Tell Us About Yourself


By telling us about yourself we can make sure you see content that is relevant to you. You can add your new content here.

 
 




What can the BMF do for me and my company?

The BMF can offer many benefits no matter what your job role is.



 



 

Sometimes you need to talk to a real person before deciding if joining is right from your company. We can give you a call to discuss.



Request a Callback

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


  ​Learn More


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.

Learn More

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.

Learn More

 
Find a member, search our members' database

SEARCH



Featured Events

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




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

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



Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
Learn More



Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
Learn More



Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
Learn More



Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
Learn More



Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
Learn More



Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
Learn More



Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
Learn More



Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
Learn More



Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
Learn More



Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
Learn More

Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

Learn More

Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

Learn More

Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

Learn More

Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

Learn More

Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

Learn More

Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

Learn More

Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

Learn More

Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

Learn More

Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

Learn More

Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

Learn More




See All Events




Latest News



Here are the latest news stories from the BMF

BMF responds to Chancellor’s Spending Review


25 November 2020

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“The Chancellor was clear that the health emergency is not yet over and the economic emergency has only just begun.  We must be prepared for a challenging year ahead, but there was some welcome news within his statement.  

“In particular, we welcome the £20bn committed to underpin the Government’s long term housing strategy, confirmation of capital investment to deliver the Government’s commitments on building 40 hospitals and rebuilding 500 schools over the next decade,
and the multi-year funding required to deliver the Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.  The latter includes a welcome 12 month extension for the Green Homes Grant, announced last week.

“However, we would have liked to hear the Chancellor go further and announce funding for a National Retrofit Strategy to turbo-charge the levelling-up of housing conditions throughout the country.   Pump-priming this work would undoubtedly improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy as well as making greater inroads towards the Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.”
 
BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The Chancellor was clear that the health emergency is not yet over and the economic emergency has only just begun...

Builders Merchants sales bounce back in Q3


23 November 2020

Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

Comparing Q3 and Q2 2020 sales values highlights the dramatic impact of the first lockdown earlier in the year, with total Builders’ Merchants’ sales up by +63.2% in Q3 (+53.2% when adjusted for trading days in each quarter).

September 2020 sales delivered a particularly strong performance, increasing by +8.3% compared to September 2019, albeit with one extra trading day 

Looking at year on year changes, total Builders’ Merchants’ sales in Q3 2020 saw growth of +1.0% compared to Q3 2019. Of the two largest categories, Timber & Joinery grew by 3.5% in value from Q3 2019, while Heavy Building Materials saw a decrease of -1.0%. 

Landscaping was the big winner with year on year sales growth of +24.2% in value, with performance driven by Decking, Garden Walling / Paving and Fencing & Gates, which all saw substantial growth from last year. 

Timber was the key driver in Timber & Joinery growth, with Cladding also contributing. Heavy Building Materials’ small decline was due to a mix of both single digit increases and decreases across the board, with Aggregates, Bricks, Cement and Roofing Products the best performing subcategories.

However, year on year sales declined in some categories, with both Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-11.9%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-7.1%) down on Q3 2019.

Only Landscaping and Workwear & Safetywear have seen growth year to date, increasing by +1.5% and +1.2% respectively. Workwear & Safetywear Q3 growth was also up by 8.0% in value as COVID-19 safety requirements remain at the forefront. 

Commenting on the Q3 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:
“The level of activity over the summer and early autumn has been extremely encouraging, but we must also recognise that this has been against a backdrop of furlough payments, stamp duty holidays and continuing work on existing sites. It remains to be seen how consumer confidence holds up going forward.  The construction industry should benefit from government initiatives such as the Green Homes Grant, which has just been extended through to March 2022.   But with lockdown measures continuing throughout the nations of the UK we are likely to see more volatility in the coming months.”
Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK added:

“There is an expectation that the remainder of the year will be more challenging due to the second lockdown, but the merchant sector will benefit from being allowed to remain open for trading. Digital development will continue at a rapid pace, while looking further ahead, Brexit will bring its own challenges in 2021. The recent performance does however underline some positivity after this turbulent and uncertain year.”
 
Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

BMF supports £19.5m Optimised Retrofit programme in Wales

20 November 2020

Members of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in Wales are supporting the devolved nation’s drive to deliver a low-carbon future under a landmark scheme.

The Welsh Government’s £19.5 million Optimised Retrofit Programme will help local authority and housing association tenants and the environment by reducing the amount of carbon produced in powering and heating homes. Fitting energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures in properties across Wales will be key to achieving sustainability goals.

Designed to contribute to the Welsh Government’s efforts to decarbonise all 1.4 million Welsh homes by 2050, a major element of the scheme is to revitalise the regional economy by using local contractors and local merchants. 

In a written statement from Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government, the BMF is mentioned, along with other trade bodies and industry groups, in relation to the opportunities presented for the SME sector in supporting the decarbonisation of homes.

Commenting on the programme, Julie James said: “Retrofitting homes is vital in providing greener, better homes, reducing fuel poverty and establishing new supply chains.

“As well as opening the door to a new industry, it will create a low carbon economy for Wales, helping us to meet our ambitious sustainability targets and tackle the climate emergency.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, added: “The Optimised Retrofit Programme delivers meaningful environmental and economic benefits across Wales.

“Builders merchants are at the heart of local communities of trades people and are well-placed to support the delivery of this programme in their area.”

More on the Optimised Retrofit Programme at https://gov.wales/written-statement-optimised-retrofit-programme-2020-21
 
Members of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in Wales are supporting the devolved nation’s drive to deliver a low-carbon future under a landmark scheme.

BMF calls for bigger thinking to transform homes under Green Industrial Revolution


18 November 2020

A national trade body has welcomed the Prime Minister’s blueprint for greener homes and buildings - but says more needs to be done to ensure the scheme leaves a lasting legacy for the UK’s housing stock.

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), says the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which includes £1 billion next year to drive efficiencies in new and existing homes and public buildings, as well as a year-long extension to the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, is a step in the right direction.

However, it says that the approach needs to align with a broader, long-term strategy, to make a meaningful impact.

John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF, which represents a £38 billion slice of the construction industry supply chain, said: “We pressed to extend the Green Homes Grant, after our members reported that homeowners were likely to miss out on the programme.

“This was because many builders, with full order books for the months ahead, were unable to take on work under the initiative in time for the original deadline March 31, 2021.

“It’s excellent news that the voucher scheme has been extended, but realistically, we need to think much bigger to deliver a programme of works that will have the scope and scale to improve homes and level up housing conditions across Britain.

“As a member of the Construction Leadership Council, we believe the route to achieve this is through a National Retrofit Strategy, to ensure the money spent makes a lasting difference to the quality of our homes.

“That would involve upgrading approximately 28 million properties across the UK with energy efficient retrofit measures, delivering significant improvements to people’s health, comfort, air quality and a reduction in emissions as well as creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Members of the BMF, as a sector representing merchants and building materials manufacturers, are key to delivering the changes needed to meet the challenges ahead.

“However, we need to work as part of a broad, long-term strategy in order to invest in the new initiatives and innovations needed to transform the way we live.

“That cannot be achieved if we just work to a one-off initiative. We have to think bigger.

“We are presented with an enormous opportunity for people and companies to move towards a low- or zero-carbon future in their homes and workplaces.

“If we can link this to a National Retrofit Strategy then we can improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy and make greater inroads towards the Government’s target of zero net emissions by 2050.”
A national trade body has welcomed the Prime Minister’s blueprint for greener homes and buildings - but says more needs to be done to ensure the scheme leaves a lasting legacy for the UK’s housing stock.

BMF responds to Chancellor’s Spending Review


25 November 2020

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“The Chancellor was clear that the health emergency is not yet over and the economic emergency has only just begun.  We must be prepared for a challenging year ahead, but there was some welcome news within his statement.  

“In particular, we welcome the £20bn committed to underpin the Government’s long term housing strategy, confirmation of capital investment to deliver the Government’s commitments on building 40 hospitals and rebuilding 500 schools over the next decade,
and the multi-year funding required to deliver the Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.  The latter includes a welcome 12 month extension for the Green Homes Grant, announced last week.

“However, we would have liked to hear the Chancellor go further and announce funding for a National Retrofit Strategy to turbo-charge the levelling-up of housing conditions throughout the country.   Pump-priming this work would undoubtedly improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy as well as making greater inroads towards the Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.”
 
BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The Chancellor was clear that the health emergency is not yet over and the economic emergency has only just begun...

Builders Merchants sales bounce back in Q3


23 November 2020

Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

Comparing Q3 and Q2 2020 sales values highlights the dramatic impact of the first lockdown earlier in the year, with total Builders’ Merchants’ sales up by +63.2% in Q3 (+53.2% when adjusted for trading days in each quarter).

September 2020 sales delivered a particularly strong performance, increasing by +8.3% compared to September 2019, albeit with one extra trading day 

Looking at year on year changes, total Builders’ Merchants’ sales in Q3 2020 saw growth of +1.0% compared to Q3 2019. Of the two largest categories, Timber & Joinery grew by 3.5% in value from Q3 2019, while Heavy Building Materials saw a decrease of -1.0%. 

Landscaping was the big winner with year on year sales growth of +24.2% in value, with performance driven by Decking, Garden Walling / Paving and Fencing & Gates, which all saw substantial growth from last year. 

Timber was the key driver in Timber & Joinery growth, with Cladding also contributing. Heavy Building Materials’ small decline was due to a mix of both single digit increases and decreases across the board, with Aggregates, Bricks, Cement and Roofing Products the best performing subcategories.

However, year on year sales declined in some categories, with both Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-11.9%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-7.1%) down on Q3 2019.

