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 All Industry Conference comes home for 2021


17 September 2020

The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.  

The main Conference business will take place at the award-winning Yorkshire Event Centre, outside Harrogate with the Gala Dinner held close by in the historic city of York.

In the year that the UK begins a new relationship with the European Union, the Conference theme Building Beyond Boundaries could not be more topical, as the country looks beyond traditional geographical boundaries to build new trading relationships, and the industry moves beyond the boundaries imposed by the Covid health crisis and responds to Government incentives to Build, Build, Build.

BMF Chief Executive, John Newcomb said: 

“In the wake of the disruption caused by Covid, and as the UK ends its current relationship with the EU, we were determined to demonstrate our support for Britain, by holding the All Industry Conference in the UK for the first time in 30 years.  By bringing our premier Conference home we are putting cash back into the UK economy and assisting a sector that has been particularly badly affected in 2020.

“Our industry thrives on networking and relationships and I know everyone was disappointed that this year’s event was, rightly, cancelled.  We will have to be out of social distancing measures for the 2021 Conference to go ahead, but that is not a reason not to work towards a fantastic event to signal our confidence in the market’s ongoing recovery.”

Conference delegates will have the choice of two four-star Harrogate hotels – the Majestic and the Crowne Plaza – which together can accommodate 350 guests.  A key difference to 2021 Conference programme is the addition of a Supplier Exhibition, replacing the Merchant/Supplier Exchange sessions.  However, the three-day event will, of course, feature the popular Friday night dine-arounds and a full programme of social activities.

The Crystal Group will sponsor the BMF All Industry Conference for the second year.  Other key sponsors include ACO, BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Marsh Industries, Rockwool and SIG.

For further details and to register your interest at this stage, please contact june.upton@bmf.org.uk
 
The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.

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 extends auto-membership to h&b Development Group


24 August 2020

The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Five merchants in the h&b Development Group are already BMF Members and the remaining 19, together with any new recruits, will be auto-enrolled into BMF membership during the period of the agreement. This new arrangement begins on 1 September and will bring the total number of BMF members to 751 – the highest figure since 1992. 

The h&b Development Group is a relatively new concept for the merchant industry which offers carefully selected smaller independent merchants who have a desire to grow their operations, access to the vast amount of knowledge and experience within the membership, whilst also benefiting from the commercial advantages associated with an established buying group. 

Jamie Wyatt, h&b Trading Director said:

“We are delighted that the BMF has agreed to include our Development Group within the group membership scheme.  Development Group members have access to a large range of negotiated deals and are also supported both centrally and through the existing network of successful entrepreneurs.  Adding BMF membership into this mix is another valuable benefit that will support Development Group members over the coming years.”

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said:

“The BMF is here to support merchants of all sizes and sectors - local, regional or national, generalist or specialist.  h&b have shown their commitment to helping smaller merchants develop their business and BMF membership will provide even more opportunities for them, with access to training, specialist Forums, networking and other business support. 

“I am also delighted to report that the latest tranche of h&b members not only takes us to our highest overall membership in almost 30 years, but also means there are very nearly 400 BMF merchant members operating from over 5,700 branches throughout the UK and Ireland.”
The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Merchants sales plummet in Q2 – but Landscaping surges in June 


19 August 2020

Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.  

However, digging deeper into the figures uncovers three very different trading months during this extraordinary period.

April, with almost a full lockdown, saw a year on year decline of -76.5% as most merchants only provided essential deliveries to active trade account holders.  May recovered to -39.9% on the previous year as restrictions were relaxed, while June sales were up +2.2% on June 2019, helped by two more trading days this year and a surge in sales of landscaping products, which saw year on year growth of 50.3% driven by garden walling/paving, fencing & gates and decking.

Landscaping was the strongest performer across the whole quarter, but still down -13.3% on Q2 2019, followed by Workwear & Safetywear, which fell by -31.2% on the previous year.  Tools down -58.6%, was the weakest performer, followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (-57.9%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-53.1%).  

The two largest product groups also saw a significant fall in sales for the quarter, with Heavy Building Materials falling by -38.4% on Q2 2019 (and by -26.7% on Q1 2020) and Timber & Joinery Products down -39.8% on the previous year and by -28.1% against Q1 this year.
However, both performed better in June with Timber up +1.4% on the previous year and Heavy Building Materials at +0.2%, driven by strong cement, aggregates and roofing performance

Commenting on the results, BMF CEO, John Newcomb, said: 

“The initial impact of Covid-19 was industry-wide and merchant sales figures reflect other industry indicators for the Quarter.  In the first few days of the crisis, many construction sites, builders’ merchants and manufacturers temporarily closed before putting Covid-secure measures in place, which pretty much wrote off April.  Sales in May and, in particular, in June improved, but we are not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately, closing production lines led to shortages in certain product areas which is taking some time to unwind.  We are also now experiencing quarantines for returning travellers and local lockdowns.  Add Brexit and economic uncertainty to this and it is bound to impact consumer confidence.  The remainder of the year is impossible to predict, but I think everyone is expecting a bumpy ride.” 

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

“This year is probably unique and we still have some way to reach before 2021.  The initial shock and fear have been replaced by the realisation that this is a long term problem, and the ever-present threat of a second wave remains.  For merchants, the next couple of months will be crucial in helping the sector recover losses incurred during April and May.  Good summer weather will help, but continued development of digital platforms across the sector provides a potential roadmap for the future, hopefully offering a solution to the second wave threat.”
 
Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.

BMF All Industry Conference comes home for 2021


17 September 2020

The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.  

The main Conference business will take place at the award-winning Yorkshire Event Centre, outside Harrogate with the Gala Dinner held close by in the historic city of York.

In the year that the UK begins a new relationship with the European Union, the Conference theme Building Beyond Boundaries could not be more topical, as the country looks beyond traditional geographical boundaries to build new trading relationships, and the industry moves beyond the boundaries imposed by the Covid health crisis and responds to Government incentives to Build, Build, Build.

BMF Chief Executive, John Newcomb said: 

“In the wake of the disruption caused by Covid, and as the UK ends its current relationship with the EU, we were determined to demonstrate our support for Britain, by holding the All Industry Conference in the UK for the first time in 30 years.  By bringing our premier Conference home we are putting cash back into the UK economy and assisting a sector that has been particularly badly affected in 2020.

