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, Remuneration survey, KPI report, Business News and CPA Weekly notes.

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

18-19 September 2019

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

18-19 September 2019

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

18-19 September 2019

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

18-19 September 2019

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

18-19 September 2019

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

18-19 September 2019

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

18-19 September 2019

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

18-19 September 2019

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

18-19 September 2019

Learn More



BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

18-19 September 2019

Learn More



BMF Mastermerchant
12-14 July 2019
 
Learn More



BMF Mastermerchant
12-14 July 2019
 
Learn More



BMF Mastermerchant
12-14 July 2019
 
Learn More



BMF Mastermerchant
12-14 July 2019
 
Learn More



BMF Mastermerchant
12-14 July 2019
 
Learn More



BMF Mastermerchant
12-14 July 2019
 
Learn More



BMF Mastermerchant
12-14 July 2019
 
Learn More



BMF Mastermerchant
12-14 July 2019
 
Learn More



BMF Mastermerchant
12-14 July 2019
 
Learn More



BMF Mastermerchant
12-14 July 2019
 
Learn More

Pavestone Rally
5-8 September 2019

Learn More

Pavestone Rally
5-8 September 2019

Learn More

Pavestone Rally
5-8 September 2019

Learn More

Pavestone Rally
5-8 September 2019

Learn More

Pavestone Rally
5-8 September 2019

Learn More

Pavestone Rally
5-8 September 2019

Learn More

Pavestone Rally
5-8 September 2019

Learn More

Pavestone Rally
5-8 September 2019

Learn More

Pavestone Rally
5-8 September 2019

Learn More

Pavestone Rally
5-8 September 2019

Learn More




See All Events




Latest News



Here are the latest news stories from the BMF

BMF Conference in Dubrovnik hailed phenomenal success

Heather Small at BMF Gala DinnerThe BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik. The money will be divided equally between Variety, the Children’s Charity (the BMF’s partner charity), and Mental Health UK whose work was featured during the Conference sessions.

Conference delegates showed their generosity in many ways throughout the evening. The highlight was a special live auction overseen by Conference Host, Gethin Jones, where strong bidding for a bathrobe signed by the event’s key speakers and lunch at the House of Lords donated by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott helped push the total way over the predicted amount.

Singer Heather Small, herself an Ambassador for Variety, gave a stellar performance to complete a memorable gala evening held at Dubrovnik’s world-famous Revlin nightclub.

John Newcomb BMF CEO said: “We are proud of the industry for achieving so much for two very deserving charities. I would like to thank everyone who contributed both to our fundraising and during the rest of the Conference. We have received some fantastic feedback already from delegates and this was a great conclusion to a phenomenally successful event.”

Expressing her appreciation, Frances Lang, Chief Executive at Variety UK said: “Thanks to all delegates for supporting Variety.  BMF members can be assured that heir generosity really does change children’s lives.”

Brian Dow, CEO at Mental Health UK said: “We really appreciate the fundraising by delegates and the opportunity the BMF Conference gave us to raise the subject of mental health within the industry.  I’ve been in conferences in many parts of the world and on many subjects, but this was probably the best I’ve ever been to. Incredibly well organised. Wonderful atmopshere. Great content. And generally a terrific collection of people. So, thank you very much for everything.”  

The Gala Dinner was the climax of a hugely successful BMF All Industry Conference, where delegates were inspired, educated, entertained and enjoyed many of networking opportunities.  

Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director of the event’s headline sponsor, Crystal said: “It has been a privilege to be the headline sponsor at the BMF All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik and to be able to welcome everyone personally. From the stunning location to inspirational speakers, great host to fabulous entertainment and a chance to network and do business – the conference was a huge success. I’m looking forward to 2021 when Crystal will once again be the headline sponsor.”

During the Conference Crystal ran a bonus competition to encourage delegates to network by taking selfies with members of their team. The winner, David Young, Managing Director of Bradfords Building Supplies won a luxury European city break.

Reflecting on the event, Mark Bradley, Managing Director Plumbase said: “Well done and congratulations on delivering a superb BMF Conference. It has to go down as the best one ever! The sheer organisation, planning and hard work has absolutely paid off delivering premium member value, it was simply brilliant, notwithstanding a wonderful stunning location. 

“Speakers all the way through were absolutely dazzling, plus, all of them were super friendly, approachable and good fun, especially Lord Prescott who hasn’t lost his edge.”

Tony France, Sales Director at Ibstock said: “Well what a fantastic event. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to present at this year’s Conference. I thought the entire speaker line-up was superb and I know that delegates really enjoyed and engaged with the people and, particularly, the mental health themes. It was a great idea to choose to go into what can be a difficult subject to discuss and it worked perfectly.

The sell-out BMF All Industry Conference, themed “Building Excellence” was almost 450 delegates.



To view photos from the Conference click here.

The BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik.

Proud to be at BMF All-Industry Conference

14 June 2019

Heather Small, one of the seminal BritishHeather Small voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Heather first came to fame as the soulful lead singer with M People, one of the biggest English dance music bands of the 90s. With hits such as “Moving on Up”, “One Night in Heaven” and “Search for the Hero”, the band sold over 10 million records and won the Best British Dance Act Award at the Brits in 1994 and 1995 as well at the Mercury Music Prize for their album Elegant Slumming.

Heather went on to great success with two solo albums. The title track of her first album, Proud, became the soundtrack to London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, as well as a host of other special events, including the 60th anniversary of VE Day in Trafalgar Square, the launch of Queen Mary 2 and England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup celebrations. Oprah Winfrey also used the song to sum up the work she’d been striving to achieve over her twenty-year career, inviting Heather to perform live on her show.

In addition to her music career, Heather danced her way into the public’s affection as a contestant in series 6 of Strictly Come Dancing. Since then her infectious personality and trademark sense of humour has been on display in numerous TV appearances on music, chat and celebrity quiz shows. 

Heather is also well known for her charitable work and is appearing at the Gala Dinner as an ambassador for Variety, the Children’s Charity, the BMF’s charity of the year. Variety provides improves the lives of children and young people in the UK who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged, by providing coaches and specialist equipment as well as creating memorable experiences through “Variety Great Days Out”. 

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are absolutely delighted both to continue our support for Variety, the Children’s Charity, and to welcome Heather Small as our very special guest to close our Conference.  John Newcomb continued: “BMF and merchant industry fundraising for Variety since the BMF All Industry Conference in 2017 has raised over £90,000 for the charity.  A silent auction at the Gala Dinner is aiming to raise another substantial sum to share between Variety and our second charity for the evening, Mental Health UK, in a grand finale to the BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 that promises to be a feast of fun and fundraising.”

The BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 takes place in Dubrovnik from 13 to 16 June. Broadcaster and TV personality, Gethin Jones will host the sold-out event. Our thanks to the BMF All-Industry Conference headline sponsor, Crystal Group.

For more information visit www.bmfconference.co.uk
Heather Small, one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Paul Bence to Chair new BMF Kitchen & Bathroom Forum



11 May 2019

The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms bringing together members with responsibility for these important product areas.  

The new Kitchen and Bathroom Forum will be chaired by Paul Bence, Managing Director of the George Bence Group.

Paul’s original role within the family run business was with Obsidian their retail brand, which was struggling to gain traction in their local market. Paul quickly turned this around and Obsidian’s award-winning showrooms now showcase the best in kitchens and bathrooms from the world’s top manufacturers. The Group’s lightside business encompasses multiple retail and trade showrooms with specification and design teams adding real value to the Group’s bottom line.

Paul took over as MD in 2010 and has overseen similar growth in the Group’s branch network across product sectors in heavyside, roofing and decorating.  He is also an active member of the Fortis Buying Group where he is Trading Director of all Showroom business across the member network.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul Bence said: “Product diversification is an important aspect of the merchant industry, especially amongst the shrinking margins associated with the traditional commodity building material products. The BMF has clearly embraced the sector by creating this Forum. Personally I am honoured that the BMF has asked me to chair the group and I look forward to engaging in insightful conversation around the kitchen and bathroom supply chain.”

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “Paul is the ideal Chair for the K&B Forum, both for his knowledge of and success within the sector and for the breadth of his contacts amongst merchants and suppliers with an interest in this increasingly important area.  The Forum concept is greatly appreciated by BMF members and the launch of the K&B Forum means we are now running 14 of these successful special interest groups.”

The first Kitchen & Bathroom Forum will be held on 12 November 2019 at Roca’s new conference and showroom facility in Leicester.  For more information email Joanne.Exeter@bmf.org.uk
Paul Bence BMF K&B Chairman
The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms.

BMF opens second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group

10 June 2019

BMF RCOE PageGroup BirminghamThe BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group, this time in Birmingham.

The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the UK and Ireland. The latest centre, based in Page Group’s impressive office at Brindleyplace in Birmingham, will serve BMF members in the West Midlands region. The BMF are also proud to name the Page London office as another BMF Regional Centre of Excellence.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to open our second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group and our 28th in total. Localisation is an important strategy for the BMF and this is an excellent central facility where members can meet and attend BMF training courses, regional meetings and other regional events.”  

Adam McLaughlin, Manager of Michael Page Trade & Retail says: “Page Group are delighted to strengthen our partnership with the BMF with the opening of our second Regional Centre of Excellence in Birmingham. Our facilities are open to all BMF members to make use of and we encourage members to reach out with any enquiries.”

For details of all the BMF Regional Centres of Excellence around the UK and Ireland please visit www.bmf.org.uk/membership and for more information about Page Group visit https://www.page.com.
The BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group (BMF's 28th in the UK), this time in Birmingham.

BMF Conference in Dubrovnik hailed phenomenal success

Heather Small at BMF Gala DinnerThe BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik. The money will be divided equally between Variety, the Children’s Charity (the BMF’s partner charity), and Mental Health UK whose work was featured during the Conference sessions.

Conference delegates showed their generosity in many ways throughout the evening. The highlight was a special live auction overseen by Conference Host, Gethin Jones, where strong bidding for a bathrobe signed by the event’s key speakers and lunch at the House of Lords donated by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott helped push the total way over the predicted amount.

Singer Heather Small, herself an Ambassador for Variety, gave a stellar performance to complete a memorable gala evening held at Dubrovnik’s world-famous Revlin nightclub.

