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Featured Events

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




BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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BMF Members' Day Annual Conference and Awards

16-17 September 2020

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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Bob Beaver Memorial Shoot
9 July 2020
 
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Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

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10-12 July 2020

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10-12 July 2020

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10-12 July 2020

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Latest News



Here are the latest news stories from the BMF

New BMF Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index confirms 2020 second half recovery


3 March 2021

PHMI Q4 2020 NewsThe BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market.   The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

The first edition of the Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) analyses sales values through plumbing and heating outlets in Q4 2020, and provides an overview for the full year. 

Sales in Q4 2020 continued the bounce back from the low point in Q2. A direct comparison of Q4 sales in 2020 and 2019 found sales were down by just -0.4%, with one more trading day this year. 

Looking back, the impact of the first lockdown on 2020 Q2 results had seen year on year sales fall by -46.3% compared with Q2 2019. However, the start of the recovery was apparent in Q3 2020, where sales were down by -5.3% on the same period the previous year.

Highlighting the bounce back in the second half of the year, P&H sales in the final quarter of 2020 were +11.9% higher than Q3 2020.  However, with Q4 having five fewer trading days, average sales a day (which take trading days into account) were up +21.3%. 

Cumulative year-to-date sales turned negative in March 2020, and fell sharply in both April (-17.8%) and May (-24.5%). Since then, sales have steadily improved, finishing down -13.2% on 2019 by the year end. 
PHMI trend data is indexed on the 12 months of 2019. The fourth quarter PHMI index (based on 2019 sales) was 103.4, making it the first quarter to exceed 100 in 2020. 
The ground-breaking research report is the first to analyse point of sales tracking data collated from a range of specialist plumbing and heating merchants with combined annual sales of £3bn, representing 75-80% of the total sales value of this market.  

Commenting on the launch, BMF CEO John Newcomb said: 

“Plumbing & Heating is an important segment within the overall building materials market, with an annual value of around £5.4bn.  While P&H sales through generalist merchants are reported in our established Builders Merchant Building Index, the majority of transactions are through specialist P&H merchants which have not previously been reported. The new Plumbing & Heating Index rectifies this and will deliver a far more accurate picture of sales activity in this segment.”

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

“With the crisis still in full swing and the roadmap to the end of lockdown recently announced, the launch of the Plumbing & Heating Index comes at an appropriate time. This will enhance visibility and shed light on an important part of the Trade sector which up until now has not been possible.”

The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.
 
PHMI Q4 2020 News
The BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market. The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

BMF Responds to Budget Statement


3 March 2021

BMF Responds to Budget StatementCommenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said:

“The Chancellor largely struck the right notes in announcing continued support for business as we move through the final stages of the coronavirus roadmap and plan for recovery.  

“We were particularly pleased that the Chancellor sought to support smaller businesses by recognising the need for continued furlough support and business rates discounts, which will help our SME members as they return to pre-covid levels of operation.  Similar extensions to self-employment grants will help small builders and other trades who form the main merchant customer base and ensure they are still in business to service the needs of homeowners helped by the new government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme and the extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday.

“We also welcome the announcement of a new UK Infrastructure Bank which was a key ask of our Construction Leadership Council colleagues, and noted the reference to investment by construction firms in the Chancellor’s announcement of his Super Deduction tax initiative.  Clearly, he is looking to the construction industry to help drive economic recovery.

“However, while the Chancellor spoke of the Government’s commitment to Green Growth, we were disappointed that this announcement did not include support for a National Retrofit Strategy.  This would not only upgrade the country’s housing stock to the highest levels of energy efficiency, but would also provide a platform to upskill the building trade with skills required both to retrofit existing homes and build low carbon new homes, helping to achieve the Government’s Net Zero ambition.”
 
BMF Responds to Budget Statement
Commenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said: " The Chancellor largely struck the right notes...

BMF All Industry Conference moves to November date


1 March 2021

BMF All Industry Conference moves to November dateWith national lockdown restrictions scheduled to be lifted on 21 June, the BMF has confirmed a change of date for the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference, which will now be held from 4-7 November 2021.

The Conference venues in Harrogate and York remain the same and the full programme will be confirmed as soon as possible. 
 
The November event is set to go with a bang.  As the Conference now falls on 5 November it is only fitting that it will take place in York, the birthplace of Guy Fawkes whose gunpowder, treason and plot made an explosive contribution to our national history.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The safety and wellbeing of conference delegates has always been our priority and we cannot run the BMF All Industry Conference on the original dates in June.   Although this is traditionally a summer conference, we were determined to hold the 2021 event later in the year and have taken other major industry events into account in planning the new date.”

The headline sponsor of the BMF All Industry Conference for the second year is the Crystal Group.  Other key sponsors include ACO, BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Knauf Insulation, Marshalls, Marsh Industries, Rockwool, SIG and Xtratherm.
 
BMF All Industry Conference moves to November date
With national lockdown restrictions scheduled to be lifted on 21 June, the BMF has confirmed a change of date for the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference, which will now be held from 4-7 November 2021.

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020


25 February 2021

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published today (25 February 2021) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.  

The BMBI had previously reported a strong performance in Q3 with sales returning to near normal levels.  The positive trend continued in Q4 2020, with total builders’ merchants’ sales growth of +5.4% compared with Q4 2019, helped by one more trading day this year.  

The Q4 year-on-year increase was driven by strong performances in Landscaping (+22.9%), Timber & Joinery (+12.7%) and Heavy Building Materials (+4.3%).  Sales value growth in Timber & Joinery was predominantly driven by Timber, with the well documented stock shortages a key driver.  No other product category sold more in Q4 2020 than Q4 2019, with Plumbing, Heating and Electrical (-6.0%) the lowest performer.

There is normally a seasonal sales decline in Q4 and 2020 was no exception.  With five fewer trading days in Q4, total builders’ merchants’ sales were down by -10.8% compared to Q3 2020.  The average sales a day figure for Q4 (-3.4%) was also down on Q3.

Taking 2020 as a whole, total sales value was down by -10.7% on 2019.  Given the public’s focus on their gardens during the first lockdown, it is no surprise that Landscaping was the only category to show an annual increase in sales value (+5.4%), with Workwear and Safetywear (-0.1%) the next best performer.  The weakest annual results were found in the more lightside oriented categories with Tools (-20.2%), Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-19.1%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (-18.1%) and Decorating (-16.5%).

Commenting on the Q4 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:

“Given widespread site closures both at the start of the pandemic and for extended Christmas shut down periods, the continued year-on year growth seen in the final quarter of 2020 provides a positive indicator of the building industry’s recovery.  No doubt the Covid effect, including its impact on product availability, will be felt for some time to come. But the adaptability to enforced changes demonstrated by merchants and their trade customers over the past 12 months gives me a cautious degree of optimism for the coming year.”

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

“A final review of this year highlights just how well the sector has bounced back. During Q2 the economic outlook for the remainder of 2020 seemed perilous, but a combination of RMI activity plus relaxed restrictions in Q3, followed by Brexit uncertainty combined with anticipated stock shortages in Q4 turned the ship.  Taking all the above into consideration the final annual result of a -10.7% value declines seems a lot more palatable. 2021 now provides a realistic hope of a return to normality and an expected economic upswing.”
 
Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020
Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published 25 February 2021 in the BMF’s BMBI confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.

New BMF Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index confirms 2020 second half recovery


3 March 2021

PHMI Q4 2020 NewsThe BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market.   The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

The first edition of the Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) analyses sales values through plumbing and heating outlets in Q4 2020, and provides an overview for the full year. 

Sales in Q4 2020 continued the bounce back from the low point in Q2. A direct comparison of Q4 sales in 2020 and 2019 found sales were down by just -0.4%, with one more trading day this year. 

Looking back, the impact of the first lockdown on 2020 Q2 results had seen year on year sales fall by -46.3% compared with Q2 2019. However, the start of the recovery was apparent in Q3 2020, where sales were down by -5.3% on the same period the previous year.

Highlighting the bounce back in the second half of the year, P&H sales in the final quarter of 2020 were +11.9% higher than Q3 2020.  However, with Q4 having five fewer trading days, average sales a day (which take trading days into account) were up +21.3%. 

Cumulative year-to-date sales turned negative in March 2020, and fell sharply in both April (-17.8%) and May (-24.5%). Since then, sales have steadily improved, finishing down -13.2% on 2019 by the year end. 
PHMI trend data is indexed on the 12 months of 2019. The fourth quarter PHMI index (based on 2019 sales) was 103.4, making it the first quarter to exceed 100 in 2020. 
The ground-breaking research report is the first to analyse point of sales tracking data collated from a range of specialist plumbing and heating merchants with combined annual sales of £3bn, representing 75-80% of the total sales value of this market.  

