BMF News

Young Achievers event boosts BMF charity fundraising


22 May 2024

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) raised £11,000 for its charity of the year, Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, at a gala dinner for the Top 100 Young Achievers in the building materials sector.

The event, held at the Belfry Hotel, celebrated 100 individuals, aged 40 or under, drawn from merchant, supplier and service companies within the industry. All those recognised have made a significant difference within their company and are set to carry the industry forward in the future.

This is the third year a gala dinner has been held to acknowledge those with the greatest influence in the building materials sector, with merchants and suppliers being honoured at previous events. This year’s celebration, attended by over 200 people, was not only the largest in the series, but it also raised the greatest sum for charity.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:

“The status of the Top 100 is growing each year and it was particularly pleasing that our biggest event to date shone a spotlight on a cohort of young leaders who are stepping up to drive our industry forward.

“Our thanks go to our co-hosts, Builders Merchants News and our headline sponsor NMBS One Place, together with our other sponsors and those donating raffle and auction prizes. Thanks also to everyone who helped to raise such a fantastic sum for Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity.”

Lighthouse Construction Industry charity is the only charity that is 100% dedicated to the emotional, physical, and financial wellbeing of construction workers and their families.

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) raised £11,000 for its charity of the year, Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, at a gala dinner for the Top 100 Young Achievers in the building materials sector.

New Guidance on Trade Credit Insurance

Following reports that members were finding it more difficult to obtain trade credit insurance, The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has been working with members, the Department of Business and Trade, and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to uncover the extent of the issues and provide guidance to help ameliorate their effect.

A survey of BMF members confirmed that credit insurance is recognised as a valuable business tool in the construction sector, with 45% of respondents using this solution. 

The survey revealed other notable trends, including an inevitable hardening of the market over the past 12 months. Significant changes include increased insolvency activity and related business concerns for the year ahead. 

However, despite the impact of bad debts due to insolvency, more than half of respondents have not experienced credit limit reductions.  

When limits were reduced, respondents acknowledged the increased credit risk reported by their insurer and took appropriate actions. 

The insurance industry is supportive of clients facing credit limit reductions, with 68% of respondents finding insurers receptive to appeals.

The insights gained from the survey provided valuable context on the current landscape in the building materials sector and informed the BMF’s detailed discussions with the ABI, which has led them to produce a guidance document specifically for the construction industry, which is fully supported by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC).

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“Overall trade credit insurance remains an essential tool for our sector, with a significant portion of survey respondents expressing concern about bad debts affecting their business.  
We are pleased that the outcome of our discussions with the ABI provides new guidance which will help members when dealing with their trade credit insurance provider.”

Lucy Fraser, Senior Policy Adviser, General Insurance Policy at ABI said:
 
“Amidst challenging conditions, insurers are doing all they can to offer crucial support to businesses, with a 23% surge in claims paid by the close of last year. Our Guide for Construction is there to show how trade credit insurance can act as an essential lifeline for businesses and it offers guiding insights on what information an insurer will look for.”
 
The bespoke ABI Guidance Document can be downloaded from https://www.shorturl.at/zCET2

The summary information from the BMF's member survey can be found here: 

https://shorturl.at/fqHMP

The BMF, working with its members and the Dept of Business & Trade and the ABI has looked at the issues with obtaining trade credit insurance.

FMB President to speak at BMF Annual Conference


25 April 2024

Chris Carr, National President of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), is the first industry speaker to be confirmed for the BMF Members’ Annual Conference in September.

Chris is Managing Director of a fourth-generation family housing developing company, Carr and Carr (Builders) Ltd, based in North East Lincolnshire.  The company builds small developments and executive homes around the towns of Grimsby, Cleethorpes and the surrounding Lincolnshire Wolds.

Chris is passionate about the construction industry, especially the house building sector. In addition to his role at the Federation of Master Builders, he is a member of the Construction Leadership Advisory Group, Chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s SME Housebuilders Group and represents smaller housing development companies on several Future Homes Hub sub-groups. 

Chris will discuss his experience as a developer committed to building high quality homes alongside two other industry speakers representing builders’ merchants and building materials manufacturers.  The session will conclude with a Q&A.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “SME builders are an important customer group for our members. I am really looking forward to hearing Chris’s perspective on the sector, in particular what his company is doing to make a material difference both for their customers and the wider industry.”

