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The BMF runs a wide range of training and skills development for employees of merchants, distributors and suppliers, from yard staff to company directors. Training ranges from online product knowledge to specialist skills training.

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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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Mastermerchant
10-12 July 2020

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Mastermerchant
10-12 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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Latest News



Here are the latest news stories from the BMF

BMF expands team with two key appointments


29 November 2021


The Builders Merchants Federation has further strengthened its in-house team with two key appointments.  

Kerry Wilson takes up her post as Learning and Development Manager on Monday 29th November, the same day as Daniel Hodder joins as Policy and Public Affairs Advisor.

Kerry’s appointment coincides with the BMF’s appointment of LEAP as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeship Plus service. As Learning and Development Manager, Kerry will champion and manage the enhanced service, helping to promote and support apprenticeship growth for the long-term benefit of the merchant sector.

Kerry joins the BMF from Travis Perkins, where she was a Lead Apprenticeship Coach, creating and facilitating learner management and delivery as well as mentoring and coaching Apprentices.  Prior to this, Kerry spent 15 years at Boots Opticians as Learning Hub Manager.

As Policy and Public Affairs Advisor, Daniel Hodder will work closely with CEO John Newcomb and longstanding Policy and Public Affairs Officer Brett Amphlett to help strengthen the BMF’s relationships and influence with government.

Daniel, who has an Honours Degree in Politics and International Relations and a Master’s Degree in International Security Studies, previously worked as a Policy Advisor at the Almshouse Association.

Commenting on the appointments, John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF said: “These appointments will strengthen our resources in support of two key themes identified as part of our latest strategic review - developing the role we play in attracting and retaining talent in the industry and helping to build awareness and influence with government.”

The Builders Merchants Federation has further strengthened its in-house team with two key appointments.

P&H Merchant sales continue year-on-year growth


25 November 2021

The Builders Merchants Federation’s latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index reveals that sales through specialist plumbing merchants during the third quarter of 2021 were higher than the same quarter in both 2020 and 2019.
Sales in Q3 2021 increased by +7.3% compared Q3 2020, with one less trading day this year.  

Looking back to Q3 2019, pre-Covid, finds total sales up by +1.7% in July to September 2021, again with one less trading day this year.

However, the quarter on quarter comparison for the current year show Q3 sales were -0.4% lower than Q2 2021, with three more trading days in Q3.

Total sales in the last 12-month period were +17.6% ahead of the previous 12 months (October 2019 to September 2020) with one less trading day in the most recent period.

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.
 
The Builders Merchants Federation’s latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index reveals that sales through specialist plumbing merchants during the third quarter of 2021 were higher than the same quarter in both 2020 and 2019.

BMF Apprenticeships LEAP forward

 23 November 2021

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has appointed LEAP, the Apprenticeship delivery team to the Travis Perkins Group, as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeships Plus service with effect from 1 January 2022. 

LEAP stands for Learn as you Earn Apprenticeship Programmes and they have a unique expertise working exclusively in the construction supply sector. Each programme is designed around the specialist needs of the sector to help all learners reach their full potential.  Programmes are delivered by the award winning training team and every apprentice is supported, from day one, by an Apprentice Coach to build their skills, knowledge and behaviours to help them develop their career.

LEAP will provide a seamless end-to-end recruitment and training service that will significantly enhance the BMF Apprenticeship Plus offer. 

To coincide with LEAP’s appointment, the BMF is recruiting a full-time Learning and Development Manager to champion and manage the improved Apprenticeship Plus offer.

There are already over 1,000 apprentices enrolled onto a LEAP programme from both within the Travis Perkins Group and from other businesses in the sector including City Plumbing Supplies, Plumbing Trade Supplies and Wickes. With the current intake being 40% female and 60% male, Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity to nurture a more diverse workforce within the industry.

LEAP will be delivering  12 Apprenticeship programmes for the BMF from Level 2 to Level 5 including; Trade Supplier, Hire Controller, Fitted Furniture Design Technician (Kitchens and Bathrooms), Sales and Management. The quality of training is evident with 85% of learners achieving a Merit or Distinction. As well as their apprenticeship programmes LEAP will be working with BMF to develop a suite of early career programmes to help education leavers and career changers to join the sector. 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said:

“We are delighted to be working with LEAP from next year.  The BMF Apprenticeship Plus service promotes diversity, encouraging merchants to bring more young people into the industry by taking away the administrative burdens.  With a proven merchant track record, and a full UK reach, LEAP will significantly expand and enrich our service offer to all merchant members, helping us to promote and support apprenticeship growth for the long term benefit of our sector.”

Andy Rayner from the LEAP team said:

“Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 LEAP have developed a unique capability in delivering Apprenticeship and Early Careers programmes in the construction supply sector. These programmes are used by both colleagues joining the sector for the first time and those already in the sector looking to develop their careers. We are delighted that we can now offer these programmes to employees of the BMF’s member organisations helping to develop the next generation for the construction supply sector.
 
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has appointed LEAP, the Apprenticeship delivery team to the Travis Perkins Group, as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeships Plus service with effect from 1 January 2022.

Prime Minister’s visit puts the work of builders’ merchants centre stage

 

18 November 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw first-hand the crucial role builders’ merchants play in the national economy, and how they can support a more sustainable future, with a fact-finding visit to Travis Perkins in his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Mr Johnson was given a tour of the Travis Perkins’ branch in South Ruislip to get a strategic and operational understanding of the industry.

Frank Elkins, Chief Operating Officer of Travis Perkins plc introduced the Prime Minister to branch colleagues, among them, some of the nearly 1000 apprentices the Group has enrolled on programmes across the Group.

Mr Elkins said, “As the industry’s leading Apprenticeship and Kickstart placements provider we outlined how these placements are supporting both the economic recovery, the development of our talent pipeline but also an opportunity to improve diversity and skills across our industry”.

“I was also really proud to showcase how we work with our customers to meet their evolving needs. As a ConstructZero Business Champion with ambitious carbon reduction targets I explained the role we have in working with customers and suppliers, sharing data and ideas to make progress on the decarbonisation and modernisation of our industry.”

During his visit, Mr Johnson climbed into the cab of a fully-electric 27 tonne CCF insulation lorry and heard how Travis Perkins is starting to prepare for a time when his Government will ban the sale of new petrol & diesel LGVs and HGVs.

The visit was organised by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) as part of its industry and parliament programme, to highlight the vital role played by builders’ merchants in the construction supply chain.

John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF, gave the Prime Minister an overview of how its members, which include Travis Perkins, perform an essential function in distributing construction materials and home improvement products across the UK. He also explained how the industry is actively embracing a more sustainable focus.

With the UNCOP26 Climate Conference fresh in mind, the Prime Minister discussed the importance of decarbonising buildings and electrifying heating and transport with Frank Elkins and John Newcomb, who also updated the PM on the Construction Leadership Council’s National Retrofit Strategy.  BMF members will play a central role in this 20-year fully-costed plan to improve existing homes.

Mr Newcomb said: “We were delighted to show to the Prime Minister how our members can support a more sustainable future. It was a particularly timely visit, with the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference taking place”.

“Low or zero-carbon products are crucial in the building and home improvement industries to drive down emissions. We were able to demonstrate to the Prime Minister that the building supply chain is the most efficient route-to-market for these products”.

“BMF members provide the materials, products and expertise needed to de-carbonise our homes. Fitting energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures in properties will be key to achieving sustainability goals.”
 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw first-hand the crucial role builders’ merchants play in the national economy, and how they can support a more sustainable future, with a fact-finding visit to Travis Perkins in his constituency of Uxbridge and South R

BMF expands team with two key appointments


29 November 2021


The Builders Merchants Federation has further strengthened its in-house team with two key appointments.  

Kerry Wilson takes up her post as Learning and Development Manager on Monday 29th November, the same day as Daniel Hodder joins as Policy and Public Affairs Advisor.

Kerry’s appointment coincides with the BMF’s appointment of LEAP as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeship Plus service. As Learning and Development Manager, Kerry will champion and manage the enhanced service, helping to promote and support apprenticeship growth for the long-term benefit of the merchant sector.

Kerry joins the BMF from Travis Perkins, where she was a Lead Apprenticeship Coach, creating and facilitating learner management and delivery as well as mentoring and coaching Apprentices.  Prior to this, Kerry spent 15 years at Boots Opticians as Learning Hub Manager.

As Policy and Public Affairs Advisor, Daniel Hodder will work closely with CEO John Newcomb and longstanding Policy and Public Affairs Officer Brett Amphlett to help strengthen the BMF’s relationships and influence with government.

Daniel, who has an Honours Degree in Politics and International Relations and a Master’s Degree in International Security Studies, previously worked as a Policy Advisor at the Almshouse Association.

Commenting on the appointments, John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF said: “These appointments will strengthen our resources in support of two key themes identified as part of our latest strategic review - developing the role we play in attracting and retaining talent in the industry and helping to build awareness and influence with government.”

The Builders Merchants Federation has further strengthened its in-house team with two key appointments.

P&H Merchant sales continue year-on-year growth


25 November 2021

The Builders Merchants Federation’s latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index reveals that sales through specialist plumbing merchants during the third quarter of 2021 were higher than the same quarter in both 2020 and 2019.
Sales in Q3 2021 increased by +7.3% compared Q3 2020, with one less trading day this year.  