Commenting on the launch, BMF CEO John Newcomb said: 

“Plumbing & Heating is an important segment within the overall building materials market, with an annual value of around £5.4bn.  While P&H sales through generalist merchants are reported in our established Builders Merchant Building Index, the majority of transactions are through specialist P&H merchants which have not previously been reported. The new Plumbing & Heating Index rectifies this and will deliver a far more accurate picture of sales activity in this segment.”

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

“With the crisis still in full swing and the roadmap to the end of lockdown recently announced, the launch of the Plumbing & Heating Index comes at an appropriate time. This will enhance visibility and shed light on an important part of the Trade sector which up until now has not been possible.”

The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.
 
PHMI Q4 2020 News
The BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market. The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

BMF Responds to Budget Statement


3 March 2021

BMF Responds to Budget StatementCommenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said:

“The Chancellor largely struck the right notes in announcing continued support for business as we move through the final stages of the coronavirus roadmap and plan for recovery.  

“We were particularly pleased that the Chancellor sought to support smaller businesses by recognising the need for continued furlough support and business rates discounts, which will help our SME members as they return to pre-covid levels of operation.  Similar extensions to self-employment grants will help small builders and other trades who form the main merchant customer base and ensure they are still in business to service the needs of homeowners helped by the new government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme and the extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday.

“We also welcome the announcement of a new UK Infrastructure Bank which was a key ask of our Construction Leadership Council colleagues, and noted the reference to investment by construction firms in the Chancellor’s announcement of his Super Deduction tax initiative.  Clearly, he is looking to the construction industry to help drive economic recovery.

“However, while the Chancellor spoke of the Government’s commitment to Green Growth, we were disappointed that this announcement did not include support for a National Retrofit Strategy.  This would not only upgrade the country’s housing stock to the highest levels of energy efficiency, but would also provide a platform to upskill the building trade with skills required both to retrofit existing homes and build low carbon new homes, helping to achieve the Government’s Net Zero ambition.”
 
BMF Responds to Budget Statement
Commenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said: " The Chancellor largely struck the right notes...

BMF All Industry Conference moves to November date


1 March 2021

BMF All Industry Conference moves to November dateWith national lockdown restrictions scheduled to be lifted on 21 June, the BMF has confirmed a change of date for the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference, which will now be held from 4-7 November 2021.

The Conference venues in Harrogate and York remain the same and the full programme will be confirmed as soon as possible. 
 
The November event is set to go with a bang.  As the Conference now falls on 5 November it is only fitting that it will take place in York, the birthplace of Guy Fawkes whose gunpowder, treason and plot made an explosive contribution to our national history.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The safety and wellbeing of conference delegates has always been our priority and we cannot run the BMF All Industry Conference on the original dates in June.   Although this is traditionally a summer conference, we were determined to hold the 2021 event later in the year and have taken other major industry events into account in planning the new date.”

The headline sponsor of the BMF All Industry Conference for the second year is the Crystal Group.  Other key sponsors include ACO, BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Knauf Insulation, Marshalls, Marsh Industries, Rockwool, SIG and Xtratherm.
 
BMF All Industry Conference moves to November date
With national lockdown restrictions scheduled to be lifted on 21 June, the BMF has confirmed a change of date for the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference, which will now be held from 4-7 November 2021.

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020


25 February 2021

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published today (25 February 2021) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.  

The BMBI had previously reported a strong performance in Q3 with sales returning to near normal levels.  The positive trend continued in Q4 2020, with total builders’ merchants’ sales growth of +5.4% compared with Q4 2019, helped by one more trading day this year.  

The Q4 year-on-year increase was driven by strong performances in Landscaping (+22.9%), Timber & Joinery (+12.7%) and Heavy Building Materials (+4.3%).  Sales value growth in Timber & Joinery was predominantly driven by Timber, with the well documented stock shortages a key driver.  No other product category sold more in Q4 2020 than Q4 2019, with Plumbing, Heating and Electrical (-6.0%) the lowest performer.

There is normally a seasonal sales decline in Q4 and 2020 was no exception.  With five fewer trading days in Q4, total builders’ merchants’ sales were down by -10.8% compared to Q3 2020.  The average sales a day figure for Q4 (-3.4%) was also down on Q3.

Taking 2020 as a whole, total sales value was down by -10.7% on 2019.  Given the public’s focus on their gardens during the first lockdown, it is no surprise that Landscaping was the only category to show an annual increase in sales value (+5.4%), with Workwear and Safetywear (-0.1%) the next best performer.  The weakest annual results were found in the more lightside oriented categories with Tools (-20.2%), Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-19.1%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (-18.1%) and Decorating (-16.5%).

Commenting on the Q4 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:

“Given widespread site closures both at the start of the pandemic and for extended Christmas shut down periods, the continued year-on year growth seen in the final quarter of 2020 provides a positive indicator of the building industry’s recovery.  No doubt the Covid effect, including its impact on product availability, will be felt for some time to come. But the adaptability to enforced changes demonstrated by merchants and their trade customers over the past 12 months gives me a cautious degree of optimism for the coming year.”

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

“A final review of this year highlights just how well the sector has bounced back. During Q2 the economic outlook for the remainder of 2020 seemed perilous, but a combination of RMI activity plus relaxed restrictions in Q3, followed by Brexit uncertainty combined with anticipated stock shortages in Q4 turned the ship.  Taking all the above into consideration the final annual result of a -10.7% value declines seems a lot more palatable. 2021 now provides a realistic hope of a return to normality and an expected economic upswing.”
 
Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020
Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published 25 February 2021 in the BMF’s BMBI confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.

Travis Perkins and H&B join BMF ETIM Trailblazers to fast track implementation of consistent product data


18 January 2021

Travis Perkins and H&B join BMF ETIM Trailblazers to fast track implementation of consistent product dataTravis Perkins has pledged to support the Builders Merchants Federation and take a leading role in a diverse group of ETIM Trailblazers. The Trailblazers will help the BMF to fast track the implementation of the ETIM model of data classification which will simplify the transfer of product information between manufacturer and merchant. More than 20 other merchant and supplier members have also signed up as ETIM Trailblazers, as well as key buying groups including H&B and NMBS.  

ETIM is a system of classifying technical product data that ensures all users employ the same terms to describe the same attributes and values. It is widely used in Europe and has already been adopted by the electrical products sector in the UK. The BMF is implementing the model in the UK for building, HVAC and plumbing products. 

The first quarter of 2021 will see ETIM working groups meet to review and agree the data terms to be used for each component in each product area. 

In addition to relevant personnel from its ETIM Trailblazers, the BMF is inviting manufacturers and suppliers of building, HVAC and plumbing products to participate in the appropriate working group.

In part the task is to anglicise existing European product terminology but the working groups will also identify and incorporate UK specific elements so it is vital that as many product experts as possible are fully involved to provide their input.

Speaking on behalf of the ETIM Trailblazer group, Rob Barbour, Travis Perkins’ Data and Insights Director said: “Accurate and consistent product data information is fundamental to empower customers to make better buying decisions, drive better safety and technical performance, and lower emissions of construction output. We are really excited at the prospect of working with our peers to improve our standards across the industry through a common product communication language to the benefit of customers and suppliers. The ETIM standard will help us do just that; ensuring we have clear, accurate and trustworthy data shared between suppliers, merchants and customers, which in turn will minimise errors and drive down costs, and so significantly improve our supply chain efficiency.”

Jamie Wyatt, Trading Director, H&B Group, confirmed the importance of ETIM to the independent merchant sector: “As more independent builders merchants move into ecommerce, standardisation and classification of product data becomes ever more important, ensuring smooth and cost-effective digital transactions. h&b support the ETIM initiative and the benefits it will bring to its members and the wider industry.”  

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive concluded: “The response of Travis Perkins and H&B in wanting to push forward with ETIM is typical of BMF members we have engaged with to date.  It shows that need for standardised technical data and attributes for building, HVAC and plumbing products has never been greater, and the importance of the BMF’s ETIM working groups to fast-track the process cannot be over-emphasised.  I encourage manufacturers in every product area to get involved when invited to do so.”
 
Travis Perkins has pledged to support the BMF and take a leading role in a diverse group of ETIM Trailblazers.

BMF opens 32nd Regional Centre of Excellence at SIG Valor Park 


14 January 2020

BMF opens 32nd RCOE at SIGThe BMF has created its 32nd Regional Centre of Excellence (RCoE) with the support of SIG Distribution. The latest RCoE will be hosted at SIG Distribution’s state of the art, warehouse at Valor Park, West London which opened in May 2020.  