Only Landscaping and Workwear & Safetywear have seen growth year to date, increasing by +1.5% and +1.2% respectively. Workwear & Safetywear Q3 growth was also up by 8.0% in value as COVID-19 safety requirements remain at the forefront. 

Commenting on the Q3 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:
“The level of activity over the summer and early autumn has been extremely encouraging, but we must also recognise that this has been against a backdrop of furlough payments, stamp duty holidays and continuing work on existing sites. It remains to be seen how consumer confidence holds up going forward.  The construction industry should benefit from government initiatives such as the Green Homes Grant, which has just been extended through to March 2022.   But with lockdown measures continuing throughout the nations of the UK we are likely to see more volatility in the coming months.”
Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK added:

“There is an expectation that the remainder of the year will be more challenging due to the second lockdown, but the merchant sector will benefit from being allowed to remain open for trading. Digital development will continue at a rapid pace, while looking further ahead, Brexit will bring its own challenges in 2021. The recent performance does however underline some positivity after this turbulent and uncertain year.”
 
Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

BMF supports £19.5m Optimised Retrofit programme in Wales

20 November 2020

Members of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in Wales are supporting the devolved nation’s drive to deliver a low-carbon future under a landmark scheme.

The Welsh Government’s £19.5 million Optimised Retrofit Programme will help local authority and housing association tenants and the environment by reducing the amount of carbon produced in powering and heating homes. Fitting energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures in properties across Wales will be key to achieving sustainability goals.

Designed to contribute to the Welsh Government’s efforts to decarbonise all 1.4 million Welsh homes by 2050, a major element of the scheme is to revitalise the regional economy by using local contractors and local merchants. 

In a written statement from Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government, the BMF is mentioned, along with other trade bodies and industry groups, in relation to the opportunities presented for the SME sector in supporting the decarbonisation of homes.

Commenting on the programme, Julie James said: “Retrofitting homes is vital in providing greener, better homes, reducing fuel poverty and establishing new supply chains.

“As well as opening the door to a new industry, it will create a low carbon economy for Wales, helping us to meet our ambitious sustainability targets and tackle the climate emergency.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, added: “The Optimised Retrofit Programme delivers meaningful environmental and economic benefits across Wales.

“Builders merchants are at the heart of local communities of trades people and are well-placed to support the delivery of this programme in their area.”

More on the Optimised Retrofit Programme at https://gov.wales/written-statement-optimised-retrofit-programme-2020-21
 
Members of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in Wales are supporting the devolved nation’s drive to deliver a low-carbon future under a landmark scheme.

BMF calls for bigger thinking to transform homes under Green Industrial Revolution


18 November 2020

A national trade body has welcomed the Prime Minister’s blueprint for greener homes and buildings - but says more needs to be done to ensure the scheme leaves a lasting legacy for the UK’s housing stock.

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), says the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which includes £1 billion next year to drive efficiencies in new and existing homes and public buildings, as well as a year-long extension to the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, is a step in the right direction.

However, it says that the approach needs to align with a broader, long-term strategy, to make a meaningful impact.

John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF, which represents a £38 billion slice of the construction industry supply chain, said: “We pressed to extend the Green Homes Grant, after our members reported that homeowners were likely to miss out on the programme.

“This was because many builders, with full order books for the months ahead, were unable to take on work under the initiative in time for the original deadline March 31, 2021.

“It’s excellent news that the voucher scheme has been extended, but realistically, we need to think much bigger to deliver a programme of works that will have the scope and scale to improve homes and level up housing conditions across Britain.

“As a member of the Construction Leadership Council, we believe the route to achieve this is through a National Retrofit Strategy, to ensure the money spent makes a lasting difference to the quality of our homes.

“That would involve upgrading approximately 28 million properties across the UK with energy efficient retrofit measures, delivering significant improvements to people’s health, comfort, air quality and a reduction in emissions as well as creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Members of the BMF, as a sector representing merchants and building materials manufacturers, are key to delivering the changes needed to meet the challenges ahead.

“However, we need to work as part of a broad, long-term strategy in order to invest in the new initiatives and innovations needed to transform the way we live.

“That cannot be achieved if we just work to a one-off initiative. We have to think bigger.

“We are presented with an enormous opportunity for people and companies to move towards a low- or zero-carbon future in their homes and workplaces.

“If we can link this to a National Retrofit Strategy then we can improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy and make greater inroads towards the Government’s target of zero net emissions by 2050.”
A national trade body has welcomed the Prime Minister’s blueprint for greener homes and buildings - but says more needs to be done to ensure the scheme leaves a lasting legacy for the UK’s housing stock.

Safety first in builders’ merchants across England    


4 November 2020

Construction leaders are taking steps to ensure safety first in builders’ merchants,  as the new Covid-19 restrictions come into place.

Builders’ merchants in England can remain open under the new Covid-19 restrictions, with the sector gaining Parliamentary recognition, along with other key sectors, to continue to operate.

The BMF produced detailed Covid-19 protocols at the start of the pandemic, and the advice will remain in place as new restrictions are brought in.

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF, welcomed Government legislation allowing builders’ merchants to remain open and continue working as a crucial part of the construction supply chain.

He said: “Our members have provided emergency support for the NHS, local authority and housing association maintenance teams since lockdown began in mid-March.

“Since then we have continued to operate safety, providing much-needed materials to enable a variety of works to continue over summer.

“Now, as new restrictions begin, we continue to work to the same operating procedures.

“Our merchants will be able to ensure customers can access supplies, including materials and parts for repair and maintenance works, such as weather-damaged buildings, frozen pipes and boiler repairs, which start to increase at this time of year.”

The BMF’s guidance has been endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), which has created a Construction Industry Task Force to provide a focal point for co-ordinating the industry’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.

BMF is a member of the Task Force, which comprises of leading trade associations representing both large and small firms in the construction sector, contractors, specialist contractors, home builders, product manufacturers, merchants and associated professional services, as well as Government Departments and major clients of the industry.

Mr Newcomb added: “The Government has made it clear that merchants are a vital part of the construction supply chain and it is important they continue to support the construction industry to operate on sites, and to provide the link between product manufacturers and the firms and tradespeople that use and install the products they make.” 
 
Construction leaders are taking steps to ensure safety first in builders’ merchants, as the new Covid-19 restrictions come into place.

Uncertainty looms for construction industry under no deal Brexit 

28 October 2020

The impact of a potential no deal Brexit will bring far-reaching repercussions for the construction sector.

Members of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group have warned that tariffs, border controls and disruption to the supply chain will impact an industry already balancing the challenges of Covid-19. 

John Newcomb, Co-Chair of the Group and Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation, said: “We need a deal with the EU. 

“Without it, the impact of large-scale price increases across the industry and other issues will present a big blow to the UK economy.

“Our worry is if we have no deal and then go to World Trade Organisation tariffs, we will definitely get significant price increases across this multi-billion-pound sector.”

Peter Caplehorn, fellow Co-Chair of the CLC’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group and CEO of the Construction Products Association, said: “In addition to the potential for increased prices the sector is concerned that a no deal will result in further uncertainty over the availability of components, materials, and significant commodity’s. 

“Clearly our members will do everything they can to mitigate these issues but without a deal we will be confronted with some difficult situations just at a time where the industry has robustly responded to the challenges of the pandemic while keeping those employed safe and contributing to the much needed economic recovery. 

“Every effort should be made to ensure a deal is delivered.”

Fears of an impact on prices are echoed by Tom Reynolds, CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association. He said: “Looking ahead new customs procedures will incur significant additional costs on businesses, not all of which can be absorbed.

“A significant proportion of bathroom products come from the EU, so new tariffs, possibly ranging from two to 12 percent will, in most cases, need to be passed through into price rises.”

According to Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Covid-19 has already affected confidence in the trade, and Brexit uncertainty risks adding to this.

Mr Berry said: “Across several regions, the feedback we have received is that ongoing uncertainty and price increases are having a real impact on builders’ ability to plan for jobs.

“They are struggling to reliably cost jobs and quote for work because they don’t know what the cost of materials will be from one week to the next.”

Concerns about the future are also evident in the supply chain among manufacturers and merchants. 

Andy Williamson, Commercial Director at SIG UK, said: “Most of the feedback we are receiving is around a no deal situation, rather than a deal, which could mean working under WTO rules in a number of areas and this is where possible price increases are coming.”

And Ian McConville, Group Procurement Director, of MKM Building Supplies, added: “We are seeing no evidence of material prices at the moment due to Brexit.

“However, we have seen notifications of potential increases dependent on WTO tariffs being applied.”   
 
The impact of a potential no deal Brexit will bring far-reaching repercussions for the construction sector.

New BMF service gives members hassle-free access to Govt Kickstart scheme 

 
07 September 2020

The BMF is encouraging Members to take advantage of the government’s £2 billion pound Kickstart scheme by providing full administrative support to simplify the engagement process and enable every BMF member to participate. 

Kickstart is the government’s post-Covid regeneration tool to enable employers to offer high-quality 6-month work placements to young people aged 16-24 who are at risk of long-term unemployment and are currently claiming Universal Credit.
 
Employers will be able to claim 100% of the National Minimum Wage for their charge, up to 25 hours, plus the associated employer National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

The BMF believes this is a tremendous opportunity for BMF members to bring young people into their business and help them to identify future apprentices.  However, the complexities and time-consuming administration of the scheme may prevent some from applying.  The BMF has introduced a new service to overcome these issues and open up the scheme to every BMF member wishing to participate. 
 