Looking back to Q3 2019, pre-Covid, finds total sales up by +1.7% in July to September 2021, again with one less trading day this year.

However, the quarter on quarter comparison for the current year show Q3 sales were -0.4% lower than Q2 2021, with three more trading days in Q3.

Total sales in the last 12-month period were +17.6% ahead of the previous 12 months (October 2019 to September 2020) with one less trading day in the most recent period.

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.
 
The Builders Merchants Federation’s latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index reveals that sales through specialist plumbing merchants during the third quarter of 2021 were higher than the same quarter in both 2020 and 2019.

BMF Apprenticeships LEAP forward

 23 November 2021

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has appointed LEAP, the Apprenticeship delivery team to the Travis Perkins Group, as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeships Plus service with effect from 1 January 2022. 

LEAP stands for Learn as you Earn Apprenticeship Programmes and they have a unique expertise working exclusively in the construction supply sector. Each programme is designed around the specialist needs of the sector to help all learners reach their full potential.  Programmes are delivered by the award winning training team and every apprentice is supported, from day one, by an Apprentice Coach to build their skills, knowledge and behaviours to help them develop their career.

LEAP will provide a seamless end-to-end recruitment and training service that will significantly enhance the BMF Apprenticeship Plus offer. 

To coincide with LEAP’s appointment, the BMF is recruiting a full-time Learning and Development Manager to champion and manage the improved Apprenticeship Plus offer.

There are already over 1,000 apprentices enrolled onto a LEAP programme from both within the Travis Perkins Group and from other businesses in the sector including City Plumbing Supplies, Plumbing Trade Supplies and Wickes. With the current intake being 40% female and 60% male, Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity to nurture a more diverse workforce within the industry.

LEAP will be delivering  12 Apprenticeship programmes for the BMF from Level 2 to Level 5 including; Trade Supplier, Hire Controller, Fitted Furniture Design Technician (Kitchens and Bathrooms), Sales and Management. The quality of training is evident with 85% of learners achieving a Merit or Distinction. As well as their apprenticeship programmes LEAP will be working with BMF to develop a suite of early career programmes to help education leavers and career changers to join the sector. 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said:

“We are delighted to be working with LEAP from next year.  The BMF Apprenticeship Plus service promotes diversity, encouraging merchants to bring more young people into the industry by taking away the administrative burdens.  With a proven merchant track record, and a full UK reach, LEAP will significantly expand and enrich our service offer to all merchant members, helping us to promote and support apprenticeship growth for the long term benefit of our sector.”

Andy Rayner from the LEAP team said:

“Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 LEAP have developed a unique capability in delivering Apprenticeship and Early Careers programmes in the construction supply sector. These programmes are used by both colleagues joining the sector for the first time and those already in the sector looking to develop their careers. We are delighted that we can now offer these programmes to employees of the BMF’s member organisations helping to develop the next generation for the construction supply sector.
 
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has appointed LEAP, the Apprenticeship delivery team to the Travis Perkins Group, as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeships Plus service with effect from 1 January 2022.

Prime Minister’s visit puts the work of builders’ merchants centre stage

 

18 November 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw first-hand the crucial role builders’ merchants play in the national economy, and how they can support a more sustainable future, with a fact-finding visit to Travis Perkins in his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Mr Johnson was given a tour of the Travis Perkins’ branch in South Ruislip to get a strategic and operational understanding of the industry.

Frank Elkins, Chief Operating Officer of Travis Perkins plc introduced the Prime Minister to branch colleagues, among them, some of the nearly 1000 apprentices the Group has enrolled on programmes across the Group.

Mr Elkins said, “As the industry’s leading Apprenticeship and Kickstart placements provider we outlined how these placements are supporting both the economic recovery, the development of our talent pipeline but also an opportunity to improve diversity and skills across our industry”.

“I was also really proud to showcase how we work with our customers to meet their evolving needs. As a ConstructZero Business Champion with ambitious carbon reduction targets I explained the role we have in working with customers and suppliers, sharing data and ideas to make progress on the decarbonisation and modernisation of our industry.”

During his visit, Mr Johnson climbed into the cab of a fully-electric 27 tonne CCF insulation lorry and heard how Travis Perkins is starting to prepare for a time when his Government will ban the sale of new petrol & diesel LGVs and HGVs.

The visit was organised by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) as part of its industry and parliament programme, to highlight the vital role played by builders’ merchants in the construction supply chain.

John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF, gave the Prime Minister an overview of how its members, which include Travis Perkins, perform an essential function in distributing construction materials and home improvement products across the UK. He also explained how the industry is actively embracing a more sustainable focus.

With the UNCOP26 Climate Conference fresh in mind, the Prime Minister discussed the importance of decarbonising buildings and electrifying heating and transport with Frank Elkins and John Newcomb, who also updated the PM on the Construction Leadership Council’s National Retrofit Strategy.  BMF members will play a central role in this 20-year fully-costed plan to improve existing homes.

Mr Newcomb said: “We were delighted to show to the Prime Minister how our members can support a more sustainable future. It was a particularly timely visit, with the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference taking place”.

“Low or zero-carbon products are crucial in the building and home improvement industries to drive down emissions. We were able to demonstrate to the Prime Minister that the building supply chain is the most efficient route-to-market for these products”.

“BMF members provide the materials, products and expertise needed to de-carbonise our homes. Fitting energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures in properties will be key to achieving sustainability goals.”
 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw first-hand the crucial role builders’ merchants play in the national economy, and how they can support a more sustainable future, with a fact-finding visit to Travis Perkins in his constituency of Uxbridge and South R

New team elected to head BMF Young Merchants


18 October 2021

Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to replace Jo as Vice Chair.

Jo takes over from Glenn Paddison, who completed his term as Chair at the BMF Young Merchant Conference held this year at the NEC, Birmingham during National Construction Week and attended by 150 people.

Jo has been an active member of the Young Merchant Group for seven years, serving as Vice Chair since 2018.  She joined the Group after winning the BMF Young Supplier Achiever Award in 2014, just a year after she entered the building materials industry as a member of Knauf Insulation’s Merchant Support Team. Jo continued to work closely with merchants in her subsequent roles at Knauf Insulation as Area Sales Manager and National Merchant Support Manager. She was promoted to her current role in 2020.  
 
Jo is keen to continue developing the BMF Young Merchant’s work and influence. She said:

“I am delighted and honoured to take on the role of Chair and looking forward to working with Ed to build on all that Glenn achieved during his chairmanship. The current drive to achieve net zero makes this a particularly exciting time, offering even more opportunities for young people entering the industry. I know from my own experience how the interaction within the Young Merchant Group helps members as they build their careers. Our focus will be on delivering quality events to support this.”

Vice Chair, Ed Parlato, is currently involved in the purchasing side of Browns an independent, family run merchants in Derby, but has tackled many other roles in the business over the years. He is also part of the NBG Category Management team for tools and workwear.

Commenting on his appointment as Vice Chair, Ed said:

“The Young Merchant group has grown enormously in the past few years. When I first joined there were 20 people at the meeting, the latest Conference had over 150. Every Chair has built on the work of the last and I’m looking forward to working with Jo and supporting her over the next two years, and I will be listening to members of the group to make sure their views are represented. If the last 18 months has shown us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. I always marvel at the intelligence and creativity of all the people in Young Merchants, and I hope I can capture part of that to share with the wider industry.”

The BMF Young Merchant Group supports merchants and suppliers aged between 18 and 40 in their career development. Membership is open to those holding a key management position within their organisation. They benefit from twice yearly meetings and networking events, and an annual fact-finding trip, normally overseas.

For further information on the BMF Young Merchant Group contact [email protected]
 
Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to rep

Hundreds of Travis Perkins apprentices join IoBM 


06 October 2021

Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IOBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

More than 800 Travis Perkins apprentices joined the IOBM on 1 October 2021. New apprentices joining Travis Perkins will also be given the opportunity to join the Institute.

Student members benefit from the IOBM’s role as an independent accreditation body and its structured framework for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Bi-annual conferences for student members are also planned and due to begin in autumn 2022.

Unlike most employers, Travis Perkins is an accredited provider of apprenticeships with over 40 apprenticeship programmes on offer, suited to a wide range of candidates. These include existing employees who want to develop their skills or build expertise in other areas as they progress to new roles, as well as those joining the industry, either from school or university or migrating over to an apprenticeship having joined the business from the Government’s Kickstarter programme, or those switching from a former occupation and joining the sector later in their careers.

Andy Rayner, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers for Travis Perkins Group, said:

“We pride ourselves on providing a full range of apprenticeships from the branch counter to the Boardroom. Our apprenticeships are designed to support existing employees as well as individuals with no prior knowledge of our industry or our business, to give them the skills they need to become valued colleagues.  

“This is very much in line with the ethos of the IOBM and by introducing our apprentices to the Institute as student members, they will be able to assess how active membership can support them as they continue to develop their careers. We asked our 1,000 apprentices if they wanted to become members of the IOBM and we were delighted that the vast majority did.”

Announcing the news at the Builders Merchants Federation’s Young Merchant Conference, BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“The IOBM Management Committee set a membership target of 1,000 new members by the end of the year. With the support of Travis Perkins, we will achieve this by the end of October. 

“It is particularly encouraging to see the largest builders’ merchant in the UK bringing such a significant number of new recruits to the industry into membership. Through accreditation and CPD the IOBM has set out a pathway to professionalism in the merchanting industry which can support them through their entire career. We hope others will now follow this example.”