The 169,000 sq.ft. site holds over £3m worth of stock across all product areas, with over 30 delivery vehicles to support the sales network across London and the Home Counties.  It also provides excellent meeting facilities which can now be used by BMF members for training courses and regional meetings.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive said: “We may be in the midst of the country’s third national lockdown, but the BMF is looking ahead to the time when industry colleagues can meet in person once more.  SIG Valor Park will provide a superb facility for our members for many years to come.”

Andy Williamson, Commercial Director, SIG UK said: “The new SIG Valor Park site is an extremely well-connected location for transport which makes it an ideal space for regional meetings. We are delighted that our new centre will be supporting BMF members and look forward to welcoming them later in the year.”
 
BMF opens 32nd RCOE at SIG
The BMF has created its 32nd Regional Centre of Excellence (RCoE) with the support of SIG Distribution. The latest RCoE will be hosted at SIG Distribution’s state of the art, warehouse at Valor Park, West London which opened in May 2020.

Builders’ merchants put safety first in Tier 4 restrictions

21 December 2020

 
Builders’ merchants across London and the South East are working to set protocols to ensure safety first under the new Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions.

The sector will continue to operate, after the government classed it as an essential service.

National trade body the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) produced detailed Covid-19 protocols at the start of the pandemic, and the advice will remain in place as new restrictions are brought in.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “Our members have provided emergency support for the NHS, local authority and housing association maintenance teams since lockdown began in mid-March, following Covid-19 secure guidelines.
“Since then, we have continued to operate safely, providing much-needed materials to enable a variety of works to continue over the year.

“Now, as the Tier 4 restrictions begin, we continue to work to the same operating procedures.

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

The full guidance can be accessed via this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home.
 
Builders’ merchants across London and the South East are working to set protocols to ensure safety first under the new Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions.

Kickstart approves 143 work placements through BMF gateway – with more to come


7 December 2020

Kickstart approved 143 work placementsThe BMF, in partnership with businesses across the sector, has received approval under the government’s £2bn Kickstart scheme for 143 work placements.

The placements are among the first to be approved in the construction industry, and the BMF is preparing to make a further application before Christmas, to help more members participate in the scheme.

Kickstart is the government’s tool to enable employers throughout Great Britain to offer high-quality, 6-month work placements to young people aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.  

Some 60 member companies, including the BMF itself, have applied to participate in the scheme so far.  The BMF’s Apprenticeship Plus team is now liaising with local DWP work coaches to find the best candidates for the initial placements.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “This is an outstanding opportunity to showcase our industry and find future talent, particularly amongst young people who have lost previous positions in retail due to the pandemic.”

The placements cover a range of assistant roles embracing the whole spectrum of merchanting - merchants yard, warehouse, trade counter, driver’s mate, accounts, HR and admin.  Each role has a training programme attached covering employability skills, industry specific training and BMF Building Blocks.

The BMF will be submitting a further application for Kickstart supported placements before Christmas.  Employers can claim 100% of the National Minimum Wage, up to 25 hours, plus the associated employer National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment contributions. BMF Apprenticeship Plus provides a fully managed gateway service making it as simple as possible for all BMF members to participate.

Any BMF member who would like to be involved in the forthcoming Kickstart application should, email Carmen Daley at carmen@bmfapprenticeshipsplus.co.uk before the 17 December deadline.
 
Kickstart approved 143 work placements
The BMF, in partnership with businesses across the sector, has received approval under the government’s £2bn Kickstart scheme for 143 work placements.

Travis Perkins and H&B join BMF ETIM Trailblazers to fast track implementation of consistent product data


18 January 2021

Travis Perkins and H&B join BMF ETIM Trailblazers to fast track implementation of consistent product dataTravis Perkins has pledged to support the Builders Merchants Federation and take a leading role in a diverse group of ETIM Trailblazers. The Trailblazers will help the BMF to fast track the implementation of the ETIM model of data classification which will simplify the transfer of product information between manufacturer and merchant. More than 20 other merchant and supplier members have also signed up as ETIM Trailblazers, as well as key buying groups including H&B and NMBS.  

ETIM is a system of classifying technical product data that ensures all users employ the same terms to describe the same attributes and values. It is widely used in Europe and has already been adopted by the electrical products sector in the UK. The BMF is implementing the model in the UK for building, HVAC and plumbing products. 

The first quarter of 2021 will see ETIM working groups meet to review and agree the data terms to be used for each component in each product area. 

In addition to relevant personnel from its ETIM Trailblazers, the BMF is inviting manufacturers and suppliers of building, HVAC and plumbing products to participate in the appropriate working group.

In part the task is to anglicise existing European product terminology but the working groups will also identify and incorporate UK specific elements so it is vital that as many product experts as possible are fully involved to provide their input.

Speaking on behalf of the ETIM Trailblazer group, Rob Barbour, Travis Perkins’ Data and Insights Director said: “Accurate and consistent product data information is fundamental to empower customers to make better buying decisions, drive better safety and technical performance, and lower emissions of construction output. We are really excited at the prospect of working with our peers to improve our standards across the industry through a common product communication language to the benefit of customers and suppliers. The ETIM standard will help us do just that; ensuring we have clear, accurate and trustworthy data shared between suppliers, merchants and customers, which in turn will minimise errors and drive down costs, and so significantly improve our supply chain efficiency.”

Jamie Wyatt, Trading Director, H&B Group, confirmed the importance of ETIM to the independent merchant sector: “As more independent builders merchants move into ecommerce, standardisation and classification of product data becomes ever more important, ensuring smooth and cost-effective digital transactions. h&b support the ETIM initiative and the benefits it will bring to its members and the wider industry.”  

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive concluded: “The response of Travis Perkins and H&B in wanting to push forward with ETIM is typical of BMF members we have engaged with to date.  It shows that need for standardised technical data and attributes for building, HVAC and plumbing products has never been greater, and the importance of the BMF’s ETIM working groups to fast-track the process cannot be over-emphasised.  I encourage manufacturers in every product area to get involved when invited to do so.”
 
Travis Perkins has pledged to support the BMF and take a leading role in a diverse group of ETIM Trailblazers.

BMF opens 32nd Regional Centre of Excellence at SIG Valor Park 


14 January 2020

BMF opens 32nd RCOE at SIGThe BMF has created its 32nd Regional Centre of Excellence (RCoE) with the support of SIG Distribution. The latest RCoE will be hosted at SIG Distribution’s state of the art, warehouse at Valor Park, West London which opened in May 2020.  

The 169,000 sq.ft. site holds over £3m worth of stock across all product areas, with over 30 delivery vehicles to support the sales network across London and the Home Counties.  It also provides excellent meeting facilities which can now be used by BMF members for training courses and regional meetings.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive said: “We may be in the midst of the country’s third national lockdown, but the BMF is looking ahead to the time when industry colleagues can meet in person once more.  SIG Valor Park will provide a superb facility for our members for many years to come.”

Andy Williamson, Commercial Director, SIG UK said: “The new SIG Valor Park site is an extremely well-connected location for transport which makes it an ideal space for regional meetings. We are delighted that our new centre will be supporting BMF members and look forward to welcoming them later in the year.”
 
BMF opens 32nd RCOE at SIG
The BMF has created its 32nd Regional Centre of Excellence (RCoE) with the support of SIG Distribution. The latest RCoE will be hosted at SIG Distribution’s state of the art, warehouse at Valor Park, West London which opened in May 2020.

Builders’ merchants put safety first in Tier 4 restrictions

21 December 2020

 
Builders’ merchants across London and the South East are working to set protocols to ensure safety first under the new Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions.

The sector will continue to operate, after the government classed it as an essential service.

National trade body the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) produced detailed Covid-19 protocols at the start of the pandemic, and the advice will remain in place as new restrictions are brought in.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “Our members have provided emergency support for the NHS, local authority and housing association maintenance teams since lockdown began in mid-March, following Covid-19 secure guidelines.
“Since then, we have continued to operate safely, providing much-needed materials to enable a variety of works to continue over the year.

“Now, as the Tier 4 restrictions begin, we continue to work to the same operating procedures.

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

The full guidance can be accessed via this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home.
 
Builders’ merchants across London and the South East are working to set protocols to ensure safety first under the new Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions.

Kickstart approves 143 work placements through BMF gateway – with more to come


7 December 2020

Kickstart approved 143 work placementsThe BMF, in partnership with businesses across the sector, has received approval under the government’s £2bn Kickstart scheme for 143 work placements.

