Transport issues are hitting suppliers to the construction trade, as builders’ merchants work to get supplies into their stores and deliver orders to customers.

Members of national trade body the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), have reported widespread disruption and delays, with a shortfall in drivers able to transport goods across the country.

Across the BMF membership, companies are recruiting and retraining existing staff into driving roles, but have reported difficulties sourcing new and replacement drivers, as well as struggling to secure agency cover due to demand.

Limited test slots are also preventing staff from taking HGV driving tests, while holiday plans over the summer further reduce driver availability.

BMF East Midlands Regional Chairman, Jim Parlato, a Director at Browns Builders Merchant, said: “Drivers are our biggest concern at present.

“We have two of our warehouse and yard operatives taking their tests shortly but getting courses and booking tests has become an issue with demand meaning months of waiting.”

The issues are leading to extended lead times for some products, and even failed deliveries.

BMF South West Regional Chairman, David Young, of Bradfords Building Supplies, said: “We have 16 LGV driver vacancies at the moment. We’re struggling to recruit and also no agency cover is available due to demand.

“The knock-on effect is lead times to our customers are extended by a day, from one-to-two days to two-to-three days.

“We do have 22 internal drivers being trained up but there are not enough test slots available so this is taking longer than normal.

“Suppliers to builders’ merchants have also been hit by the shortfall, resulting in restrictions on some products and failed deliveries at short notice.”

BMF Anglia Regional Chairman, Hugh Guntrip, of Huws Gray Ltd, added: “We are struggling to recruit new and replacement drivers within our merchant branches.

“The largest impact is on our suppliers resulting in product restrictions and failed incoming deliveries at very short notice.”

The BMF has 760 merchant and supplier member companies, who together have combined sales of £39bn and employ over 207,000 people in the building materials industry.

The issue comes as figures from The Road Haulage Association (RHA) show an existing deficit of 60,000 lorry drivers has been compounded by 15,000 European drivers leaving the UK and the cancellation of 30,000 HGV driving tests during the pandemic.

The BMF is now compiling information across its member network to share with Government and look towards a solution to address the issue.

BMF CEO, Mr John Newcomb said: “It is clear that there is a major deficit of HGV drivers and issues with training and supporting new recruits into the role, and this is now causing delayed deliveries and rising costs across the UK.”
 
Transport issues are hitting suppliers to the construction trade, as builders’ merchants work to get supplies into their stores and deliver orders to customers.


BMF Keynote Speaker uncovers the power of a good story

18 July 2022

Every picture tells a story and photographer Giles Duley, the keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September, has spent much of his career drawing attention to the long-term impact of conflict and humanitarian crises by highlighting individual stories behind the headlines.

Giles’ own story is as dramatic as those of his subjects. Working in Afghanistan at the height of the conflict there, Giles stepped on an IED losing both legs and his left arm, and nearly losing his life.  He became the only civilian to be treated at the military hospital at Headley Court where he underwent nearly 30 operations. Despite being told that he would never walk again, by focusing on what he could do, rather than what he couldn’t, less than two years after the incident, he was both walking and working once more.

Giles offers a look at a world that few see at first-hand, putting things in perspective, but also offering lessons in commitment, goals and values. He considers what businesses can learn from the power and importance of telling a story as well as his own resilience and determination.

The BMF Members’ Conference and black-tie Awards Dinner takes place on 15 September at The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament and other social activities will be held on the previous day, 14 September at the exclusive JCB Golf and Country Club. T

he BMF thanks our Members’ Conference headline sponsor Marshalls Stonemarket who are supporting the event for the third consecutive year and our Keynote speaker sponsor H+H.


To find out more and book your place of the BMF Members Conference and Awards 2022, please visit the events section at www.bmf.org.uk

Every picture tells a story and photographer Giles Duley, the keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September, has spent much of his career drawing attention to the long-term impact of conflict and humanitarian crises by highlighting indi

MKM Founder to speak at first IOBM Conference

11 July 2022 

David Kilburn, founder of MKM Building Supplies is to address members of the IOBM (Institute of Builders Merchants) at its first Conference, to be held on 5 October 2022 at the NEC.

David Kilburn, together with Peter Murray, founded MKM Building Supplies in Hull in 1995.  From humble beginnings in a rented 5,000 sq ft warehouse, MKM rapidly became one of the fastest growing companies in the UK.  The company will open its 100th branch in late September this year.

As one of the merchanting industry’s Top 100 Influencers, David is well placed to share his experience and expertise on the IOBM Conference theme of Building Professional Excellence.