“Our industry thrives on networking and relationships and I know everyone was disappointed that this year’s event was, rightly, cancelled.  We will have to be out of social distancing measures for the 2021 Conference to go ahead, but that is not a reason not to work towards a fantastic event to signal our confidence in the market’s ongoing recovery.”

Conference delegates will have the choice of two four-star Harrogate hotels – the Majestic and the Crowne Plaza – which together can accommodate 350 guests.  A key difference to 2021 Conference programme is the addition of a Supplier Exhibition, replacing the Merchant/Supplier Exchange sessions.  However, the three-day event will, of course, feature the popular Friday night dine-arounds and a full programme of social activities.

The Crystal Group will sponsor the BMF All Industry Conference for the second year.  Other key sponsors include ACO, BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Marsh Industries, Rockwool and SIG.

For further details and to register your interest at this stage, please contact june.upton@bmf.org.uk
 
The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.

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 extends auto-membership to h&b Development Group


24 August 2020

The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Five merchants in the h&b Development Group are already BMF Members and the remaining 19, together with any new recruits, will be auto-enrolled into BMF membership during the period of the agreement. This new arrangement begins on 1 September and will bring the total number of BMF members to 751 – the highest figure since 1992. 

The h&b Development Group is a relatively new concept for the merchant industry which offers carefully selected smaller independent merchants who have a desire to grow their operations, access to the vast amount of knowledge and experience within the membership, whilst also benefiting from the commercial advantages associated with an established buying group. 

Jamie Wyatt, h&b Trading Director said:

“We are delighted that the BMF has agreed to include our Development Group within the group membership scheme.  Development Group members have access to a large range of negotiated deals and are also supported both centrally and through the existing network of successful entrepreneurs.  Adding BMF membership into this mix is another valuable benefit that will support Development Group members over the coming years.”

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said:

“The BMF is here to support merchants of all sizes and sectors - local, regional or national, generalist or specialist.  h&b have shown their commitment to helping smaller merchants develop their business and BMF membership will provide even more opportunities for them, with access to training, specialist Forums, networking and other business support. 

“I am also delighted to report that the latest tranche of h&b members not only takes us to our highest overall membership in almost 30 years, but also means there are very nearly 400 BMF merchant members operating from over 5,700 branches throughout the UK and Ireland.”
The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Merchants sales plummet in Q2 – but Landscaping surges in June 


19 August 2020

Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.  

However, digging deeper into the figures uncovers three very different trading months during this extraordinary period.

April, with almost a full lockdown, saw a year on year decline of -76.5% as most merchants only provided essential deliveries to active trade account holders.  May recovered to -39.9% on the previous year as restrictions were relaxed, while June sales were up +2.2% on June 2019, helped by two more trading days this year and a surge in sales of landscaping products, which saw year on year growth of 50.3% driven by garden walling/paving, fencing & gates and decking.

Landscaping was the strongest performer across the whole quarter, but still down -13.3% on Q2 2019, followed by Workwear & Safetywear, which fell by -31.2% on the previous year.  Tools down -58.6%, was the weakest performer, followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (-57.9%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-53.1%).  

The two largest product groups also saw a significant fall in sales for the quarter, with Heavy Building Materials falling by -38.4% on Q2 2019 (and by -26.7% on Q1 2020) and Timber & Joinery Products down -39.8% on the previous year and by -28.1% against Q1 this year.
However, both performed better in June with Timber up +1.4% on the previous year and Heavy Building Materials at +0.2%, driven by strong cement, aggregates and roofing performance

Commenting on the results, BMF CEO, John Newcomb, said: 

“The initial impact of Covid-19 was industry-wide and merchant sales figures reflect other industry indicators for the Quarter.  In the first few days of the crisis, many construction sites, builders’ merchants and manufacturers temporarily closed before putting Covid-secure measures in place, which pretty much wrote off April.  Sales in May and, in particular, in June improved, but we are not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately, closing production lines led to shortages in certain product areas which is taking some time to unwind.  We are also now experiencing quarantines for returning travellers and local lockdowns.  Add Brexit and economic uncertainty to this and it is bound to impact consumer confidence.  The remainder of the year is impossible to predict, but I think everyone is expecting a bumpy ride.” 

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

“This year is probably unique and we still have some way to reach before 2021.  The initial shock and fear have been replaced by the realisation that this is a long term problem, and the ever-present threat of a second wave remains.  For merchants, the next couple of months will be crucial in helping the sector recover losses incurred during April and May.  Good summer weather will help, but continued development of digital platforms across the sector provides a potential roadmap for the future, hopefully offering a solution to the second wave threat.”
 
Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.

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 amongst first employers to sign up for talent scheme


24 July 2020

Companies employing more than 100,000 people have signed up to support the Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme as it goes live today (24 July 2020).  

The Construction Talent Retention Scheme is a not-for-profit programme, backed by Government, business organisations, professional institutions and construction unions.

The online portal allows skilled individuals to showcase their experience and expertise and helps businesses across the industry find the skills they need. 

There has been strong interest in the Scheme since it was announced as part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Plan for Jobs earlier this month. 

More than 350 employers have signed up to use the Scheme. These companies – drawn from across Britain - range from multinational engineering giants, through building product manufacturers and merchants to SME builders. Early adopters in the merchant sector who have roles listed at launch include Bradfords, MP Moran & Sons and Travis Perkins.

Construction Minister and Construction Leadership Council co-chair Nadhim Zahawi MP said: “Building new homes, accelerating infrastructure, and making sure people have the right skills are all at the heart of the government’s plans to build back better from Covid-19.

Launching today, this scheme will help to retain vital knowledge within the construction industry, enabling businesses to rapidly recruit talented individuals and reduce skills shortages at this pivotal time in the nation’s economic recovery.” 

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said: “The Construction Leadership Council moved quickly, working with Government to develop a portal designed to keep vital skills built up over many years within the industry.  The Talent Retention Scheme can play a major role in securing the construction sector’s long-term recovery and I am delighted that builders’ merchants are amongst the first employers to sign up and support the Scheme.”

The free-to-use site allows the redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy and enables temporary employee loans between businesses. 

It also gives displaced workers from other sectors a route to find new employment.