The placements are among the first to be approved in the construction industry, and the BMF is preparing to make a further application before Christmas, to help more members participate in the scheme.

Kickstart is the government’s tool to enable employers throughout Great Britain to offer high-quality, 6-month work placements to young people aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.  

Some 60 member companies, including the BMF itself, have applied to participate in the scheme so far.  The BMF’s Apprenticeship Plus team is now liaising with local DWP work coaches to find the best candidates for the initial placements.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “This is an outstanding opportunity to showcase our industry and find future talent, particularly amongst young people who have lost previous positions in retail due to the pandemic.”

The placements cover a range of assistant roles embracing the whole spectrum of merchanting - merchants yard, warehouse, trade counter, driver’s mate, accounts, HR and admin.  Each role has a training programme attached covering employability skills, industry specific training and BMF Building Blocks.

The BMF will be submitting a further application for Kickstart supported placements before Christmas.  Employers can claim 100% of the National Minimum Wage, up to 25 hours, plus the associated employer National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment contributions. BMF Apprenticeship Plus provides a fully managed gateway service making it as simple as possible for all BMF members to participate.

Any BMF member who would like to be involved in the forthcoming Kickstart application should, email Carmen Daley at carmen@bmfapprenticeshipsplus.co.uk before the 17 December deadline.
 
Kickstart approved 143 work placements
The BMF, in partnership with businesses across the sector, has received approval under the government’s £2bn Kickstart scheme for 143 work placements.

New BMF Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index confirms 2020 second half recovery


3 March 2021

PHMI Q4 2020 NewsThe BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market.   The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

The first edition of the Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) analyses sales values through plumbing and heating outlets in Q4 2020, and provides an overview for the full year. 

Sales in Q4 2020 continued the bounce back from the low point in Q2. A direct comparison of Q4 sales in 2020 and 2019 found sales were down by just -0.4%, with one more trading day this year. 

Looking back, the impact of the first lockdown on 2020 Q2 results had seen year on year sales fall by -46.3% compared with Q2 2019. However, the start of the recovery was apparent in Q3 2020, where sales were down by -5.3% on the same period the previous year.

Highlighting the bounce back in the second half of the year, P&H sales in the final quarter of 2020 were +11.9% higher than Q3 2020.  However, with Q4 having five fewer trading days, average sales a day (which take trading days into account) were up +21.3%. 

Cumulative year-to-date sales turned negative in March 2020, and fell sharply in both April (-17.8%) and May (-24.5%). Since then, sales have steadily improved, finishing down -13.2% on 2019 by the year end. 
PHMI trend data is indexed on the 12 months of 2019. The fourth quarter PHMI index (based on 2019 sales) was 103.4, making it the first quarter to exceed 100 in 2020. 
The ground-breaking research report is the first to analyse point of sales tracking data collated from a range of specialist plumbing and heating merchants with combined annual sales of £3bn, representing 75-80% of the total sales value of this market.  

Commenting on the launch, BMF CEO John Newcomb said: 

“Plumbing & Heating is an important segment within the overall building materials market, with an annual value of around £5.4bn.  While P&H sales through generalist merchants are reported in our established Builders Merchant Building Index, the majority of transactions are through specialist P&H merchants which have not previously been reported. The new Plumbing & Heating Index rectifies this and will deliver a far more accurate picture of sales activity in this segment.”

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

“With the crisis still in full swing and the roadmap to the end of lockdown recently announced, the launch of the Plumbing & Heating Index comes at an appropriate time. This will enhance visibility and shed light on an important part of the Trade sector which up until now has not been possible.”

The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.
 
PHMI Q4 2020 News
The BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market. The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

BMF Responds to Budget Statement


3 March 2021

BMF Responds to Budget StatementCommenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said:

“The Chancellor largely struck the right notes in announcing continued support for business as we move through the final stages of the coronavirus roadmap and plan for recovery.  

“We were particularly pleased that the Chancellor sought to support smaller businesses by recognising the need for continued furlough support and business rates discounts, which will help our SME members as they return to pre-covid levels of operation.  Similar extensions to self-employment grants will help small builders and other trades who form the main merchant customer base and ensure they are still in business to service the needs of homeowners helped by the new government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme and the extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday.

“We also welcome the announcement of a new UK Infrastructure Bank which was a key ask of our Construction Leadership Council colleagues, and noted the reference to investment by construction firms in the Chancellor’s announcement of his Super Deduction tax initiative.  Clearly, he is looking to the construction industry to help drive economic recovery.

“However, while the Chancellor spoke of the Government’s commitment to Green Growth, we were disappointed that this announcement did not include support for a National Retrofit Strategy.  This would not only upgrade the country’s housing stock to the highest levels of energy efficiency, but would also provide a platform to upskill the building trade with skills required both to retrofit existing homes and build low carbon new homes, helping to achieve the Government’s Net Zero ambition.”
 
BMF Responds to Budget Statement
Commenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said: " The Chancellor largely struck the right notes...

BMF All Industry Conference moves to November date


1 March 2021

BMF All Industry Conference moves to November dateWith national lockdown restrictions scheduled to be lifted on 21 June, the BMF has confirmed a change of date for the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference, which will now be held from 4-7 November 2021.

The Conference venues in Harrogate and York remain the same and the full programme will be confirmed as soon as possible. 
 
The November event is set to go with a bang.  As the Conference now falls on 5 November it is only fitting that it will take place in York, the birthplace of Guy Fawkes whose gunpowder, treason and plot made an explosive contribution to our national history.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The safety and wellbeing of conference delegates has always been our priority and we cannot run the BMF All Industry Conference on the original dates in June.   Although this is traditionally a summer conference, we were determined to hold the 2021 event later in the year and have taken other major industry events into account in planning the new date.”

The headline sponsor of the BMF All Industry Conference for the second year is the Crystal Group.  Other key sponsors include ACO, BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Knauf Insulation, Marshalls, Marsh Industries, Rockwool, SIG and Xtratherm.
 
BMF All Industry Conference moves to November date
With national lockdown restrictions scheduled to be lifted on 21 June, the BMF has confirmed a change of date for the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference, which will now be held from 4-7 November 2021.

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020


25 February 2021

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published today (25 February 2021) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.  

The BMBI had previously reported a strong performance in Q3 with sales returning to near normal levels.  The positive trend continued in Q4 2020, with total builders’ merchants’ sales growth of +5.4% compared with Q4 2019, helped by one more trading day this year.  

The Q4 year-on-year increase was driven by strong performances in Landscaping (+22.9%), Timber & Joinery (+12.7%) and Heavy Building Materials (+4.3%).  Sales value growth in Timber & Joinery was predominantly driven by Timber, with the well documented stock shortages a key driver.  No other product category sold more in Q4 2020 than Q4 2019, with Plumbing, Heating and Electrical (-6.0%) the lowest performer.

There is normally a seasonal sales decline in Q4 and 2020 was no exception.  With five fewer trading days in Q4, total builders’ merchants’ sales were down by -10.8% compared to Q3 2020.  The average sales a day figure for Q4 (-3.4%) was also down on Q3.

Taking 2020 as a whole, total sales value was down by -10.7% on 2019.  Given the public’s focus on their gardens during the first lockdown, it is no surprise that Landscaping was the only category to show an annual increase in sales value (+5.4%), with Workwear and Safetywear (-0.1%) the next best performer.  The weakest annual results were found in the more lightside oriented categories with Tools (-20.2%), Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-19.1%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (-18.1%) and Decorating (-16.5%).

Commenting on the Q4 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:

“Given widespread site closures both at the start of the pandemic and for extended Christmas shut down periods, the continued year-on year growth seen in the final quarter of 2020 provides a positive indicator of the building industry’s recovery.  No doubt the Covid effect, including its impact on product availability, will be felt for some time to come. But the adaptability to enforced changes demonstrated by merchants and their trade customers over the past 12 months gives me a cautious degree of optimism for the coming year.”

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

“A final review of this year highlights just how well the sector has bounced back. During Q2 the economic outlook for the remainder of 2020 seemed perilous, but a combination of RMI activity plus relaxed restrictions in Q3, followed by Brexit uncertainty combined with anticipated stock shortages in Q4 turned the ship.  Taking all the above into consideration the final annual result of a -10.7% value declines seems a lot more palatable. 2021 now provides a realistic hope of a return to normality and an expected economic upswing.”
 
Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020
Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published 25 February 2021 in the BMF’s BMBI confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.