John Newcomb BMF CEO said: “We are proud of the industry for achieving so much for two very deserving charities. I would like to thank everyone who contributed both to our fundraising and during the rest of the Conference. We have received some fantastic feedback already from delegates and this was a great conclusion to a phenomenally successful event.”

Expressing her appreciation, Frances Lang, Chief Executive at Variety UK said: “Thanks to all delegates for supporting Variety.  BMF members can be assured that heir generosity really does change children’s lives.”

Brian Dow, CEO at Mental Health UK said: “We really appreciate the fundraising by delegates and the opportunity the BMF Conference gave us to raise the subject of mental health within the industry.  I’ve been in conferences in many parts of the world and on many subjects, but this was probably the best I’ve ever been to. Incredibly well organised. Wonderful atmopshere. Great content. And generally a terrific collection of people. So, thank you very much for everything.”  

The Gala Dinner was the climax of a hugely successful BMF All Industry Conference, where delegates were inspired, educated, entertained and enjoyed many of networking opportunities.  

Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director of the event’s headline sponsor, Crystal said: “It has been a privilege to be the headline sponsor at the BMF All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik and to be able to welcome everyone personally. From the stunning location to inspirational speakers, great host to fabulous entertainment and a chance to network and do business – the conference was a huge success. I’m looking forward to 2021 when Crystal will once again be the headline sponsor.”

During the Conference Crystal ran a bonus competition to encourage delegates to network by taking selfies with members of their team. The winner, David Young, Managing Director of Bradfords Building Supplies won a luxury European city break.

Reflecting on the event, Mark Bradley, Managing Director Plumbase said: “Well done and congratulations on delivering a superb BMF Conference. It has to go down as the best one ever! The sheer organisation, planning and hard work has absolutely paid off delivering premium member value, it was simply brilliant, notwithstanding a wonderful stunning location. 

“Speakers all the way through were absolutely dazzling, plus, all of them were super friendly, approachable and good fun, especially Lord Prescott who hasn’t lost his edge.”

Tony France, Sales Director at Ibstock said: “Well what a fantastic event. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to present at this year’s Conference. I thought the entire speaker line-up was superb and I know that delegates really enjoyed and engaged with the people and, particularly, the mental health themes. It was a great idea to choose to go into what can be a difficult subject to discuss and it worked perfectly.

The sell-out BMF All Industry Conference, themed “Building Excellence” was almost 450 delegates.



To view photos from the Conference click here.

The BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik.

Proud to be at BMF All-Industry Conference

14 June 2019

Heather Small, one of the seminal BritishHeather Small voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Heather first came to fame as the soulful lead singer with M People, one of the biggest English dance music bands of the 90s. With hits such as “Moving on Up”, “One Night in Heaven” and “Search for the Hero”, the band sold over 10 million records and won the Best British Dance Act Award at the Brits in 1994 and 1995 as well at the Mercury Music Prize for their album Elegant Slumming.

Heather went on to great success with two solo albums. The title track of her first album, Proud, became the soundtrack to London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, as well as a host of other special events, including the 60th anniversary of VE Day in Trafalgar Square, the launch of Queen Mary 2 and England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup celebrations. Oprah Winfrey also used the song to sum up the work she’d been striving to achieve over her twenty-year career, inviting Heather to perform live on her show.

In addition to her music career, Heather danced her way into the public’s affection as a contestant in series 6 of Strictly Come Dancing. Since then her infectious personality and trademark sense of humour has been on display in numerous TV appearances on music, chat and celebrity quiz shows. 

Heather is also well known for her charitable work and is appearing at the Gala Dinner as an ambassador for Variety, the Children’s Charity, the BMF’s charity of the year. Variety provides improves the lives of children and young people in the UK who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged, by providing coaches and specialist equipment as well as creating memorable experiences through “Variety Great Days Out”. 

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are absolutely delighted both to continue our support for Variety, the Children’s Charity, and to welcome Heather Small as our very special guest to close our Conference.  John Newcomb continued: “BMF and merchant industry fundraising for Variety since the BMF All Industry Conference in 2017 has raised over £90,000 for the charity.  A silent auction at the Gala Dinner is aiming to raise another substantial sum to share between Variety and our second charity for the evening, Mental Health UK, in a grand finale to the BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 that promises to be a feast of fun and fundraising.”

The BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 takes place in Dubrovnik from 13 to 16 June. Broadcaster and TV personality, Gethin Jones will host the sold-out event. Our thanks to the BMF All-Industry Conference headline sponsor, Crystal Group.

For more information visit www.bmfconference.co.uk
Heather Small, one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Paul Bence to Chair new BMF Kitchen & Bathroom Forum



11 May 2019

The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms bringing together members with responsibility for these important product areas.  

The new Kitchen and Bathroom Forum will be chaired by Paul Bence, Managing Director of the George Bence Group.

Paul’s original role within the family run business was with Obsidian their retail brand, which was struggling to gain traction in their local market. Paul quickly turned this around and Obsidian’s award-winning showrooms now showcase the best in kitchens and bathrooms from the world’s top manufacturers. The Group’s lightside business encompasses multiple retail and trade showrooms with specification and design teams adding real value to the Group’s bottom line.

Paul took over as MD in 2010 and has overseen similar growth in the Group’s branch network across product sectors in heavyside, roofing and decorating.  He is also an active member of the Fortis Buying Group where he is Trading Director of all Showroom business across the member network.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul Bence said: “Product diversification is an important aspect of the merchant industry, especially amongst the shrinking margins associated with the traditional commodity building material products. The BMF has clearly embraced the sector by creating this Forum. Personally I am honoured that the BMF has asked me to chair the group and I look forward to engaging in insightful conversation around the kitchen and bathroom supply chain.”

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “Paul is the ideal Chair for the K&B Forum, both for his knowledge of and success within the sector and for the breadth of his contacts amongst merchants and suppliers with an interest in this increasingly important area.  The Forum concept is greatly appreciated by BMF members and the launch of the K&B Forum means we are now running 14 of these successful special interest groups.”

The first Kitchen & Bathroom Forum will be held on 12 November 2019 at Roca’s new conference and showroom facility in Leicester.  For more information email Joanne.Exeter@bmf.org.uk
Paul Bence BMF K&B Chairman
The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms.

BMF opens second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group

10 June 2019

BMF RCOE PageGroup BirminghamThe BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group, this time in Birmingham.

The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the UK and Ireland. The latest centre, based in Page Group’s impressive office at Brindleyplace in Birmingham, will serve BMF members in the West Midlands region. The BMF are also proud to name the Page London office as another BMF Regional Centre of Excellence.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to open our second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group and our 28th in total. Localisation is an important strategy for the BMF and this is an excellent central facility where members can meet and attend BMF training courses, regional meetings and other regional events.”  

Adam McLaughlin, Manager of Michael Page Trade & Retail says: “Page Group are delighted to strengthen our partnership with the BMF with the opening of our second Regional Centre of Excellence in Birmingham. Our facilities are open to all BMF members to make use of and we encourage members to reach out with any enquiries.”

For details of all the BMF Regional Centres of Excellence around the UK and Ireland please visit www.bmf.org.uk/membership and for more information about Page Group visit https://www.page.com.
The BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group (BMF's 28th in the UK), this time in Birmingham.

BMF Conference in Dubrovnik hailed phenomenal success

Heather Small at BMF Gala DinnerThe BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik. The money will be divided equally between Variety, the Children’s Charity (the BMF’s partner charity), and Mental Health UK whose work was featured during the Conference sessions.

Conference delegates showed their generosity in many ways throughout the evening. The highlight was a special live auction overseen by Conference Host, Gethin Jones, where strong bidding for a bathrobe signed by the event’s key speakers and lunch at the House of Lords donated by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott helped push the total way over the predicted amount.

Singer Heather Small, herself an Ambassador for Variety, gave a stellar performance to complete a memorable gala evening held at Dubrovnik’s world-famous Revlin nightclub.

John Newcomb BMF CEO said: “We are proud of the industry for achieving so much for two very deserving charities. I would like to thank everyone who contributed both to our fundraising and during the rest of the Conference. We have received some fantastic feedback already from delegates and this was a great conclusion to a phenomenally successful event.”

Expressing her appreciation, Frances Lang, Chief Executive at Variety UK said: “Thanks to all delegates for supporting Variety.  BMF members can be assured that heir generosity really does change children’s lives.”

Brian Dow, CEO at Mental Health UK said: “We really appreciate the fundraising by delegates and the opportunity the BMF Conference gave us to raise the subject of mental health within the industry.  I’ve been in conferences in many parts of the world and on many subjects, but this was probably the best I’ve ever been to. Incredibly well organised. Wonderful atmopshere. Great content. And generally a terrific collection of people. So, thank you very much for everything.”  

The Gala Dinner was the climax of a hugely successful BMF All Industry Conference, where delegates were inspired, educated, entertained and enjoyed many of networking opportunities.  

Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director of the event’s headline sponsor, Crystal said: “It has been a privilege to be the headline sponsor at the BMF All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik and to be able to welcome everyone personally. From the stunning location to inspirational speakers, great host to fabulous entertainment and a chance to network and do business – the conference was a huge success. I’m looking forward to 2021 when Crystal will once again be the headline sponsor.”

During the Conference Crystal ran a bonus competition to encourage delegates to network by taking selfies with members of their team. The winner, David Young, Managing Director of Bradfords Building Supplies won a luxury European city break.

Reflecting on the event, Mark Bradley, Managing Director Plumbase said: “Well done and congratulations on delivering a superb BMF Conference. It has to go down as the best one ever! The sheer organisation, planning and hard work has absolutely paid off delivering premium member value, it was simply brilliant, notwithstanding a wonderful stunning location. 

“Speakers all the way through were absolutely dazzling, plus, all of them were super friendly, approachable and good fun, especially Lord Prescott who hasn’t lost his edge.”

Tony France, Sales Director at Ibstock said: “Well what a fantastic event. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to present at this year’s Conference. I thought the entire speaker line-up was superb and I know that delegates really enjoyed and engaged with the people and, particularly, the mental health themes. It was a great idea to choose to go into what can be a difficult subject to discuss and it worked perfectly.