The platform offers a fully featured system allowing companies to easily search candidates’ online profiles and CVs on a local, regional and national basis.

It allows you to promote and directly manage information about your business, services, latest vacancies, news and events to skilled workers seeking new opportunities and to contact them directly.

The site is now live at www.clc-talentretention.co.uk  and is open to both businesses and candidates looking for work.
 
Companies employing more than 100,000 people have signed up to support the Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme as it goes live today (24 July 2020).

BMF support for Construction Talent Retention Scheme


08 July 2020

The BMF has expressed full support for a number of measures to secure jobs within the construction industry announced within the Chancellor’s statement today (8 July).

One of the key announcements in the written statement is the launch of the Construction Talent Retention Scheme (CTRS), a partnership between the Government and industry to secure essential talent in the UK construction sector.

The CTRS will be run by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) which is made up of trade and business associations from across the supply chain, including the BMF. It is designed to keep skills in the sector, matching displaced workers with employers seeking new staff.  It is based on a proven model to safeguard talent in the aerospace and automotive sectors.

Formally launching later this month, the CTRS will be an online portal that supports redeployment of staff at risk redundancy across the sector, while also enabling temporary employee loans between businesses.  The scheme will also give displaced workers from other sectors a route to find new employment in construction. 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “Covid-19 has already had an impact and we are seeing businesses having to reduce their workforce.  We need to keep the skills built up over many years within the industry in order to secure construction’s long-term recovery.

“The CLC’s Talent Retention Scheme, alongside the financial measures announced by the Chancellor to encourage businesses to employ and train young people and provide quality apprenticeships, will help to retain our talent base and redeploy their skills across the entire sector as well as well moving to secure the future by investing in the next generation.”

The CTRS has funding secured from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy until the end of the financial year, providing a free online platform for any organisation looking to hire, while ensuring that candidates’ skills and experience are given a prominent platform within the industry.  

John Newcomb added: 

“This is a proven programme, with no cost for users, that is supported by the entire construction industry bringing significant scope and scale to its successful delivery. We will be promoting the CTRS online portal extensively within the building materials sector and encouraging BMF merchant and supplier members to register their interest so they are fully up to speed when the portal goes live.”

Businesses can register their interest in the scheme at: www.trs-system.co.uk/construction
 

 
The BMF has expressed full support for a number of measures to secure jobs within the construction industry announced within the Chancellor’s statement today (8 July).

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 amongst first employers to sign up for talent scheme


24 July 2020

Companies employing more than 100,000 people have signed up to support the Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme as it goes live today (24 July 2020).  

The Construction Talent Retention Scheme is a not-for-profit programme, backed by Government, business organisations, professional institutions and construction unions.

The online portal allows skilled individuals to showcase their experience and expertise and helps businesses across the industry find the skills they need. 

There has been strong interest in the Scheme since it was announced as part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Plan for Jobs earlier this month. 

More than 350 employers have signed up to use the Scheme. These companies – drawn from across Britain - range from multinational engineering giants, through building product manufacturers and merchants to SME builders. Early adopters in the merchant sector who have roles listed at launch include Bradfords, MP Moran & Sons and Travis Perkins.

Construction Minister and Construction Leadership Council co-chair Nadhim Zahawi MP said: “Building new homes, accelerating infrastructure, and making sure people have the right skills are all at the heart of the government’s plans to build back better from Covid-19.

Launching today, this scheme will help to retain vital knowledge within the construction industry, enabling businesses to rapidly recruit talented individuals and reduce skills shortages at this pivotal time in the nation’s economic recovery.” 

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said: “The Construction Leadership Council moved quickly, working with Government to develop a portal designed to keep vital skills built up over many years within the industry.  The Talent Retention Scheme can play a major role in securing the construction sector’s long-term recovery and I am delighted that builders’ merchants are amongst the first employers to sign up and support the Scheme.”

The free-to-use site allows the redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy and enables temporary employee loans between businesses. 

It also gives displaced workers from other sectors a route to find new employment.

The platform offers a fully featured system allowing companies to easily search candidates’ online profiles and CVs on a local, regional and national basis.

It allows you to promote and directly manage information about your business, services, latest vacancies, news and events to skilled workers seeking new opportunities and to contact them directly.

The site is now live at www.clc-talentretention.co.uk  and is open to both businesses and candidates looking for work.
 
Companies employing more than 100,000 people have signed up to support the Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme as it goes live today (24 July 2020).

BMF support for Construction Talent Retention Scheme


08 July 2020

The BMF has expressed full support for a number of measures to secure jobs within the construction industry announced within the Chancellor’s statement today (8 July).

One of the key announcements in the written statement is the launch of the Construction Talent Retention Scheme (CTRS), a partnership between the Government and industry to secure essential talent in the UK construction sector.

The CTRS will be run by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) which is made up of trade and business associations from across the supply chain, including the BMF. It is designed to keep skills in the sector, matching displaced workers with employers seeking new staff.  It is based on a proven model to safeguard talent in the aerospace and automotive sectors.

Formally launching later this month, the CTRS will be an online portal that supports redeployment of staff at risk redundancy across the sector, while also enabling temporary employee loans between businesses.  The scheme will also give displaced workers from other sectors a route to find new employment in construction. 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “Covid-19 has already had an impact and we are seeing businesses having to reduce their workforce.  We need to keep the skills built up over many years within the industry in order to secure construction’s long-term recovery.

“The CLC’s Talent Retention Scheme, alongside the financial measures announced by the Chancellor to encourage businesses to employ and train young people and provide quality apprenticeships, will help to retain our talent base and redeploy their skills across the entire sector as well as well moving to secure the future by investing in the next generation.”

The CTRS has funding secured from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy until the end of the financial year, providing a free online platform for any organisation looking to hire, while ensuring that candidates’ skills and experience are given a prominent platform within the industry.  

John Newcomb added: 

“This is a proven programme, with no cost for users, that is supported by the entire construction industry bringing significant scope and scale to its successful delivery. We will be promoting the CTRS online portal extensively within the building materials sector and encouraging BMF merchant and supplier members to register their interest so they are fully up to speed when the portal goes live.”

Businesses can register their interest in the scheme at: www.trs-system.co.uk/construction
 

 
The BMF has expressed full support for a number of measures to secure jobs within the construction industry announced within the Chancellor’s statement today (8 July).