Travis Perkins and H&B join BMF ETIM Trailblazers to fast track implementation of consistent product data


18 January 2021

Travis Perkins and H&B join BMF ETIM Trailblazers to fast track implementation of consistent product dataTravis Perkins has pledged to support the Builders Merchants Federation and take a leading role in a diverse group of ETIM Trailblazers. The Trailblazers will help the BMF to fast track the implementation of the ETIM model of data classification which will simplify the transfer of product information between manufacturer and merchant. More than 20 other merchant and supplier members have also signed up as ETIM Trailblazers, as well as key buying groups including H&B and NMBS.  

ETIM is a system of classifying technical product data that ensures all users employ the same terms to describe the same attributes and values. It is widely used in Europe and has already been adopted by the electrical products sector in the UK. The BMF is implementing the model in the UK for building, HVAC and plumbing products. 

The first quarter of 2021 will see ETIM working groups meet to review and agree the data terms to be used for each component in each product area. 

In addition to relevant personnel from its ETIM Trailblazers, the BMF is inviting manufacturers and suppliers of building, HVAC and plumbing products to participate in the appropriate working group.

In part the task is to anglicise existing European product terminology but the working groups will also identify and incorporate UK specific elements so it is vital that as many product experts as possible are fully involved to provide their input.

Speaking on behalf of the ETIM Trailblazer group, Rob Barbour, Travis Perkins’ Data and Insights Director said: “Accurate and consistent product data information is fundamental to empower customers to make better buying decisions, drive better safety and technical performance, and lower emissions of construction output. We are really excited at the prospect of working with our peers to improve our standards across the industry through a common product communication language to the benefit of customers and suppliers. The ETIM standard will help us do just that; ensuring we have clear, accurate and trustworthy data shared between suppliers, merchants and customers, which in turn will minimise errors and drive down costs, and so significantly improve our supply chain efficiency.”

Jamie Wyatt, Trading Director, H&B Group, confirmed the importance of ETIM to the independent merchant sector: “As more independent builders merchants move into ecommerce, standardisation and classification of product data becomes ever more important, ensuring smooth and cost-effective digital transactions. h&b support the ETIM initiative and the benefits it will bring to its members and the wider industry.”  

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive concluded: “The response of Travis Perkins and H&B in wanting to push forward with ETIM is typical of BMF members we have engaged with to date.  It shows that need for standardised technical data and attributes for building, HVAC and plumbing products has never been greater, and the importance of the BMF’s ETIM working groups to fast-track the process cannot be over-emphasised.  I encourage manufacturers in every product area to get involved when invited to do so.”
 
Travis Perkins has pledged to support the BMF and take a leading role in a diverse group of ETIM Trailblazers.

BMF opens 32nd Regional Centre of Excellence at SIG Valor Park 


14 January 2020

BMF opens 32nd RCOE at SIGThe BMF has created its 32nd Regional Centre of Excellence (RCoE) with the support of SIG Distribution. The latest RCoE will be hosted at SIG Distribution’s state of the art, warehouse at Valor Park, West London which opened in May 2020.  

The 169,000 sq.ft. site holds over £3m worth of stock across all product areas, with over 30 delivery vehicles to support the sales network across London and the Home Counties.  It also provides excellent meeting facilities which can now be used by BMF members for training courses and regional meetings.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive said: “We may be in the midst of the country’s third national lockdown, but the BMF is looking ahead to the time when industry colleagues can meet in person once more.  SIG Valor Park will provide a superb facility for our members for many years to come.”

Andy Williamson, Commercial Director, SIG UK said: “The new SIG Valor Park site is an extremely well-connected location for transport which makes it an ideal space for regional meetings. We are delighted that our new centre will be supporting BMF members and look forward to welcoming them later in the year.”
 
BMF opens 32nd RCOE at SIG
The BMF has created its 32nd Regional Centre of Excellence (RCoE) with the support of SIG Distribution. The latest RCoE will be hosted at SIG Distribution’s state of the art, warehouse at Valor Park, West London which opened in May 2020.

Builders’ merchants put safety first in Tier 4 restrictions

21 December 2020

 
Builders’ merchants across London and the South East are working to set protocols to ensure safety first under the new Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions.

The sector will continue to operate, after the government classed it as an essential service.

National trade body the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) produced detailed Covid-19 protocols at the start of the pandemic, and the advice will remain in place as new restrictions are brought in.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “Our members have provided emergency support for the NHS, local authority and housing association maintenance teams since lockdown began in mid-March, following Covid-19 secure guidelines.
“Since then, we have continued to operate safely, providing much-needed materials to enable a variety of works to continue over the year.

“Now, as the Tier 4 restrictions begin, we continue to work to the same operating procedures.

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

The full guidance can be accessed via this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home.
 
Builders’ merchants across London and the South East are working to set protocols to ensure safety first under the new Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions.

Kickstart approves 143 work placements through BMF gateway – with more to come


7 December 2020

Kickstart approved 143 work placementsThe BMF, in partnership with businesses across the sector, has received approval under the government’s £2bn Kickstart scheme for 143 work placements.

The placements are among the first to be approved in the construction industry, and the BMF is preparing to make a further application before Christmas, to help more members participate in the scheme.

Kickstart is the government’s tool to enable employers throughout Great Britain to offer high-quality, 6-month work placements to young people aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.  

Some 60 member companies, including the BMF itself, have applied to participate in the scheme so far.  The BMF’s Apprenticeship Plus team is now liaising with local DWP work coaches to find the best candidates for the initial placements.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “This is an outstanding opportunity to showcase our industry and find future talent, particularly amongst young people who have lost previous positions in retail due to the pandemic.”

The placements cover a range of assistant roles embracing the whole spectrum of merchanting - merchants yard, warehouse, trade counter, driver’s mate, accounts, HR and admin.  Each role has a training programme attached covering employability skills, industry specific training and BMF Building Blocks.

The BMF will be submitting a further application for Kickstart supported placements before Christmas.  Employers can claim 100% of the National Minimum Wage, up to 25 hours, plus the associated employer National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment contributions. BMF Apprenticeship Plus provides a fully managed gateway service making it as simple as possible for all BMF members to participate.

Any BMF member who would like to be involved in the forthcoming Kickstart application should, email Carmen Daley at carmen@bmfapprenticeshipsplus.co.uk before the 17 December deadline.
 
Kickstart approved 143 work placements
The BMF, in partnership with businesses across the sector, has received approval under the government’s £2bn Kickstart scheme for 143 work placements.

New BMF Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index confirms 2020 second half recovery


3 March 2021

PHMI Q4 2020 NewsThe BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market.   The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

The first edition of the Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) analyses sales values through plumbing and heating outlets in Q4 2020, and provides an overview for the full year. 

Sales in Q4 2020 continued the bounce back from the low point in Q2. A direct comparison of Q4 sales in 2020 and 2019 found sales were down by just -0.4%, with one more trading day this year. 

Looking back, the impact of the first lockdown on 2020 Q2 results had seen year on year sales fall by -46.3% compared with Q2 2019. However, the start of the recovery was apparent in Q3 2020, where sales were down by -5.3% on the same period the previous year.

Highlighting the bounce back in the second half of the year, P&H sales in the final quarter of 2020 were +11.9% higher than Q3 2020.  However, with Q4 having five fewer trading days, average sales a day (which take trading days into account) were up +21.3%. 

Cumulative year-to-date sales turned negative in March 2020, and fell sharply in both April (-17.8%) and May (-24.5%). Since then, sales have steadily improved, finishing down -13.2% on 2019 by the year end. 
PHMI trend data is indexed on the 12 months of 2019. The fourth quarter PHMI index (based on 2019 sales) was 103.4, making it the first quarter to exceed 100 in 2020. 
The ground-breaking research report is the first to analyse point of sales tracking data collated from a range of specialist plumbing and heating merchants with combined annual sales of £3bn, representing 75-80% of the total sales value of this market.  

Commenting on the launch, BMF CEO John Newcomb said: 

“Plumbing & Heating is an important segment within the overall building materials market, with an annual value of around £5.4bn.  While P&H sales through generalist merchants are reported in our established Builders Merchant Building Index, the majority of transactions are through specialist P&H merchants which have not previously been reported. The new Plumbing & Heating Index rectifies this and will deliver a far more accurate picture of sales activity in this segment.”

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

“With the crisis still in full swing and the roadmap to the end of lockdown recently announced, the launch of the Plumbing & Heating Index comes at an appropriate time. This will enhance visibility and shed light on an important part of the Trade sector which up until now has not been possible.”

The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.
 
PHMI Q4 2020 News
The BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market. The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

BMF Responds to Budget Statement


3 March 2021

BMF Responds to Budget StatementCommenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said:

“The Chancellor largely struck the right notes in announcing continued support for business as we move through the final stages of the coronavirus roadmap and plan for recovery.  