Carmen Daley, Operations Manager, BMF Apprenticeships Plus said:

“One of the largest barriers to entry is the requirement that employers undertake a rigorous application process and have at least 30 placements available. To ensure all BMF members have access to this incredible opportunity, the BMF Apprenticeship Plus team is offering a dedicated Kickstart Support Service. 

“As well as providing an access route for those who do not meet the minimum number of placements, the managed service oversees all practical and administrative elements of the initiative making it as simple as possible for all BMF members to engage.”

To find out more about the BMF Kickstart Support Service, or to register your interest, please contact Carmen Daley on 07496 370 224 or email carmen@bmfapprenticeshipsplus.co.uk 
 
The BMF is encouraging Members to take advantage of the government’s £2 billion pound Kickstart scheme by providing full administrative support.

BMF, Williamson and Blair agree on vocational training


07 August 2020

BMF, Willianson and Blair agree on vocational trainingGovernment moves to improve the prestige and importance of apprentices with a greater focus on further education are welcome and long-overdue, according to the BMF.

Last month, the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson MP, said he wanted to end the culture of qualifications for qualifications’ sake and to pour money into further education instead. The Minister said there was an inbuilt snobbishness about those who take up vocational training rather than university. Consequently, he was abandoning Tony Blair’s admissions’ target set in 1999 that 50% of young people should go to university and take degrees. The Minister added that he would unveil a new German-style, employer-led further education policy later on this autumn.

This move came in the same week that Euan Blair, son of Tony, criticised the British obsession with a ‘one size fits all’ university education which could result in a skills’ crisis. Mr Blair junior is the Founder and Chief Executive of White Hat, a tech start-up company that matches non-graduates with apprenticeship opportunities.

Interviewed on “Times Radio”, he acknowledged the pledge his father gave 20 years ago, but said that too many leave university with ‘useless’ degrees, huge debts and without the necessary basic skills. Euan Blair wants to encourage school-leavers to take apprenticeships instead.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, commented:

“This Government announcement is welcome news and endorses the long-held BMF view that bad or non-existent careers advice fails to encourage young people to take an apprenticeship in merchanting, or in manual trades that we desperately need in house-building and property RMI.

“In the post-Brexit and post-Covid 19 economic recovery, all efforts are necessary to tackle prejudice where parents see apprenticeships as being for kids who are educational failures, and teachers put pressure on pupils to go to university because it counts towards school performance in league tables”.
 
As part of its revitalised national youth recruitment campaign, the BMF launched the website Building Materials Careers to showcase the excellent career opportunities throughout the building materials supply chain. This is supported by a team of 55 Industry Ambassadors, drawn from the ranks of the BMF’s members, who promote the wide array of opportunities offered by the industry to students and young job-seekers throughout the country.

BMF Apprenticeships Plus also helps members to recruit and manage apprentices. Over the past three years, 54 member companies have recruited over 200 apprentices with our assistance.

Euan Blair has met the BMF before - notably the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships - where he, the BMF and other employers lobby for parity of esteem between academic and vocational education - and to improve current arrangements like the Apprenticeship Levy.
 
BMF, Willianson and Blair agree on vocational training
Government moves to improve the prestige and importance of apprentices with a greater focus on further education are welcome and long-overdue, according to the BMF.

Safety first in builders’ merchants across England    


4 November 2020

Construction leaders are taking steps to ensure safety first in builders’ merchants,  as the new Covid-19 restrictions come into place.

Builders’ merchants in England can remain open under the new Covid-19 restrictions, with the sector gaining Parliamentary recognition, along with other key sectors, to continue to operate.

The BMF produced detailed Covid-19 protocols at the start of the pandemic, and the advice will remain in place as new restrictions are brought in.

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF, welcomed Government legislation allowing builders’ merchants to remain open and continue working as a crucial part of the construction supply chain.

He said: “Our members have provided emergency support for the NHS, local authority and housing association maintenance teams since lockdown began in mid-March.

“Since then we have continued to operate safety, providing much-needed materials to enable a variety of works to continue over summer.

“Now, as new restrictions begin, we continue to work to the same operating procedures.

“Our merchants will be able to ensure customers can access supplies, including materials and parts for repair and maintenance works, such as weather-damaged buildings, frozen pipes and boiler repairs, which start to increase at this time of year.”

The BMF’s guidance has been endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), which has created a Construction Industry Task Force to provide a focal point for co-ordinating the industry’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.

BMF is a member of the Task Force, which comprises of leading trade associations representing both large and small firms in the construction sector, contractors, specialist contractors, home builders, product manufacturers, merchants and associated professional services, as well as Government Departments and major clients of the industry.

Mr Newcomb added: “The Government has made it clear that merchants are a vital part of the construction supply chain and it is important they continue to support the construction industry to operate on sites, and to provide the link between product manufacturers and the firms and tradespeople that use and install the products they make.” 
 
Construction leaders are taking steps to ensure safety first in builders’ merchants, as the new Covid-19 restrictions come into place.

Uncertainty looms for construction industry under no deal Brexit 

28 October 2020

The impact of a potential no deal Brexit will bring far-reaching repercussions for the construction sector.

Members of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group have warned that tariffs, border controls and disruption to the supply chain will impact an industry already balancing the challenges of Covid-19. 

John Newcomb, Co-Chair of the Group and Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation, said: “We need a deal with the EU. 

“Without it, the impact of large-scale price increases across the industry and other issues will present a big blow to the UK economy.

“Our worry is if we have no deal and then go to World Trade Organisation tariffs, we will definitely get significant price increases across this multi-billion-pound sector.”

Peter Caplehorn, fellow Co-Chair of the CLC’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group and CEO of the Construction Products Association, said: “In addition to the potential for increased prices the sector is concerned that a no deal will result in further uncertainty over the availability of components, materials, and significant commodity’s. 

“Clearly our members will do everything they can to mitigate these issues but without a deal we will be confronted with some difficult situations just at a time where the industry has robustly responded to the challenges of the pandemic while keeping those employed safe and contributing to the much needed economic recovery. 

“Every effort should be made to ensure a deal is delivered.”

Fears of an impact on prices are echoed by Tom Reynolds, CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association. He said: “Looking ahead new customs procedures will incur significant additional costs on businesses, not all of which can be absorbed.

“A significant proportion of bathroom products come from the EU, so new tariffs, possibly ranging from two to 12 percent will, in most cases, need to be passed through into price rises.”

According to Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Covid-19 has already affected confidence in the trade, and Brexit uncertainty risks adding to this.

Mr Berry said: “Across several regions, the feedback we have received is that ongoing uncertainty and price increases are having a real impact on builders’ ability to plan for jobs.

“They are struggling to reliably cost jobs and quote for work because they don’t know what the cost of materials will be from one week to the next.”

Concerns about the future are also evident in the supply chain among manufacturers and merchants. 

Andy Williamson, Commercial Director at SIG UK, said: “Most of the feedback we are receiving is around a no deal situation, rather than a deal, which could mean working under WTO rules in a number of areas and this is where possible price increases are coming.”

And Ian McConville, Group Procurement Director, of MKM Building Supplies, added: “We are seeing no evidence of material prices at the moment due to Brexit.

“However, we have seen notifications of potential increases dependent on WTO tariffs being applied.”   
 
The impact of a potential no deal Brexit will bring far-reaching repercussions for the construction sector.

New BMF service gives members hassle-free access to Govt Kickstart scheme 

 
07 September 2020

The BMF is encouraging Members to take advantage of the government’s £2 billion pound Kickstart scheme by providing full administrative support to simplify the engagement process and enable every BMF member to participate. 

Kickstart is the government’s post-Covid regeneration tool to enable employers to offer high-quality 6-month work placements to young people aged 16-24 who are at risk of long-term unemployment and are currently claiming Universal Credit.
 
Employers will be able to claim 100% of the National Minimum Wage for their charge, up to 25 hours, plus the associated employer National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

The BMF believes this is a tremendous opportunity for BMF members to bring young people into their business and help them to identify future apprentices.  However, the complexities and time-consuming administration of the scheme may prevent some from applying.  The BMF has introduced a new service to overcome these issues and open up the scheme to every BMF member wishing to participate. 
 
Carmen Daley, Operations Manager, BMF Apprenticeships Plus said:

“One of the largest barriers to entry is the requirement that employers undertake a rigorous application process and have at least 30 placements available. To ensure all BMF members have access to this incredible opportunity, the BMF Apprenticeship Plus team is offering a dedicated Kickstart Support Service. 

“As well as providing an access route for those who do not meet the minimum number of placements, the managed service oversees all practical and administrative elements of the initiative making it as simple as possible for all BMF members to engage.”

To find out more about the BMF Kickstart Support Service, or to register your interest, please contact Carmen Daley on 07496 370 224 or email carmen@bmfapprenticeshipsplus.co.uk 
 
The BMF is encouraging Members to take advantage of the government’s £2 billion pound Kickstart scheme by providing full administrative support.

BMF, Williamson and Blair agree on vocational training


07 August 2020

BMF, Willianson and Blair agree on vocational trainingGovernment moves to improve the prestige and importance of apprentices with a greater focus on further education are welcome and long-overdue, according to the BMF.

Last month, the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson MP, said he wanted to end the culture of qualifications for qualifications’ sake and to pour money into further education instead. The Minister said there was an inbuilt snobbishness about those who take up vocational training rather than university. Consequently, he was abandoning Tony Blair’s admissions’ target set in 1999 that 50% of young people should go to university and take degrees. The Minister added that he would unveil a new German-style, employer-led further education policy later on this autumn.