BMF All Industry Conference comes home for 2021


17 September 2020

The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.  

The main Conference business will take place at the award-winning Yorkshire Event Centre, outside Harrogate with the Gala Dinner held close by in the historic city of York.

In the year that the UK begins a new relationship with the European Union, the Conference theme Building Beyond Boundaries could not be more topical, as the country looks beyond traditional geographical boundaries to build new trading relationships, and the industry moves beyond the boundaries imposed by the Covid health crisis and responds to Government incentives to Build, Build, Build.

BMF Chief Executive, John Newcomb said: 

“In the wake of the disruption caused by Covid, and as the UK ends its current relationship with the EU, we were determined to demonstrate our support for Britain, by holding the All Industry Conference in the UK for the first time in 30 years.  By bringing our premier Conference home we are putting cash back into the UK economy and assisting a sector that has been particularly badly affected in 2020.

“Our industry thrives on networking and relationships and I know everyone was disappointed that this year’s event was, rightly, cancelled.  We will have to be out of social distancing measures for the 2021 Conference to go ahead, but that is not a reason not to work towards a fantastic event to signal our confidence in the market’s ongoing recovery.”

Conference delegates will have the choice of two four-star Harrogate hotels – the Majestic and the Crowne Plaza – which together can accommodate 350 guests.  A key difference to 2021 Conference programme is the addition of a Supplier Exhibition, replacing the Merchant/Supplier Exchange sessions.  However, the three-day event will, of course, feature the popular Friday night dine-arounds and a full programme of social activities.

The Crystal Group will sponsor the BMF All Industry Conference for the second year.  Other key sponsors include ACO, BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Marsh Industries, Rockwool and SIG.

For further details and to register your interest at this stage, please contact june.upton@bmf.org.uk
 
The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.

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 extends auto-membership to h&b Development Group


24 August 2020

The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Five merchants in the h&b Development Group are already BMF Members and the remaining 19, together with any new recruits, will be auto-enrolled into BMF membership during the period of the agreement. This new arrangement begins on 1 September and will bring the total number of BMF members to 751 – the highest figure since 1992. 

The h&b Development Group is a relatively new concept for the merchant industry which offers carefully selected smaller independent merchants who have a desire to grow their operations, access to the vast amount of knowledge and experience within the membership, whilst also benefiting from the commercial advantages associated with an established buying group. 

Jamie Wyatt, h&b Trading Director said:

“We are delighted that the BMF has agreed to include our Development Group within the group membership scheme.  Development Group members have access to a large range of negotiated deals and are also supported both centrally and through the existing network of successful entrepreneurs.  Adding BMF membership into this mix is another valuable benefit that will support Development Group members over the coming years.”

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said:

“The BMF is here to support merchants of all sizes and sectors - local, regional or national, generalist or specialist.  h&b have shown their commitment to helping smaller merchants develop their business and BMF membership will provide even more opportunities for them, with access to training, specialist Forums, networking and other business support. 

“I am also delighted to report that the latest tranche of h&b members not only takes us to our highest overall membership in almost 30 years, but also means there are very nearly 400 BMF merchant members operating from over 5,700 branches throughout the UK and Ireland.”
The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Merchants sales plummet in Q2 – but Landscaping surges in June 


19 August 2020

Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.  

However, digging deeper into the figures uncovers three very different trading months during this extraordinary period.

April, with almost a full lockdown, saw a year on year decline of -76.5% as most merchants only provided essential deliveries to active trade account holders.  May recovered to -39.9% on the previous year as restrictions were relaxed, while June sales were up +2.2% on June 2019, helped by two more trading days this year and a surge in sales of landscaping products, which saw year on year growth of 50.3% driven by garden walling/paving, fencing & gates and decking.

Landscaping was the strongest performer across the whole quarter, but still down -13.3% on Q2 2019, followed by Workwear & Safetywear, which fell by -31.2% on the previous year.  Tools down -58.6%, was the weakest performer, followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (-57.9%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-53.1%).  

The two largest product groups also saw a significant fall in sales for the quarter, with Heavy Building Materials falling by -38.4% on Q2 2019 (and by -26.7% on Q1 2020) and Timber & Joinery Products down -39.8% on the previous year and by -28.1% against Q1 this year.
However, both performed better in June with Timber up +1.4% on the previous year and Heavy Building Materials at +0.2%, driven by strong cement, aggregates and roofing performance

Commenting on the results, BMF CEO, John Newcomb, said: 

“The initial impact of Covid-19 was industry-wide and merchant sales figures reflect other industry indicators for the Quarter.  In the first few days of the crisis, many construction sites, builders’ merchants and manufacturers temporarily closed before putting Covid-secure measures in place, which pretty much wrote off April.  Sales in May and, in particular, in June improved, but we are not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately, closing production lines led to shortages in certain product areas which is taking some time to unwind.  We are also now experiencing quarantines for returning travellers and local lockdowns.  Add Brexit and economic uncertainty to this and it is bound to impact consumer confidence.  The remainder of the year is impossible to predict, but I think everyone is expecting a bumpy ride.” 

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

“This year is probably unique and we still have some way to reach before 2021.  The initial shock and fear have been replaced by the realisation that this is a long term problem, and the ever-present threat of a second wave remains.  For merchants, the next couple of months will be crucial in helping the sector recover losses incurred during April and May.  Good summer weather will help, but continued development of digital platforms across the sector provides a potential roadmap for the future, hopefully offering a solution to the second wave threat.”
 
Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.

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 amongst first employers to sign up for talent scheme


24 July 2020

Companies employing more than 100,000 people have signed up to support the Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme as it goes live today (24 July 2020).  

The Construction Talent Retention Scheme is a not-for-profit programme, backed by Government, business organisations, professional institutions and construction unions.

The online portal allows skilled individuals to showcase their experience and expertise and helps businesses across the industry find the skills they need. 

There has been strong interest in the Scheme since it was announced as part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Plan for Jobs earlier this month. 

More than 350 employers have signed up to use the Scheme. These companies – drawn from across Britain - range from multinational engineering giants, through building product manufacturers and merchants to SME builders. Early adopters in the merchant sector who have roles listed at launch include Bradfords, MP Moran & Sons and Travis Perkins.