The IOBM merged with the BMF earlier this year and operates as a separate brand of the BMF, with its own management body. The IOBM has a clear aim to become a Chartered Institute, supporting the highest standards of professionalism within the industry.  
 
Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IoBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

Haulage a priority for BMF


3 September 2021

Haulage a priority for BMFNew data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK. 

A snap survey of BMF members found 67% of builders’ merchant respondents and 86% of supplier respondents are affected by haulage issues, citing it as their number one concern.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“Haulage, and in particular the shortage of HGV drivers, has become our industry’s number one concern, and the results of our member survey have been fed into discussions between the transport industry and government.

“Some suppliers are reporting that the standard five-day lead time has more than doubled. In some cases, we are even seeing increases of up to four weeks. We have heard reports that suppliers are asking merchants to collect orders as they cannot get enough drivers to complete deliveries.

“Driver recruitment is the main challenge. Both suppliers and merchants are prepared to recruit or retrain existing staff as drivers, but there are limited opportunities for training and testing.  They want more testing to be made available to help get new HGV drivers on the road.”

The issue is not confined to the building materials industry.  The Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have contributed to haulage challenges, with transport industry bodies estimating a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, with an estimated 15,000 lost following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Logistics UK’s May 2021 tracker survey found 61% of respondents considered recruitment of HGV drivers to be a ‘severe’ or ‘very severe’ challenge, while 50% cited the availability of testing as a ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’ barrier to recovery.

John Newcomb added: 

“Builders merchants have done a fantastic job managing product demand and supply in the face of high global demand and reduced capacity resulting from the pandemic. Haulage is the latest challenge and our top priority.  We are doing everything we can to assist discussions between the freight industry and government as they seek to agree both short and long term solutions.”
 
Haulage a priority for BMF
New data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK.

Leadership, diversity and performance to the fore at BMF All Industry Conference 

4 August 2021

Nicky Moffat CBE, who was Britain’s highest ranking female Army officer, retiring as a Brigadier after almost 30 years of service, is the latest speaker to be confirmed for the BMF All Industry Conference in November.

Nicky’s expertise and insights as a leader are drawn from roles as a Recruitment Training Commander, Training Regiment Commander and Director of her Branch of the Army. Throughout, she led diverse mission-focused groups in an organisation both steeped in tradition but subject to rapid and significant changes of policy, technology and resources.

In her largest command, as brigadier, she led some 4,500 soldiers within the Army’s personnel and finance function. More broadly, Nicky served in strategy, policy, career management and finance roles in the Army’s Personnel Centre, Army Headquarters and the Ministry of Defence.

She oversaw the Armed Forces Workforce Planning and Pay Review Programmes, focusing on recruitment, retention and on valuing and supporting service personnel financially for their work on operations.

She also advised Army board members on the retention and progression of female talent, with a view to developing a more inclusive high-performing culture. In 2012, Nicky left the Army to set up What Good Leadership Looks Like. She now helps companies develop their people and make transformative and sustainable improvements in leadership and culture.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “Nicky will give her perspective on the role of strong leadership in driving inclusive change and optimum performance, in what promises to be another fascinating session at the much -anticipated BMF All Industry Conference.”

The sold-out, dual-centre BMF All Industry Conference is due to take place in Harrogate and York from 4 to 7 November 2021. Further details are available on the Conference website, www.bmfconference.co.uk The headline sponsor 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.
Nicky Moffat CBE, who was Britain’s highest ranking female Army officer, retiring as a Brigadier after almost 30 years of service, is the latest speaker to be confirmed for the BMF All Industry Conference in November.

New team elected to head BMF Young Merchants


18 October 2021

Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to replace Jo as Vice Chair.

Jo takes over from Glenn Paddison, who completed his term as Chair at the BMF Young Merchant Conference held this year at the NEC, Birmingham during National Construction Week and attended by 150 people.

Jo has been an active member of the Young Merchant Group for seven years, serving as Vice Chair since 2018.  She joined the Group after winning the BMF Young Supplier Achiever Award in 2014, just a year after she entered the building materials industry as a member of Knauf Insulation’s Merchant Support Team. Jo continued to work closely with merchants in her subsequent roles at Knauf Insulation as Area Sales Manager and National Merchant Support Manager. She was promoted to her current role in 2020.  
 
Jo is keen to continue developing the BMF Young Merchant’s work and influence. She said:

“I am delighted and honoured to take on the role of Chair and looking forward to working with Ed to build on all that Glenn achieved during his chairmanship. The current drive to achieve net zero makes this a particularly exciting time, offering even more opportunities for young people entering the industry. I know from my own experience how the interaction within the Young Merchant Group helps members as they build their careers. Our focus will be on delivering quality events to support this.”

Vice Chair, Ed Parlato, is currently involved in the purchasing side of Browns an independent, family run merchants in Derby, but has tackled many other roles in the business over the years. He is also part of the NBG Category Management team for tools and workwear.

Commenting on his appointment as Vice Chair, Ed said:

“The Young Merchant group has grown enormously in the past few years. When I first joined there were 20 people at the meeting, the latest Conference had over 150. Every Chair has built on the work of the last and I’m looking forward to working with Jo and supporting her over the next two years, and I will be listening to members of the group to make sure their views are represented. If the last 18 months has shown us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. I always marvel at the intelligence and creativity of all the people in Young Merchants, and I hope I can capture part of that to share with the wider industry.”

The BMF Young Merchant Group supports merchants and suppliers aged between 18 and 40 in their career development. Membership is open to those holding a key management position within their organisation. They benefit from twice yearly meetings and networking events, and an annual fact-finding trip, normally overseas.

For further information on the BMF Young Merchant Group contact [email protected]
 
Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to rep

Hundreds of Travis Perkins apprentices join IoBM 


06 October 2021

Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IOBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

More than 800 Travis Perkins apprentices joined the IOBM on 1 October 2021. New apprentices joining Travis Perkins will also be given the opportunity to join the Institute.

Student members benefit from the IOBM’s role as an independent accreditation body and its structured framework for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Bi-annual conferences for student members are also planned and due to begin in autumn 2022.

Unlike most employers, Travis Perkins is an accredited provider of apprenticeships with over 40 apprenticeship programmes on offer, suited to a wide range of candidates. These include existing employees who want to develop their skills or build expertise in other areas as they progress to new roles, as well as those joining the industry, either from school or university or migrating over to an apprenticeship having joined the business from the Government’s Kickstarter programme, or those switching from a former occupation and joining the sector later in their careers.

Andy Rayner, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers for Travis Perkins Group, said:

“We pride ourselves on providing a full range of apprenticeships from the branch counter to the Boardroom. Our apprenticeships are designed to support existing employees as well as individuals with no prior knowledge of our industry or our business, to give them the skills they need to become valued colleagues.  

“This is very much in line with the ethos of the IOBM and by introducing our apprentices to the Institute as student members, they will be able to assess how active membership can support them as they continue to develop their careers. We asked our 1,000 apprentices if they wanted to become members of the IOBM and we were delighted that the vast majority did.”

Announcing the news at the Builders Merchants Federation’s Young Merchant Conference, BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“The IOBM Management Committee set a membership target of 1,000 new members by the end of the year. With the support of Travis Perkins, we will achieve this by the end of October. 

“It is particularly encouraging to see the largest builders’ merchant in the UK bringing such a significant number of new recruits to the industry into membership. Through accreditation and CPD the IOBM has set out a pathway to professionalism in the merchanting industry which can support them through their entire career. We hope others will now follow this example.”

The IOBM merged with the BMF earlier this year and operates as a separate brand of the BMF, with its own management body. The IOBM has a clear aim to become a Chartered Institute, supporting the highest standards of professionalism within the industry.  
 
Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IoBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

Haulage a priority for BMF


3 September 2021

Haulage a priority for BMFNew data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK. 

A snap survey of BMF members found 67% of builders’ merchant respondents and 86% of supplier respondents are affected by haulage issues, citing it as their number one concern.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“Haulage, and in particular the shortage of HGV drivers, has become our industry’s number one concern, and the results of our member survey have been fed into discussions between the transport industry and government.

“Some suppliers are reporting that the standard five-day lead time has more than doubled. In some cases, we are even seeing increases of up to four weeks. We have heard reports that suppliers are asking merchants to collect orders as they cannot get enough drivers to complete deliveries.

“Driver recruitment is the main challenge. Both suppliers and merchants are prepared to recruit or retrain existing staff as drivers, but there are limited opportunities for training and testing.  They want more testing to be made available to help get new HGV drivers on the road.”

The issue is not confined to the building materials industry.  The Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have contributed to haulage challenges, with transport industry bodies estimating a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, with an estimated 15,000 lost following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Logistics UK’s May 2021 tracker survey found 61% of respondents considered recruitment of HGV drivers to be a ‘severe’ or ‘very severe’ challenge, while 50% cited the availability of testing as a ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’ barrier to recovery.

John Newcomb added: 

“Builders merchants have done a fantastic job managing product demand and supply in the face of high global demand and reduced capacity resulting from the pandemic. Haulage is the latest challenge and our top priority.  We are doing everything we can to assist discussions between the freight industry and government as they seek to agree both short and long term solutions.”
 
Haulage a priority for BMF
New data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK.