This move came in the same week that Euan Blair, son of Tony, criticised the British obsession with a ‘one size fits all’ university education which could result in a skills’ crisis. Mr Blair junior is the Founder and Chief Executive of White Hat, a tech start-up company that matches non-graduates with apprenticeship opportunities.

Interviewed on “Times Radio”, he acknowledged the pledge his father gave 20 years ago, but said that too many leave university with ‘useless’ degrees, huge debts and without the necessary basic skills. Euan Blair wants to encourage school-leavers to take apprenticeships instead.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, commented:

“This Government announcement is welcome news and endorses the long-held BMF view that bad or non-existent careers advice fails to encourage young people to take an apprenticeship in merchanting, or in manual trades that we desperately need in house-building and property RMI.

“In the post-Brexit and post-Covid 19 economic recovery, all efforts are necessary to tackle prejudice where parents see apprenticeships as being for kids who are educational failures, and teachers put pressure on pupils to go to university because it counts towards school performance in league tables”.
 
As part of its revitalised national youth recruitment campaign, the BMF launched the website Building Materials Careers to showcase the excellent career opportunities throughout the building materials supply chain. This is supported by a team of 55 Industry Ambassadors, drawn from the ranks of the BMF’s members, who promote the wide array of opportunities offered by the industry to students and young job-seekers throughout the country.

BMF Apprenticeships Plus also helps members to recruit and manage apprentices. Over the past three years, 54 member companies have recruited over 200 apprentices with our assistance.

Euan Blair has met the BMF before - notably the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships - where he, the BMF and other employers lobby for parity of esteem between academic and vocational education - and to improve current arrangements like the Apprenticeship Levy.
 
BMF, Willianson and Blair agree on vocational training
Government moves to improve the prestige and importance of apprentices with a greater focus on further education are welcome and long-overdue, according to the BMF.

BMF responds to Chancellor’s Spending Review


25 November 2020

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“The Chancellor was clear that the health emergency is not yet over and the economic emergency has only just begun.  We must be prepared for a challenging year ahead, but there was some welcome news within his statement.  

“In particular, we welcome the £20bn committed to underpin the Government’s long term housing strategy, confirmation of capital investment to deliver the Government’s commitments on building 40 hospitals and rebuilding 500 schools over the next decade,
and the multi-year funding required to deliver the Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.  The latter includes a welcome 12 month extension for the Green Homes Grant, announced last week.

“However, we would have liked to hear the Chancellor go further and announce funding for a National Retrofit Strategy to turbo-charge the levelling-up of housing conditions throughout the country.   Pump-priming this work would undoubtedly improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy as well as making greater inroads towards the Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.”
 
BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The Chancellor was clear that the health emergency is not yet over and the economic emergency has only just begun...

Builders Merchants sales bounce back in Q3


23 November 2020

Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

Comparing Q3 and Q2 2020 sales values highlights the dramatic impact of the first lockdown earlier in the year, with total Builders’ Merchants’ sales up by +63.2% in Q3 (+53.2% when adjusted for trading days in each quarter).

September 2020 sales delivered a particularly strong performance, increasing by +8.3% compared to September 2019, albeit with one extra trading day 

Looking at year on year changes, total Builders’ Merchants’ sales in Q3 2020 saw growth of +1.0% compared to Q3 2019. Of the two largest categories, Timber & Joinery grew by 3.5% in value from Q3 2019, while Heavy Building Materials saw a decrease of -1.0%. 

Landscaping was the big winner with year on year sales growth of +24.2% in value, with performance driven by Decking, Garden Walling / Paving and Fencing & Gates, which all saw substantial growth from last year. 

Timber was the key driver in Timber & Joinery growth, with Cladding also contributing. Heavy Building Materials’ small decline was due to a mix of both single digit increases and decreases across the board, with Aggregates, Bricks, Cement and Roofing Products the best performing subcategories.

However, year on year sales declined in some categories, with both Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-11.9%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-7.1%) down on Q3 2019.

Only Landscaping and Workwear & Safetywear have seen growth year to date, increasing by +1.5% and +1.2% respectively. Workwear & Safetywear Q3 growth was also up by 8.0% in value as COVID-19 safety requirements remain at the forefront. 

Commenting on the Q3 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:
“The level of activity over the summer and early autumn has been extremely encouraging, but we must also recognise that this has been against a backdrop of furlough payments, stamp duty holidays and continuing work on existing sites. It remains to be seen how consumer confidence holds up going forward.  The construction industry should benefit from government initiatives such as the Green Homes Grant, which has just been extended through to March 2022.   But with lockdown measures continuing throughout the nations of the UK we are likely to see more volatility in the coming months.”
Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK added:

“There is an expectation that the remainder of the year will be more challenging due to the second lockdown, but the merchant sector will benefit from being allowed to remain open for trading. Digital development will continue at a rapid pace, while looking further ahead, Brexit will bring its own challenges in 2021. The recent performance does however underline some positivity after this turbulent and uncertain year.”
 
Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

BMF supports £19.5m Optimised Retrofit programme in Wales

20 November 2020

Members of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in Wales are supporting the devolved nation’s drive to deliver a low-carbon future under a landmark scheme.

The Welsh Government’s £19.5 million Optimised Retrofit Programme will help local authority and housing association tenants and the environment by reducing the amount of carbon produced in powering and heating homes. Fitting energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures in properties across Wales will be key to achieving sustainability goals.

Designed to contribute to the Welsh Government’s efforts to decarbonise all 1.4 million Welsh homes by 2050, a major element of the scheme is to revitalise the regional economy by using local contractors and local merchants. 

In a written statement from Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government, the BMF is mentioned, along with other trade bodies and industry groups, in relation to the opportunities presented for the SME sector in supporting the decarbonisation of homes.

Commenting on the programme, Julie James said: “Retrofitting homes is vital in providing greener, better homes, reducing fuel poverty and establishing new supply chains.

“As well as opening the door to a new industry, it will create a low carbon economy for Wales, helping us to meet our ambitious sustainability targets and tackle the climate emergency.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, added: “The Optimised Retrofit Programme delivers meaningful environmental and economic benefits across Wales.

“Builders merchants are at the heart of local communities of trades people and are well-placed to support the delivery of this programme in their area.”

More on the Optimised Retrofit Programme at https://gov.wales/written-statement-optimised-retrofit-programme-2020-21
 
Members of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in Wales are supporting the devolved nation’s drive to deliver a low-carbon future under a landmark scheme.

BMF calls for bigger thinking to transform homes under Green Industrial Revolution


18 November 2020

A national trade body has welcomed the Prime Minister’s blueprint for greener homes and buildings - but says more needs to be done to ensure the scheme leaves a lasting legacy for the UK’s housing stock.

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), says the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which includes £1 billion next year to drive efficiencies in new and existing homes and public buildings, as well as a year-long extension to the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, is a step in the right direction.

However, it says that the approach needs to align with a broader, long-term strategy, to make a meaningful impact.

John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF, which represents a £38 billion slice of the construction industry supply chain, said: “We pressed to extend the Green Homes Grant, after our members reported that homeowners were likely to miss out on the programme.

“This was because many builders, with full order books for the months ahead, were unable to take on work under the initiative in time for the original deadline March 31, 2021.

“It’s excellent news that the voucher scheme has been extended, but realistically, we need to think much bigger to deliver a programme of works that will have the scope and scale to improve homes and level up housing conditions across Britain.

“As a member of the Construction Leadership Council, we believe the route to achieve this is through a National Retrofit Strategy, to ensure the money spent makes a lasting difference to the quality of our homes.

“That would involve upgrading approximately 28 million properties across the UK with energy efficient retrofit measures, delivering significant improvements to people’s health, comfort, air quality and a reduction in emissions as well as creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Members of the BMF, as a sector representing merchants and building materials manufacturers, are key to delivering the changes needed to meet the challenges ahead.

“However, we need to work as part of a broad, long-term strategy in order to invest in the new initiatives and innovations needed to transform the way we live.

“That cannot be achieved if we just work to a one-off initiative. We have to think bigger.

“We are presented with an enormous opportunity for people and companies to move towards a low- or zero-carbon future in their homes and workplaces.

“If we can link this to a National Retrofit Strategy then we can improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy and make greater inroads towards the Government’s target of zero net emissions by 2050.”
A national trade body has welcomed the Prime Minister’s blueprint for greener homes and buildings - but says more needs to be done to ensure the scheme leaves a lasting legacy for the UK’s housing stock.

Safety first in builders’ merchants across England    


4 November 2020

Construction leaders are taking steps to ensure safety first in builders’ merchants,  as the new Covid-19 restrictions come into place.

Builders’ merchants in England can remain open under the new Covid-19 restrictions, with the sector gaining Parliamentary recognition, along with other key sectors, to continue to operate.

The BMF produced detailed Covid-19 protocols at the start of the pandemic, and the advice will remain in place as new restrictions are brought in.

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF, welcomed Government legislation allowing builders’ merchants to remain open and continue working as a crucial part of the construction supply chain.

He said: “Our members have provided emergency support for the NHS, local authority and housing association maintenance teams since lockdown began in mid-March.

“Since then we have continued to operate safety, providing much-needed materials to enable a variety of works to continue over summer.

“Now, as new restrictions begin, we continue to work to the same operating procedures.

“Our merchants will be able to ensure customers can access supplies, including materials and parts for repair and maintenance works, such as weather-damaged buildings, frozen pipes and boiler repairs, which start to increase at this time of year.”

The BMF’s guidance has been endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), which has created a Construction Industry Task Force to provide a focal point for co-ordinating the industry’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.

BMF is a member of the Task Force, which comprises of leading trade associations representing both large and small firms in the construction sector, contractors, specialist contractors, home builders, product manufacturers, merchants and associated professional services, as well as Government Departments and major clients of the industry.