Construction Minister and Construction Leadership Council co-chair Nadhim Zahawi MP said: “Building new homes, accelerating infrastructure, and making sure people have the right skills are all at the heart of the government’s plans to build back better from Covid-19.

Launching today, this scheme will help to retain vital knowledge within the construction industry, enabling businesses to rapidly recruit talented individuals and reduce skills shortages at this pivotal time in the nation’s economic recovery.” 

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said: “The Construction Leadership Council moved quickly, working with Government to develop a portal designed to keep vital skills built up over many years within the industry.  The Talent Retention Scheme can play a major role in securing the construction sector’s long-term recovery and I am delighted that builders’ merchants are amongst the first employers to sign up and support the Scheme.”

The free-to-use site allows the redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy and enables temporary employee loans between businesses. 

It also gives displaced workers from other sectors a route to find new employment.

The platform offers a fully featured system allowing companies to easily search candidates’ online profiles and CVs on a local, regional and national basis.

It allows you to promote and directly manage information about your business, services, latest vacancies, news and events to skilled workers seeking new opportunities and to contact them directly.

The site is now live at www.clc-talentretention.co.uk  and is open to both businesses and candidates looking for work.
 
Companies employing more than 100,000 people have signed up to support the Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme as it goes live today (24 July 2020).

BMF support for Construction Talent Retention Scheme


08 July 2020

The BMF has expressed full support for a number of measures to secure jobs within the construction industry announced within the Chancellor’s statement today (8 July).

One of the key announcements in the written statement is the launch of the Construction Talent Retention Scheme (CTRS), a partnership between the Government and industry to secure essential talent in the UK construction sector.

The CTRS will be run by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) which is made up of trade and business associations from across the supply chain, including the BMF. It is designed to keep skills in the sector, matching displaced workers with employers seeking new staff.  It is based on a proven model to safeguard talent in the aerospace and automotive sectors.

Formally launching later this month, the CTRS will be an online portal that supports redeployment of staff at risk redundancy across the sector, while also enabling temporary employee loans between businesses.  The scheme will also give displaced workers from other sectors a route to find new employment in construction. 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “Covid-19 has already had an impact and we are seeing businesses having to reduce their workforce.  We need to keep the skills built up over many years within the industry in order to secure construction’s long-term recovery.

“The CLC’s Talent Retention Scheme, alongside the financial measures announced by the Chancellor to encourage businesses to employ and train young people and provide quality apprenticeships, will help to retain our talent base and redeploy their skills across the entire sector as well as well moving to secure the future by investing in the next generation.”

The CTRS has funding secured from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy until the end of the financial year, providing a free online platform for any organisation looking to hire, while ensuring that candidates’ skills and experience are given a prominent platform within the industry.  

John Newcomb added: 

“This is a proven programme, with no cost for users, that is supported by the entire construction industry bringing significant scope and scale to its successful delivery. We will be promoting the CTRS online portal extensively within the building materials sector and encouraging BMF merchant and supplier members to register their interest so they are fully up to speed when the portal goes live.”

Businesses can register their interest in the scheme at: www.trs-system.co.uk/construction
 

 
The BMF has expressed full support for a number of measures to secure jobs within the construction industry announced within the Chancellor’s statement today (8 July).

Merchants sales plummet in Q2 – but Landscaping surges in June 


19 August 2020

Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.  

However, digging deeper into the figures uncovers three very different trading months during this extraordinary period.

April, with almost a full lockdown, saw a year on year decline of -76.5% as most merchants only provided essential deliveries to active trade account holders.  May recovered to -39.9% on the previous year as restrictions were relaxed, while June sales were up +2.2% on June 2019, helped by two more trading days this year and a surge in sales of landscaping products, which saw year on year growth of 50.3% driven by garden walling/paving, fencing & gates and decking.

Landscaping was the strongest performer across the whole quarter, but still down -13.3% on Q2 2019, followed by Workwear & Safetywear, which fell by -31.2% on the previous year.  Tools down -58.6%, was the weakest performer, followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (-57.9%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-53.1%).  

The two largest product groups also saw a significant fall in sales for the quarter, with Heavy Building Materials falling by -38.4% on Q2 2019 (and by -26.7% on Q1 2020) and Timber & Joinery Products down -39.8% on the previous year and by -28.1% against Q1 this year.
However, both performed better in June with Timber up +1.4% on the previous year and Heavy Building Materials at +0.2%, driven by strong cement, aggregates and roofing performance

Commenting on the results, BMF CEO, John Newcomb, said: 

“The initial impact of Covid-19 was industry-wide and merchant sales figures reflect other industry indicators for the Quarter.  In the first few days of the crisis, many construction sites, builders’ merchants and manufacturers temporarily closed before putting Covid-secure measures in place, which pretty much wrote off April.  Sales in May and, in particular, in June improved, but we are not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately, closing production lines led to shortages in certain product areas which is taking some time to unwind.  We are also now experiencing quarantines for returning travellers and local lockdowns.  Add Brexit and economic uncertainty to this and it is bound to impact consumer confidence.  The remainder of the year is impossible to predict, but I think everyone is expecting a bumpy ride.” 

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

“This year is probably unique and we still have some way to reach before 2021.  The initial shock and fear have been replaced by the realisation that this is a long term problem, and the ever-present threat of a second wave remains.  For merchants, the next couple of months will be crucial in helping the sector recover losses incurred during April and May.  Good summer weather will help, but continued development of digital platforms across the sector provides a potential roadmap for the future, hopefully offering a solution to the second wave threat.”
 
Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.

Builders’ merchant sales bounce back in May


22 July 2020

BMBI May 2020The latest figures from the May Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report reveal a sharp rise in sales as lockdown restrictions ease and trades return to work. 

Year-on-year, Total Builders Merchants value sales in May were down -39.9% compared with May 2019, reflecting the cautious reopening of merchant branches with many still operating a restricted service. However, the overall trading figures are a significant improvement on April 2020 sales (-76.3%). 

A closer look at how individual product categories performed in May reveals that year-on-year, Tools (-66.1%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-62.7%) have been hit hardest by the pandemic lockdown. Timber & Joinery Products were also down by 40.5% over the same period, however month-on-month, the category is showing some green shoots of recovery with sales more than tripling compared to April 2020 (+199.5%). Heavy Building Materials, the largest product category, was down 39.0% year-on-year but showed a substantial month-on-month improvement on April 2020 (+157.6%). 