“We were particularly pleased that the Chancellor sought to support smaller businesses by recognising the need for continued furlough support and business rates discounts, which will help our SME members as they return to pre-covid levels of operation.  Similar extensions to self-employment grants will help small builders and other trades who form the main merchant customer base and ensure they are still in business to service the needs of homeowners helped by the new government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme and the extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday.

“We also welcome the announcement of a new UK Infrastructure Bank which was a key ask of our Construction Leadership Council colleagues, and noted the reference to investment by construction firms in the Chancellor’s announcement of his Super Deduction tax initiative.  Clearly, he is looking to the construction industry to help drive economic recovery.

“However, while the Chancellor spoke of the Government’s commitment to Green Growth, we were disappointed that this announcement did not include support for a National Retrofit Strategy.  This would not only upgrade the country’s housing stock to the highest levels of energy efficiency, but would also provide a platform to upskill the building trade with skills required both to retrofit existing homes and build low carbon new homes, helping to achieve the Government’s Net Zero ambition.”
 
BMF Responds to Budget Statement
Commenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said: " The Chancellor largely struck the right notes...

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020


25 February 2021

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published today (25 February 2021) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.  

The BMBI had previously reported a strong performance in Q3 with sales returning to near normal levels.  The positive trend continued in Q4 2020, with total builders’ merchants’ sales growth of +5.4% compared with Q4 2019, helped by one more trading day this year.  

The Q4 year-on-year increase was driven by strong performances in Landscaping (+22.9%), Timber & Joinery (+12.7%) and Heavy Building Materials (+4.3%).  Sales value growth in Timber & Joinery was predominantly driven by Timber, with the well documented stock shortages a key driver.  No other product category sold more in Q4 2020 than Q4 2019, with Plumbing, Heating and Electrical (-6.0%) the lowest performer.

There is normally a seasonal sales decline in Q4 and 2020 was no exception.  With five fewer trading days in Q4, total builders’ merchants’ sales were down by -10.8% compared to Q3 2020.  The average sales a day figure for Q4 (-3.4%) was also down on Q3.

Taking 2020 as a whole, total sales value was down by -10.7% on 2019.  Given the public’s focus on their gardens during the first lockdown, it is no surprise that Landscaping was the only category to show an annual increase in sales value (+5.4%), with Workwear and Safetywear (-0.1%) the next best performer.  The weakest annual results were found in the more lightside oriented categories with Tools (-20.2%), Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-19.1%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (-18.1%) and Decorating (-16.5%).

Commenting on the Q4 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:

“Given widespread site closures both at the start of the pandemic and for extended Christmas shut down periods, the continued year-on year growth seen in the final quarter of 2020 provides a positive indicator of the building industry’s recovery.  No doubt the Covid effect, including its impact on product availability, will be felt for some time to come. But the adaptability to enforced changes demonstrated by merchants and their trade customers over the past 12 months gives me a cautious degree of optimism for the coming year.”

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

“A final review of this year highlights just how well the sector has bounced back. During Q2 the economic outlook for the remainder of 2020 seemed perilous, but a combination of RMI activity plus relaxed restrictions in Q3, followed by Brexit uncertainty combined with anticipated stock shortages in Q4 turned the ship.  Taking all the above into consideration the final annual result of a -10.7% value declines seems a lot more palatable. 2021 now provides a realistic hope of a return to normality and an expected economic upswing.”
 
Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020
Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published 25 February 2021 in the BMF’s BMBI confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.

Supply issues impacting on construction sector 


26 January 2021

Supply issues impacting on construction sectorA shortage of construction products including roofing materials and timber is starting to impact on the building industry, according to a leading industry trade body.

The BMF - whose members represent a £38 billion slice of the construction industry supply chain – has received reports of August availability for some roofing products, while timber prices are surging by an average of 20 per cent.

Factors including high demand, coupled with escalating prices for shipping and delays at some British ports, are all having a major impact. 

John Newcomb is chief executive of the BMF and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group.

He said: “We’ve had a report of a merchant being quoted as far ahead as August availability for some roofing products, particularly pitched roof tiles.

“We are also facing significant issues with timber supplies. 

“Merchants have seen an exceptional demand for building materials since the first lockdown. 

“In November we saw an average growth of nine per cent across our membership compared to the same time last year.

“Looking at December’s figures, we are predicting that growth could be double digits, and that’s unprecedented.

“We know a number of roof tile manufacturers are taking extensive steps to meet this exceptional demand.

“Through the Construction Leadership Council, we are also working together with Government to address the issues we face, but it’s a complex situation with many different factors leading us into this position.”

The BMF is also looking into the massive surge in costs of building products shipped in containers from the Far East.

Mr Newcomb added: “As we reported late last year, we continue to see issues with the availability of products imported in containers, mainly from the Far East, such as screws and fixings, tools, plumbing items, bathroom suites and shower enclosures.

“Since then, the situation has only got worse. 

“Our members manufacture 76 per cent of building products in the UK. 

“However, we need to ensure access to these goods from around the world, to keep the industry running.”
 
Lakes Showering, a manufacturer and supplier of showering spaces, walk-ins and bath screens, is a family-owned business, based in Tewkesbury, which imports into the UK, via the China-Europe shipping route. 

Sales and Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, said: “We are facing a perfect storm caused by a number of factors, including a shortage of containers because of unprecedented demand, ships mothballed with their containers and crew, and carriers reluctant to take bookings for the UK because of the congestion at UK ports.

“The latest development is that we’ve found the shipping companies are not even quoting contract rates, it’s all based on spot pricing, where you get what’s available at a price, on that day. 

“Currently we are looking at the cost for a container of around $15,000. This time last year it was $2,100.

“We’ve even heard reports of costs going to $30,000, and that’s untenable. 

“It’s having a very serious impact and it’s a situation that’s getting rapidly worse.”
 
Supply issues impacting on construction sector
A shortage of construction products including roofing materials and timber is starting to impact on the building industry, according to a leading industry trade body.

Supply issues impacting on construction sector 


26 January 2021

Supply issues impacting on construction sectorA shortage of construction products including roofing materials and timber is starting to impact on the building industry, according to a leading industry trade body.

The BMF - whose members represent a £38 billion slice of the construction industry supply chain – has received reports of August availability for some roofing products, while timber prices are surging by an average of 20 per cent.

Factors including high demand, coupled with escalating prices for shipping and delays at some British ports, are all having a major impact. 

John Newcomb is chief executive of the BMF and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group.

He said: “We’ve had a report of a merchant being quoted as far ahead as August availability for some roofing products, particularly pitched roof tiles.

“We are also facing significant issues with timber supplies. 

“Merchants have seen an exceptional demand for building materials since the first lockdown. 

“In November we saw an average growth of nine per cent across our membership compared to the same time last year.

“Looking at December’s figures, we are predicting that growth could be double digits, and that’s unprecedented.

“We know a number of roof tile manufacturers are taking extensive steps to meet this exceptional demand.

“Through the Construction Leadership Council, we are also working together with Government to address the issues we face, but it’s a complex situation with many different factors leading us into this position.”

The BMF is also looking into the massive surge in costs of building products shipped in containers from the Far East.

Mr Newcomb added: “As we reported late last year, we continue to see issues with the availability of products imported in containers, mainly from the Far East, such as screws and fixings, tools, plumbing items, bathroom suites and shower enclosures.

“Since then, the situation has only got worse. 

“Our members manufacture 76 per cent of building products in the UK. 

“However, we need to ensure access to these goods from around the world, to keep the industry running.”
 
Lakes Showering, a manufacturer and supplier of showering spaces, walk-ins and bath screens, is a family-owned business, based in Tewkesbury, which imports into the UK, via the China-Europe shipping route. 

Sales and Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, said: “We are facing a perfect storm caused by a number of factors, including a shortage of containers because of unprecedented demand, ships mothballed with their containers and crew, and carriers reluctant to take bookings for the UK because of the congestion at UK ports.

“The latest development is that we’ve found the shipping companies are not even quoting contract rates, it’s all based on spot pricing, where you get what’s available at a price, on that day. 

“Currently we are looking at the cost for a container of around $15,000. This time last year it was $2,100.

“We’ve even heard reports of costs going to $30,000, and that’s untenable. 

“It’s having a very serious impact and it’s a situation that’s getting rapidly worse.”
 
Supply issues impacting on construction sector
A shortage of construction products including roofing materials and timber is starting to impact on the building industry, according to a leading industry trade body.