Leadership, diversity and performance to the fore at BMF All Industry Conference 

4 August 2021

Nicky Moffat CBE, who was Britain’s highest ranking female Army officer, retiring as a Brigadier after almost 30 years of service, is the latest speaker to be confirmed for the BMF All Industry Conference in November.

Nicky’s expertise and insights as a leader are drawn from roles as a Recruitment Training Commander, Training Regiment Commander and Director of her Branch of the Army. Throughout, she led diverse mission-focused groups in an organisation both steeped in tradition but subject to rapid and significant changes of policy, technology and resources.

In her largest command, as brigadier, she led some 4,500 soldiers within the Army’s personnel and finance function. More broadly, Nicky served in strategy, policy, career management and finance roles in the Army’s Personnel Centre, Army Headquarters and the Ministry of Defence.

She oversaw the Armed Forces Workforce Planning and Pay Review Programmes, focusing on recruitment, retention and on valuing and supporting service personnel financially for their work on operations.

She also advised Army board members on the retention and progression of female talent, with a view to developing a more inclusive high-performing culture. In 2012, Nicky left the Army to set up What Good Leadership Looks Like. She now helps companies develop their people and make transformative and sustainable improvements in leadership and culture.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “Nicky will give her perspective on the role of strong leadership in driving inclusive change and optimum performance, in what promises to be another fascinating session at the much -anticipated BMF All Industry Conference.”

The sold-out, dual-centre BMF All Industry Conference is due to take place in Harrogate and York from 4 to 7 November 2021. Further details are available on the Conference website, www.bmfconference.co.uk The headline sponsor 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.
Nicky Moffat CBE, who was Britain’s highest ranking female Army officer, retiring as a Brigadier after almost 30 years of service, is the latest speaker to be confirmed for the BMF All Industry Conference in November.

BMF expands team with two key appointments


29 November 2021


The Builders Merchants Federation has further strengthened its in-house team with two key appointments.  

Kerry Wilson takes up her post as Learning and Development Manager on Monday 29th November, the same day as Daniel Hodder joins as Policy and Public Affairs Advisor.

Kerry’s appointment coincides with the BMF’s appointment of LEAP as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeship Plus service. As Learning and Development Manager, Kerry will champion and manage the enhanced service, helping to promote and support apprenticeship growth for the long-term benefit of the merchant sector.

Kerry joins the BMF from Travis Perkins, where she was a Lead Apprenticeship Coach, creating and facilitating learner management and delivery as well as mentoring and coaching Apprentices.  Prior to this, Kerry spent 15 years at Boots Opticians as Learning Hub Manager.

As Policy and Public Affairs Advisor, Daniel Hodder will work closely with CEO John Newcomb and longstanding Policy and Public Affairs Officer Brett Amphlett to help strengthen the BMF’s relationships and influence with government.

Daniel, who has an Honours Degree in Politics and International Relations and a Master’s Degree in International Security Studies, previously worked as a Policy Advisor at the Almshouse Association.

Commenting on the appointments, John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF said: “These appointments will strengthen our resources in support of two key themes identified as part of our latest strategic review - developing the role we play in attracting and retaining talent in the industry and helping to build awareness and influence with government.”

The Builders Merchants Federation has further strengthened its in-house team with two key appointments.

P&H Merchant sales continue year-on-year growth


25 November 2021

The Builders Merchants Federation’s latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index reveals that sales through specialist plumbing merchants during the third quarter of 2021 were higher than the same quarter in both 2020 and 2019.
Sales in Q3 2021 increased by +7.3% compared Q3 2020, with one less trading day this year.  

Looking back to Q3 2019, pre-Covid, finds total sales up by +1.7% in July to September 2021, again with one less trading day this year.

However, the quarter on quarter comparison for the current year show Q3 sales were -0.4% lower than Q2 2021, with three more trading days in Q3.

Total sales in the last 12-month period were +17.6% ahead of the previous 12 months (October 2019 to September 2020) with one less trading day in the most recent period.

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.
 
The Builders Merchants Federation’s latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index reveals that sales through specialist plumbing merchants during the third quarter of 2021 were higher than the same quarter in both 2020 and 2019.

BMF Apprenticeships LEAP forward

 23 November 2021

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has appointed LEAP, the Apprenticeship delivery team to the Travis Perkins Group, as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeships Plus service with effect from 1 January 2022. 

LEAP stands for Learn as you Earn Apprenticeship Programmes and they have a unique expertise working exclusively in the construction supply sector. Each programme is designed around the specialist needs of the sector to help all learners reach their full potential.  Programmes are delivered by the award winning training team and every apprentice is supported, from day one, by an Apprentice Coach to build their skills, knowledge and behaviours to help them develop their career.

LEAP will provide a seamless end-to-end recruitment and training service that will significantly enhance the BMF Apprenticeship Plus offer. 

To coincide with LEAP’s appointment, the BMF is recruiting a full-time Learning and Development Manager to champion and manage the improved Apprenticeship Plus offer.

There are already over 1,000 apprentices enrolled onto a LEAP programme from both within the Travis Perkins Group and from other businesses in the sector including City Plumbing Supplies, Plumbing Trade Supplies and Wickes. With the current intake being 40% female and 60% male, Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity to nurture a more diverse workforce within the industry.

LEAP will be delivering  12 Apprenticeship programmes for the BMF from Level 2 to Level 5 including; Trade Supplier, Hire Controller, Fitted Furniture Design Technician (Kitchens and Bathrooms), Sales and Management. The quality of training is evident with 85% of learners achieving a Merit or Distinction. As well as their apprenticeship programmes LEAP will be working with BMF to develop a suite of early career programmes to help education leavers and career changers to join the sector. 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said:

“We are delighted to be working with LEAP from next year.  The BMF Apprenticeship Plus service promotes diversity, encouraging merchants to bring more young people into the industry by taking away the administrative burdens.  With a proven merchant track record, and a full UK reach, LEAP will significantly expand and enrich our service offer to all merchant members, helping us to promote and support apprenticeship growth for the long term benefit of our sector.”

Andy Rayner from the LEAP team said:

“Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 LEAP have developed a unique capability in delivering Apprenticeship and Early Careers programmes in the construction supply sector. These programmes are used by both colleagues joining the sector for the first time and those already in the sector looking to develop their careers. We are delighted that we can now offer these programmes to employees of the BMF’s member organisations helping to develop the next generation for the construction supply sector.
 
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has appointed LEAP, the Apprenticeship delivery team to the Travis Perkins Group, as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeships Plus service with effect from 1 January 2022.

Prime Minister’s visit puts the work of builders’ merchants centre stage

 

18 November 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw first-hand the crucial role builders’ merchants play in the national economy, and how they can support a more sustainable future, with a fact-finding visit to Travis Perkins in his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Mr Johnson was given a tour of the Travis Perkins’ branch in South Ruislip to get a strategic and operational understanding of the industry.

Frank Elkins, Chief Operating Officer of Travis Perkins plc introduced the Prime Minister to branch colleagues, among them, some of the nearly 1000 apprentices the Group has enrolled on programmes across the Group.

Mr Elkins said, “As the industry’s leading Apprenticeship and Kickstart placements provider we outlined how these placements are supporting both the economic recovery, the development of our talent pipeline but also an opportunity to improve diversity and skills across our industry”.

“I was also really proud to showcase how we work with our customers to meet their evolving needs. As a ConstructZero Business Champion with ambitious carbon reduction targets I explained the role we have in working with customers and suppliers, sharing data and ideas to make progress on the decarbonisation and modernisation of our industry.”

During his visit, Mr Johnson climbed into the cab of a fully-electric 27 tonne CCF insulation lorry and heard how Travis Perkins is starting to prepare for a time when his Government will ban the sale of new petrol & diesel LGVs and HGVs.

The visit was organised by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) as part of its industry and parliament programme, to highlight the vital role played by builders’ merchants in the construction supply chain.

John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF, gave the Prime Minister an overview of how its members, which include Travis Perkins, perform an essential function in distributing construction materials and home improvement products across the UK. He also explained how the industry is actively embracing a more sustainable focus.

With the UNCOP26 Climate Conference fresh in mind, the Prime Minister discussed the importance of decarbonising buildings and electrifying heating and transport with Frank Elkins and John Newcomb, who also updated the PM on the Construction Leadership Council’s National Retrofit Strategy.  BMF members will play a central role in this 20-year fully-costed plan to improve existing homes.

Mr Newcomb said: “We were delighted to show to the Prime Minister how our members can support a more sustainable future. It was a particularly timely visit, with the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference taking place”.

“Low or zero-carbon products are crucial in the building and home improvement industries to drive down emissions. We were able to demonstrate to the Prime Minister that the building supply chain is the most efficient route-to-market for these products”.

“BMF members provide the materials, products and expertise needed to de-carbonise our homes. Fitting energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures in properties will be key to achieving sustainability goals.”
 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw first-hand the crucial role builders’ merchants play in the national economy, and how they can support a more sustainable future, with a fact-finding visit to Travis Perkins in his constituency of Uxbridge and South R

New team elected to head BMF Young Merchants


18 October 2021

Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to replace Jo as Vice Chair.

Jo takes over from Glenn Paddison, who completed his term as Chair at the BMF Young Merchant Conference held this year at the NEC, Birmingham during National Construction Week and attended by 150 people.