The biggest winner in May was Landscaping, with sales of this seasonal category down just -12.5% on May 2019. This is a remarkable recovery from April, when sales were down a massive -74.4% compared to April 2019. Workwear & Safetywear was less affected by the lockdown, with demand for PPE continuing to drive sales. 

The BMBI is a brand of the Builders’ Merchants Federation, developed and produced by MRA Marketing. The Index uses GfK’s Builders Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data which analyses sales out data from over 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales across Great Britain, making it the most reliable source of data for the sector.

BMF CEO John Newcomb comments: “As expected, May’s sales figures show a huge year-on-year decline, but they also indicate the strength of the initial bounce-back from April’s COVID-19 crash low-point. The massive effort by the entire supply chain to develop and implement COVID-secure working practices to enable the safe and rapid re-opening of manufacturing facilities, merchant branches and construction sites can be seen in May’s results. There is a long way to go on the road to recovery, but we can look on this as a positive first step.”

Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK adds: “The Builders Merchants sector has seen a strong and expected recovery from April’s lockdown as the core categories of Heavy Building Materials, Timber & Joinery and Landscaping drive market activity. May growth is still down by -40% from last year, with the next couple of months critical. Favourable weather conditions and relaxed restrictions will hopefully provide the platform for these core categories to recover some of the losses seen during lockdown.”

Download the May report, watch the round table videos and learn more about the Experts at www.thebmbi.co.uk.
 
BMBI May 2020
The latest figures from the May Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report reveal a sharp rise in sales as lockdown restrictions ease and trades return to work.

BMF, MPs and SMEs call for planning investment


20 July 2020

MP Andrew LewerMore investment is needed urgently in the planning function of local authorities, and in the training of planners and other related professionals, if the industry is to build anywhere near 300,000 new homes per year. That is not just the view of the BMF - but also MPs keen to showcase and promote smaller firms as vital players in the mix of housing solutions.

This is one of several recommendations of a report published this week in the House of Commons by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for SME Housebuilders. Members were asked what the problems with the planning system are - and what the solutions may be. It found that staff shortages in local planning authorities were the top issue faced by SME house-builders.

Chairman Andrew Lewer, MP for Northampton South, unveiled the report that describes ways to improve planning permission from the perspective of users - SME builders and developers.  The aim of the Group is to provide answers to Parliament and Government on how England can deliver more and better new homes, especially through SME builders and developers.

Andrew Lewer MP said:

“Who better to ask how the planning system can be improved than the people building, or seeking to build, the new houses?  Furthermore, who better to ask than the SME house-builders and their partners in the housing industry? The quality and the quantity of the responses we received underline the on-going success of this APPG. People who really know what they are talking about have given their time and effort towards this report. We as MPs will try our best to ensure that it both gets into the right hands and into as many hands as possible”.

This APPG report was launched ahead of the Government’s much-anticipated Planning White Paper. Participants were clear in wanting more investment in planning departments to ensure that promises to “Build, Build, Build” are taken literally and completions are accelerated.

Brett Amphlett, BMF Policy and Public Affairs’ Manager, attended and said afterwards:

“The BMF welcomes efforts to mobilise SMEs who are the customers of merchants. The APPG recommendations are consistent with the BMF’s own views. We want to see unrelenting determination to simplify and speed up the process to narrow the gap between demand & supply”.

Other strong themes emerged from this report:
-     a small sites register to help local councils respond more quickly to any failure to meet local housing need and assist SME house-builders to deliver;
-     a certain percentage of land on strategic sites delivery should be earmarked for local SMEs
-     more efforts to delegate planning applications to officers to determine - in accordance with planning policy - rather than elected members.
 
More investment is needed urgently in the planning function of local authorities, and in the training of planners and other related professionals, if the industry is to build anywhere near 300,000 new homes per year.

Merchant sales tumble in April – but recovery beckons


17 June 2020

Figures for April 2020 just released in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) highlight the dramatic initial effect of the Government’s Covid-19 Lockdown measures on sales through UK builders’ merchants.

Total Builders Merchants sales during April were down -76.3% compared with April 2019.  Tools took the biggest hit (-90.0%), with Kitchens & Bathrooms (-86.8%) close behind. Workwear & Safetywear saw the lowest year on year decline at -60.2%, having been up +36.5% in March against the previous year.

Although these figures show a variance to April’s construction output estimates from the Office of National Statistics, which reported a drop of -44.0%, the BMBI uses GfK’s point of sale tracking data drawn from over 80% of builders’ merchants’ sales throughout the country, making it the most reliable source of data for the sector. 

BMF CEO John Newcomb commented: 

“Sadly, April’s figures come as no surprise with the majority of construction sites and builders merchants closing, or significantly reducing operations, as a first response to the Government’s lock down measures to prevent to transmission of Covid-19.  

“However, the BMF tracked the operational status of our members throughout the crisis and the majority quickly adapted their business to offer phone or online sales and, following publication of our new branch operating guidelines, many were able to open branches and trade safely.  Throughout May we could see the numbers open for business increasing on a daily basis and today all are operational.  

“With construction, housing and home improvement works all back on site, we expect the picture to improve as data for the rest of Q2 becomes available.  

“It will be vital for the construction industry to work together to implement the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Recovery Plan in the months ahead and the BMF is involved in developing outputs to accelerate the Housing and RMI sectors, both key customer groups for builders merchants.”
 
Figures for April 2020 just released in the BMF’s BMBI highlight the dramatic initial effect of the Government’s Covid-19 Lockdown measures on sales.

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.

New website shows how industry helped in the fight against Covid-19


28 April 2020

Construction Response WebsiteThe Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is calling on merchants and building materials manufacturers to showcase how they have played their part in the fight against Covid-19. 

Since the initial outbreak of coronavirus in March 2020, merchants and building materials producers, along with businesses from across the construction industry have been playing their part in fighting the disease, providing vital resources to those on the frontline, and safeguarding construction workers and local communities.