Mr Newcomb added: “The Government has made it clear that merchants are a vital part of the construction supply chain and it is important they continue to support the construction industry to operate on sites, and to provide the link between product manufacturers and the firms and tradespeople that use and install the products they make.” 
 
Construction leaders are taking steps to ensure safety first in builders’ merchants, as the new Covid-19 restrictions come into place.

Uncertainty looms for construction industry under no deal Brexit 

28 October 2020

The impact of a potential no deal Brexit will bring far-reaching repercussions for the construction sector.

Members of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group have warned that tariffs, border controls and disruption to the supply chain will impact an industry already balancing the challenges of Covid-19. 

John Newcomb, Co-Chair of the Group and Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation, said: “We need a deal with the EU. 

“Without it, the impact of large-scale price increases across the industry and other issues will present a big blow to the UK economy.

“Our worry is if we have no deal and then go to World Trade Organisation tariffs, we will definitely get significant price increases across this multi-billion-pound sector.”

Peter Caplehorn, fellow Co-Chair of the CLC’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group and CEO of the Construction Products Association, said: “In addition to the potential for increased prices the sector is concerned that a no deal will result in further uncertainty over the availability of components, materials, and significant commodity’s. 

“Clearly our members will do everything they can to mitigate these issues but without a deal we will be confronted with some difficult situations just at a time where the industry has robustly responded to the challenges of the pandemic while keeping those employed safe and contributing to the much needed economic recovery. 

“Every effort should be made to ensure a deal is delivered.”

Fears of an impact on prices are echoed by Tom Reynolds, CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association. He said: “Looking ahead new customs procedures will incur significant additional costs on businesses, not all of which can be absorbed.

“A significant proportion of bathroom products come from the EU, so new tariffs, possibly ranging from two to 12 percent will, in most cases, need to be passed through into price rises.”

According to Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Covid-19 has already affected confidence in the trade, and Brexit uncertainty risks adding to this.

Mr Berry said: “Across several regions, the feedback we have received is that ongoing uncertainty and price increases are having a real impact on builders’ ability to plan for jobs.

“They are struggling to reliably cost jobs and quote for work because they don’t know what the cost of materials will be from one week to the next.”

Concerns about the future are also evident in the supply chain among manufacturers and merchants. 

Andy Williamson, Commercial Director at SIG UK, said: “Most of the feedback we are receiving is around a no deal situation, rather than a deal, which could mean working under WTO rules in a number of areas and this is where possible price increases are coming.”

And Ian McConville, Group Procurement Director, of MKM Building Supplies, added: “We are seeing no evidence of material prices at the moment due to Brexit.

“However, we have seen notifications of potential increases dependent on WTO tariffs being applied.”   
 
The impact of a potential no deal Brexit will bring far-reaching repercussions for the construction sector.

New BMF service gives members hassle-free access to Govt Kickstart scheme 

 
07 September 2020

The BMF is encouraging Members to take advantage of the government’s £2 billion pound Kickstart scheme by providing full administrative support to simplify the engagement process and enable every BMF member to participate. 

Kickstart is the government’s post-Covid regeneration tool to enable employers to offer high-quality 6-month work placements to young people aged 16-24 who are at risk of long-term unemployment and are currently claiming Universal Credit.
 
Employers will be able to claim 100% of the National Minimum Wage for their charge, up to 25 hours, plus the associated employer National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

The BMF believes this is a tremendous opportunity for BMF members to bring young people into their business and help them to identify future apprentices.  However, the complexities and time-consuming administration of the scheme may prevent some from applying.  The BMF has introduced a new service to overcome these issues and open up the scheme to every BMF member wishing to participate. 
 
Carmen Daley, Operations Manager, BMF Apprenticeships Plus said:

“One of the largest barriers to entry is the requirement that employers undertake a rigorous application process and have at least 30 placements available. To ensure all BMF members have access to this incredible opportunity, the BMF Apprenticeship Plus team is offering a dedicated Kickstart Support Service. 

“As well as providing an access route for those who do not meet the minimum number of placements, the managed service oversees all practical and administrative elements of the initiative making it as simple as possible for all BMF members to engage.”

To find out more about the BMF Kickstart Support Service, or to register your interest, please contact Carmen Daley on 07496 370 224 or email carmen@bmfapprenticeshipsplus.co.uk 
 
The BMF is encouraging Members to take advantage of the government’s £2 billion pound Kickstart scheme by providing full administrative support.

BMF, Williamson and Blair agree on vocational training


07 August 2020

BMF, Willianson and Blair agree on vocational trainingGovernment moves to improve the prestige and importance of apprentices with a greater focus on further education are welcome and long-overdue, according to the BMF.

Last month, the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson MP, said he wanted to end the culture of qualifications for qualifications’ sake and to pour money into further education instead. The Minister said there was an inbuilt snobbishness about those who take up vocational training rather than university. Consequently, he was abandoning Tony Blair’s admissions’ target set in 1999 that 50% of young people should go to university and take degrees. The Minister added that he would unveil a new German-style, employer-led further education policy later on this autumn.

This move came in the same week that Euan Blair, son of Tony, criticised the British obsession with a ‘one size fits all’ university education which could result in a skills’ crisis. Mr Blair junior is the Founder and Chief Executive of White Hat, a tech start-up company that matches non-graduates with apprenticeship opportunities.

Interviewed on “Times Radio”, he acknowledged the pledge his father gave 20 years ago, but said that too many leave university with ‘useless’ degrees, huge debts and without the necessary basic skills. Euan Blair wants to encourage school-leavers to take apprenticeships instead.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, commented:

“This Government announcement is welcome news and endorses the long-held BMF view that bad or non-existent careers advice fails to encourage young people to take an apprenticeship in merchanting, or in manual trades that we desperately need in house-building and property RMI.

“In the post-Brexit and post-Covid 19 economic recovery, all efforts are necessary to tackle prejudice where parents see apprenticeships as being for kids who are educational failures, and teachers put pressure on pupils to go to university because it counts towards school performance in league tables”.
 
As part of its revitalised national youth recruitment campaign, the BMF launched the website Building Materials Careers to showcase the excellent career opportunities throughout the building materials supply chain. This is supported by a team of 55 Industry Ambassadors, drawn from the ranks of the BMF’s members, who promote the wide array of opportunities offered by the industry to students and young job-seekers throughout the country.

BMF Apprenticeships Plus also helps members to recruit and manage apprentices. Over the past three years, 54 member companies have recruited over 200 apprentices with our assistance.

Euan Blair has met the BMF before - notably the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships - where he, the BMF and other employers lobby for parity of esteem between academic and vocational education - and to improve current arrangements like the Apprenticeship Levy.
 
BMF, Willianson and Blair agree on vocational training
Government moves to improve the prestige and importance of apprentices with a greater focus on further education are welcome and long-overdue, according to the BMF.

Builders Merchants sales bounce back in Q3


23 November 2020

Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

Comparing Q3 and Q2 2020 sales values highlights the dramatic impact of the first lockdown earlier in the year, with total Builders’ Merchants’ sales up by +63.2% in Q3 (+53.2% when adjusted for trading days in each quarter).

September 2020 sales delivered a particularly strong performance, increasing by +8.3% compared to September 2019, albeit with one extra trading day 

Looking at year on year changes, total Builders’ Merchants’ sales in Q3 2020 saw growth of +1.0% compared to Q3 2019. Of the two largest categories, Timber & Joinery grew by 3.5% in value from Q3 2019, while Heavy Building Materials saw a decrease of -1.0%. 

Landscaping was the big winner with year on year sales growth of +24.2% in value, with performance driven by Decking, Garden Walling / Paving and Fencing & Gates, which all saw substantial growth from last year. 

Timber was the key driver in Timber & Joinery growth, with Cladding also contributing. Heavy Building Materials’ small decline was due to a mix of both single digit increases and decreases across the board, with Aggregates, Bricks, Cement and Roofing Products the best performing subcategories.

However, year on year sales declined in some categories, with both Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-11.9%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-7.1%) down on Q3 2019.

Only Landscaping and Workwear & Safetywear have seen growth year to date, increasing by +1.5% and +1.2% respectively. Workwear & Safetywear Q3 growth was also up by 8.0% in value as COVID-19 safety requirements remain at the forefront. 

Commenting on the Q3 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:
“The level of activity over the summer and early autumn has been extremely encouraging, but we must also recognise that this has been against a backdrop of furlough payments, stamp duty holidays and continuing work on existing sites. It remains to be seen how consumer confidence holds up going forward.  The construction industry should benefit from government initiatives such as the Green Homes Grant, which has just been extended through to March 2022.   But with lockdown measures continuing throughout the nations of the UK we are likely to see more volatility in the coming months.”
Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK added:

“There is an expectation that the remainder of the year will be more challenging due to the second lockdown, but the merchant sector will benefit from being allowed to remain open for trading. Digital development will continue at a rapid pace, while looking further ahead, Brexit will bring its own challenges in 2021. The recent performance does however underline some positivity after this turbulent and uncertain year.”
 
Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

Safety first in builders’ merchants across England    


4 November 2020

Construction leaders are taking steps to ensure safety first in builders’ merchants,  as the new Covid-19 restrictions come into place.

Builders’ merchants in England can remain open under the new Covid-19 restrictions, with the sector gaining Parliamentary recognition, along with other key sectors, to continue to operate.

The BMF produced detailed Covid-19 protocols at the start of the pandemic, and the advice will remain in place as new restrictions are brought in.