The BMF’s annual flagship event will take place on 18 and 19 September at the Leonardo Hotel and Conference Venue at Hinckley Island in Leicestershire. In addition to informative and entertaining conference sessions, interactive workshops and exhibition, the event encompasses sporting and social networking opportunities, including the BMF Golf Tournament and a black-tie Awards Dinner celebrating members’ achievements.

For more information and to book your place at the BMF Annual Conference and Awards , headline sponsor Unilin Insulation, please visit http://tinyurl.com/5n8xbxrc or contact [email protected]

Chris Carr, National President of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), is the first industry speaker to be confirmed for the BMF Members’ Annual Conference in September.

BMF welcomes changes to 20mph speed limit in Wales


22 April 2024

A trade association, which campaigned for a review of the 20mph speed limit in Wales, has welcomed moves to change the policy, as announced by Ken Skates MS, Cabinet Secretary for North Wales and Transport.

The Builders Merchants Federation, which represents the country’s building materials supply chain, took action after its members reported a range of issues, including delivery disruption affecting stock levels and waiting times.

David Pattison (pictured), South Wales Regional Chairman of the BMF, wrote to Ken Skates and First Minister, Vaughan Gething, last month, urging a review of the policy.

Commenting on the news of changes to government policy, Mr Pattison said: “Nobody can reasonably quibble with having sensible, well-defined and enforceable 20mph speed limits at certain locations, notably outside schools, hospitals and care homes”.

“But the BMF agrees with other business and motoring organisations that regard the 20mph default speed limit on Welsh roads as a misguided and counterproductive policy, which will not deliver the assumed benefits”.

“We are pleased that ministers have listened to BMF views and the constructive ideas we put forward we think will lessen the impact on our supply chain.

“We look forward to hearing Mr Skates’ statement to the Senedd with the details”.


 
A trade association, which campaigned for a review of the 20mph speed limit in Wales, has welcomed moves to change the policy, as announced by Ken Skates MS, Cabinet Secretary for North Wales and Transport.

CBI Lead Economist to speak at BMF Conference

Alpesh Paleja, Lead Economist in the CBI’s economics team, has been confirmed to speak at the BMF Members’ Annual Conference on 19 September. 

Alpesh’s role at the CBI focuses on the UK economy and leading its work on the economic forecast.  Alpesh oversees much analytical work across the team – including the CBI’s prestigious business surveys – and regularly presents to and advises businesses on economic developments and the outlook. He has worked at the CBI for fifteen years in a variety of roles, previously covering emerging markets and leading economic analysis on a variety of policy projects.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “With the rate of inflation falling and a general election on the horizon, this is a pivotal time for the UK economy.  I’m sure everyone will be interested to hear from Alpesh on what is likely to come next.”

The BMF’s annual flagship event will take place on 18 and 19 September at the Leonardo Hotel and Conference Venue at Hinckley Island in Leicestershire. In addition to informative and entertaining conference sessions, interactive workshops and exhibition, the event encompasses sporting and social networking opportunities, including the BMF Golf Tournament and a black-tie Awards Dinner celebrating members’ achievements.

For more information and to book your place at the BMF Annual Conference and Awards , headline sponsor Unilin Insulation, please visit http://tinyurl.com/5n8xbxrc or contact [email protected]

 

Alpesh Paleja, Lead Economist in the CBI’s economics team, has been confirmed to speak at the BMF Members’ Annual Conference on 19 September.

Building Safety Regulator Webinars

Welcome to the Building Safety Regulator – webinar series

The Building Safety Regulator (BDR) and partners (CLC/OPSS) bring you a series of webinars, designed to educate and inform stakeholders and duty holders involved in the wider built environment. They are your gateway to a world of knowledge and expertise, dedicated to advancing building safety.

The webinars will provide you with:

Expert insights -  feature leading experts from BSR and industry who will share their knowledge, experiences and insights, helping you stay ahead of the changes.

Accessible anytime, anywhere -  accessible online, allowing you to participate from the comfort of your home or office, at a time that suits your schedule.

Act now - understand the regulatory changes and what you need to do as a duty holder


Join us on our mission to elevate building safety standards and drive positive change in the industry.


Together, we can work to make sure residents are safe and feel safe in their homes.


NEXT WEBINAR  22 April 10am – 12noon 
Construction Products – Exploring progress and perspectives on compliance of construction products


Post-Building Safety Act 2022, this is your opportunity to hear from and engage directly with representatives of industry, government and the Office for Product Safety & Standards (OPSS), the UK’s regulator for construction products, as they explore their perspectives on compliance of construction products.