BMF builds evidence case on imported product availability for Government


15 December 2020

BMF builds evidence case on imported product availability for GovernmentThe BMF is collating reports from members on product availability issues relating to capacity problems at British ports and advising government on the impact this is having on the sector.

The current issues mainly relate to goods imported from the Far East, including  sanitaryware, power tools, screws and fixings, and timber products imported from Scandinavia where supplies of soft wood are under pressure due to increased demand worldwide.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, who co-chairs the Construction Leadership Council’s working group on product availability and the movement of goods and materials following Brexit, is in regular dialogue with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to share intelligence with relevant parties across Government. BEIS has relayed these discussions to the key relevant Departments, including the Department of Transport, which is monitoring the issue and increasing their engagement with the shipping industry.

John Newcomb said: “Pretty much all the availability issues at the moment are Covid-related and the result of factories closing and re-opening, along with the shortage of container capacity, which also flows from Covid. At the moment we view Brexit as a complicating factor rather than the main area of concern, but we have also raised the issue of the preparedness of UK ports and customs post-Brexit with our contacts at BEIS.”

John Newcomb added: “While shortages are not reported to be impacting sites yet, there are a lot of suppliers and merchants already flashing warning signs.  It takes only one material to be unavailable to impact work on site.”

The BMF has requested anyone experiencing delays or other issues with imported products to email details to John Newcomb directly, at john.newcomb@bmf.org.uk, as they continue to build an evidence case to present to Government.
 
BMF builds evidence case on imported product availability for Government
The BMF is collating reports from members on product availability issues relating to capacity problems at British ports and advising government on the impact this is having on the sector.

Construction trade body raises concerns over port capacity 


03 December 2020

A leading construction industry trade body is looking into claims that building products shipped in containers from the Far East are struggling to get to the UK.

The BMF - whose members represent a £38 billion slice of the construction industry supply chain – is acting on concerns raised over delays.   

John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group, has raised the issue with Government

Mr Newcomb said: “There is a concern over the availability of products imported in containers, mainly from the Far East, such as ironmongery, plumbing items, tools and natural stone.

“There appears to be an increasing issue getting these products through ports, with some ships being stopped from landing and sent back to Rotterdam.

“Rather than taking a maximum of one week to unload, it is taking up to four weeks.

“We’ve raised this matter with Government and asked about the readiness of ports and customs, as we head into Brexit.

“Our members manufacture 76 per cent of building products in the UK. 

“However, we need to ensure access to goods from around the world, to keep the industry running.”
 
A leading construction industry trade body is looking into claims that building products shipped in containers from the Far East are struggling to get to the UK.

Uncertainty looms for construction industry under no deal Brexit 

28 October 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New BMF Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index confirms 2020 second half recovery


3 March 2021

PHMI Q4 2020 NewsThe BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market.   The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

The first edition of the Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) analyses sales values through plumbing and heating outlets in Q4 2020, and provides an overview for the full year. 

Sales in Q4 2020 continued the bounce back from the low point in Q2. A direct comparison of Q4 sales in 2020 and 2019 found sales were down by just -0.4%, with one more trading day this year. 

Looking back, the impact of the first lockdown on 2020 Q2 results had seen year on year sales fall by -46.3% compared with Q2 2019. However, the start of the recovery was apparent in Q3 2020, where sales were down by -5.3% on the same period the previous year.

Highlighting the bounce back in the second half of the year, P&H sales in the final quarter of 2020 were +11.9% higher than Q3 2020.  However, with Q4 having five fewer trading days, average sales a day (which take trading days into account) were up +21.3%. 

Cumulative year-to-date sales turned negative in March 2020, and fell sharply in both April (-17.8%) and May (-24.5%). Since then, sales have steadily improved, finishing down -13.2% on 2019 by the year end. 
PHMI trend data is indexed on the 12 months of 2019. The fourth quarter PHMI index (based on 2019 sales) was 103.4, making it the first quarter to exceed 100 in 2020. 
The ground-breaking research report is the first to analyse point of sales tracking data collated from a range of specialist plumbing and heating merchants with combined annual sales of £3bn, representing 75-80% of the total sales value of this market.  

Commenting on the launch, BMF CEO John Newcomb said: 

“Plumbing & Heating is an important segment within the overall building materials market, with an annual value of around £5.4bn.  While P&H sales through generalist merchants are reported in our established Builders Merchant Building Index, the majority of transactions are through specialist P&H merchants which have not previously been reported. The new Plumbing & Heating Index rectifies this and will deliver a far more accurate picture of sales activity in this segment.”

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

“With the crisis still in full swing and the roadmap to the end of lockdown recently announced, the launch of the Plumbing & Heating Index comes at an appropriate time. This will enhance visibility and shed light on an important part of the Trade sector which up until now has not been possible.”

The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.
 
PHMI Q4 2020 News
The BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market. The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

BMF Responds to Budget Statement


3 March 2021

BMF Responds to Budget StatementCommenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said:

“The Chancellor largely struck the right notes in announcing continued support for business as we move through the final stages of the coronavirus roadmap and plan for recovery.  

“We were particularly pleased that the Chancellor sought to support smaller businesses by recognising the need for continued furlough support and business rates discounts, which will help our SME members as they return to pre-covid levels of operation.  Similar extensions to self-employment grants will help small builders and other trades who form the main merchant customer base and ensure they are still in business to service the needs of homeowners helped by the new government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme and the extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday.

“We also welcome the announcement of a new UK Infrastructure Bank which was a key ask of our Construction Leadership Council colleagues, and noted the reference to investment by construction firms in the Chancellor’s announcement of his Super Deduction tax initiative.  Clearly, he is looking to the construction industry to help drive economic recovery.

“However, while the Chancellor spoke of the Government’s commitment to Green Growth, we were disappointed that this announcement did not include support for a National Retrofit Strategy.  This would not only upgrade the country’s housing stock to the highest levels of energy efficiency, but would also provide a platform to upskill the building trade with skills required both to retrofit existing homes and build low carbon new homes, helping to achieve the Government’s Net Zero ambition.”
 
BMF Responds to Budget Statement
Commenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said: " The Chancellor largely struck the right notes...

BMF All Industry Conference moves to November date


1 March 2021

BMF All Industry Conference moves to November dateWith national lockdown restrictions scheduled to be lifted on 21 June, the BMF has confirmed a change of date for the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference, which will now be held from 4-7 November 2021.

The Conference venues in Harrogate and York remain the same and the full programme will be confirmed as soon as possible. 
 
The November event is set to go with a bang.  As the Conference now falls on 5 November it is only fitting that it will take place in York, the birthplace of Guy Fawkes whose gunpowder, treason and plot made an explosive contribution to our national history.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The safety and wellbeing of conference delegates has always been our priority and we cannot run the BMF All Industry Conference on the original dates in June.   Although this is traditionally a summer conference, we were determined to hold the 2021 event later in the year and have taken other major industry events into account in planning the new date.”

The headline sponsor of the BMF All Industry Conference for the second year is the Crystal Group.  Other key sponsors include ACO, BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Knauf Insulation, Marshalls, Marsh Industries, Rockwool, SIG and Xtratherm.
 
BMF All Industry Conference moves to November date
With national lockdown restrictions scheduled to be lifted on 21 June, the BMF has confirmed a change of date for the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference, which will now be held from 4-7 November 2021.

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020


25 February 2021

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published today (25 February 2021) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.  

The BMBI had previously reported a strong performance in Q3 with sales returning to near normal levels.  The positive trend continued in Q4 2020, with total builders’ merchants’ sales growth of +5.4% compared with Q4 2019, helped by one more trading day this year.  

The Q4 year-on-year increase was driven by strong performances in Landscaping (+22.9%), Timber & Joinery (+12.7%) and Heavy Building Materials (+4.3%).  Sales value growth in Timber & Joinery was predominantly driven by Timber, with the well documented stock shortages a key driver.  No other product category sold more in Q4 2020 than Q4 2019, with Plumbing, Heating and Electrical (-6.0%) the lowest performer.

There is normally a seasonal sales decline in Q4 and 2020 was no exception.  With five fewer trading days in Q4, total builders’ merchants’ sales were down by -10.8% compared to Q3 2020.  The average sales a day figure for Q4 (-3.4%) was also down on Q3.

Taking 2020 as a whole, total sales value was down by -10.7% on 2019.  Given the public’s focus on their gardens during the first lockdown, it is no surprise that Landscaping was the only category to show an annual increase in sales value (+5.4%), with Workwear and Safetywear (-0.1%) the next best performer.  The weakest annual results were found in the more lightside oriented categories with Tools (-20.2%), Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-19.1%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (-18.1%) and Decorating (-16.5%).