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF, welcomed Government legislation allowing builders’ merchants to remain open and continue working as a crucial part of the construction supply chain.

He said: “Our members have provided emergency support for the NHS, local authority and housing association maintenance teams since lockdown began in mid-March.

“Since then we have continued to operate safety, providing much-needed materials to enable a variety of works to continue over summer.

“Now, as new restrictions begin, we continue to work to the same operating procedures.

“Our merchants will be able to ensure customers can access supplies, including materials and parts for repair and maintenance works, such as weather-damaged buildings, frozen pipes and boiler repairs, which start to increase at this time of year.”

The BMF’s guidance has been endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), which has created a Construction Industry Task Force to provide a focal point for co-ordinating the industry’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.

BMF is a member of the Task Force, which comprises of leading trade associations representing both large and small firms in the construction sector, contractors, specialist contractors, home builders, product manufacturers, merchants and associated professional services, as well as Government Departments and major clients of the industry.

Mr Newcomb added: “The Government has made it clear that merchants are a vital part of the construction supply chain and it is important they continue to support the construction industry to operate on sites, and to provide the link between product manufacturers and the firms and tradespeople that use and install the products they make.” 
 
Construction leaders are taking steps to ensure safety first in builders’ merchants, as the new Covid-19 restrictions come into place.

Uncertainty looms for construction industry under no deal Brexit 

28 October 2020

The impact of a potential no deal Brexit will bring far-reaching repercussions for the construction sector.

Members of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group have warned that tariffs, border controls and disruption to the supply chain will impact an industry already balancing the challenges of Covid-19. 

John Newcomb, Co-Chair of the Group and Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation, said: “We need a deal with the EU. 

“Without it, the impact of large-scale price increases across the industry and other issues will present a big blow to the UK economy.

“Our worry is if we have no deal and then go to World Trade Organisation tariffs, we will definitely get significant price increases across this multi-billion-pound sector.”

Peter Caplehorn, fellow Co-Chair of the CLC’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group and CEO of the Construction Products Association, said: “In addition to the potential for increased prices the sector is concerned that a no deal will result in further uncertainty over the availability of components, materials, and significant commodity’s. 

“Clearly our members will do everything they can to mitigate these issues but without a deal we will be confronted with some difficult situations just at a time where the industry has robustly responded to the challenges of the pandemic while keeping those employed safe and contributing to the much needed economic recovery. 

“Every effort should be made to ensure a deal is delivered.”

Fears of an impact on prices are echoed by Tom Reynolds, CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association. He said: “Looking ahead new customs procedures will incur significant additional costs on businesses, not all of which can be absorbed.

“A significant proportion of bathroom products come from the EU, so new tariffs, possibly ranging from two to 12 percent will, in most cases, need to be passed through into price rises.”

According to Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Covid-19 has already affected confidence in the trade, and Brexit uncertainty risks adding to this.

Mr Berry said: “Across several regions, the feedback we have received is that ongoing uncertainty and price increases are having a real impact on builders’ ability to plan for jobs.

“They are struggling to reliably cost jobs and quote for work because they don’t know what the cost of materials will be from one week to the next.”

Concerns about the future are also evident in the supply chain among manufacturers and merchants. 

Andy Williamson, Commercial Director at SIG UK, said: “Most of the feedback we are receiving is around a no deal situation, rather than a deal, which could mean working under WTO rules in a number of areas and this is where possible price increases are coming.”

And Ian McConville, Group Procurement Director, of MKM Building Supplies, added: “We are seeing no evidence of material prices at the moment due to Brexit.

“However, we have seen notifications of potential increases dependent on WTO tariffs being applied.”   
 
The impact of a potential no deal Brexit will bring far-reaching repercussions for the construction sector.

BMF calls on government to extend Trade Credit Insurance guarantee

20 October 2020

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is calling on the Government to extend the Trade Credit Insurance re-insurance scheme introduced to support trading following the initial Covid-19 lockdown, which is scheduled to finish at the end of December this year.

Over 50% of BMF members use some form of Trade Credit Insurance to transact with both customers and suppliers. The Government re-insurance scheme – which provided a £10 billion guarantee – has helped merchants to access the appropriate level of Trade Credit Insurance to operate their businesses and trade with confidence since it was introduced in May, backdated to 1 April 2020.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, who chairs the Construction Leadership Council’s insurance working group, has written to the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) formally requesting a six-month extension to the scheme, to the 30 June 2021. 
 
John Newcomb said: 

“Trade Credit Insurance is a vitally important part of the construction industry, which ensures the smooth flow of goods and materials throughout the supply chain.

“We were extremely pleased that the Government supported it in May. However, we are now experiencing a series of local lockdowns leading to continued uncertainty for the whole construction industry.  

“In a survey of companies across the construction industry – many of whom are involved in building materials manufacture and supply – over 54% of respondents believed that without Government intervention insurers are unlikely to maintain an appropriate level of cover for their business when the current re-insurance scheme ends.

“An extension to the current scheme beyond the 31 December deadline will support the industry with business confidence and help it through the continued uncertainty of trading throughout the pandemic.”   

The BMF expects to hear the Government’s decision on extending the Trade Credit Insurance re-insurance scheme by mid-November
 
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is calling on the Government to extend the Trade Credit Insurance re-insurance scheme introduced to support trading following the initial Covid-19 lockdown, which is scheduled to finish at the end of December t

Uncertainty looms for construction industry under no deal Brexit 

28 October 2020

The impact of a potential no deal Brexit will bring far-reaching repercussions for the construction sector.

Members of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group have warned that tariffs, border controls and disruption to the supply chain will impact an industry already balancing the challenges of Covid-19. 

John Newcomb, Co-Chair of the Group and Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation, said: “We need a deal with the EU. 

“Without it, the impact of large-scale price increases across the industry and other issues will present a big blow to the UK economy.

“Our worry is if we have no deal and then go to World Trade Organisation tariffs, we will definitely get significant price increases across this multi-billion-pound sector.”

Peter Caplehorn, fellow Co-Chair of the CLC’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group and CEO of the Construction Products Association, said: “In addition to the potential for increased prices the sector is concerned that a no deal will result in further uncertainty over the availability of components, materials, and significant commodity’s. 

“Clearly our members will do everything they can to mitigate these issues but without a deal we will be confronted with some difficult situations just at a time where the industry has robustly responded to the challenges of the pandemic while keeping those employed safe and contributing to the much needed economic recovery. 

“Every effort should be made to ensure a deal is delivered.”

Fears of an impact on prices are echoed by Tom Reynolds, CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association. He said: “Looking ahead new customs procedures will incur significant additional costs on businesses, not all of which can be absorbed.

“A significant proportion of bathroom products come from the EU, so new tariffs, possibly ranging from two to 12 percent will, in most cases, need to be passed through into price rises.”

According to Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Covid-19 has already affected confidence in the trade, and Brexit uncertainty risks adding to this.

Mr Berry said: “Across several regions, the feedback we have received is that ongoing uncertainty and price increases are having a real impact on builders’ ability to plan for jobs.

“They are struggling to reliably cost jobs and quote for work because they don’t know what the cost of materials will be from one week to the next.”

Concerns about the future are also evident in the supply chain among manufacturers and merchants. 

Andy Williamson, Commercial Director at SIG UK, said: “Most of the feedback we are receiving is around a no deal situation, rather than a deal, which could mean working under WTO rules in a number of areas and this is where possible price increases are coming.”

And Ian McConville, Group Procurement Director, of MKM Building Supplies, added: “We are seeing no evidence of material prices at the moment due to Brexit.

“However, we have seen notifications of potential increases dependent on WTO tariffs being applied.”   
 
The impact of a potential no deal Brexit will bring far-reaching repercussions for the construction sector.

BMF to lead on Movement of Goods & Materials in CLC Brexit Working Group


19 August 2020

The BMF is to lead one of four workstreams within a dedicated Brexit Working Group set up by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) in advance of the expiration of the UK’s transition period with the European Union on 31 December 2020.

The CLC Brexit Working Group will advise the government on how to protect construction if no deal is agreed between the UK and the EU by the end of the year.  It will also signpost business guidance and information to assist construction industry preparedness to maintain business continuity at the end of the transition period.

The BMF will co-chair the Movement of Goods and Materials workstream along with the Construction Products Association.  The two organisations also co-chair the CLC’s Product Availability Group, set up in the wake of COVID-19. 

Movement of Goods and Materials will cover preparing for the new customs regime, guidance on WTO rules in the event of no agreement with the EU and alternative sourcing opportunities in the rest of the world and the domestic market.

Other workstreams will cover:

Movement of People: preparing for the new immigration rules, accessing alternative labour supply and reciprocal arrangements on skills and qualifications in the new trade deals.

Standards and Alignment: guidance on the Construction Products Regulation, EU notified bodies, CE marking, UK designated standards, UKCA marking and the longer term prospects of (de)harmonisation and (de)alignment.

Data Adequacy: business awareness of the potential impact and mitigating actions on data flow in the event of no agreement with the EU and no decision by the European Commission on the UK’s ‘data adequacy”.

In addition, the existing workstreams of the CLC will take on Brexit-readiness related work, helping to produce guidance on matters including procurement and contracts.

Andy Mitchell CBE, Co-chair of the CLC said: “The CLC has a leading role to play in getting our business ready for the changes that will come at the end of the transition period. While businesses contend with the fallout from COVID-19 and adjust to the new ways of working, the clock continues to tick on reaching an agreement with the EU. Whether we reach an agreement or not, our relationship with our European neighbours and the rest of the world will change and we’ll be doing all we can to help the industry adapt, adjust and rise to meet the Prime Minister’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ ambition.”