Chair – Peter Caplehorn,  CE CPA and CLC Construction Products lead for Building Safety
Speakers - Duncan Johnson, Deputy Director Construction Products, OPSS, Dept for Business and Trade
Louise Barr, Deputy Director Construction Products DLUHC
Adam Turk, CEO Siderise.


REGISTER HERE:
https://bsrevents.co.uk/home

 

 

Join this webinar run by the Building Safety Regulator to learn more about safety compliance on construction products from experts in this field.

Ian Stokes Joins BMF Board

Ian Stokes, Managing Director of Knauf UK and Ireland, has been elected to the Board of the Builders Merchants Federation to serve as the Elected Director-Suppliers with effect from 1 April 2024.  Ian replaces Mike Ward of Wavin, who stepped down earlier this year.

Ian, who has been MD at Knauf since 2010, has over 20 years in the building materials sector and is ideally placed to represent supplier member interests on the BMF Board.

BMF Chairman, Richard Hill said: “I am delighted to welcome Ian to the Board.  His background and experience makes him a perfect replacement for Mike who made an excellent contribution during his time on the Board. The range of experience Ian brings will be extremely valuable as we look to develop the skills of those employed in the sector and build greater public awareness of our industry, and its attractiveness for talented career starters and career switchers.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “I am very much looking forward to working with Ian, whose experience and passion for our industry aligns with the values of the BMF Board.  I would also like to add my personal thanks to Mike whose advice and support I have greatly valued.”

 

Ian Stokes, MD of Knauf UK & Ireland has been elected to the Board of the BMF.

Buttle's Welcomes Lib Dem Daisy Cooper, MP

How the building materials’ supply chain is evolving to support environmental responsibility in construction - and responding to the net zero carbon challenge - was the focus of a constituency visit by Daisy Cooper MP last Friday.

The MP for St Albans visited Buttle’s, a 105-year old business based in the town, to see how it helps constituents to improve the thermal and energy performance of homes and workplaces.

Daisy Cooper, who is her Party’s Deputy Leader and Health Spokes
person, was welcomed by Peter Buttle, Chairman, and Ian Church, Managing Director. Touring the branch, Ms Cooper was shown examples of the sustainable materials and products available to Buttle’s customers in Hertfordshire and North London. She also heard from Shelby Williams, Branch Manager, how merchants and their SME customers have managed with higher raw material, energy, labour and transport costs.


Concluding her visit, Daisy Cooper MP said:

“It was great to visit Buttle’s to learn how they are embracing low and zero-carbon initiatives, whilst continuing to serve their traditional house-building and property improvement markets”.

“It’s encouraging to find a well-known, local family-run business face the future and embrace not only carbon-neutral suppliers, but carbon-negative ones too”.

“I want to thank Shelby and her team for helping local builders and DIY enthusiasts with their building and home improvement projects, and for giving me the opportunity to see for myself their contribution to not only St Alban’s economy, but also more widely around the county”.

As Shadow Health Minister, Daisy Cooper MP discussed how to prevent condensation, damp and mould in homes that cause respiratory problems and affect human health. During the Coalition Government, Lib Dem ministers were instrumental in efforts to tighten the Building Regulations to tackle indoor air quality, insulate more homes and improve living conditions.

Ian Church, Buttle’s Managing Director said:

“We were delighted to welcome Daisy Cooper and show her how Buttle’s has evolved over the one hundred and five years since we began in 1919. It is great to have our MP take an interest in local firms like ours and offering her insight and support to help businesses to succeed”.

“Merchants ought to be aware that a shift is underway with a sharper focus on the environmental consequences of business, and the way we use resources in our supply chain in a more efficient manner, knowing that stricter targets and stronger regulation are likely in future”.

The visit was another arranged by the BMF as part of its industry and parliament programme. The aim is to show MPs the role, value and importance of merchants in delivering for their communities.

 

Ian Church (Buttle’s MD), Shelby Williams (Branch Manager) and Daisy Cooper MP discuss the state of the market and the international trade in panel products.

Ian Church (Buttle’s MD) explains the C16 and C24 grades of softwood, and the different uses they have, based on their strength and quality.

Shelby Williams (Branch Manager) shows Daisy Cooper MP how to use the compactor & baler machine in which Buttle’s recycles its plastic waste (esp. bulk bags) and cardboard.

Chairman Peter Buttle (left), Managing Director Ian Church (centre) and Daisy Cooper MP (right) meet Branch Manager Shelby Williams and two of her team.