Today sees the launch of a website www.constructioncovid19response.co.uk  that showcases examples of these responses, with a focus on four themes:

1. Building NHS Capacity
2. PPE Donations
3. Safeguarding Workers
4. Helping Communities

The site has been prepared as part of the work of the Construction Leadership Council Covid-19 Taskforce, comprising representatives from the industry’s trade bodies, including the Builders Merchants Federation, client organisations and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Commenting on the new website, Andy Mitchell CBE, co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council, said:

“No-one can have any doubt that the true heroes of the pandemic are those who work day in, day our in our NHS and care system, risking their lives to help others.

“But I have also been proud to see the response of the UK construction industry, which has come together to support our NHS, change the way we work, and support the communities in which we live.

“The delivery of the NHS Nightingale hospitals within a matter of weeks has required 24 hour working at all levels of the UK construction supply chain, and a level of co-operation that has shown UK construction at its very best.

“Industry has not only stepped up to the plate in a time of crisis, but has donated millions of pieces of much-needed PPE to hospitals, care-homes, and other front-line workers.

“We have also moved at speed to implement safe working practices in response to Covid-19 so where work can be done safely it can continue.

“Industry and Government’s priority now must be a long-term recovery plan for our sector, which will be at the very heart of the UK’s economic revival in the months and years ahead.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb added: “A number of BMF members are already featured in case studies on the website but we know many more in our sector have stepped up magnificently both to change the way they are working and to support the NHS and their local communities.

“We are seeking more case studies to showcase the commitment and dedication of our industry through the work you are doing to overcome this crisis.”

If you have a great story to tell, please email details to john.newcomb@bmf.org.uk.
Construction Response Website
The BMF is calling on merchants and building materials manufacturers to showcase how they have played their part in the fight against Covid-19.

BMF All Industry Conference comes home for 2021


17 September 2020

The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.  

The main Conference business will take place at the award-winning Yorkshire Event Centre, outside Harrogate with the Gala Dinner held close by in the historic city of York.

In the year that the UK begins a new relationship with the European Union, the Conference theme Building Beyond Boundaries could not be more topical, as the country looks beyond traditional geographical boundaries to build new trading relationships, and the industry moves beyond the boundaries imposed by the Covid health crisis and responds to Government incentives to Build, Build, Build.

BMF Chief Executive, John Newcomb said: 

“In the wake of the disruption caused by Covid, and as the UK ends its current relationship with the EU, we were determined to demonstrate our support for Britain, by holding the All Industry Conference in the UK for the first time in 30 years.  By bringing our premier Conference home we are putting cash back into the UK economy and assisting a sector that has been particularly badly affected in 2020.

“Our industry thrives on networking and relationships and I know everyone was disappointed that this year’s event was, rightly, cancelled.  We will have to be out of social distancing measures for the 2021 Conference to go ahead, but that is not a reason not to work towards a fantastic event to signal our confidence in the market’s ongoing recovery.”

Conference delegates will have the choice of two four-star Harrogate hotels – the Majestic and the Crowne Plaza – which together can accommodate 350 guests.  A key difference to 2021 Conference programme is the addition of a Supplier Exhibition, replacing the Merchant/Supplier Exchange sessions.  However, the three-day event will, of course, feature the popular Friday night dine-arounds and a full programme of social activities.

The Crystal Group will sponsor the BMF All Industry Conference for the second year.  Other key sponsors include ACO, BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Marsh Industries, Rockwool and SIG.

For further details and to register your interest at this stage, please contact june.upton@bmf.org.uk
 
The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.

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 extends auto-membership to h&b Development Group


24 August 2020

The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Five merchants in the h&b Development Group are already BMF Members and the remaining 19, together with any new recruits, will be auto-enrolled into BMF membership during the period of the agreement. This new arrangement begins on 1 September and will bring the total number of BMF members to 751 – the highest figure since 1992. 

The h&b Development Group is a relatively new concept for the merchant industry which offers carefully selected smaller independent merchants who have a desire to grow their operations, access to the vast amount of knowledge and experience within the membership, whilst also benefiting from the commercial advantages associated with an established buying group. 

Jamie Wyatt, h&b Trading Director said:

“We are delighted that the BMF has agreed to include our Development Group within the group membership scheme.  Development Group members have access to a large range of negotiated deals and are also supported both centrally and through the existing network of successful entrepreneurs.  Adding BMF membership into this mix is another valuable benefit that will support Development Group members over the coming years.”

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said:

“The BMF is here to support merchants of all sizes and sectors - local, regional or national, generalist or specialist.  h&b have shown their commitment to helping smaller merchants develop their business and BMF membership will provide even more opportunities for them, with access to training, specialist Forums, networking and other business support. 

“I am also delighted to report that the latest tranche of h&b members not only takes us to our highest overall membership in almost 30 years, but also means there are very nearly 400 BMF merchant members operating from over 5,700 branches throughout the UK and Ireland.”
The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Merchants sales plummet in Q2 – but Landscaping surges in June 


19 August 2020

Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.  

However, digging deeper into the figures uncovers three very different trading months during this extraordinary period.

April, with almost a full lockdown, saw a year on year decline of -76.5% as most merchants only provided essential deliveries to active trade account holders.  May recovered to -39.9% on the previous year as restrictions were relaxed, while June sales were up +2.2% on June 2019, helped by two more trading days this year and a surge in sales of landscaping products, which saw year on year growth of 50.3% driven by garden walling/paving, fencing & gates and decking.

Landscaping was the strongest performer across the whole quarter, but still down -13.3% on Q2 2019, followed by Workwear & Safetywear, which fell by -31.2% on the previous year.  Tools down -58.6%, was the weakest performer, followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (-57.9%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-53.1%).  

The two largest product groups also saw a significant fall in sales for the quarter, with Heavy Building Materials falling by -38.4% on Q2 2019 (and by -26.7% on Q1 2020) and Timber & Joinery Products down -39.8% on the previous year and by -28.1% against Q1 this year.
However, both performed better in June with Timber up +1.4% on the previous year and Heavy Building Materials at +0.2%, driven by strong cement, aggregates and roofing performance

Commenting on the results, BMF CEO, John Newcomb, said: 

“The initial impact of Covid-19 was industry-wide and merchant sales figures reflect other industry indicators for the Quarter.  In the first few days of the crisis, many construction sites, builders’ merchants and manufacturers temporarily closed before putting Covid-secure measures in place, which pretty much wrote off April.  Sales in May and, in particular, in June improved, but we are not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately, closing production lines led to shortages in certain product areas which is taking some time to unwind.  We are also now experiencing quarantines for returning travellers and local lockdowns.  Add Brexit and economic uncertainty to this and it is bound to impact consumer confidence.  The remainder of the year is impossible to predict, but I think everyone is expecting a bumpy ride.” 