The Conference, which is open to all IOBM members and prospective members, coincides with UK Construction Week and Conference and delegates will have an opportunity to attend the UK Construction Week and Grand Designs Live exhibitions at the NEC.

The Conference is free of charge for IOBM members, with a nominal charge of £49 plus VAT for non-members. Find out more HERE and register for the event by emailing [email protected]
David Kilburn, founder of MKM Building Supplies is to address members of the IOBM (Institute of Builders Merchants) at its first Conference, to be held on 5 October 2022 at the NEC.

BMF’s sustainability drive shortlisted for Award


07 July 2022


The BMF sustainability initiatives have been shortlisted in the prestigious Memcom Awards, which recognise excellence in professional membership organisations.

The BMF was shortlisted for its continuing work towards zero-carbon and sustainability goals. The Federation is taking action to reduce carbon output within its own operations. It is also encouraging and supporting those BMF members applying to be recognised by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) as a Zero Carbon Business Champion and sharing their progress and best practice with their BMF peers, not least through the recently created BMF Sustainability Forum, which now meets twice a year.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “I’m delighted that our work to help deliver the Government’s 2050 target of Net Zero carbon within our sector has been recognised in these awards. This is a critical issue for the construction industry, which is responsible for around 40% of carbon emissions in the UK. Twenty-seven BMF members have already been assessed and approved as CLC Zero Carbon Business Champions for their commitment to carbon reduction, and we encourage others to follow.   Those wishing to be considered for this status should email [email protected],org.uk for full details.”

The winners of the Memcom Awards will be announced on 29 September.
The BMF sustainability initiatives have been shortlisted in the prestigious Memcom Awards, which recognise excellence in professional membership organisations.

Knauf UK to sponsor BMF All Industry Conference 2023


07 July 2022 

Knauf UK has confirmed its headline sponsorship of the BMF All Industry Conference 2023. The Conference, which will be held in Istanbul from 15 to 17 June, takes the theme “Creating Connections”.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “We are delighted to announce Knauf UK as our new headline sponsor for what promises to be an extremely topical industry Conference. Our focus on creating and nurturing connections in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit environment will set an agenda to help to negotiate new trading relationships, and successfully navigate increasingly complex global supply chains. What better place to hold this conference than Istanbul, a city that for centuries has provided a strategic link between Europe and Asia.”

Knauf, one of the leading manufacturers of gypsum-based building materials in the UK, supplies a range of products including plasterboard, finishes, external renders, insulating laminates and drywall accessories.  Knauf UK has also been shortlisted in the BMF Supplier Member Engagement Awards 2022.

Richard Bowes, Sales Director, Knauf UK said: “We are delighted to be the headline sponsor of the 2023 BMF All Industry Conference. The builders merchants community remains extremely important to the Knauf business, and is a cornerstone for the construction industry. We welcome you to speak to our team or me directly during the conference to discover more about how we can grow a successful and sustainable market together. Personally, I am I looking forward to meeting existing and new colleagues at what I am certain will be another engaging event.” 

Registrations for the BMF All Industry Conference 2023 are now open.  Merchants should register online at www.bmfconference.co.uk while Suppliers should email [email protected]
 
Knauf UK has confirmed its headline sponsorship of the BMF All Industry Conference 2023. The Conference, which will be held in Istanbul from 15 to 17 June, takes the theme “Creating Connections”.


BMF Keynote Speaker uncovers the power of a good story

18 July 2022

Every picture tells a story and photographer Giles Duley, the keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September, has spent much of his career drawing attention to the long-term impact of conflict and humanitarian crises by highlighting individual stories behind the headlines.

Giles’ own story is as dramatic as those of his subjects. Working in Afghanistan at the height of the conflict there, Giles stepped on an IED losing both legs and his left arm, and nearly losing his life.  He became the only civilian to be treated at the military hospital at Headley Court where he underwent nearly 30 operations. Despite being told that he would never walk again, by focusing on what he could do, rather than what he couldn’t, less than two years after the incident, he was both walking and working once more.

Giles offers a look at a world that few see at first-hand, putting things in perspective, but also offering lessons in commitment, goals and values. He considers what businesses can learn from the power and importance of telling a story as well as his own resilience and determination.

The BMF Members’ Conference and black-tie Awards Dinner takes place on 15 September at The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament and other social activities will be held on the previous day, 14 September at the exclusive JCB Golf and Country Club. T

he BMF thanks our Members’ Conference headline sponsor Marshalls Stonemarket who are supporting the event for the third consecutive year and our Keynote speaker sponsor H+H.