The sell-out BMF All Industry Conference, themed “Building Excellence” was almost 450 delegates.



To view photos from the Conference click here.

The BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik.

Proud to be at BMF All-Industry Conference

14 June 2019

Heather Small, one of the seminal BritishHeather Small voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Heather first came to fame as the soulful lead singer with M People, one of the biggest English dance music bands of the 90s. With hits such as “Moving on Up”, “One Night in Heaven” and “Search for the Hero”, the band sold over 10 million records and won the Best British Dance Act Award at the Brits in 1994 and 1995 as well at the Mercury Music Prize for their album Elegant Slumming.

Heather went on to great success with two solo albums. The title track of her first album, Proud, became the soundtrack to London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, as well as a host of other special events, including the 60th anniversary of VE Day in Trafalgar Square, the launch of Queen Mary 2 and England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup celebrations. Oprah Winfrey also used the song to sum up the work she’d been striving to achieve over her twenty-year career, inviting Heather to perform live on her show.

In addition to her music career, Heather danced her way into the public’s affection as a contestant in series 6 of Strictly Come Dancing. Since then her infectious personality and trademark sense of humour has been on display in numerous TV appearances on music, chat and celebrity quiz shows. 

Heather is also well known for her charitable work and is appearing at the Gala Dinner as an ambassador for Variety, the Children’s Charity, the BMF’s charity of the year. Variety provides improves the lives of children and young people in the UK who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged, by providing coaches and specialist equipment as well as creating memorable experiences through “Variety Great Days Out”. 

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are absolutely delighted both to continue our support for Variety, the Children’s Charity, and to welcome Heather Small as our very special guest to close our Conference.  John Newcomb continued: “BMF and merchant industry fundraising for Variety since the BMF All Industry Conference in 2017 has raised over £90,000 for the charity.  A silent auction at the Gala Dinner is aiming to raise another substantial sum to share between Variety and our second charity for the evening, Mental Health UK, in a grand finale to the BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 that promises to be a feast of fun and fundraising.”

The BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 takes place in Dubrovnik from 13 to 16 June. Broadcaster and TV personality, Gethin Jones will host the sold-out event. Our thanks to the BMF All-Industry Conference headline sponsor, Crystal Group.

For more information visit www.bmfconference.co.uk
Heather Small, one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Paul Bence to Chair new BMF Kitchen & Bathroom Forum



11 May 2019

The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms bringing together members with responsibility for these important product areas.  

The new Kitchen and Bathroom Forum will be chaired by Paul Bence, Managing Director of the George Bence Group.

Paul’s original role within the family run business was with Obsidian their retail brand, which was struggling to gain traction in their local market. Paul quickly turned this around and Obsidian’s award-winning showrooms now showcase the best in kitchens and bathrooms from the world’s top manufacturers. The Group’s lightside business encompasses multiple retail and trade showrooms with specification and design teams adding real value to the Group’s bottom line.

Paul took over as MD in 2010 and has overseen similar growth in the Group’s branch network across product sectors in heavyside, roofing and decorating.  He is also an active member of the Fortis Buying Group where he is Trading Director of all Showroom business across the member network.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul Bence said: “Product diversification is an important aspect of the merchant industry, especially amongst the shrinking margins associated with the traditional commodity building material products. The BMF has clearly embraced the sector by creating this Forum. Personally I am honoured that the BMF has asked me to chair the group and I look forward to engaging in insightful conversation around the kitchen and bathroom supply chain.”

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “Paul is the ideal Chair for the K&B Forum, both for his knowledge of and success within the sector and for the breadth of his contacts amongst merchants and suppliers with an interest in this increasingly important area.  The Forum concept is greatly appreciated by BMF members and the launch of the K&B Forum means we are now running 14 of these successful special interest groups.”

The first Kitchen & Bathroom Forum will be held on 12 November 2019 at Roca’s new conference and showroom facility in Leicester.  For more information email Joanne.Exeter@bmf.org.uk
Paul Bence BMF K&B Chairman
The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms.

BMF opens second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group

10 June 2019

BMF RCOE PageGroup BirminghamThe BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group, this time in Birmingham.

The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the UK and Ireland. The latest centre, based in Page Group’s impressive office at Brindleyplace in Birmingham, will serve BMF members in the West Midlands region. The BMF are also proud to name the Page London office as another BMF Regional Centre of Excellence.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to open our second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group and our 28th in total. Localisation is an important strategy for the BMF and this is an excellent central facility where members can meet and attend BMF training courses, regional meetings and other regional events.”  

Adam McLaughlin, Manager of Michael Page Trade & Retail says: “Page Group are delighted to strengthen our partnership with the BMF with the opening of our second Regional Centre of Excellence in Birmingham. Our facilities are open to all BMF members to make use of and we encourage members to reach out with any enquiries.”

For details of all the BMF Regional Centres of Excellence around the UK and Ireland please visit www.bmf.org.uk/membership and for more information about Page Group visit https://www.page.com.
The BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group (BMF's 28th in the UK), this time in Birmingham.

BMF Conference in Dubrovnik hailed phenomenal success

Heather Small at BMF Gala DinnerThe BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik. The money will be divided equally between Variety, the Children’s Charity (the BMF’s partner charity), and Mental Health UK whose work was featured during the Conference sessions.

Conference delegates showed their generosity in many ways throughout the evening. The highlight was a special live auction overseen by Conference Host, Gethin Jones, where strong bidding for a bathrobe signed by the event’s key speakers and lunch at the House of Lords donated by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott helped push the total way over the predicted amount.

Singer Heather Small, herself an Ambassador for Variety, gave a stellar performance to complete a memorable gala evening held at Dubrovnik’s world-famous Revlin nightclub.

John Newcomb BMF CEO said: “We are proud of the industry for achieving so much for two very deserving charities. I would like to thank everyone who contributed both to our fundraising and during the rest of the Conference. We have received some fantastic feedback already from delegates and this was a great conclusion to a phenomenally successful event.”

Expressing her appreciation, Frances Lang, Chief Executive at Variety UK said: “Thanks to all delegates for supporting Variety.  BMF members can be assured that heir generosity really does change children’s lives.”

Brian Dow, CEO at Mental Health UK said: “We really appreciate the fundraising by delegates and the opportunity the BMF Conference gave us to raise the subject of mental health within the industry.  I’ve been in conferences in many parts of the world and on many subjects, but this was probably the best I’ve ever been to. Incredibly well organised. Wonderful atmopshere. Great content. And generally a terrific collection of people. So, thank you very much for everything.”  

The Gala Dinner was the climax of a hugely successful BMF All Industry Conference, where delegates were inspired, educated, entertained and enjoyed many of networking opportunities.  

Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director of the event’s headline sponsor, Crystal said: “It has been a privilege to be the headline sponsor at the BMF All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik and to be able to welcome everyone personally. From the stunning location to inspirational speakers, great host to fabulous entertainment and a chance to network and do business – the conference was a huge success. I’m looking forward to 2021 when Crystal will once again be the headline sponsor.”

During the Conference Crystal ran a bonus competition to encourage delegates to network by taking selfies with members of their team. The winner, David Young, Managing Director of Bradfords Building Supplies won a luxury European city break.

Reflecting on the event, Mark Bradley, Managing Director Plumbase said: “Well done and congratulations on delivering a superb BMF Conference. It has to go down as the best one ever! The sheer organisation, planning and hard work has absolutely paid off delivering premium member value, it was simply brilliant, notwithstanding a wonderful stunning location. 

“Speakers all the way through were absolutely dazzling, plus, all of them were super friendly, approachable and good fun, especially Lord Prescott who hasn’t lost his edge.”

Tony France, Sales Director at Ibstock said: “Well what a fantastic event. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to present at this year’s Conference. I thought the entire speaker line-up was superb and I know that delegates really enjoyed and engaged with the people and, particularly, the mental health themes. It was a great idea to choose to go into what can be a difficult subject to discuss and it worked perfectly.

The sell-out BMF All Industry Conference, themed “Building Excellence” was almost 450 delegates.



To view photos from the Conference click here.

The BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik.

Proud to be at BMF All-Industry Conference

14 June 2019

Heather Small, one of the seminal BritishHeather Small voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Heather first came to fame as the soulful lead singer with M People, one of the biggest English dance music bands of the 90s. With hits such as “Moving on Up”, “One Night in Heaven” and “Search for the Hero”, the band sold over 10 million records and won the Best British Dance Act Award at the Brits in 1994 and 1995 as well at the Mercury Music Prize for their album Elegant Slumming.

Heather went on to great success with two solo albums. The title track of her first album, Proud, became the soundtrack to London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, as well as a host of other special events, including the 60th anniversary of VE Day in Trafalgar Square, the launch of Queen Mary 2 and England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup celebrations. Oprah Winfrey also used the song to sum up the work she’d been striving to achieve over her twenty-year career, inviting Heather to perform live on her show.

In addition to her music career, Heather danced her way into the public’s affection as a contestant in series 6 of Strictly Come Dancing. Since then her infectious personality and trademark sense of humour has been on display in numerous TV appearances on music, chat and celebrity quiz shows. 

Heather is also well known for her charitable work and is appearing at the Gala Dinner as an ambassador for Variety, the Children’s Charity, the BMF’s charity of the year. Variety provides improves the lives of children and young people in the UK who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged, by providing coaches and specialist equipment as well as creating memorable experiences through “Variety Great Days Out”. 

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are absolutely delighted both to continue our support for Variety, the Children’s Charity, and to welcome Heather Small as our very special guest to close our Conference.  John Newcomb continued: “BMF and merchant industry fundraising for Variety since the BMF All Industry Conference in 2017 has raised over £90,000 for the charity.  A silent auction at the Gala Dinner is aiming to raise another substantial sum to share between Variety and our second charity for the evening, Mental Health UK, in a grand finale to the BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 that promises to be a feast of fun and fundraising.”

The BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 takes place in Dubrovnik from 13 to 16 June. Broadcaster and TV personality, Gethin Jones will host the sold-out event. Our thanks to the BMF All-Industry Conference headline sponsor, Crystal Group.