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

“This year is probably unique and we still have some way to reach before 2021.  The initial shock and fear have been replaced by the realisation that this is a long term problem, and the ever-present threat of a second wave remains.  For merchants, the next couple of months will be crucial in helping the sector recover losses incurred during April and May.  Good summer weather will help, but continued development of digital platforms across the sector provides a potential roadmap for the future, hopefully offering a solution to the second wave threat.”
 
Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.

BMF All Industry Conference comes home for 2021


17 September 2020

The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.  

The main Conference business will take place at the award-winning Yorkshire Event Centre, outside Harrogate with the Gala Dinner held close by in the historic city of York.

In the year that the UK begins a new relationship with the European Union, the Conference theme Building Beyond Boundaries could not be more topical, as the country looks beyond traditional geographical boundaries to build new trading relationships, and the industry moves beyond the boundaries imposed by the Covid health crisis and responds to Government incentives to Build, Build, Build.

BMF Chief Executive, John Newcomb said: 

“In the wake of the disruption caused by Covid, and as the UK ends its current relationship with the EU, we were determined to demonstrate our support for Britain, by holding the All Industry Conference in the UK for the first time in 30 years.  By bringing our premier Conference home we are putting cash back into the UK economy and assisting a sector that has been particularly badly affected in 2020.

“Our industry thrives on networking and relationships and I know everyone was disappointed that this year’s event was, rightly, cancelled.  We will have to be out of social distancing measures for the 2021 Conference to go ahead, but that is not a reason not to work towards a fantastic event to signal our confidence in the market’s ongoing recovery.”

Conference delegates will have the choice of two four-star Harrogate hotels – the Majestic and the Crowne Plaza – which together can accommodate 350 guests.  A key difference to 2021 Conference programme is the addition of a Supplier Exhibition, replacing the Merchant/Supplier Exchange sessions.  However, the three-day event will, of course, feature the popular Friday night dine-arounds and a full programme of social activities.

The Crystal Group will sponsor the BMF All Industry Conference for the second year.  Other key sponsors include ACO, BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Marsh Industries, Rockwool and SIG.

For further details and to register your interest at this stage, please contact june.upton@bmf.org.uk
 
The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.

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 extends auto-membership to h&b Development Group


24 August 2020

The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Five merchants in the h&b Development Group are already BMF Members and the remaining 19, together with any new recruits, will be auto-enrolled into BMF membership during the period of the agreement. This new arrangement begins on 1 September and will bring the total number of BMF members to 751 – the highest figure since 1992. 

The h&b Development Group is a relatively new concept for the merchant industry which offers carefully selected smaller independent merchants who have a desire to grow their operations, access to the vast amount of knowledge and experience within the membership, whilst also benefiting from the commercial advantages associated with an established buying group. 

Jamie Wyatt, h&b Trading Director said:

“We are delighted that the BMF has agreed to include our Development Group within the group membership scheme.  Development Group members have access to a large range of negotiated deals and are also supported both centrally and through the existing network of successful entrepreneurs.  Adding BMF membership into this mix is another valuable benefit that will support Development Group members over the coming years.”

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said:

“The BMF is here to support merchants of all sizes and sectors - local, regional or national, generalist or specialist.  h&b have shown their commitment to helping smaller merchants develop their business and BMF membership will provide even more opportunities for them, with access to training, specialist Forums, networking and other business support. 

“I am also delighted to report that the latest tranche of h&b members not only takes us to our highest overall membership in almost 30 years, but also means there are very nearly 400 BMF merchant members operating from over 5,700 branches throughout the UK and Ireland.”
The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Merchants sales plummet in Q2 – but Landscaping surges in June 


19 August 2020

Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.  

However, digging deeper into the figures uncovers three very different trading months during this extraordinary period.

April, with almost a full lockdown, saw a year on year decline of -76.5% as most merchants only provided essential deliveries to active trade account holders.  May recovered to -39.9% on the previous year as restrictions were relaxed, while June sales were up +2.2% on June 2019, helped by two more trading days this year and a surge in sales of landscaping products, which saw year on year growth of 50.3% driven by garden walling/paving, fencing & gates and decking.

Landscaping was the strongest performer across the whole quarter, but still down -13.3% on Q2 2019, followed by Workwear & Safetywear, which fell by -31.2% on the previous year.  Tools down -58.6%, was the weakest performer, followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (-57.9%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-53.1%).  

The two largest product groups also saw a significant fall in sales for the quarter, with Heavy Building Materials falling by -38.4% on Q2 2019 (and by -26.7% on Q1 2020) and Timber & Joinery Products down -39.8% on the previous year and by -28.1% against Q1 this year.
However, both performed better in June with Timber up +1.4% on the previous year and Heavy Building Materials at +0.2%, driven by strong cement, aggregates and roofing performance

Commenting on the results, BMF CEO, John Newcomb, said: 

“The initial impact of Covid-19 was industry-wide and merchant sales figures reflect other industry indicators for the Quarter.  In the first few days of the crisis, many construction sites, builders’ merchants and manufacturers temporarily closed before putting Covid-secure measures in place, which pretty much wrote off April.  Sales in May and, in particular, in June improved, but we are not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately, closing production lines led to shortages in certain product areas which is taking some time to unwind.  We are also now experiencing quarantines for returning travellers and local lockdowns.  Add Brexit and economic uncertainty to this and it is bound to impact consumer confidence.  The remainder of the year is impossible to predict, but I think everyone is expecting a bumpy ride.” 

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

“This year is probably unique and we still have some way to reach before 2021.  The initial shock and fear have been replaced by the realisation that this is a long term problem, and the ever-present threat of a second wave remains.  For merchants, the next couple of months will be crucial in helping the sector recover losses incurred during April and May.  Good summer weather will help, but continued development of digital platforms across the sector provides a potential roadmap for the future, hopefully offering a solution to the second wave threat.”
 
Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.
IDPrimary RankRole Title
There are no records.
Non Member Company