To find out more and book your place of the BMF Members Conference and Awards 2022, please visit the events section at www.bmf.org.uk

Every picture tells a story and photographer Giles Duley, the keynote speaker at the BMF Members’ Conference in September, has spent much of his career drawing attention to the long-term impact of conflict and humanitarian crises by highlighting indi

MKM Founder to speak at first IOBM Conference

11 July 2022 

David Kilburn, founder of MKM Building Supplies is to address members of the IOBM (Institute of Builders Merchants) at its first Conference, to be held on 5 October 2022 at the NEC.

David Kilburn, together with Peter Murray, founded MKM Building Supplies in Hull in 1995.  From humble beginnings in a rented 5,000 sq ft warehouse, MKM rapidly became one of the fastest growing companies in the UK.  The company will open its 100th branch in late September this year.

As one of the merchanting industry’s Top 100 Influencers, David is well placed to share his experience and expertise on the IOBM Conference theme of Building Professional Excellence.

The Conference, which is open to all IOBM members and prospective members, coincides with UK Construction Week and Conference and delegates will have an opportunity to attend the UK Construction Week and Grand Designs Live exhibitions at the NEC.

The Conference is free of charge for IOBM members, with a nominal charge of £49 plus VAT for non-members. Find out more HERE and register for the event by emailing [email protected]
David Kilburn, founder of MKM Building Supplies is to address members of the IOBM (Institute of Builders Merchants) at its first Conference, to be held on 5 October 2022 at the NEC.

BMF’s sustainability drive shortlisted for Award


07 July 2022


The BMF sustainability initiatives have been shortlisted in the prestigious Memcom Awards, which recognise excellence in professional membership organisations.

The BMF was shortlisted for its continuing work towards zero-carbon and sustainability goals. The Federation is taking action to reduce carbon output within its own operations. It is also encouraging and supporting those BMF members applying to be recognised by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) as a Zero Carbon Business Champion and sharing their progress and best practice with their BMF peers, not least through the recently created BMF Sustainability Forum, which now meets twice a year.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “I’m delighted that our work to help deliver the Government’s 2050 target of Net Zero carbon within our sector has been recognised in these awards. This is a critical issue for the construction industry, which is responsible for around 40% of carbon emissions in the UK. Twenty-seven BMF members have already been assessed and approved as CLC Zero Carbon Business Champions for their commitment to carbon reduction, and we encourage others to follow.   Those wishing to be considered for this status should email [email protected],org.uk for full details.”

The winners of the Memcom Awards will be announced on 29 September.
The BMF sustainability initiatives have been shortlisted in the prestigious Memcom Awards, which recognise excellence in professional membership organisations.

Knauf UK to sponsor BMF All Industry Conference 2023


07 July 2022 

Knauf UK has confirmed its headline sponsorship of the BMF All Industry Conference 2023. The Conference, which will be held in Istanbul from 15 to 17 June, takes the theme “Creating Connections”.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “We are delighted to announce Knauf UK as our new headline sponsor for what promises to be an extremely topical industry Conference. Our focus on creating and nurturing connections in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit environment will set an agenda to help to negotiate new trading relationships, and successfully navigate increasingly complex global supply chains. What better place to hold this conference than Istanbul, a city that for centuries has provided a strategic link between Europe and Asia.”

Knauf, one of the leading manufacturers of gypsum-based building materials in the UK, supplies a range of products including plasterboard, finishes, external renders, insulating laminates and drywall accessories.  Knauf UK has also been shortlisted in the BMF Supplier Member Engagement Awards 2022.

Richard Bowes, Sales Director, Knauf UK said: “We are delighted to be the headline sponsor of the 2023 BMF All Industry Conference. The builders merchants community remains extremely important to the Knauf business, and is a cornerstone for the construction industry. We welcome you to speak to our team or me directly during the conference to discover more about how we can grow a successful and sustainable market together. Personally, I am I looking forward to meeting existing and new colleagues at what I am certain will be another engaging event.” 

Registrations for the BMF All Industry Conference 2023 are now open.  Merchants should register online at www.bmfconference.co.uk while Suppliers should email [email protected]
 
Knauf UK has confirmed its headline sponsorship of the BMF All Industry Conference 2023. The Conference, which will be held in Istanbul from 15 to 17 June, takes the theme “Creating Connections”.
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