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF said: “The four workstream areas are critical for business continuity following the Brexit transition period, and the Movement of Goods and Materials is particularly relevant for the building materials sector. 

“The BMF will also be helping members keep abreast of changes through a dedicated Brexit landing page on our website.  This will go live in September and will host guidance and advice produced by ourselves, the CLC, government and other relevant bodies, to help prepare merchants and manufacturers for changes in our trading relationship with the EU.  

“This information will also be included in our regular sector Forums and will be covered in online seminars hosted by the CLC in the Autumn.”

The CLC’s Brexit Working Group has been welcomed by Government.

Nadhim Zahawi MP, Minister for Business and Industry said: “The construction industry is a key part of the UK economy, and I am grateful for the ongoing hard work and support the CLCL continues to provide, helping to ensure the sector can take the actions needed to ensure a smooth transition from 1 January 2021.”
 
The BMF is to lead one of four workstreams within a dedicated Brexit Working Group set up by the CLC in advance of the expiration of the UK’s transition period with the European Union on 31 December 2020.

Construction industry sets out plan for recovery


1 June 2020

Plans for a post-Covid-19 revival of the UK construction sector have been published today by the Construction Leadership Council’s Covid-19 Task Force.

The Task Force, which represents the entire construction supply chain from product manufacturers and merchants to contractors, housebuilders and specialists, has laid out proposals to secure the future of construction businesses nationwide, while setting the industry on a sustainable path towards recovery. 

The proposals, which have been developed and agreed by the sector’s leading trade bodies, include recommendations to:

Get industry back to work wherever it is safe to do so
Maximise employment and retain key skills
Ensure a pipeline of future workload for all parts of the sector
Boost productivity to secure improved value
Transform the industry through technology & digitalisation

The task force was established as the crisis took hold to provide focus on industry efforts to combat the impact of coronavirus.  In the early days of the crisis it tackled immediate issues such as development of Site Operating Procedures to safeguard workers and addressing shortages of product availability. 

With the UK Government encouraging businesses to return to work wherever possible, the task force examined the challenges that would arise as the industry entered the recovery phase of the crisis. Today’s report looks at the short, medium and long-term actions that will be required to overcome these problems, while grasping the opportunities to build a better industry in the future.  

Industry bodies will work together to develop four sector specific plans that align to the CLC’s overarching recovery plan.  The Builders Merchant Federation will work with others to progress detailed plans for the Housing and RMI sectors.  

The task force is now engaging with Government to test how the plans proposals might be delivered. 

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “Our commitment to get Britain building is central to the mission of this government, which is why last month I ensured home building can restart in a way that is safe. We are a pro-development government that wants to build houses of all types in all parts of the country, so that people have the homes that they need. I welcome the CLC’s Roadmap to Recovery and I will be continuing to work closely with the industry to ensure we’re backing the success of our construction sector.”
 
Builders Merchants Federation, Chief Executive Officer, John Newcomb said: “Since its formation at the start of the crisis the CLC’s Covid-19 Taskforce has shown how effective the industry can be when it works towards a common goal.  As we enter the recovery phase we have a real opportunity to deliver a coordinated programme that will benefit the whole industry and support the UK economy.”

Construction Leadership Council joint chair Andy Mitchell said: “The unprecedented challenge of coronavirus calls for unprecedented solutions. I am delighted by the way that the industry has collaborated at pace to develop this plan, targeting those interventions that will help the industry get back on its feet as quickly as possible. We hope that everyone will take the opportunity to read the plan and consider the part you can play in its delivery.”

The CLC Roadmap to Recovery can be viewed online at the CLC website.
 
Plans for a post-Covid-19 revival of the UK construction sector have been published today by the Construction Leadership Council’s Covid-19 Task Force.

New furlough plans throw lifeline to protect multi-billion pound building supply chain


12 May 2020

The Builders Merchants Federation says the furlough extension has thrown the construction industry a crucial lifeline, which will protect a vital element of the UK economy.

The BMF has been actively pressing for a more flexible programme from the Government, as a member of the Construction Leadership Council, which is co-ordinating the industry’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.

According to BMF chief executive, John Newcomb, the nation’s multi-billion pound builders’ merchant and building material supply sector would have been severely hampered to help get Britain building without some flexibility in the system.

John Newcomb, BMF chief executive, said: “An incredible 80 per cent of all building products used in the construction of homes and buildings are manufactured in the UK. We need to protect this home-grown sector, which creates vital jobs in manufacturing, construction and the service sector.

“The extension to the furlough and the new levels of flexibility it brings have thrown us a lifeline that will enable us to do that.

“We are delighted that the Government has listened to our representations through the Construction Leadership Council. With our members now able to plan ahead, livelihoods will be protected, with the number one priority being safety.”

 The federation says the industry is well-prepared for the restart of construction and has already produced new branch operating guidelines  for its members to follow, which set a blueprint for procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Newcomb added: “We are preparing for the construction industry to get back on site. Over the past three weeks, since the publication of our new branch operating guidelines, we have seen increasing numbers of merchants safely re-opening or expanding operations to support their trade customers.

“It is clear the Government now sees a return to work for the construction industry as a priority. We are prepared for that, with the safety of merchant staff, suppliers and customers paramount. The number one priority is to minimise the risk of transmitting coronavirus.”

The BMF is also working in a specialist group to ensure confidence in the building products supply chain, to meet increasing demand in the re-opening period.

It is working with the Construction Products Association (CPA) to monitor the manufacturing and distribution of their respective members, in order to meet the needs of housebuilders, contractors and SME builders. They are heading up the Product Availability Group, set-up by the Construction Leadership Council.
The BMF says the furlough extension has thrown the construction industry a crucial lifeline, which will protect a vital element of the UK economy.

BMF responds to Chancellor’s Spending Review


25 November 2020

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“The Chancellor was clear that the health emergency is not yet over and the economic emergency has only just begun.  We must be prepared for a challenging year ahead, but there was some welcome news within his statement.  

“In particular, we welcome the £20bn committed to underpin the Government’s long term housing strategy, confirmation of capital investment to deliver the Government’s commitments on building 40 hospitals and rebuilding 500 schools over the next decade,
and the multi-year funding required to deliver the Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.  The latter includes a welcome 12 month extension for the Green Homes Grant, announced last week.

“However, we would have liked to hear the Chancellor go further and announce funding for a National Retrofit Strategy to turbo-charge the levelling-up of housing conditions throughout the country.   Pump-priming this work would undoubtedly improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy as well as making greater inroads towards the Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.”
 
BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The Chancellor was clear that the health emergency is not yet over and the economic emergency has only just begun...

Builders Merchants sales bounce back in Q3


23 November 2020

Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

Comparing Q3 and Q2 2020 sales values highlights the dramatic impact of the first lockdown earlier in the year, with total Builders’ Merchants’ sales up by +63.2% in Q3 (+53.2% when adjusted for trading days in each quarter).

September 2020 sales delivered a particularly strong performance, increasing by +8.3% compared to September 2019, albeit with one extra trading day 

Looking at year on year changes, total Builders’ Merchants’ sales in Q3 2020 saw growth of +1.0% compared to Q3 2019. Of the two largest categories, Timber & Joinery grew by 3.5% in value from Q3 2019, while Heavy Building Materials saw a decrease of -1.0%. 

Landscaping was the big winner with year on year sales growth of +24.2% in value, with performance driven by Decking, Garden Walling / Paving and Fencing & Gates, which all saw substantial growth from last year. 

Timber was the key driver in Timber & Joinery growth, with Cladding also contributing. Heavy Building Materials’ small decline was due to a mix of both single digit increases and decreases across the board, with Aggregates, Bricks, Cement and Roofing Products the best performing subcategories.

However, year on year sales declined in some categories, with both Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-11.9%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-7.1%) down on Q3 2019.

Only Landscaping and Workwear & Safetywear have seen growth year to date, increasing by +1.5% and +1.2% respectively. Workwear & Safetywear Q3 growth was also up by 8.0% in value as COVID-19 safety requirements remain at the forefront. 

Commenting on the Q3 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:
“The level of activity over the summer and early autumn has been extremely encouraging, but we must also recognise that this has been against a backdrop of furlough payments, stamp duty holidays and continuing work on existing sites. It remains to be seen how consumer confidence holds up going forward.  The construction industry should benefit from government initiatives such as the Green Homes Grant, which has just been extended through to March 2022.   But with lockdown measures continuing throughout the nations of the UK we are likely to see more volatility in the coming months.”
Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK added:

“There is an expectation that the remainder of the year will be more challenging due to the second lockdown, but the merchant sector will benefit from being allowed to remain open for trading. Digital development will continue at a rapid pace, while looking further ahead, Brexit will bring its own challenges in 2021. The recent performance does however underline some positivity after this turbulent and uncertain year.”
 
Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

BMF supports £19.5m Optimised Retrofit programme in Wales

20 November 2020

Members of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in Wales are supporting the devolved nation’s drive to deliver a low-carbon future under a landmark scheme.

The Welsh Government’s £19.5 million Optimised Retrofit Programme will help local authority and housing association tenants and the environment by reducing the amount of carbon produced in powering and heating homes. Fitting energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures in properties across Wales will be key to achieving sustainability goals.

Designed to contribute to the Welsh Government’s efforts to decarbonise all 1.4 million Welsh homes by 2050, a major element of the scheme is to revitalise the regional economy by using local contractors and local merchants. 

In a written statement from Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government, the BMF is mentioned, along with other trade bodies and industry groups, in relation to the opportunities presented for the SME sector in supporting the decarbonisation of homes.