Jo has been an active member of the Young Merchant Group for seven years, serving as Vice Chair since 2018.  She joined the Group after winning the BMF Young Supplier Achiever Award in 2014, just a year after she entered the building materials industry as a member of Knauf Insulation’s Merchant Support Team. Jo continued to work closely with merchants in her subsequent roles at Knauf Insulation as Area Sales Manager and National Merchant Support Manager. She was promoted to her current role in 2020.  
 
Jo is keen to continue developing the BMF Young Merchant’s work and influence. She said:

“I am delighted and honoured to take on the role of Chair and looking forward to working with Ed to build on all that Glenn achieved during his chairmanship. The current drive to achieve net zero makes this a particularly exciting time, offering even more opportunities for young people entering the industry. I know from my own experience how the interaction within the Young Merchant Group helps members as they build their careers. Our focus will be on delivering quality events to support this.”

Vice Chair, Ed Parlato, is currently involved in the purchasing side of Browns an independent, family run merchants in Derby, but has tackled many other roles in the business over the years. He is also part of the NBG Category Management team for tools and workwear.

Commenting on his appointment as Vice Chair, Ed said:

“The Young Merchant group has grown enormously in the past few years. When I first joined there were 20 people at the meeting, the latest Conference had over 150. Every Chair has built on the work of the last and I’m looking forward to working with Jo and supporting her over the next two years, and I will be listening to members of the group to make sure their views are represented. If the last 18 months has shown us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. I always marvel at the intelligence and creativity of all the people in Young Merchants, and I hope I can capture part of that to share with the wider industry.”

The BMF Young Merchant Group supports merchants and suppliers aged between 18 and 40 in their career development. Membership is open to those holding a key management position within their organisation. They benefit from twice yearly meetings and networking events, and an annual fact-finding trip, normally overseas.

For further information on the BMF Young Merchant Group contact [email protected]
 
Jo Callow, Head of Communications for UK & Ireland at Knauf Insulation is the new Chair of the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Group. She will be supported by Ed Parlato, Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants, who was elected to rep

Hundreds of Travis Perkins apprentices join IoBM 


06 October 2021

Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IOBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

More than 800 Travis Perkins apprentices joined the IOBM on 1 October 2021. New apprentices joining Travis Perkins will also be given the opportunity to join the Institute.

Student members benefit from the IOBM’s role as an independent accreditation body and its structured framework for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Bi-annual conferences for student members are also planned and due to begin in autumn 2022.

Unlike most employers, Travis Perkins is an accredited provider of apprenticeships with over 40 apprenticeship programmes on offer, suited to a wide range of candidates. These include existing employees who want to develop their skills or build expertise in other areas as they progress to new roles, as well as those joining the industry, either from school or university or migrating over to an apprenticeship having joined the business from the Government’s Kickstarter programme, or those switching from a former occupation and joining the sector later in their careers.

Andy Rayner, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers for Travis Perkins Group, said:

“We pride ourselves on providing a full range of apprenticeships from the branch counter to the Boardroom. Our apprenticeships are designed to support existing employees as well as individuals with no prior knowledge of our industry or our business, to give them the skills they need to become valued colleagues.  

“This is very much in line with the ethos of the IOBM and by introducing our apprentices to the Institute as student members, they will be able to assess how active membership can support them as they continue to develop their careers. We asked our 1,000 apprentices if they wanted to become members of the IOBM and we were delighted that the vast majority did.”

Announcing the news at the Builders Merchants Federation’s Young Merchant Conference, BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“The IOBM Management Committee set a membership target of 1,000 new members by the end of the year. With the support of Travis Perkins, we will achieve this by the end of October. 

“It is particularly encouraging to see the largest builders’ merchant in the UK bringing such a significant number of new recruits to the industry into membership. Through accreditation and CPD the IOBM has set out a pathway to professionalism in the merchanting industry which can support them through their entire career. We hope others will now follow this example.”

The IOBM merged with the BMF earlier this year and operates as a separate brand of the BMF, with its own management body. The IOBM has a clear aim to become a Chartered Institute, supporting the highest standards of professionalism within the industry.  
 
Travis Perkins has become the first national merchant to support The Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IoBM) ambitious plans to professionalise the merchant industry by signing up a large number of its apprentices as student members.

Haulage a priority for BMF


3 September 2021

Haulage a priority for BMFNew data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK. 

A snap survey of BMF members found 67% of builders’ merchant respondents and 86% of supplier respondents are affected by haulage issues, citing it as their number one concern.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“Haulage, and in particular the shortage of HGV drivers, has become our industry’s number one concern, and the results of our member survey have been fed into discussions between the transport industry and government.

“Some suppliers are reporting that the standard five-day lead time has more than doubled. In some cases, we are even seeing increases of up to four weeks. We have heard reports that suppliers are asking merchants to collect orders as they cannot get enough drivers to complete deliveries.

“Driver recruitment is the main challenge. Both suppliers and merchants are prepared to recruit or retrain existing staff as drivers, but there are limited opportunities for training and testing.  They want more testing to be made available to help get new HGV drivers on the road.”

The issue is not confined to the building materials industry.  The Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have contributed to haulage challenges, with transport industry bodies estimating a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, with an estimated 15,000 lost following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Logistics UK’s May 2021 tracker survey found 61% of respondents considered recruitment of HGV drivers to be a ‘severe’ or ‘very severe’ challenge, while 50% cited the availability of testing as a ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’ barrier to recovery.

John Newcomb added: 

“Builders merchants have done a fantastic job managing product demand and supply in the face of high global demand and reduced capacity resulting from the pandemic. Haulage is the latest challenge and our top priority.  We are doing everything we can to assist discussions between the freight industry and government as they seek to agree both short and long term solutions.”
 
Haulage a priority for BMF
New data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK.

Leadership, diversity and performance to the fore at BMF All Industry Conference 

4 August 2021

Nicky Moffat CBE, who was Britain’s highest ranking female Army officer, retiring as a Brigadier after almost 30 years of service, is the latest speaker to be confirmed for the BMF All Industry Conference in November.

Nicky’s expertise and insights as a leader are drawn from roles as a Recruitment Training Commander, Training Regiment Commander and Director of her Branch of the Army. Throughout, she led diverse mission-focused groups in an organisation both steeped in tradition but subject to rapid and significant changes of policy, technology and resources.

In her largest command, as brigadier, she led some 4,500 soldiers within the Army’s personnel and finance function. More broadly, Nicky served in strategy, policy, career management and finance roles in the Army’s Personnel Centre, Army Headquarters and the Ministry of Defence.

She oversaw the Armed Forces Workforce Planning and Pay Review Programmes, focusing on recruitment, retention and on valuing and supporting service personnel financially for their work on operations.

She also advised Army board members on the retention and progression of female talent, with a view to developing a more inclusive high-performing culture. In 2012, Nicky left the Army to set up What Good Leadership Looks Like. She now helps companies develop their people and make transformative and sustainable improvements in leadership and culture.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “Nicky will give her perspective on the role of strong leadership in driving inclusive change and optimum performance, in what promises to be another fascinating session at the much -anticipated BMF All Industry Conference.”

The sold-out, dual-centre BMF All Industry Conference is due to take place in Harrogate and York from 4 to 7 November 2021. Further details are available on the Conference website, www.bmfconference.co.uk The headline sponsor 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.
Nicky Moffat CBE, who was Britain’s highest ranking female Army officer, retiring as a Brigadier after almost 30 years of service, is the latest speaker to be confirmed for the BMF All Industry Conference in November.

CBI Economist confirmed for BMF Members Day Conference


6 July 2021

CBI Economist confirmed for BMF Members Day ConferenceAnna Leach, Deputy Chief Economist at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), will provide insights into the state of the UK economy, following a video introduction by CBI Chief Economist, Rain Newton-Smith, at the BMF Members Conference on 23 September 2021.  

Anna heads the economic intelligence team which produces and analyses the CBI’s economic surveys and provides the CBI’s macroeconomic forecast.   She joined the CBI in 2008 and moved on to head the economic analysis team in 2012 where she leads on the CBI’s assessment of near-term economic conditions.

Before this Anna worked in the Government Economic Service (GES) and at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).  She also undertook a secondment to the Treasury Select Committee to work on their inquiry into the private equity industry and their early inquiries at the start of the financial crisis.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive said: “BMF members are always keen to hear expert analysis of the economy. The extraordinary times we have lived through recently makes this session even more pertinent than usual and I am delighted that the CBI has responded with a ‘two-for one’ speaker opportunity.   I look forward to welcoming Anna in person and Rain via video link.”

This year’s BMF Members’ Day Conference and Awards, which takes the theme “Reshape, Renew, Rebuild” will be held at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor, Berkshire, a new venue for the event, which marks the BMF’s return to hosting large scale physical meetings.  The event’s headline sponsor is Marshalls Stonemarket.

While the Awards Dinner is now sold out, we can accommodate a few more delegates at the Business Conference. To find out more please email [email protected]
 
CBI Economist confirmed for BMF Members Day Conference
Anna Leach, Deputy Chief Economist at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), will provide insights into the state of the UK economy, following a video introduction by CBI Chief Economist, Rain Newton-Smith, at the BMF Members Conference on 23 S

Building materials sales continue upward growth trend 


26 May 2021

Building materials sales continue upward growth trendThe latest report from the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) shows sales of building materials continuing their upward growth trend during Q1 2021.