For more information visit www.bmfconference.co.uk
Heather Small, one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Paul Bence to Chair new BMF Kitchen & Bathroom Forum



11 May 2019

The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms bringing together members with responsibility for these important product areas.  

The new Kitchen and Bathroom Forum will be chaired by Paul Bence, Managing Director of the George Bence Group.

Paul’s original role within the family run business was with Obsidian their retail brand, which was struggling to gain traction in their local market. Paul quickly turned this around and Obsidian’s award-winning showrooms now showcase the best in kitchens and bathrooms from the world’s top manufacturers. The Group’s lightside business encompasses multiple retail and trade showrooms with specification and design teams adding real value to the Group’s bottom line.

Paul took over as MD in 2010 and has overseen similar growth in the Group’s branch network across product sectors in heavyside, roofing and decorating.  He is also an active member of the Fortis Buying Group where he is Trading Director of all Showroom business across the member network.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul Bence said: “Product diversification is an important aspect of the merchant industry, especially amongst the shrinking margins associated with the traditional commodity building material products. The BMF has clearly embraced the sector by creating this Forum. Personally I am honoured that the BMF has asked me to chair the group and I look forward to engaging in insightful conversation around the kitchen and bathroom supply chain.”

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “Paul is the ideal Chair for the K&B Forum, both for his knowledge of and success within the sector and for the breadth of his contacts amongst merchants and suppliers with an interest in this increasingly important area.  The Forum concept is greatly appreciated by BMF members and the launch of the K&B Forum means we are now running 14 of these successful special interest groups.”

The first Kitchen & Bathroom Forum will be held on 12 November 2019 at Roca’s new conference and showroom facility in Leicester.  For more information email Joanne.Exeter@bmf.org.uk
Paul Bence BMF K&B Chairman
The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms.

BMF opens second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group

10 June 2019

BMF RCOE PageGroup BirminghamThe BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group, this time in Birmingham.

The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the UK and Ireland. The latest centre, based in Page Group’s impressive office at Brindleyplace in Birmingham, will serve BMF members in the West Midlands region. The BMF are also proud to name the Page London office as another BMF Regional Centre of Excellence.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to open our second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group and our 28th in total. Localisation is an important strategy for the BMF and this is an excellent central facility where members can meet and attend BMF training courses, regional meetings and other regional events.”  

Adam McLaughlin, Manager of Michael Page Trade & Retail says: “Page Group are delighted to strengthen our partnership with the BMF with the opening of our second Regional Centre of Excellence in Birmingham. Our facilities are open to all BMF members to make use of and we encourage members to reach out with any enquiries.”

For details of all the BMF Regional Centres of Excellence around the UK and Ireland please visit www.bmf.org.uk/membership and for more information about Page Group visit https://www.page.com.
The BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group (BMF's 28th in the UK), this time in Birmingham.

BMF Conference in Dubrovnik hailed phenomenal success

Heather Small at BMF Gala DinnerThe BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik. The money will be divided equally between Variety, the Children’s Charity (the BMF’s partner charity), and Mental Health UK whose work was featured during the Conference sessions.

Conference delegates showed their generosity in many ways throughout the evening. The highlight was a special live auction overseen by Conference Host, Gethin Jones, where strong bidding for a bathrobe signed by the event’s key speakers and lunch at the House of Lords donated by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott helped push the total way over the predicted amount.

Singer Heather Small, herself an Ambassador for Variety, gave a stellar performance to complete a memorable gala evening held at Dubrovnik’s world-famous Revlin nightclub.

John Newcomb BMF CEO said: “We are proud of the industry for achieving so much for two very deserving charities. I would like to thank everyone who contributed both to our fundraising and during the rest of the Conference. We have received some fantastic feedback already from delegates and this was a great conclusion to a phenomenally successful event.”

Expressing her appreciation, Frances Lang, Chief Executive at Variety UK said: “Thanks to all delegates for supporting Variety.  BMF members can be assured that heir generosity really does change children’s lives.”

Brian Dow, CEO at Mental Health UK said: “We really appreciate the fundraising by delegates and the opportunity the BMF Conference gave us to raise the subject of mental health within the industry.  I’ve been in conferences in many parts of the world and on many subjects, but this was probably the best I’ve ever been to. Incredibly well organised. Wonderful atmopshere. Great content. And generally a terrific collection of people. So, thank you very much for everything.”  

The Gala Dinner was the climax of a hugely successful BMF All Industry Conference, where delegates were inspired, educated, entertained and enjoyed many of networking opportunities.  

Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director of the event’s headline sponsor, Crystal said: “It has been a privilege to be the headline sponsor at the BMF All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik and to be able to welcome everyone personally. From the stunning location to inspirational speakers, great host to fabulous entertainment and a chance to network and do business – the conference was a huge success. I’m looking forward to 2021 when Crystal will once again be the headline sponsor.”

During the Conference Crystal ran a bonus competition to encourage delegates to network by taking selfies with members of their team. The winner, David Young, Managing Director of Bradfords Building Supplies won a luxury European city break.

Reflecting on the event, Mark Bradley, Managing Director Plumbase said: “Well done and congratulations on delivering a superb BMF Conference. It has to go down as the best one ever! The sheer organisation, planning and hard work has absolutely paid off delivering premium member value, it was simply brilliant, notwithstanding a wonderful stunning location. 

“Speakers all the way through were absolutely dazzling, plus, all of them were super friendly, approachable and good fun, especially Lord Prescott who hasn’t lost his edge.”

Tony France, Sales Director at Ibstock said: “Well what a fantastic event. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to present at this year’s Conference. I thought the entire speaker line-up was superb and I know that delegates really enjoyed and engaged with the people and, particularly, the mental health themes. It was a great idea to choose to go into what can be a difficult subject to discuss and it worked perfectly.

The sell-out BMF All Industry Conference, themed “Building Excellence” was almost 450 delegates.



To view photos from the Conference click here.

The BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik.

Proud to be at BMF All-Industry Conference

14 June 2019

Heather Small, one of the seminal BritishHeather Small voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Heather first came to fame as the soulful lead singer with M People, one of the biggest English dance music bands of the 90s. With hits such as “Moving on Up”, “One Night in Heaven” and “Search for the Hero”, the band sold over 10 million records and won the Best British Dance Act Award at the Brits in 1994 and 1995 as well at the Mercury Music Prize for their album Elegant Slumming.

Heather went on to great success with two solo albums. The title track of her first album, Proud, became the soundtrack to London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, as well as a host of other special events, including the 60th anniversary of VE Day in Trafalgar Square, the launch of Queen Mary 2 and England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup celebrations. Oprah Winfrey also used the song to sum up the work she’d been striving to achieve over her twenty-year career, inviting Heather to perform live on her show.

In addition to her music career, Heather danced her way into the public’s affection as a contestant in series 6 of Strictly Come Dancing. Since then her infectious personality and trademark sense of humour has been on display in numerous TV appearances on music, chat and celebrity quiz shows. 

Heather is also well known for her charitable work and is appearing at the Gala Dinner as an ambassador for Variety, the Children’s Charity, the BMF’s charity of the year. Variety provides improves the lives of children and young people in the UK who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged, by providing coaches and specialist equipment as well as creating memorable experiences through “Variety Great Days Out”. 

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are absolutely delighted both to continue our support for Variety, the Children’s Charity, and to welcome Heather Small as our very special guest to close our Conference.  John Newcomb continued: “BMF and merchant industry fundraising for Variety since the BMF All Industry Conference in 2017 has raised over £90,000 for the charity.  A silent auction at the Gala Dinner is aiming to raise another substantial sum to share between Variety and our second charity for the evening, Mental Health UK, in a grand finale to the BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 that promises to be a feast of fun and fundraising.”

The BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 takes place in Dubrovnik from 13 to 16 June. Broadcaster and TV personality, Gethin Jones will host the sold-out event. Our thanks to the BMF All-Industry Conference headline sponsor, Crystal Group.

For more information visit www.bmfconference.co.uk
Heather Small, one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Paul Bence to Chair new BMF Kitchen & Bathroom Forum



11 May 2019

The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms bringing together members with responsibility for these important product areas.  

The new Kitchen and Bathroom Forum will be chaired by Paul Bence, Managing Director of the George Bence Group.

Paul’s original role within the family run business was with Obsidian their retail brand, which was struggling to gain traction in their local market. Paul quickly turned this around and Obsidian’s award-winning showrooms now showcase the best in kitchens and bathrooms from the world’s top manufacturers. The Group’s lightside business encompasses multiple retail and trade showrooms with specification and design teams adding real value to the Group’s bottom line.

Paul took over as MD in 2010 and has overseen similar growth in the Group’s branch network across product sectors in heavyside, roofing and decorating.  He is also an active member of the Fortis Buying Group where he is Trading Director of all Showroom business across the member network.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul Bence said: “Product diversification is an important aspect of the merchant industry, especially amongst the shrinking margins associated with the traditional commodity building material products. The BMF has clearly embraced the sector by creating this Forum. Personally I am honoured that the BMF has asked me to chair the group and I look forward to engaging in insightful conversation around the kitchen and bathroom supply chain.”

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “Paul is the ideal Chair for the K&B Forum, both for his knowledge of and success within the sector and for the breadth of his contacts amongst merchants and suppliers with an interest in this increasingly important area.  The Forum concept is greatly appreciated by BMF members and the launch of the K&B Forum means we are now running 14 of these successful special interest groups.”

The first Kitchen & Bathroom Forum will be held on 12 November 2019 at Roca’s new conference and showroom facility in Leicester.  For more information email Joanne.Exeter@bmf.org.uk
Paul Bence BMF K&B Chairman
The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms.

BMF opens second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group

10 June 2019

BMF RCOE PageGroup BirminghamThe BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group, this time in Birmingham.

The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the UK and Ireland. The latest centre, based in Page Group’s impressive office at Brindleyplace in Birmingham, will serve BMF members in the West Midlands region. The BMF are also proud to name the Page London office as another BMF Regional Centre of Excellence.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to open our second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group and our 28th in total. Localisation is an important strategy for the BMF and this is an excellent central facility where members can meet and attend BMF training courses, regional meetings and other regional events.”  