 

BMF member Buttle's recently welcomed Daisy Cooper, the Lib Dem Deputy Leader and Health Spokesperson, when she visited their St Alban's base.

BMF leader appointed to forge partnerships with African education charity

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) CEO, John Newcomb has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of a charity that gifts children in Africa with education opportunities.

 

John Newcomb has joined the leadership team at The Educational Frontier Trust (TEFT), a UK registered charity, that provides funding for the educational needs of marginalised and vulnerable children in Kenya.

 

His role will include taking responsibility for overseeing partnerships and event-based fundraising for the charity, which supports the Kisima School.

 

Located 240 km from Nairobi, the school teaches 160 children on a purpose-built five-acre site, giving them the opportunity to transform their lives through academic achievement.

 

For 11 years, John has been a committed supporter of the Kisima School and has raised more than £25,000 for the facility, with activities including a sponsored cycle and auction of prizes.

He has also supported four students through their education in Kenya, both privately and also via the BMF.

Richard Walton of TEFT, said: “John has already played a big part in our success and we are very pleased to have him join the board.

 

“He is committed to all we are doing at TEFT to build for the future and will bring a lot of expertise and insight in his new role.”

 

TEFT will draw on John’s significant experience in fundraising projects, which has seen him motivate the Building Materials sector to raise more than half a million pounds for charities and good causes since 2018.

Those benefitting include the British Heart Foundation, the BMF’s charity for 2023, as well as previous ‘charity of the year’ partners including Band of Builders, Teenage Cancer Trust, Variety-the Children’s charity, Mental Health UK and the Samaritans.

 

John has also created charity partnerships to pave the way for further appeals, including a funding drive in aid of victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, which raised £18,880. He also spearheaded a campaign across Europe’s Building Materials sector to raise £70,000 and three tonnes of aid for war-torn Ukraine.

 

John said: “The work at Kisima School is something I feel passionately about.

“I am looking forward to increasing opportunities for the pupils there and amplifying the message and raising funds to provide life-changing chances to young people in Kenya.”

 

To find out more about the Kisima School, including details of sponsoring a pupil please visit https://teft.org.uk/kisima.php

 

The BMF's CEO has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of a charity that gifts children in Africa with education opportunities.

BMF welcomes government reforms to boost apprenticeships

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has welcomed the announcement from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of a £60m investment designed to generate up to 20,000 more apprenticeships nationwide, alongside changes to the apprenticeship levy and cuts to red tape.

 

According to the BMF, the package of support will provide a boost to the BMF Apprenticeship Pledge, launched last year with an ambitious target to create 15,000 new roles in the building materials industry by 2030.

 

The government announcement includes fully funded training for people under the age of 21, as well as doubling the amount of unused apprenticeship levy funding that SMEs can transfer to other businesses from 25% to 50%.

 

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “The announcement is a great step forward for an industry that needs to plug a significant skills gap and address ongoing challenges stemming from an ageing workforce.

 

“Around 70% of merchants in BMF membership have a turnover of less than £12.5 million, and the reforms will mean larger levy-holders will be able to transfer up to 50% of their unused apprenticeship levy funding to these SME's.

 

“Apprenticeships are a key route for the development of new talent in our sector. Since launching the BMF Apprenticeship Pledge, 11,464 new apprenticeships places have already been pledged by 22 member companies, and we are confident of reaching our target of 15,000.

 

“The government’s buzz around apprenticeships also aligns with the major sector awareness programme the BMF will launch later this year.  This will encourage talented people of all ages and from all walks of life to find out how our industry makes a difference to our homes and the built environment around us and discover which of the many and varied careers availabe would be right for them.”

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has welcomed the announcement from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of a £60m investment designed to generate up to 20,000 more apprenticeships nationwide...

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Press enquiries for the builders merchants and building materials industry;

The BMF is the only trade association that represents and protects the interests of builders’ merchants and suppliers to the building materials sector in the UK and Ireland.

Total membership from 1 Apr 2024 stands at 950 merchant, supplier and service companies who together have combined sales of over £45.3bn and employ just under 200,000 people in the building materials industry. BMF’s 502 merchant members, including 73 now from Ireland, operate from over 6,400 branches across the UK and Ireland.

From the saw-mill, quarry and out onto the shop floor, the BMF has a unique perspective, which is of great value to the media.

For press enquiries regarding the building materials sector/merchants sector, please contact;

Jane Shepherd
[email protected]
07985 129315
01538 308685