Commenting on the Q4 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:

“Given widespread site closures both at the start of the pandemic and for extended Christmas shut down periods, the continued year-on year growth seen in the final quarter of 2020 provides a positive indicator of the building industry’s recovery.  No doubt the Covid effect, including its impact on product availability, will be felt for some time to come. But the adaptability to enforced changes demonstrated by merchants and their trade customers over the past 12 months gives me a cautious degree of optimism for the coming year.”

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

“A final review of this year highlights just how well the sector has bounced back. During Q2 the economic outlook for the remainder of 2020 seemed perilous, but a combination of RMI activity plus relaxed restrictions in Q3, followed by Brexit uncertainty combined with anticipated stock shortages in Q4 turned the ship.  Taking all the above into consideration the final annual result of a -10.7% value declines seems a lot more palatable. 2021 now provides a realistic hope of a return to normality and an expected economic upswing.”
 
Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020
Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published 25 February 2021 in the BMF’s BMBI confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.

New BMF Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index confirms 2020 second half recovery


3 March 2021

PHMI Q4 2020 NewsThe BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market.   The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

The first edition of the Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) analyses sales values through plumbing and heating outlets in Q4 2020, and provides an overview for the full year. 

Sales in Q4 2020 continued the bounce back from the low point in Q2. A direct comparison of Q4 sales in 2020 and 2019 found sales were down by just -0.4%, with one more trading day this year. 

Looking back, the impact of the first lockdown on 2020 Q2 results had seen year on year sales fall by -46.3% compared with Q2 2019. However, the start of the recovery was apparent in Q3 2020, where sales were down by -5.3% on the same period the previous year.

Highlighting the bounce back in the second half of the year, P&H sales in the final quarter of 2020 were +11.9% higher than Q3 2020.  However, with Q4 having five fewer trading days, average sales a day (which take trading days into account) were up +21.3%. 

Cumulative year-to-date sales turned negative in March 2020, and fell sharply in both April (-17.8%) and May (-24.5%). Since then, sales have steadily improved, finishing down -13.2% on 2019 by the year end. 
PHMI trend data is indexed on the 12 months of 2019. The fourth quarter PHMI index (based on 2019 sales) was 103.4, making it the first quarter to exceed 100 in 2020. 
The ground-breaking research report is the first to analyse point of sales tracking data collated from a range of specialist plumbing and heating merchants with combined annual sales of £3bn, representing 75-80% of the total sales value of this market.  

Commenting on the launch, BMF CEO John Newcomb said: 

“Plumbing & Heating is an important segment within the overall building materials market, with an annual value of around £5.4bn.  While P&H sales through generalist merchants are reported in our established Builders Merchant Building Index, the majority of transactions are through specialist P&H merchants which have not previously been reported. The new Plumbing & Heating Index rectifies this and will deliver a far more accurate picture of sales activity in this segment.”

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

“With the crisis still in full swing and the roadmap to the end of lockdown recently announced, the launch of the Plumbing & Heating Index comes at an appropriate time. This will enhance visibility and shed light on an important part of the Trade sector which up until now has not been possible.”

The data for the PHMI is taken solely from P&H specialists, including City Plumbing Supplies, Graham, James Hargreaves Plumbing Deport, PTS and Wolseley, who form part of GfK’s Plumbing & Heating Merchants Panel, and there is no overlap or double counting between the PHMI and the BMF’s established Builders Merchants Building Index which analyses sales at generalist merchants.
 
PHMI Q4 2020 News
The BMF in partnership with MRA Research and GfK has launched a new statistical report focused exclusively on the plumbing and heating market. The new Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index sets the gold standard in reliable market trends.

BMF Responds to Budget Statement


3 March 2021

BMF Responds to Budget StatementCommenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said:

“The Chancellor largely struck the right notes in announcing continued support for business as we move through the final stages of the coronavirus roadmap and plan for recovery.  

“We were particularly pleased that the Chancellor sought to support smaller businesses by recognising the need for continued furlough support and business rates discounts, which will help our SME members as they return to pre-covid levels of operation.  Similar extensions to self-employment grants will help small builders and other trades who form the main merchant customer base and ensure they are still in business to service the needs of homeowners helped by the new government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme and the extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday.

“We also welcome the announcement of a new UK Infrastructure Bank which was a key ask of our Construction Leadership Council colleagues, and noted the reference to investment by construction firms in the Chancellor’s announcement of his Super Deduction tax initiative.  Clearly, he is looking to the construction industry to help drive economic recovery.

“However, while the Chancellor spoke of the Government’s commitment to Green Growth, we were disappointed that this announcement did not include support for a National Retrofit Strategy.  This would not only upgrade the country’s housing stock to the highest levels of energy efficiency, but would also provide a platform to upskill the building trade with skills required both to retrofit existing homes and build low carbon new homes, helping to achieve the Government’s Net Zero ambition.”
 
BMF Responds to Budget Statement
Commenting on today’s Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said: " The Chancellor largely struck the right notes...

BMF All Industry Conference moves to November date


1 March 2021

BMF All Industry Conference moves to November dateWith national lockdown restrictions scheduled to be lifted on 21 June, the BMF has confirmed a change of date for the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference, which will now be held from 4-7 November 2021.

The Conference venues in Harrogate and York remain the same and the full programme will be confirmed as soon as possible. 
 
The November event is set to go with a bang.  As the Conference now falls on 5 November it is only fitting that it will take place in York, the birthplace of Guy Fawkes whose gunpowder, treason and plot made an explosive contribution to our national history.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The safety and wellbeing of conference delegates has always been our priority and we cannot run the BMF All Industry Conference on the original dates in June.   Although this is traditionally a summer conference, we were determined to hold the 2021 event later in the year and have taken other major industry events into account in planning the new date.”

The headline sponsor of the BMF All Industry Conference for the second year is the Crystal Group.  Other key sponsors include ACO, BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Knauf Insulation, Marshalls, Marsh Industries, Rockwool, SIG and Xtratherm.
 
BMF All Industry Conference moves to November date
With national lockdown restrictions scheduled to be lifted on 21 June, the BMF has confirmed a change of date for the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference, which will now be held from 4-7 November 2021.

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020


25 February 2021

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published today (25 February 2021) in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.  

The BMBI had previously reported a strong performance in Q3 with sales returning to near normal levels.  The positive trend continued in Q4 2020, with total builders’ merchants’ sales growth of +5.4% compared with Q4 2019, helped by one more trading day this year.  

The Q4 year-on-year increase was driven by strong performances in Landscaping (+22.9%), Timber & Joinery (+12.7%) and Heavy Building Materials (+4.3%).  Sales value growth in Timber & Joinery was predominantly driven by Timber, with the well documented stock shortages a key driver.  No other product category sold more in Q4 2020 than Q4 2019, with Plumbing, Heating and Electrical (-6.0%) the lowest performer.

There is normally a seasonal sales decline in Q4 and 2020 was no exception.  With five fewer trading days in Q4, total builders’ merchants’ sales were down by -10.8% compared to Q3 2020.  The average sales a day figure for Q4 (-3.4%) was also down on Q3.

Taking 2020 as a whole, total sales value was down by -10.7% on 2019.  Given the public’s focus on their gardens during the first lockdown, it is no surprise that Landscaping was the only category to show an annual increase in sales value (+5.4%), with Workwear and Safetywear (-0.1%) the next best performer.  The weakest annual results were found in the more lightside oriented categories with Tools (-20.2%), Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-19.1%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (-18.1%) and Decorating (-16.5%).

Commenting on the Q4 sales data, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:

“Given widespread site closures both at the start of the pandemic and for extended Christmas shut down periods, the continued year-on year growth seen in the final quarter of 2020 provides a positive indicator of the building industry’s recovery.  No doubt the Covid effect, including its impact on product availability, will be felt for some time to come. But the adaptability to enforced changes demonstrated by merchants and their trade customers over the past 12 months gives me a cautious degree of optimism for the coming year.”

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

“A final review of this year highlights just how well the sector has bounced back. During Q2 the economic outlook for the remainder of 2020 seemed perilous, but a combination of RMI activity plus relaxed restrictions in Q3, followed by Brexit uncertainty combined with anticipated stock shortages in Q4 turned the ship.  Taking all the above into consideration the final annual result of a -10.7% value declines seems a lot more palatable. 2021 now provides a realistic hope of a return to normality and an expected economic upswing.”
 
Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020
Figures for the final quarter of 2020 published 25 February 2021 in the BMF’s BMBI confirm the sector’s continued bounce back from the April lockdown which led to a dramatic decline in sales during Q2.
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