Adam McLaughlin, Manager of Michael Page Trade & Retail says: “Page Group are delighted to strengthen our partnership with the BMF with the opening of our second Regional Centre of Excellence in Birmingham. Our facilities are open to all BMF members to make use of and we encourage members to reach out with any enquiries.”

For details of all the BMF Regional Centres of Excellence around the UK and Ireland please visit www.bmf.org.uk/membership and for more information about Page Group visit https://www.page.com.
The BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group (BMF's 28th in the UK), this time in Birmingham.

BMF Conference in Dubrovnik hailed phenomenal success

Heather Small at BMF Gala DinnerThe BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik. The money will be divided equally between Variety, the Children’s Charity (the BMF’s partner charity), and Mental Health UK whose work was featured during the Conference sessions.

Conference delegates showed their generosity in many ways throughout the evening. The highlight was a special live auction overseen by Conference Host, Gethin Jones, where strong bidding for a bathrobe signed by the event’s key speakers and lunch at the House of Lords donated by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott helped push the total way over the predicted amount.

Singer Heather Small, herself an Ambassador for Variety, gave a stellar performance to complete a memorable gala evening held at Dubrovnik’s world-famous Revlin nightclub.

John Newcomb BMF CEO said: “We are proud of the industry for achieving so much for two very deserving charities. I would like to thank everyone who contributed both to our fundraising and during the rest of the Conference. We have received some fantastic feedback already from delegates and this was a great conclusion to a phenomenally successful event.”

Expressing her appreciation, Frances Lang, Chief Executive at Variety UK said: “Thanks to all delegates for supporting Variety.  BMF members can be assured that heir generosity really does change children’s lives.”

Brian Dow, CEO at Mental Health UK said: “We really appreciate the fundraising by delegates and the opportunity the BMF Conference gave us to raise the subject of mental health within the industry.  I’ve been in conferences in many parts of the world and on many subjects, but this was probably the best I’ve ever been to. Incredibly well organised. Wonderful atmopshere. Great content. And generally a terrific collection of people. So, thank you very much for everything.”  

The Gala Dinner was the climax of a hugely successful BMF All Industry Conference, where delegates were inspired, educated, entertained and enjoyed many of networking opportunities.  

Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director of the event’s headline sponsor, Crystal said: “It has been a privilege to be the headline sponsor at the BMF All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik and to be able to welcome everyone personally. From the stunning location to inspirational speakers, great host to fabulous entertainment and a chance to network and do business – the conference was a huge success. I’m looking forward to 2021 when Crystal will once again be the headline sponsor.”

During the Conference Crystal ran a bonus competition to encourage delegates to network by taking selfies with members of their team. The winner, David Young, Managing Director of Bradfords Building Supplies won a luxury European city break.

Reflecting on the event, Mark Bradley, Managing Director Plumbase said: “Well done and congratulations on delivering a superb BMF Conference. It has to go down as the best one ever! The sheer organisation, planning and hard work has absolutely paid off delivering premium member value, it was simply brilliant, notwithstanding a wonderful stunning location. 

“Speakers all the way through were absolutely dazzling, plus, all of them were super friendly, approachable and good fun, especially Lord Prescott who hasn’t lost his edge.”

Tony France, Sales Director at Ibstock said: “Well what a fantastic event. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to present at this year’s Conference. I thought the entire speaker line-up was superb and I know that delegates really enjoyed and engaged with the people and, particularly, the mental health themes. It was a great idea to choose to go into what can be a difficult subject to discuss and it worked perfectly.

The sell-out BMF All Industry Conference, themed “Building Excellence” was almost 450 delegates.



To view photos from the Conference click here.

The BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik.

Proud to be at BMF All-Industry Conference

14 June 2019

Heather Small, one of the seminal BritishHeather Small voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Heather first came to fame as the soulful lead singer with M People, one of the biggest English dance music bands of the 90s. With hits such as “Moving on Up”, “One Night in Heaven” and “Search for the Hero”, the band sold over 10 million records and won the Best British Dance Act Award at the Brits in 1994 and 1995 as well at the Mercury Music Prize for their album Elegant Slumming.

Heather went on to great success with two solo albums. The title track of her first album, Proud, became the soundtrack to London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, as well as a host of other special events, including the 60th anniversary of VE Day in Trafalgar Square, the launch of Queen Mary 2 and England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup celebrations. Oprah Winfrey also used the song to sum up the work she’d been striving to achieve over her twenty-year career, inviting Heather to perform live on her show.

In addition to her music career, Heather danced her way into the public’s affection as a contestant in series 6 of Strictly Come Dancing. Since then her infectious personality and trademark sense of humour has been on display in numerous TV appearances on music, chat and celebrity quiz shows. 

Heather is also well known for her charitable work and is appearing at the Gala Dinner as an ambassador for Variety, the Children’s Charity, the BMF’s charity of the year. Variety provides improves the lives of children and young people in the UK who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged, by providing coaches and specialist equipment as well as creating memorable experiences through “Variety Great Days Out”. 

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are absolutely delighted both to continue our support for Variety, the Children’s Charity, and to welcome Heather Small as our very special guest to close our Conference.  John Newcomb continued: “BMF and merchant industry fundraising for Variety since the BMF All Industry Conference in 2017 has raised over £90,000 for the charity.  A silent auction at the Gala Dinner is aiming to raise another substantial sum to share between Variety and our second charity for the evening, Mental Health UK, in a grand finale to the BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 that promises to be a feast of fun and fundraising.”

The BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 takes place in Dubrovnik from 13 to 16 June. Broadcaster and TV personality, Gethin Jones will host the sold-out event. Our thanks to the BMF All-Industry Conference headline sponsor, Crystal Group.

For more information visit www.bmfconference.co.uk
Heather Small, one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Paul Bence to Chair new BMF Kitchen & Bathroom Forum



11 May 2019

The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms bringing together members with responsibility for these important product areas.  

The new Kitchen and Bathroom Forum will be chaired by Paul Bence, Managing Director of the George Bence Group.

Paul’s original role within the family run business was with Obsidian their retail brand, which was struggling to gain traction in their local market. Paul quickly turned this around and Obsidian’s award-winning showrooms now showcase the best in kitchens and bathrooms from the world’s top manufacturers. The Group’s lightside business encompasses multiple retail and trade showrooms with specification and design teams adding real value to the Group’s bottom line.

Paul took over as MD in 2010 and has overseen similar growth in the Group’s branch network across product sectors in heavyside, roofing and decorating.  He is also an active member of the Fortis Buying Group where he is Trading Director of all Showroom business across the member network.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul Bence said: “Product diversification is an important aspect of the merchant industry, especially amongst the shrinking margins associated with the traditional commodity building material products. The BMF has clearly embraced the sector by creating this Forum. Personally I am honoured that the BMF has asked me to chair the group and I look forward to engaging in insightful conversation around the kitchen and bathroom supply chain.”

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “Paul is the ideal Chair for the K&B Forum, both for his knowledge of and success within the sector and for the breadth of his contacts amongst merchants and suppliers with an interest in this increasingly important area.  The Forum concept is greatly appreciated by BMF members and the launch of the K&B Forum means we are now running 14 of these successful special interest groups.”

The first Kitchen & Bathroom Forum will be held on 12 November 2019 at Roca’s new conference and showroom facility in Leicester.  For more information email Joanne.Exeter@bmf.org.uk
Paul Bence BMF K&B Chairman
The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms.

BMF opens second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group

10 June 2019

BMF RCOE PageGroup BirminghamThe BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group, this time in Birmingham.

The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the UK and Ireland. The latest centre, based in Page Group’s impressive office at Brindleyplace in Birmingham, will serve BMF members in the West Midlands region. The BMF are also proud to name the Page London office as another BMF Regional Centre of Excellence.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to open our second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group and our 28th in total. Localisation is an important strategy for the BMF and this is an excellent central facility where members can meet and attend BMF training courses, regional meetings and other regional events.”  

Adam McLaughlin, Manager of Michael Page Trade & Retail says: “Page Group are delighted to strengthen our partnership with the BMF with the opening of our second Regional Centre of Excellence in Birmingham. Our facilities are open to all BMF members to make use of and we encourage members to reach out with any enquiries.”

For details of all the BMF Regional Centres of Excellence around the UK and Ireland please visit www.bmf.org.uk/membership and for more information about Page Group visit https://www.page.com.
The BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group (BMF's 28th in the UK), this time in Birmingham.

BMF Conference in Dubrovnik hailed phenomenal success

Heather Small at BMF Gala DinnerThe BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik. The money will be divided equally between Variety, the Children’s Charity (the BMF’s partner charity), and Mental Health UK whose work was featured during the Conference sessions.

Conference delegates showed their generosity in many ways throughout the evening. The highlight was a special live auction overseen by Conference Host, Gethin Jones, where strong bidding for a bathrobe signed by the event’s key speakers and lunch at the House of Lords donated by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott helped push the total way over the predicted amount.

Singer Heather Small, herself an Ambassador for Variety, gave a stellar performance to complete a memorable gala evening held at Dubrovnik’s world-famous Revlin nightclub.

John Newcomb BMF CEO said: “We are proud of the industry for achieving so much for two very deserving charities. I would like to thank everyone who contributed both to our fundraising and during the rest of the Conference. We have received some fantastic feedback already from delegates and this was a great conclusion to a phenomenally successful event.”

Expressing her appreciation, Frances Lang, Chief Executive at Variety UK said: “Thanks to all delegates for supporting Variety.  BMF members can be assured that heir generosity really does change children’s lives.”

Brian Dow, CEO at Mental Health UK said: “We really appreciate the fundraising by delegates and the opportunity the BMF Conference gave us to raise the subject of mental health within the industry.  I’ve been in conferences in many parts of the world and on many subjects, but this was probably the best I’ve ever been to. Incredibly well organised. Wonderful atmopshere. Great content. And generally a terrific collection of people. So, thank you very much for everything.”  

The Gala Dinner was the climax of a hugely successful BMF All Industry Conference, where delegates were inspired, educated, entertained and enjoyed many of networking opportunities.  

Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director of the event’s headline sponsor, Crystal said: “It has been a privilege to be the headline sponsor at the BMF All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik and to be able to welcome everyone personally. From the stunning location to inspirational speakers, great host to fabulous entertainment and a chance to network and do business – the conference was a huge success. I’m looking forward to 2021 when Crystal will once again be the headline sponsor.”

During the Conference Crystal ran a bonus competition to encourage delegates to network by taking selfies with members of their team. The winner, David Young, Managing Director of Bradfords Building Supplies won a luxury European city break.

Reflecting on the event, Mark Bradley, Managing Director Plumbase said: “Well done and congratulations on delivering a superb BMF Conference. It has to go down as the best one ever! The sheer organisation, planning and hard work has absolutely paid off delivering premium member value, it was simply brilliant, notwithstanding a wonderful stunning location. 

“Speakers all the way through were absolutely dazzling, plus, all of them were super friendly, approachable and good fun, especially Lord Prescott who hasn’t lost his edge.”

Tony France, Sales Director at Ibstock said: “Well what a fantastic event. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to present at this year’s Conference. I thought the entire speaker line-up was superb and I know that delegates really enjoyed and engaged with the people and, particularly, the mental health themes. It was a great idea to choose to go into what can be a difficult subject to discuss and it worked perfectly.

The sell-out BMF All Industry Conference, themed “Building Excellence” was almost 450 delegates.



To view photos from the Conference click here.

The BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik.

Proud to be at BMF All-Industry Conference

14 June 2019

Heather Small, one of the seminal BritishHeather Small voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Heather first came to fame as the soulful lead singer with M People, one of the biggest English dance music bands of the 90s. With hits such as “Moving on Up”, “One Night in Heaven” and “Search for the Hero”, the band sold over 10 million records and won the Best British Dance Act Award at the Brits in 1994 and 1995 as well at the Mercury Music Prize for their album Elegant Slumming.

Heather went on to great success with two solo albums. The title track of her first album, Proud, became the soundtrack to London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, as well as a host of other special events, including the 60th anniversary of VE Day in Trafalgar Square, the launch of Queen Mary 2 and England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup celebrations. Oprah Winfrey also used the song to sum up the work she’d been striving to achieve over her twenty-year career, inviting Heather to perform live on her show.

In addition to her music career, Heather danced her way into the public’s affection as a contestant in series 6 of Strictly Come Dancing. Since then her infectious personality and trademark sense of humour has been on display in numerous TV appearances on music, chat and celebrity quiz shows. 

Heather is also well known for her charitable work and is appearing at the Gala Dinner as an ambassador for Variety, the Children’s Charity, the BMF’s charity of the year. Variety provides improves the lives of children and young people in the UK who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged, by providing coaches and specialist equipment as well as creating memorable experiences through “Variety Great Days Out”. 

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are absolutely delighted both to continue our support for Variety, the Children’s Charity, and to welcome Heather Small as our very special guest to close our Conference.  John Newcomb continued: “BMF and merchant industry fundraising for Variety since the BMF All Industry Conference in 2017 has raised over £90,000 for the charity.  A silent auction at the Gala Dinner is aiming to raise another substantial sum to share between Variety and our second charity for the evening, Mental Health UK, in a grand finale to the BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 that promises to be a feast of fun and fundraising.”

The BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 takes place in Dubrovnik from 13 to 16 June. Broadcaster and TV personality, Gethin Jones will host the sold-out event. Our thanks to the BMF All-Industry Conference headline sponsor, Crystal Group.

For more information visit www.bmfconference.co.uk
Heather Small, one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Croydex joins the BMF during Centenary celebrations

5 June 2019

Croydex

One of the latest members to join the BMF is Croydex, the UK-based bathroom accessories manufacturer.

Trusted by the most prominent brands in the trade, Croydex is celebrating 100 years of successfully developing and manufacturing unique, practical bathroom solutions ideal for skilled professionals and tradesman.

Croydex is looking forward to another 100 years of success and promises to be a key supplier member of the BMF family.

Jon Langford, Croydex Commercial Director says, “The history of our business is deeply rooted within the UK merchant industry. Our products and services are heavily aligned to the RMI channel and we have worked for many years with key national, regional and local merchants, delivering excellent product solutions.”

“Our more recent focus on the specification market and commercial washroom applications through our Metlex brand leads to even higher levels of engagement with the merchant channel, so engaging with the key trade association makes impeccable sense. We are really looking forward to supporting the BMF and our merchant partners as part of our recent membership.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are delighted to welcome Croydex into membership in this special year of celebrations. This innovative company clearly recognise the value of being part of the largest Trade Association in the Building Materials sector and the only Association representing both Suppliers and Merchants in the industry.”
One of the latest members to join the BMF is Croydex, the UK-based bathroom accessories manufacturer.

BMBI reports sales growth at UK builders' merchants

BMBI19 May 2019

Figures just released in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) show positive sales growth through UK builders merchants during the first quarter of the year.  Total Q1 sales were up +5.9% compared with the same period in 2018.

Landscaping products saw the strongest annual value growth (+15.6%). The two largest product categories also performed well with Heavy Building Materials up +6.8% and Timber & Joinery Products rising by +6.6%. Sales in all three product groups were adversely weather-affected in 2018, so a stronger performance during a relatively mild, dry winter was to be expected.

There was a mixed picture for interior product groups, with Decorating rising by +4.3%, Ironmongery up +2.3% and Kitchens & Bathrooms up +1.1%, but Plumbing, Heating & Electrical showed a marginal decrease at -0.2%.

Comparing average sales a day in Q1 2019 and Q4 2018 also shows winners and losers. Sales of Landscaping Products grew by 1.9%, while the small Renewables & Water Saving Products category showed the highest increase at +6.6%.  However, with sales values in both the largest categories – Heavy Building Materials and Timber & Joinery Products – dropping by -3%, total Quarter on Quarter Sales were down by -3%.  Kitchens & Bathrooms outperformed the average with a decrease of -0.3%, while Decorating (-3.9%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-4.0 %) both underperformed.

BMBI Q1 2019However, the comparison of month on month average sales a day (March v February 2019) was largely positive. Total Month on Month sales were up by +6.5%, led by Landscaping at +27.7%, Renewables & Water Saving (+13.9%) and Heavy Building Materials (+6.8%). Decorating (+5.6%), Timber & Joinery (+4.6%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+1.5%) also saw sales value growth, but Plumbing, Heating & Electrical was down -0.6%.

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.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “Overall there are more positives than negatives within the BMBI Q1 2019 results. At the moment consumer confidence is holding and homeowners continue to invest in RMI projects, but we are still living in uncertain times. No one can say for sure what impact the prolonged uncertainty over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will have over the course of the next 12 months.”

Richard Frankcom, Key Account Director at GfK said: “This time last year we were waiting to see if we’d see merchant sales recover from a weather damaged start to the year, which they did.  This year it’s more about how the political situation will affect consumer and business confidence.  With value growth still outstripping volume, inflation will be putting the squeeze on already cautious consumers who are a substantial proportion of the RMI market for merchants SME trade customers.  Furthermore, any slowdown in house prices may slow the larger house builders land turn, which will further hit trade.  Time will tell, but some political clarity would really help.”

For more information about the BMBI click here.
Figures just released in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) show positive sales growth through UK builders merchants during the first quarter of the year.

BMF shortlisted in Trade Association Awards for 5th year


TAF 2019 Awards Finalist Membership Engagement17 May 2019

The BMF has been shortlisted in the Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Awards for the fifth year in succession.

TAF is “the trade association for trade associations” representing over 300 of the top trade bodies in the UK and there is always fierce competition amongst members to win a Best Practice Award. 

The BMF is shortlisted for the Membership Engagement Award in recognition of its localisation strategy, whereby the Federation worked with members to identify appropriate facilities as regional hubs for local groups to come together for meetings, forums and training.  This led to the development of 27 BMF Regional Centres of Excellence around the country, with more due to come on stream this year.

The Regional Centres have proved hugely successful, with a total of 92 events taking place between January 2018 and April 2019, attracting 1,240 delegates.

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “We are always delighted to be short-listed for a prestigious TAF Award. The BMF team is always looking for new and better ways to support our members but it is still a remarkable achievement to have been shortlisted fourteen times in five years. This year it is particularly gratifying that we have been shortlisted for a programme that has boosted our engagement with members who have limited time to travel and who are now able to attend BMF events close to their home base.”

Commenting on the shortlist, Linda Cavender, TAF CEO, said: “The Awards offer TAF members an excellent opportunity to showcase their organisation, its expertise and recent achievements. I am always astounded at the quality of the entries and only the very best reach the shortlist. They provide a benchmark for running a successful organisation which focuses on members’ needs.”

The winners will be announced at the 2019 Best Practice Awards Ceremony on Tuesday 9 July at County Hall, London.
The BMF has been shortlisted in the Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Awards for the fifth year in succession.

James Hipkins to chair BMF West Midlands Region


James HipkinsJames Hipkins, MD of Emerys Builders Merchants, is the new Chairman of the BMF West Midlands Region.  James takes over from Neil Lawrence, Chief Operating Officer, Jewson & Managing Director Local Merchant Group.   

James, who grew up in the West Midlands, began his merchanting career as a trainee manager with Jewson in North Wales where, at 24, he became their youngest branch manager at the time.  He joined the Joseph Parr Group as MD Designate of Emerys Builders Merchants in 1999 when Emerys was a small merchant in Stoke on Trent.  Now, it is not only the largest merchant in the area, it also operates a thriving second depot in Telford.

Outside of work he is a passionate restorer of classic cars and bikes and his skills will no doubt come in handy as part of the Emerys team in this year’s Pavestone Rally, which raises money for charity.

Commenting on his appointment, James Hipkins said: “I consider it an honour to be asked and a privilege to take on the role of Chair of the BMF West Midlands Region.  I hope my experience within a national merchant and my current role within an independent merchant puts me in a good position to understand the collective needs and challenges faced by all members of the BMF.”
James Hipkins, MD of Emerys Builders Merchants, is the new Chairman of the BMF West Midlands Region. James takes over from Neil Lawrence, Chief Operating Officer Jewson & Managing Director Local Merchant Group.

BMF relaunches industry recruitment website

8 April 2019

The BMF has launched Building Materials Careers, a new, improved website to encourage more people to join the building materials sector by highlighting the wide range of careers available both in merchant and supplier businesses.