One year on from the onset of the Covid pandemic, comparisons with Q1 2020 inevitably reference the initial fall in sales during the first lockdown period, which began on 24 March 2020.   The reality of the bounceback is impressive nonetheless with Q1 2021 sales volumes continuing the upward trend seen in Q4 2020, and comparing well with the pre-Covid levels seen in Q1 2019.

Looking at Q1 2021 in detail, January was down -3.7% on the same month the previous year, with February seeing annual growth of 2.3%. March however was a record month for the industry, with sales increasing by 47.4% against March 2020 and by 23.0% against March 2019.

This results in overall Q1 growth of 15.1% against Q1 2020 and 6.0% against Q1 2019.  The figures also confirm overall growth of 8.6% against Q4 2020, helped by three more trading days in Q1. Average sales a day were up by 3.4%.

Q1 2021 vs Q1 2020
The strongest year on year performers were Landscaping, up by +41.4% on Q1 2020, and Timber & Joinery (+30.5%).  Sales of Tools increased by +15.9% year on year, and were also up for the largest product group, Heavy Building Materials (+10.3%) and Plumbing, Heating and Electrical products (+3.7%).  

Workwear and Safetywear (-8.9%), one of the strongest performers a year ago when PPE was in great demand, was one of only four categories to record a fall in year on year sales for the quarter.

Q1 2021 vs Q1 2019
Comparing Q1 2021 with Q1 2019, Landscaping (+32.3%) and Timber & Joinery (+15.8%) were again the strongest performers.  Heavy Building Materials also increased (+1.3%), but sales of Tools (-1.8%) and Plumbing Heating and Electrical products (-4.4%) were both lower on the two year comparison.

Q1 2021 vs Q4 2020
A similar picture emerges when comparing quarter on quarter results. Sales increased in 11 out of 12 categories in Q1 2021 vs Q4 2020, again led by Landscaping (+26.2%) and Timber & Joinery (+12.9%), strongly supported by Tools (+9.9%), Heavy Building Materials (+5.9%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+5.9%).  

Kitchens and Bathrooms was one of the few areas to record a fall in sales in Q1 2021 against all three comparators, at -2.1% vs Q4 2020, -1.8% vs Q1 2020 and -6.7% vs Q1 2019.  This may be due to showrooms being deemed non-essential retail and closed during the period.

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said:

“The first three months of the year may have seen the country once again in lockdown but even this could not prevent a boom in construction activity.  This is an excellent start to the year and we are already seeing strong product demand in many areas, notably timber which has been one of the main drivers for growth during the quarter.  Managing product demand and supply will be a recurring theme this year and the Construction Leadership Council, product availability group, which I co-chair, is issuing monthly updates to assist with forward planning.” 

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

“To say the first quarter, and March in particular, has gone well is an understatement. It was not only the big hitters such as timber, bricks, aggregates, insulation, cement and plasterboard reporting record sales, but also areas such as tool hire, plumbing equipment, power tools, hand tools, boilers, tanks and boiler accessories.  Repair, maintenance and improvement is expected to be the main driver during the first half of the year, and quite possibly beyond, which bodes well for the industry if supply can keep up with demand.”
 
Building materials sales continue upward growth trend
The latest report from the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) shows sales of building materials continuing their upward growth trend during Q1 2021.

BMF’s P&H Merchant Index confirms steady sales increase in Q1


26 May 2021

P&H Merchant Index confirms steady sales increase in Q1The latest edition of the BMF Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) confirms that sales of plumbing and heating products remain steady, with evidence of a slight upward trend in Q1 2021.

A year on from the onset of the Covid pandemic and the temporary closure of branches at the start of the first lockdown period, from 24 March 2020, an increase in year on year sales was to be expected.  However, comparing sales values with Q4 2020 and with the pre-Covid levels seen in Q1 2019 sheds more light on current market performance.

The latest figures reveal that:
Sales in Q1 2021 were up +6.8% compared with Q1 2020
Sales in Q1 2021 were up +3.5% compared with Q1 2019 (pre-Covid)
Sales in Q1 2021 were +3.1% higher than in Q4 2019, helped by three more trading days in Q1.  However, average sales a day were -1.8% lower in Q1.
Comparing monthly sales in Q1 2021 shows a slight month on month increase. March
returns were +15.5% higher than in February, albeit helped by three more trading days 
in March.  Taking extra days out of the equation, shows that average sales a day nudged up by 
+0.4%.
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.
 
P&H Merchant Index confirms steady sales increase in Q1
The latest edition of the BMF Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) confirms that sales of plumbing and heating products remain steady, with evidence of a slight upward trend in Q1 2021.

New scheme links NHS heroes to discounts at builders’ merchants  


12 April 2021

New scheme links NHS heroes to discounts at builders’ merchants  The BMF is co-ordinating a new scheme to provide NHS workers with discounts at local builders’ merchants.

Launched today, 12 April 2021, ‘Builders’ Merchants Supporting The NHS,’ has been developed in recognition of the tireless support provided by healthcare staff throughout the Covid emergency.

For the next six months, NHS Discounts will be offered by 33 BMF merchants who between them operate 1,225 branches throughout the country. 

Each participating BMF member will offer their own discount deals, averaging a 10 per cent reduction on the standard price, to NHS workers presenting ID such as an NHS staff card.

The BMF has compiled a full list of participating members, together with an overview of the discount they each provide at www.bmf.org.uk/nhs

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: 

“Throughout the pandemic, our NHS workers have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support the health of the nation. As we start the return to ‘normality’, the merchant industry wanted to come together and thank them.

“Builders’ merchants taking part will offer be offering expert service as well as access to a wide range of home improvement products at discounted prices.”

Kieran Griffin, MD at Travis Perkins, one of the participating merchants said:

“The pandemic has shown incredible examples of personal sacrifice, generosity and community spirit, and from the start, our colleagues played their part by donating building supplies and PPE to keep NHS workers safe. So we’re proud to take part in this BMF initiative and offer NHS workers a 10% dedicated discount when they buy from us as a small recognition and thank you to those who have been – and remain – on the front line caring for us and our families, for which we’re all so grateful.”
 
New scheme links NHS heroes to discounts at builders’ merchants
The BMF is co-ordinating a new scheme to provide NHS workers with discounts at local builders’ merchants.

Ibstock to host Sustainability Forum at BMF All Industry Conference


29 October 2021

Ibstock to host Sustainability ForumWith this year’s BMF All Industry Conference taking place at the same time as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, the subject of sustainability takes on particular importance.  The BMF has responded with a dedicated Sustainability Forum, sponsored and hosted by Ibstock Brick. 

Ibstock is one of the 18 BMF members to date who have achieved net zero carbon Business Champion status supporting the Construction Leadership Council’s CO2nstruct Zero initiative.

Commenting on his company’s commitment to sustainability, Michael McGowan, Group Sustainability Manager, Ibstock said:

“Ibstock is proud to be sponsoring the Sustainability Forum at the BMF All Industry Conference.  Sustainability is a key strategic driver for us and our ambition is to be the most sustainable manufacturer of clay and concrete building products in the UK. As a market leader it is our responsibility to be at the forefront in this vital area, a responsibility we take very seriously.  We have developed strong relationships with our merchant partners over many decades so to be sponsoring a forum on such a vital subject for the future of our industry is a great way to continue to strengthen these relationships further as we all work together to identify ways to address the challenges and opportunities that we face in the years ahead.”

Michael will be joined on the platform by James Mitchell of Kerridge Commercial Systems.  Kerridge believes that sustainability and profitability go hand in hand and focus on supporting merchants with digital solutions that support both these twin goals. James Mitchell explains: 

“We view the acceleration of Digital Transformation in the UK’s merchant sector as key to improving performance and customer service and to creating sustainable working practices. We are proud to support the BMF initiatives to promote the Net Zero Carbon strategy, we believe that sustainability and profitability go hand in hand.”

The sold-out, dual-centre BMF All Industry Conference takes place in Harrogate and York from 4-7 November 2021. Further details are available on the Conference website, www.bmfconference.co.uk

The headline sponsor for the second year is the Crystal Group.  Other key sponsors include the Conference Host sponsor ACO, plus BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Knauf Insulation, Marshalls, Marsh Industries, Rockwool, SIG and Xtratherm.
 
With this year’s BMF All Industry Conference taking place at the same time as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, the subject of sustainability takes on particular importance.

Haulage a priority for BMF


3 September 2021

Haulage a priority for BMFNew data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK. 

A snap survey of BMF members found 67% of builders’ merchant respondents and 86% of supplier respondents are affected by haulage issues, citing it as their number one concern.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“Haulage, and in particular the shortage of HGV drivers, has become our industry’s number one concern, and the results of our member survey have been fed into discussions between the transport industry and government.

“Some suppliers are reporting that the standard five-day lead time has more than doubled. In some cases, we are even seeing increases of up to four weeks. We have heard reports that suppliers are asking merchants to collect orders as they cannot get enough drivers to complete deliveries.

“Driver recruitment is the main challenge. Both suppliers and merchants are prepared to recruit or retrain existing staff as drivers, but there are limited opportunities for training and testing.  They want more testing to be made available to help get new HGV drivers on the road.”

The issue is not confined to the building materials industry.  The Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have contributed to haulage challenges, with transport industry bodies estimating a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, with an estimated 15,000 lost following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Logistics UK’s May 2021 tracker survey found 61% of respondents considered recruitment of HGV drivers to be a ‘severe’ or ‘very severe’ challenge, while 50% cited the availability of testing as a ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’ barrier to recovery.