Commenting on the programme, Julie James said: “Retrofitting homes is vital in providing greener, better homes, reducing fuel poverty and establishing new supply chains.

“As well as opening the door to a new industry, it will create a low carbon economy for Wales, helping us to meet our ambitious sustainability targets and tackle the climate emergency.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, added: “The Optimised Retrofit Programme delivers meaningful environmental and economic benefits across Wales.

“Builders merchants are at the heart of local communities of trades people and are well-placed to support the delivery of this programme in their area.”

More on the Optimised Retrofit Programme at https://gov.wales/written-statement-optimised-retrofit-programme-2020-21
 
Members of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in Wales are supporting the devolved nation’s drive to deliver a low-carbon future under a landmark scheme.

BMF calls for bigger thinking to transform homes under Green Industrial Revolution


18 November 2020

A national trade body has welcomed the Prime Minister’s blueprint for greener homes and buildings - but says more needs to be done to ensure the scheme leaves a lasting legacy for the UK’s housing stock.

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), says the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which includes £1 billion next year to drive efficiencies in new and existing homes and public buildings, as well as a year-long extension to the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, is a step in the right direction.

However, it says that the approach needs to align with a broader, long-term strategy, to make a meaningful impact.

John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF, which represents a £38 billion slice of the construction industry supply chain, said: “We pressed to extend the Green Homes Grant, after our members reported that homeowners were likely to miss out on the programme.

“This was because many builders, with full order books for the months ahead, were unable to take on work under the initiative in time for the original deadline March 31, 2021.

“It’s excellent news that the voucher scheme has been extended, but realistically, we need to think much bigger to deliver a programme of works that will have the scope and scale to improve homes and level up housing conditions across Britain.

“As a member of the Construction Leadership Council, we believe the route to achieve this is through a National Retrofit Strategy, to ensure the money spent makes a lasting difference to the quality of our homes.

“That would involve upgrading approximately 28 million properties across the UK with energy efficient retrofit measures, delivering significant improvements to people’s health, comfort, air quality and a reduction in emissions as well as creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Members of the BMF, as a sector representing merchants and building materials manufacturers, are key to delivering the changes needed to meet the challenges ahead.

“However, we need to work as part of a broad, long-term strategy in order to invest in the new initiatives and innovations needed to transform the way we live.

“That cannot be achieved if we just work to a one-off initiative. We have to think bigger.

“We are presented with an enormous opportunity for people and companies to move towards a low- or zero-carbon future in their homes and workplaces.

“If we can link this to a National Retrofit Strategy then we can improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy and make greater inroads towards the Government’s target of zero net emissions by 2050.”
A national trade body has welcomed the Prime Minister’s blueprint for greener homes and buildings - but says more needs to be done to ensure the scheme leaves a lasting legacy for the UK’s housing stock.

BMF responds to Chancellor’s Spending Review


25 November 2020

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“The Chancellor was clear that the health emergency is not yet over and the economic emergency has only just begun.  We must be prepared for a challenging year ahead, but there was some welcome news within his statement.  

“In particular, we welcome the £20bn committed to underpin the Government’s long term housing strategy, confirmation of capital investment to deliver the Government’s commitments on building 40 hospitals and rebuilding 500 schools over the next decade,
and the multi-year funding required to deliver the Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.  The latter includes a welcome 12 month extension for the Green Homes Grant, announced last week.

“However, we would have liked to hear the Chancellor go further and announce funding for a National Retrofit Strategy to turbo-charge the levelling-up of housing conditions throughout the country.   Pump-priming this work would undoubtedly improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy as well as making greater inroads towards the Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.”
 
BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The Chancellor was clear that the health emergency is not yet over and the economic emergency has only just begun...

Builders Merchants sales bounce back in Q3


23 November 2020

Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

Comparing Q3 and Q2 2020 sales values highlights the dramatic impact of the first lockdown earlier in the year, with total Builders’ Merchants’ sales up by +63.2% in Q3 (+53.2% when adjusted for trading days in each quarter).

September 2020 sales delivered a particularly strong performance, increasing by +8.3% compared to September 2019, albeit with one extra trading day 

Looking at year on year changes, total Builders’ Merchants’ sales in Q3 2020 saw growth of +1.0% compared to Q3 2019. Of the two largest categories, Timber & Joinery grew by 3.5% in value from Q3 2019, while Heavy Building Materials saw a decrease of -1.0%. 

Landscaping was the big winner with year on year sales growth of +24.2% in value, with performance driven by Decking, Garden Walling / Paving and Fencing & Gates, which all saw substantial growth from last year. 

Timber was the key driver in Timber & Joinery growth, with Cladding also contributing. Heavy Building Materials’ small decline was due to a mix of both single digit increases and decreases across the board, with Aggregates, Bricks, Cement and Roofing Products the best performing subcategories.

However, year on year sales declined in some categories, with both Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-11.9%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-7.1%) down on Q3 2019.

Only Landscaping and Workwear & Safetywear have seen growth year to date, increasing by +1.5% and +1.2% respectively. Workwear & Safetywear Q3 growth was also up by 8.0% in value as COVID-19 safety requirements remain at the forefront. 

Commenting on the Q3 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:
“The level of activity over the summer and early autumn has been extremely encouraging, but we must also recognise that this has been against a backdrop of furlough payments, stamp duty holidays and continuing work on existing sites. It remains to be seen how consumer confidence holds up going forward.  The construction industry should benefit from government initiatives such as the Green Homes Grant, which has just been extended through to March 2022.   But with lockdown measures continuing throughout the nations of the UK we are likely to see more volatility in the coming months.”
Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK added:

“There is an expectation that the remainder of the year will be more challenging due to the second lockdown, but the merchant sector will benefit from being allowed to remain open for trading. Digital development will continue at a rapid pace, while looking further ahead, Brexit will bring its own challenges in 2021. The recent performance does however underline some positivity after this turbulent and uncertain year.”
 
Figures for the third quarter of 2020 published today (23 November) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the resilience of the sector, with sales bouncing back to near normal levels.

BMF supports £19.5m Optimised Retrofit programme in Wales

20 November 2020

Members of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in Wales are supporting the devolved nation’s drive to deliver a low-carbon future under a landmark scheme.

The Welsh Government’s £19.5 million Optimised Retrofit Programme will help local authority and housing association tenants and the environment by reducing the amount of carbon produced in powering and heating homes. Fitting energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures in properties across Wales will be key to achieving sustainability goals.

Designed to contribute to the Welsh Government’s efforts to decarbonise all 1.4 million Welsh homes by 2050, a major element of the scheme is to revitalise the regional economy by using local contractors and local merchants. 

In a written statement from Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government, the BMF is mentioned, along with other trade bodies and industry groups, in relation to the opportunities presented for the SME sector in supporting the decarbonisation of homes.

Commenting on the programme, Julie James said: “Retrofitting homes is vital in providing greener, better homes, reducing fuel poverty and establishing new supply chains.

“As well as opening the door to a new industry, it will create a low carbon economy for Wales, helping us to meet our ambitious sustainability targets and tackle the climate emergency.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, added: “The Optimised Retrofit Programme delivers meaningful environmental and economic benefits across Wales.

“Builders merchants are at the heart of local communities of trades people and are well-placed to support the delivery of this programme in their area.”

More on the Optimised Retrofit Programme at https://gov.wales/written-statement-optimised-retrofit-programme-2020-21
 
Members of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in Wales are supporting the devolved nation’s drive to deliver a low-carbon future under a landmark scheme.

BMF calls for bigger thinking to transform homes under Green Industrial Revolution


18 November 2020

A national trade body has welcomed the Prime Minister’s blueprint for greener homes and buildings - but says more needs to be done to ensure the scheme leaves a lasting legacy for the UK’s housing stock.

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), says the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which includes £1 billion next year to drive efficiencies in new and existing homes and public buildings, as well as a year-long extension to the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, is a step in the right direction.

However, it says that the approach needs to align with a broader, long-term strategy, to make a meaningful impact.

John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF, which represents a £38 billion slice of the construction industry supply chain, said: “We pressed to extend the Green Homes Grant, after our members reported that homeowners were likely to miss out on the programme.

“This was because many builders, with full order books for the months ahead, were unable to take on work under the initiative in time for the original deadline March 31, 2021.

“It’s excellent news that the voucher scheme has been extended, but realistically, we need to think much bigger to deliver a programme of works that will have the scope and scale to improve homes and level up housing conditions across Britain.

“As a member of the Construction Leadership Council, we believe the route to achieve this is through a National Retrofit Strategy, to ensure the money spent makes a lasting difference to the quality of our homes.

“That would involve upgrading approximately 28 million properties across the UK with energy efficient retrofit measures, delivering significant improvements to people’s health, comfort, air quality and a reduction in emissions as well as creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Members of the BMF, as a sector representing merchants and building materials manufacturers, are key to delivering the changes needed to meet the challenges ahead.

“However, we need to work as part of a broad, long-term strategy in order to invest in the new initiatives and innovations needed to transform the way we live.

“That cannot be achieved if we just work to a one-off initiative. We have to think bigger.

“We are presented with an enormous opportunity for people and companies to move towards a low- or zero-carbon future in their homes and workplaces.

“If we can link this to a National Retrofit Strategy then we can improve lives, create jobs, boost the economy and make greater inroads towards the Government’s target of zero net emissions by 2050.”
A national trade body has welcomed the Prime Minister’s blueprint for greener homes and buildings - but says more needs to be done to ensure the scheme leaves a lasting legacy for the UK’s housing stock.
IDPrimary RankRole Title
There are no records.
Non Member Company