The relaunch follows policy research with members who told the BMF they wanted the Federation to help promote the widest possible range of job opportunities in the industry, fostering diversity and inclusion, helping members to recruit a workforce from a wide range of backgrounds and experience.

As part of the BMF’s bold new strategy, unveiled at its annual Members’ Day Conference in September, attracting and developing talented people in to the industry will continue to be a main strategic goal.

The website - www.buildingmaterialscareers.com - promotes apprenticeships, life-long learning and gives members the opportunity to manage their job advertisements free of charge using the ‘Advertise A Job’ facility. Potential apprentices and employees will then be able to easily locate these roles, using the region, sector and location search filters.

The website features merchant and supplier employees’ video profiles . Each profile explains how they came to work in the materials supply industry and what they like about their specific job. Job seekers will be inspired by the range of career opportunities available to them in the building materials industry, no matter what educational qualifications they achieved at school or university. The site also highlights the BMF’s Ambassador programme, and explains that schools and colleges can invite someone working in the industry to share their experience at careers events.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said, “We are delighted to launch our new Building Materials Careers website to help the industry attract and develop new people. This is a fantastic opportunity for BMF members to get involved, by not only promoting their job vacancies, but by also becoming industry Ambassadors to spread the word about the great careers available in building materials.”

For more information about the website visit www.buildingmaterialscareers.com or contact Hannah Taylor, BMF Marketing Assistant on 02476 854990 or email hannah.taylor@bmf.org.uk
The BMF has launched Building Materials Careers, a new, improved website to encourage more people to join the building materials sector.

Final line-up for BMF All-Industry Conference Forum  

11 February 2019

The BMF has confirmed the final speaker line up for its popular Industry Forum debate at this year’s All-Industry Conference.  Mark Vandecruys, Chairman of Belgium-based Fedrus International, and Neil Lawrence, Chief Operating Officer of Jewson will join the previously announced speakers, David Young of Bradfords Building Supplies and Tony France of Ibstock Brick.  

Bringing a European dimension to the debate, Mark Vandecruys is the co-owner and Chairman of Fedrus International, an independent Belgian distributor specialising in roofing and façade materials.  Over the last ten years, Mark has overseen the growth of the group from a small entity to a multinational business using a buy-and-build strategy. The company now comprises five operational units with total revenues of €650m and over 1550 employees. Mark also serves on the board of a number of companies, including BOSS paints. He is an alumni of Harvard Business School and is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Vlerick Business School, contributing to their development programmes and acting as a sounding board for their entrepreneurship department.  

Neil Lawrence is both Chief Operating Officer for Jewson and Managing Director for Local Merchant Group, the latter a division of Saint-Gobain Building Distribution UK & Ireland comprising the brands Gibbs & Dandy, Chadwicks, JP Corry, Normans, DHS, Benchmark Building Supplies, Matthew Charlton and Roger W Jones.  Neil’s career in merchanting spans over 35 years, since he started working life as a yard hand at UBM, moving through various roles within that business before it was acquired by Jewson.  He has experienced merchanting at every level, as a branch manager in Devon and Cornwall, an Area Director for the Midlands, and as Regional Director before joining the Jewson Main Board initially as Operations Director and then Sales & Operations Director.  In 2011 he was appointed MD of Gibbs and Dandy, the Saint-Gobain division that became Local Merchant Group in 2013. He took up the COO role at Jewson in December 2018, shortly after he was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Builders Merchants Awards for Excellence that year. Neil is also the merchant advisor to the BMF board.  

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said, “The Industry Forum is one of the most engaging sessions at the BMF’s biennial Conference, setting the tone for our Saturday programme. With Neil and Mark completing our panel of speakers I can guarantee delegates will be presented with a broad range of perspectives on building materials supply in a post-Brexit environment before the debate is opened to the floor.”      
The sold-out BMF All Industry Conference, sponsored by the Crystal Clear Group, takes place in Dubrovnik from 13-16 June 2019. Further details are available on the Conference website, www.bmfconference.co.uk
The BMF has confirmed the final speaker line up for its popular Industry Forum debate at this year’s All-Industry Conference.

BMF Conference in Dubrovnik hailed phenomenal success

Heather Small at BMF Gala DinnerThe BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik. The money will be divided equally between Variety, the Children’s Charity (the BMF’s partner charity), and Mental Health UK whose work was featured during the Conference sessions.

Conference delegates showed their generosity in many ways throughout the evening. The highlight was a special live auction overseen by Conference Host, Gethin Jones, where strong bidding for a bathrobe signed by the event’s key speakers and lunch at the House of Lords donated by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott helped push the total way over the predicted amount.

Singer Heather Small, herself an Ambassador for Variety, gave a stellar performance to complete a memorable gala evening held at Dubrovnik’s world-famous Revlin nightclub.

John Newcomb BMF CEO said: “We are proud of the industry for achieving so much for two very deserving charities. I would like to thank everyone who contributed both to our fundraising and during the rest of the Conference. We have received some fantastic feedback already from delegates and this was a great conclusion to a phenomenally successful event.”

Expressing her appreciation, Frances Lang, Chief Executive at Variety UK said: “Thanks to all delegates for supporting Variety.  BMF members can be assured that heir generosity really does change children’s lives.”

Brian Dow, CEO at Mental Health UK said: “We really appreciate the fundraising by delegates and the opportunity the BMF Conference gave us to raise the subject of mental health within the industry.  I’ve been in conferences in many parts of the world and on many subjects, but this was probably the best I’ve ever been to. Incredibly well organised. Wonderful atmopshere. Great content. And generally a terrific collection of people. So, thank you very much for everything.”  

The Gala Dinner was the climax of a hugely successful BMF All Industry Conference, where delegates were inspired, educated, entertained and enjoyed many of networking opportunities.  

Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director of the event’s headline sponsor, Crystal said: “It has been a privilege to be the headline sponsor at the BMF All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik and to be able to welcome everyone personally. From the stunning location to inspirational speakers, great host to fabulous entertainment and a chance to network and do business – the conference was a huge success. I’m looking forward to 2021 when Crystal will once again be the headline sponsor.”

During the Conference Crystal ran a bonus competition to encourage delegates to network by taking selfies with members of their team. The winner, David Young, Managing Director of Bradfords Building Supplies won a luxury European city break.

Reflecting on the event, Mark Bradley, Managing Director Plumbase said: “Well done and congratulations on delivering a superb BMF Conference. It has to go down as the best one ever! The sheer organisation, planning and hard work has absolutely paid off delivering premium member value, it was simply brilliant, notwithstanding a wonderful stunning location. 

“Speakers all the way through were absolutely dazzling, plus, all of them were super friendly, approachable and good fun, especially Lord Prescott who hasn’t lost his edge.”

Tony France, Sales Director at Ibstock said: “Well what a fantastic event. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to present at this year’s Conference. I thought the entire speaker line-up was superb and I know that delegates really enjoyed and engaged with the people and, particularly, the mental health themes. It was a great idea to choose to go into what can be a difficult subject to discuss and it worked perfectly.

The sell-out BMF All Industry Conference, themed “Building Excellence” was almost 450 delegates.



To view photos from the Conference click here.

The BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik.

Proud to be at BMF All-Industry Conference

14 June 2019

Heather Small, one of the seminal BritishHeather Small voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Heather first came to fame as the soulful lead singer with M People, one of the biggest English dance music bands of the 90s. With hits such as “Moving on Up”, “One Night in Heaven” and “Search for the Hero”, the band sold over 10 million records and won the Best British Dance Act Award at the Brits in 1994 and 1995 as well at the Mercury Music Prize for their album Elegant Slumming.

Heather went on to great success with two solo albums. The title track of her first album, Proud, became the soundtrack to London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, as well as a host of other special events, including the 60th anniversary of VE Day in Trafalgar Square, the launch of Queen Mary 2 and England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup celebrations. Oprah Winfrey also used the song to sum up the work she’d been striving to achieve over her twenty-year career, inviting Heather to perform live on her show.

In addition to her music career, Heather danced her way into the public’s affection as a contestant in series 6 of Strictly Come Dancing. Since then her infectious personality and trademark sense of humour has been on display in numerous TV appearances on music, chat and celebrity quiz shows. 

Heather is also well known for her charitable work and is appearing at the Gala Dinner as an ambassador for Variety, the Children’s Charity, the BMF’s charity of the year. Variety provides improves the lives of children and young people in the UK who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged, by providing coaches and specialist equipment as well as creating memorable experiences through “Variety Great Days Out”. 

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are absolutely delighted both to continue our support for Variety, the Children’s Charity, and to welcome Heather Small as our very special guest to close our Conference.  John Newcomb continued: “BMF and merchant industry fundraising for Variety since the BMF All Industry Conference in 2017 has raised over £90,000 for the charity.  A silent auction at the Gala Dinner is aiming to raise another substantial sum to share between Variety and our second charity for the evening, Mental Health UK, in a grand finale to the BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 that promises to be a feast of fun and fundraising.”

The BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 takes place in Dubrovnik from 13 to 16 June. Broadcaster and TV personality, Gethin Jones will host the sold-out event. Our thanks to the BMF All-Industry Conference headline sponsor, Crystal Group.

For more information visit www.bmfconference.co.uk
Heather Small, one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Paul Bence to Chair new BMF Kitchen & Bathroom Forum



11 May 2019

The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms bringing together members with responsibility for these important product areas.  

The new Kitchen and Bathroom Forum will be chaired by Paul Bence, Managing Director of the George Bence Group.

Paul’s original role within the family run business was with Obsidian their retail brand, which was struggling to gain traction in their local market. Paul quickly turned this around and Obsidian’s award-winning showrooms now showcase the best in kitchens and bathrooms from the world’s top manufacturers. The Group’s lightside business encompasses multiple retail and trade showrooms with specification and design teams adding real value to the Group’s bottom line.

Paul took over as MD in 2010 and has overseen similar growth in the Group’s branch network across product sectors in heavyside, roofing and decorating.  He is also an active member of the Fortis Buying Group where he is Trading Director of all Showroom business across the member network.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul Bence said: “Product diversification is an important aspect of the merchant industry, especially amongst the shrinking margins associated with the traditional commodity building material products. The BMF has clearly embraced the sector by creating this Forum. Personally I am honoured that the BMF has asked me to chair the group and I look forward to engaging in insightful conversation around the kitchen and bathroom supply chain.”