John Newcomb added: 

“Builders merchants have done a fantastic job managing product demand and supply in the face of high global demand and reduced capacity resulting from the pandemic. Haulage is the latest challenge and our top priority.  We are doing everything we can to assist discussions between the freight industry and government as they seek to agree both short and long term solutions.”
 
Haulage a priority for BMF
New data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK.

Labour and product shortages putting pressure on the construction industry

21 July 2021

Labour and product shortages are having a significant impact on the construction industry’s supply chain across the UK leading to delayed deliveries and rising prices.

An unprecedented demand for building products has been reported throughout the year, but the latest statement from the Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability Group has identified a lack of labour as a rising concern.

All regions are reporting that hauliers, HGV and LGV drivers are in short supply and very difficult to recruit.  There are further issues with recruiting skilled and unskilled staff, including experienced bricklayers and yard operatives, across the supply chain and these labour shortages are being exacerbated by the high number of staff being required to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 and being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Test and Trace programme.

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation, and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability Group, said:

“The supply chain is extremely stretched on all fronts, but our members are pulling out the stops to keep supplies in branches and deliveries out to customers in very challenging. circumstances.

“Alongside pricing, stability and accuracy of supply remains the overarching concern and regular, accurate and transparent communication throughout the supply chain to the end client is deemed vital by all.  It is important that all parties recognise the extent of the extraordinary challenges we are currently experiencing and adopt a flexible and collaborative approach to finding solutions. 

The latest Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability Group report is available here
 
Labour and product shortages are having a significant impact on the construction industry’s supply chain across the UK leading to delayed deliveries and rising prices.

Concerns over HGV driver shortages raised by construction trade body

14 July 2021

Transport issues are hitting suppliers to the construction trade, as builders’ merchants work to get supplies into their stores and deliver orders to customers.

Members of national trade body the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), have reported widespread disruption and delays, with a shortfall in drivers able to transport goods across the country.

Across the BMF membership, companies are recruiting and retraining existing staff into driving roles, but have reported difficulties sourcing new and replacement drivers, as well as struggling to secure agency cover due to demand.

Limited test slots are also preventing staff from taking HGV driving tests, while holiday plans over the summer further reduce driver availability.

BMF East Midlands Regional Chairman, Jim Parlato, a Director at Browns Builders Merchant, said: “Drivers are our biggest concern at present.

“We have two of our warehouse and yard operatives taking their tests shortly but getting courses and booking tests has become an issue with demand meaning months of waiting.”

The issues are leading to extended lead times for some products, and even failed deliveries.

BMF South West Regional Chairman, David Young, of Bradfords Building Supplies, said: “We have 16 LGV driver vacancies at the moment. We’re struggling to recruit and also no agency cover is available due to demand.

“The knock-on effect is lead times to our customers are extended by a day, from one-to-two days to two-to-three days.

“We do have 22 internal drivers being trained up but there are not enough test slots available so this is taking longer than normal.

“Suppliers to builders’ merchants have also been hit by the shortfall, resulting in restrictions on some products and failed deliveries at short notice.”

BMF Anglia Regional Chairman, Hugh Guntrip, of Huws Gray Ltd, added: “We are struggling to recruit new and replacement drivers within our merchant branches.

“The largest impact is on our suppliers resulting in product restrictions and failed incoming deliveries at very short notice.”

The BMF has 760 merchant and supplier member companies, who together have combined sales of £39bn and employ over 207,000 people in the building materials industry.

The issue comes as figures from The Road Haulage Association (RHA) show an existing deficit of 60,000 lorry drivers has been compounded by 15,000 European drivers leaving the UK and the cancellation of 30,000 HGV driving tests during the pandemic.

The BMF is now compiling information across its member network to share with Government and look towards a solution to address the issue.

BMF CEO, Mr John Newcomb said: “It is clear that there is a major deficit of HGV drivers and issues with training and supporting new recruits into the role, and this is now causing delayed deliveries and rising costs across the UK.”
 
Transport issues are hitting suppliers to the construction trade, as builders’ merchants work to get supplies into their stores and deliver orders to customers.

BMF expands team with two key appointments


29 November 2021


The Builders Merchants Federation has further strengthened its in-house team with two key appointments.  

Kerry Wilson takes up her post as Learning and Development Manager on Monday 29th November, the same day as Daniel Hodder joins as Policy and Public Affairs Advisor.

Kerry’s appointment coincides with the BMF’s appointment of LEAP as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeship Plus service. As Learning and Development Manager, Kerry will champion and manage the enhanced service, helping to promote and support apprenticeship growth for the long-term benefit of the merchant sector.

Kerry joins the BMF from Travis Perkins, where she was a Lead Apprenticeship Coach, creating and facilitating learner management and delivery as well as mentoring and coaching Apprentices.  Prior to this, Kerry spent 15 years at Boots Opticians as Learning Hub Manager.

As Policy and Public Affairs Advisor, Daniel Hodder will work closely with CEO John Newcomb and longstanding Policy and Public Affairs Officer Brett Amphlett to help strengthen the BMF’s relationships and influence with government.

Daniel, who has an Honours Degree in Politics and International Relations and a Master’s Degree in International Security Studies, previously worked as a Policy Advisor at the Almshouse Association.

Commenting on the appointments, John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF said: “These appointments will strengthen our resources in support of two key themes identified as part of our latest strategic review - developing the role we play in attracting and retaining talent in the industry and helping to build awareness and influence with government.”

The Builders Merchants Federation has further strengthened its in-house team with two key appointments.

P&H Merchant sales continue year-on-year growth


25 November 2021

The Builders Merchants Federation’s latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index reveals that sales through specialist plumbing merchants during the third quarter of 2021 were higher than the same quarter in both 2020 and 2019.
Sales in Q3 2021 increased by +7.3% compared Q3 2020, with one less trading day this year.  

Looking back to Q3 2019, pre-Covid, finds total sales up by +1.7% in July to September 2021, again with one less trading day this year.

However, the quarter on quarter comparison for the current year show Q3 sales were -0.4% lower than Q2 2021, with three more trading days in Q3.

Total sales in the last 12-month period were +17.6% ahead of the previous 12 months (October 2019 to September 2020) with one less trading day in the most recent period.

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.
 
The Builders Merchants Federation’s latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index reveals that sales through specialist plumbing merchants during the third quarter of 2021 were higher than the same quarter in both 2020 and 2019.

BMF Apprenticeships LEAP forward

 23 November 2021

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has appointed LEAP, the Apprenticeship delivery team to the Travis Perkins Group, as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeships Plus service with effect from 1 January 2022. 

LEAP stands for Learn as you Earn Apprenticeship Programmes and they have a unique expertise working exclusively in the construction supply sector. Each programme is designed around the specialist needs of the sector to help all learners reach their full potential.  Programmes are delivered by the award winning training team and every apprentice is supported, from day one, by an Apprentice Coach to build their skills, knowledge and behaviours to help them develop their career.

LEAP will provide a seamless end-to-end recruitment and training service that will significantly enhance the BMF Apprenticeship Plus offer. 

To coincide with LEAP’s appointment, the BMF is recruiting a full-time Learning and Development Manager to champion and manage the improved Apprenticeship Plus offer.

There are already over 1,000 apprentices enrolled onto a LEAP programme from both within the Travis Perkins Group and from other businesses in the sector including City Plumbing Supplies, Plumbing Trade Supplies and Wickes. With the current intake being 40% female and 60% male, Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity to nurture a more diverse workforce within the industry.

LEAP will be delivering  12 Apprenticeship programmes for the BMF from Level 2 to Level 5 including; Trade Supplier, Hire Controller, Fitted Furniture Design Technician (Kitchens and Bathrooms), Sales and Management. The quality of training is evident with 85% of learners achieving a Merit or Distinction. As well as their apprenticeship programmes LEAP will be working with BMF to develop a suite of early career programmes to help education leavers and career changers to join the sector. 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said:

“We are delighted to be working with LEAP from next year.  The BMF Apprenticeship Plus service promotes diversity, encouraging merchants to bring more young people into the industry by taking away the administrative burdens.  With a proven merchant track record, and a full UK reach, LEAP will significantly expand and enrich our service offer to all merchant members, helping us to promote and support apprenticeship growth for the long term benefit of our sector.”

Andy Rayner from the LEAP team said:

“Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 LEAP have developed a unique capability in delivering Apprenticeship and Early Careers programmes in the construction supply sector. These programmes are used by both colleagues joining the sector for the first time and those already in the sector looking to develop their careers. We are delighted that we can now offer these programmes to employees of the BMF’s member organisations helping to develop the next generation for the construction supply sector.
 
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has appointed LEAP, the Apprenticeship delivery team to the Travis Perkins Group, as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeships Plus service with effect from 1 January 2022.

Prime Minister’s visit puts the work of builders’ merchants centre stage

 

18 November 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw first-hand the crucial role builders’ merchants play in the national economy, and how they can support a more sustainable future, with a fact-finding visit to Travis Perkins in his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Mr Johnson was given a tour of the Travis Perkins’ branch in South Ruislip to get a strategic and operational understanding of the industry.

Frank Elkins, Chief Operating Officer of Travis Perkins plc introduced the Prime Minister to branch colleagues, among them, some of the nearly 1000 apprentices the Group has enrolled on programmes across the Group.

Mr Elkins said, “As the industry’s leading Apprenticeship and Kickstart placements provider we outlined how these placements are supporting both the economic recovery, the development of our talent pipeline but also an opportunity to improve diversity and skills across our industry”.

“I was also really proud to showcase how we work with our customers to meet their evolving needs. As a ConstructZero Business Champion with ambitious carbon reduction targets I explained the role we have in working with customers and suppliers, sharing data and ideas to make progress on the decarbonisation and modernisation of our industry.”

During his visit, Mr Johnson climbed into the cab of a fully-electric 27 tonne CCF insulation lorry and heard how Travis Perkins is starting to prepare for a time when his Government will ban the sale of new petrol & diesel LGVs and HGVs.

The visit was organised by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) as part of its industry and parliament programme, to highlight the vital role played by builders’ merchants in the construction supply chain.

John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF, gave the Prime Minister an overview of how its members, which include Travis Perkins, perform an essential function in distributing construction materials and home improvement products across the UK. He also explained how the industry is actively embracing a more sustainable focus.

With the UNCOP26 Climate Conference fresh in mind, the Prime Minister discussed the importance of decarbonising buildings and electrifying heating and transport with Frank Elkins and John Newcomb, who also updated the PM on the Construction Leadership Council’s National Retrofit Strategy.  BMF members will play a central role in this 20-year fully-costed plan to improve existing homes.

Mr Newcomb said: “We were delighted to show to the Prime Minister how our members can support a more sustainable future. It was a particularly timely visit, with the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference taking place”.

“Low or zero-carbon products are crucial in the building and home improvement industries to drive down emissions. We were able to demonstrate to the Prime Minister that the building supply chain is the most efficient route-to-market for these products”.

“BMF members provide the materials, products and expertise needed to de-carbonise our homes. Fitting energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures in properties will be key to achieving sustainability goals.”
 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw first-hand the crucial role builders’ merchants play in the national economy, and how they can support a more sustainable future, with a fact-finding visit to Travis Perkins in his constituency of Uxbridge and South R

BMF expands team with two key appointments


29 November 2021


The Builders Merchants Federation has further strengthened its in-house team with two key appointments.  

Kerry Wilson takes up her post as Learning and Development Manager on Monday 29th November, the same day as Daniel Hodder joins as Policy and Public Affairs Advisor.

Kerry’s appointment coincides with the BMF’s appointment of LEAP as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeship Plus service. As Learning and Development Manager, Kerry will champion and manage the enhanced service, helping to promote and support apprenticeship growth for the long-term benefit of the merchant sector.

Kerry joins the BMF from Travis Perkins, where she was a Lead Apprenticeship Coach, creating and facilitating learner management and delivery as well as mentoring and coaching Apprentices.  Prior to this, Kerry spent 15 years at Boots Opticians as Learning Hub Manager.

As Policy and Public Affairs Advisor, Daniel Hodder will work closely with CEO John Newcomb and longstanding Policy and Public Affairs Officer Brett Amphlett to help strengthen the BMF’s relationships and influence with government.

Daniel, who has an Honours Degree in Politics and International Relations and a Master’s Degree in International Security Studies, previously worked as a Policy Advisor at the Almshouse Association.

Commenting on the appointments, John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF said: “These appointments will strengthen our resources in support of two key themes identified as part of our latest strategic review - developing the role we play in attracting and retaining talent in the industry and helping to build awareness and influence with government.”

The Builders Merchants Federation has further strengthened its in-house team with two key appointments.

P&H Merchant sales continue year-on-year growth


25 November 2021

The Builders Merchants Federation’s latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index reveals that sales through specialist plumbing merchants during the third quarter of 2021 were higher than the same quarter in both 2020 and 2019.
Sales in Q3 2021 increased by +7.3% compared Q3 2020, with one less trading day this year.  

Looking back to Q3 2019, pre-Covid, finds total sales up by +1.7% in July to September 2021, again with one less trading day this year.

However, the quarter on quarter comparison for the current year show Q3 sales were -0.4% lower than Q2 2021, with three more trading days in Q3.

Total sales in the last 12-month period were +17.6% ahead of the previous 12 months (October 2019 to September 2020) with one less trading day in the most recent period.

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.
 
The Builders Merchants Federation’s latest Plumbing & Heating Merchants Index reveals that sales through specialist plumbing merchants during the third quarter of 2021 were higher than the same quarter in both 2020 and 2019.

BMF Apprenticeships LEAP forward

 23 November 2021

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has appointed LEAP, the Apprenticeship delivery team to the Travis Perkins Group, as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeships Plus service with effect from 1 January 2022. 

LEAP stands for Learn as you Earn Apprenticeship Programmes and they have a unique expertise working exclusively in the construction supply sector. Each programme is designed around the specialist needs of the sector to help all learners reach their full potential.  Programmes are delivered by the award winning training team and every apprentice is supported, from day one, by an Apprentice Coach to build their skills, knowledge and behaviours to help them develop their career.

LEAP will provide a seamless end-to-end recruitment and training service that will significantly enhance the BMF Apprenticeship Plus offer. 

To coincide with LEAP’s appointment, the BMF is recruiting a full-time Learning and Development Manager to champion and manage the improved Apprenticeship Plus offer.

There are already over 1,000 apprentices enrolled onto a LEAP programme from both within the Travis Perkins Group and from other businesses in the sector including City Plumbing Supplies, Plumbing Trade Supplies and Wickes. With the current intake being 40% female and 60% male, Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity to nurture a more diverse workforce within the industry.

LEAP will be delivering  12 Apprenticeship programmes for the BMF from Level 2 to Level 5 including; Trade Supplier, Hire Controller, Fitted Furniture Design Technician (Kitchens and Bathrooms), Sales and Management. The quality of training is evident with 85% of learners achieving a Merit or Distinction. As well as their apprenticeship programmes LEAP will be working with BMF to develop a suite of early career programmes to help education leavers and career changers to join the sector. 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said:

“We are delighted to be working with LEAP from next year.  The BMF Apprenticeship Plus service promotes diversity, encouraging merchants to bring more young people into the industry by taking away the administrative burdens.  With a proven merchant track record, and a full UK reach, LEAP will significantly expand and enrich our service offer to all merchant members, helping us to promote and support apprenticeship growth for the long term benefit of our sector.”

Andy Rayner from the LEAP team said:

“Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 LEAP have developed a unique capability in delivering Apprenticeship and Early Careers programmes in the construction supply sector. These programmes are used by both colleagues joining the sector for the first time and those already in the sector looking to develop their careers. We are delighted that we can now offer these programmes to employees of the BMF’s member organisations helping to develop the next generation for the construction supply sector.
 
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has appointed LEAP, the Apprenticeship delivery team to the Travis Perkins Group, as the new full-service providers of the BMF Apprenticeships Plus service with effect from 1 January 2022.

Prime Minister’s visit puts the work of builders’ merchants centre stage

 

18 November 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw first-hand the crucial role builders’ merchants play in the national economy, and how they can support a more sustainable future, with a fact-finding visit to Travis Perkins in his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Mr Johnson was given a tour of the Travis Perkins’ branch in South Ruislip to get a strategic and operational understanding of the industry.

Frank Elkins, Chief Operating Officer of Travis Perkins plc introduced the Prime Minister to branch colleagues, among them, some of the nearly 1000 apprentices the Group has enrolled on programmes across the Group.

Mr Elkins said, “As the industry’s leading Apprenticeship and Kickstart placements provider we outlined how these placements are supporting both the economic recovery, the development of our talent pipeline but also an opportunity to improve diversity and skills across our industry”.

“I was also really proud to showcase how we work with our customers to meet their evolving needs. As a ConstructZero Business Champion with ambitious carbon reduction targets I explained the role we have in working with customers and suppliers, sharing data and ideas to make progress on the decarbonisation and modernisation of our industry.”

During his visit, Mr Johnson climbed into the cab of a fully-electric 27 tonne CCF insulation lorry and heard how Travis Perkins is starting to prepare for a time when his Government will ban the sale of new petrol & diesel LGVs and HGVs.

The visit was organised by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) as part of its industry and parliament programme, to highlight the vital role played by builders’ merchants in the construction supply chain.

John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF, gave the Prime Minister an overview of how its members, which include Travis Perkins, perform an essential function in distributing construction materials and home improvement products across the UK. He also explained how the industry is actively embracing a more sustainable focus.

With the UNCOP26 Climate Conference fresh in mind, the Prime Minister discussed the importance of decarbonising buildings and electrifying heating and transport with Frank Elkins and John Newcomb, who also updated the PM on the Construction Leadership Council’s National Retrofit Strategy.  BMF members will play a central role in this 20-year fully-costed plan to improve existing homes.

Mr Newcomb said: “We were delighted to show to the Prime Minister how our members can support a more sustainable future. It was a particularly timely visit, with the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference taking place”.

“Low or zero-carbon products are crucial in the building and home improvement industries to drive down emissions. We were able to demonstrate to the Prime Minister that the building supply chain is the most efficient route-to-market for these products”.

“BMF members provide the materials, products and expertise needed to de-carbonise our homes. Fitting energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures in properties will be key to achieving sustainability goals.”
 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw first-hand the crucial role builders’ merchants play in the national economy, and how they can support a more sustainable future, with a fact-finding visit to Travis Perkins in his constituency of Uxbridge and South R
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