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “Paul is the ideal Chair for the K&B Forum, both for his knowledge of and success within the sector and for the breadth of his contacts amongst merchants and suppliers with an interest in this increasingly important area.  The Forum concept is greatly appreciated by BMF members and the launch of the K&B Forum means we are now running 14 of these successful special interest groups.”

The first Kitchen & Bathroom Forum will be held on 12 November 2019 at Roca’s new conference and showroom facility in Leicester.  For more information email Joanne.Exeter@bmf.org.uk
Paul Bence BMF K&B Chairman
The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms.

BMF opens second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group

10 June 2019

BMF RCOE PageGroup BirminghamThe BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group, this time in Birmingham.

The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the UK and Ireland. The latest centre, based in Page Group’s impressive office at Brindleyplace in Birmingham, will serve BMF members in the West Midlands region. The BMF are also proud to name the Page London office as another BMF Regional Centre of Excellence.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to open our second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group and our 28th in total. Localisation is an important strategy for the BMF and this is an excellent central facility where members can meet and attend BMF training courses, regional meetings and other regional events.”  

Adam McLaughlin, Manager of Michael Page Trade & Retail says: “Page Group are delighted to strengthen our partnership with the BMF with the opening of our second Regional Centre of Excellence in Birmingham. Our facilities are open to all BMF members to make use of and we encourage members to reach out with any enquiries.”

For details of all the BMF Regional Centres of Excellence around the UK and Ireland please visit www.bmf.org.uk/membership and for more information about Page Group visit https://www.page.com.
The BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group (BMF's 28th in the UK), this time in Birmingham.

BMF Conference in Dubrovnik hailed phenomenal success

Heather Small at BMF Gala DinnerThe BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik. The money will be divided equally between Variety, the Children’s Charity (the BMF’s partner charity), and Mental Health UK whose work was featured during the Conference sessions.

Conference delegates showed their generosity in many ways throughout the evening. The highlight was a special live auction overseen by Conference Host, Gethin Jones, where strong bidding for a bathrobe signed by the event’s key speakers and lunch at the House of Lords donated by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott helped push the total way over the predicted amount.

Singer Heather Small, herself an Ambassador for Variety, gave a stellar performance to complete a memorable gala evening held at Dubrovnik’s world-famous Revlin nightclub.

John Newcomb BMF CEO said: “We are proud of the industry for achieving so much for two very deserving charities. I would like to thank everyone who contributed both to our fundraising and during the rest of the Conference. We have received some fantastic feedback already from delegates and this was a great conclusion to a phenomenally successful event.”

Expressing her appreciation, Frances Lang, Chief Executive at Variety UK said: “Thanks to all delegates for supporting Variety.  BMF members can be assured that heir generosity really does change children’s lives.”

Brian Dow, CEO at Mental Health UK said: “We really appreciate the fundraising by delegates and the opportunity the BMF Conference gave us to raise the subject of mental health within the industry.  I’ve been in conferences in many parts of the world and on many subjects, but this was probably the best I’ve ever been to. Incredibly well organised. Wonderful atmopshere. Great content. And generally a terrific collection of people. So, thank you very much for everything.”  

The Gala Dinner was the climax of a hugely successful BMF All Industry Conference, where delegates were inspired, educated, entertained and enjoyed many of networking opportunities.  

Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director of the event’s headline sponsor, Crystal said: “It has been a privilege to be the headline sponsor at the BMF All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik and to be able to welcome everyone personally. From the stunning location to inspirational speakers, great host to fabulous entertainment and a chance to network and do business – the conference was a huge success. I’m looking forward to 2021 when Crystal will once again be the headline sponsor.”

During the Conference Crystal ran a bonus competition to encourage delegates to network by taking selfies with members of their team. The winner, David Young, Managing Director of Bradfords Building Supplies won a luxury European city break.

Reflecting on the event, Mark Bradley, Managing Director Plumbase said: “Well done and congratulations on delivering a superb BMF Conference. It has to go down as the best one ever! The sheer organisation, planning and hard work has absolutely paid off delivering premium member value, it was simply brilliant, notwithstanding a wonderful stunning location. 

“Speakers all the way through were absolutely dazzling, plus, all of them were super friendly, approachable and good fun, especially Lord Prescott who hasn’t lost his edge.”

Tony France, Sales Director at Ibstock said: “Well what a fantastic event. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to present at this year’s Conference. I thought the entire speaker line-up was superb and I know that delegates really enjoyed and engaged with the people and, particularly, the mental health themes. It was a great idea to choose to go into what can be a difficult subject to discuss and it worked perfectly.

The sell-out BMF All Industry Conference, themed “Building Excellence” was almost 450 delegates.



To view photos from the Conference click here.

The BMF has confirmed that a fantastic sum of £25,000 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its sell-out All Industry Conference in Dubrovnik.

Proud to be at BMF All-Industry Conference

14 June 2019

Heather Small, one of the seminal BritishHeather Small voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Heather first came to fame as the soulful lead singer with M People, one of the biggest English dance music bands of the 90s. With hits such as “Moving on Up”, “One Night in Heaven” and “Search for the Hero”, the band sold over 10 million records and won the Best British Dance Act Award at the Brits in 1994 and 1995 as well at the Mercury Music Prize for their album Elegant Slumming.

Heather went on to great success with two solo albums. The title track of her first album, Proud, became the soundtrack to London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, as well as a host of other special events, including the 60th anniversary of VE Day in Trafalgar Square, the launch of Queen Mary 2 and England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup celebrations. Oprah Winfrey also used the song to sum up the work she’d been striving to achieve over her twenty-year career, inviting Heather to perform live on her show.

In addition to her music career, Heather danced her way into the public’s affection as a contestant in series 6 of Strictly Come Dancing. Since then her infectious personality and trademark sense of humour has been on display in numerous TV appearances on music, chat and celebrity quiz shows. 

Heather is also well known for her charitable work and is appearing at the Gala Dinner as an ambassador for Variety, the Children’s Charity, the BMF’s charity of the year. Variety provides improves the lives of children and young people in the UK who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged, by providing coaches and specialist equipment as well as creating memorable experiences through “Variety Great Days Out”. 

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are absolutely delighted both to continue our support for Variety, the Children’s Charity, and to welcome Heather Small as our very special guest to close our Conference.  John Newcomb continued: “BMF and merchant industry fundraising for Variety since the BMF All Industry Conference in 2017 has raised over £90,000 for the charity.  A silent auction at the Gala Dinner is aiming to raise another substantial sum to share between Variety and our second charity for the evening, Mental Health UK, in a grand finale to the BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 that promises to be a feast of fun and fundraising.”

The BMF All-Industry Conference 2019 takes place in Dubrovnik from 13 to 16 June. Broadcaster and TV personality, Gethin Jones will host the sold-out event. Our thanks to the BMF All-Industry Conference headline sponsor, Crystal Group.

For more information visit www.bmfconference.co.uk
Heather Small, one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s, whose iconic solo track “Proud” became legendary for its inspirational lyrics, is set to give a stellar performance at the BMF All-Industry Conference Gala Dinner in Dubrovnik on 16 June.

Paul Bence to Chair new BMF Kitchen & Bathroom Forum



11 May 2019

The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms bringing together members with responsibility for these important product areas.  

The new Kitchen and Bathroom Forum will be chaired by Paul Bence, Managing Director of the George Bence Group.

Paul’s original role within the family run business was with Obsidian their retail brand, which was struggling to gain traction in their local market. Paul quickly turned this around and Obsidian’s award-winning showrooms now showcase the best in kitchens and bathrooms from the world’s top manufacturers. The Group’s lightside business encompasses multiple retail and trade showrooms with specification and design teams adding real value to the Group’s bottom line.

Paul took over as MD in 2010 and has overseen similar growth in the Group’s branch network across product sectors in heavyside, roofing and decorating.  He is also an active member of the Fortis Buying Group where he is Trading Director of all Showroom business across the member network.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul Bence said: “Product diversification is an important aspect of the merchant industry, especially amongst the shrinking margins associated with the traditional commodity building material products. The BMF has clearly embraced the sector by creating this Forum. Personally I am honoured that the BMF has asked me to chair the group and I look forward to engaging in insightful conversation around the kitchen and bathroom supply chain.”

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “Paul is the ideal Chair for the K&B Forum, both for his knowledge of and success within the sector and for the breadth of his contacts amongst merchants and suppliers with an interest in this increasingly important area.  The Forum concept is greatly appreciated by BMF members and the launch of the K&B Forum means we are now running 14 of these successful special interest groups.”

The first Kitchen & Bathroom Forum will be held on 12 November 2019 at Roca’s new conference and showroom facility in Leicester.  For more information email Joanne.Exeter@bmf.org.uk
Paul Bence BMF K&B Chairman
The BMF has announced the launch of its latest special interest Forum, which will focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms.

BMF opens second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group

10 June 2019

BMF RCOE PageGroup BirminghamThe BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group, this time in Birmingham.

The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the UK and Ireland. The latest centre, based in Page Group’s impressive office at Brindleyplace in Birmingham, will serve BMF members in the West Midlands region. The BMF are also proud to name the Page London office as another BMF Regional Centre of Excellence.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to open our second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group and our 28th in total. Localisation is an important strategy for the BMF and this is an excellent central facility where members can meet and attend BMF training courses, regional meetings and other regional events.”  

Adam McLaughlin, Manager of Michael Page Trade & Retail says: “Page Group are delighted to strengthen our partnership with the BMF with the opening of our second Regional Centre of Excellence in Birmingham. Our facilities are open to all BMF members to make use of and we encourage members to reach out with any enquiries.”

For details of all the BMF Regional Centres of Excellence around the UK and Ireland please visit www.bmf.org.uk/membership and for more information about Page Group visit https://www.page.com.
The BMF has launched a second Regional Centre of Excellence at Page Group (BMF's 28th in the UK), this time in Birmingham.
IDPrimary RankRole Title
There are no records.
Non Member Company