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Five reasons why becoming a member
can help you and your business

  • Training and development
  • Business support
  • Access to market data
  • Networking opportunities
  • Political representation

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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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BMF publications include One Voice magazine, Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI), Plumbing & Heating News, Timber Forum News, Remuneration survey, KPI report, Business News and CPA Weekly notes.

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Featured Events

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

Branch Managers' Forum

14-15 March 2018

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BMF Burns Supper, Edinburgh
26 January 2018
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VADO Rally
7-10 June 2018 (closing date for entries 22 Dec 2017)

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Latest News

Here are the latest news stories from the BMF

BMBI wins Best Product Launch at the Construction Marketing Awards  

BMBI win Best Product Launch at CMA AwardsThe Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) has won Best Product Launch at the prestigious Construction Marketing Awards (CMA) for what the judges described as “an innovative offering to the market.” The CMAs recognise the marketing achievements of organisations and individuals in the construction industry. The awards are run by the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG), and winners were announced on 30 November 2017.  

The BMBI is a joint enterprise between GfK, the BMF, and MRA Marketing. Before launching the Index, there was no reliable measure of Repair Maintenance and Improvement (RMI) building activity in the UK. Economists, media and Government made do with a patchwork of measures of variable reliability.  

Since its launch in 2015, the BMBI is helping to put construction and builders’ merchants on the map and achieving wide exposure in and outside the industry. Centred on an agreement with GfK to use the top line of their Builders Merchant Panel data, new quarterly and monthly reports are produced by MRA Marketing to help close the knowledge gap. The initiative is supported by a high profile strategic PR programme that has resulted in 200+ press appearances over the last 12 months, and is winning the attention of leading organisations, institutions, and government bodies.  

The CMA judges said: “This is an innovative offering to the market to provide clarity on what is a very nebulous index to measure. Great insight to the market for RMI and great service to subscribers.”   An integral part of the Index is the panel of leading industry Experts who speak exclusively for their markets. Each Expert adds perspective and context to the data, and helps to make sense of trends for users of the BMBI. These include: Encon Insulation, Timbmet, Knauf Insulation, Keylite Roof Windows, Hanson Cement, Keystone Lintels, Crystal Group, IKO PLC, Alumasc Water Management Solutions, Ibstock Brick, Heatrae Sadia and Natural Paving Products.  

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF comments: “BMBI is achieving tremendous momentum in the market and this award is recognition of all the hard work that has gone into launching this unique and essential tool for the RMI sector. It would not exist without the combined efforts of GfK, the BMF and MRA Marketing.”   Visit to download the latest BMBI report, learn more about each Expert or watch the Round Table debate videos where the Experts discuss important issues and the implications for merchants and construction overall.   

If you’d like your brand to become a BMBI Expert and the voice of your market, call Lucia Di Stazio, MRA Marketing on 01453 521621. To find out more about the Builders Merchant Panel data email Richard Frankcom at GfK on
BMBI wins Best Product Launch at the Construction Marketing Awards. The Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) has won Best Product Launch at the prestigious Construction Marketing Awards (CMA) for what the judges described as “an innovative offer

New Merchant Apprenticeship launched for 2018  

BMF merchant apprenticeship launchThe BMF and the Electrical Distributors Association (EDA) have jointly championed the development of a brand new, industry specific Trade Supplier Apprentice Standard. It is the first Apprenticeship to be designed for our industry by experts in our industry, and is set to become the sector’s primary Level 2 qualification when it is launched to employers next year. 

The Trade Supplier Level 2 Apprenticeship Standard has just been launched to more than fifteen training providers who will deliver the training programme across the UK. From January 2018, the new Standard will be offered to builders merchants through BMF Apprenticeships Plus.  

Trade Supplier Level 2 was developed as part of the government’s Trailblazer initiative. This encouraged groups of employers to work together to create robust apprenticeships for their own sector, to ensure that people have up-to-date workplace skills that are fully relevant to business and industry.    

Speaking at the launch, Richard Ellithorne, BMF Membership Services Director  said: “Merchants and other trade suppliers play a vital role in ensuring an efficient flow of goods and services between manufacturers and their skilled trade customer base, but this is the first time that an Apprenticeship has been designed to meet the industry’s specific needs.  It is a huge step forward, and I would like to thank all those who gave their time and energy to ensure this new apprenticeship delivers the skills and knowledge needed by new recruits to our industry.”  

John Henry, Director of BMF Apprenticeships Plus (the BMF’s Apprenticeship Training Agency) said: “This employer-led qualification will give young people entering the industry an excellent grounding in merchanting and will raise the bar in terms of skills and knowledge at an early point in their careers.  Having been in close communication with many businesses it is clear that the merchanting sector has been waiting for this new apprenticeship and I am confident of a significant take up by employers wishing to recruit and train new entrants and existing colleagues.”         

Commenting on the collaborative development process, Margaret Fitzsimons, EDA Director said: “Created by wholesalers for wholesalers, this new entry-level apprenticeship reflects the substantial commitment and knowledge sharing from across the building, timber and joinery, kitchen installation and electro-technical sectors. It has been a pleasure to work with similar trade organisations and their members to pool our significant wholesaling experience.”  

Crawford Knott of Hawk Training, an Ofsted accredited Outstanding training provider added: “Boosting the level of skills and productivity in the UK is vitally important, even more so as we move into the post-Brexit era. Apprenticeship standards like this one will enable employers in the sector to harness new talent and support the development of industry-specific skills.”  

The new Trade Supplier Apprenticeship Standard will replace the Trade Business Service framework apprenticeship, formerly used by merchants.  The new Standard is far more closely aligned with the merchant working environment.  Trade Supplier Apprentices will be trained and assessed on:  

  • dealing with customer sales at the trade counter and over the telephone
  • understanding incoming deliveries, stock control and despatch
  • processing customer orders and taking delivery of goods
  • technical knowledge of the products and services offered
  • using bespoke systems and equipment within their company
  • communication and building relationships both internally and with customers. 

Trade Supplier Apprentices may work on the trade counter, or they can specialise in other roles in the trade business environment including sales, purchasing account management, logistics and administration.  

The new Apprenticeship received approval from the Skills Funding Agency and OFQUAL earlier this Autumn, and will be eligible for funding under the new Levy system.
New Merchant Apprenticeship launched for 2018. The BMF and the Electrical Distributors Association (EDA) have jointly championed the development of a brand new, industry specific Trade Supplier Apprentice Standard. It is the first Apprenticeship to

BMF expands into the Irish market  

Allied Merchants Buying AssociationThe BMF has signed a group membership agreement with Allied Merchants Buying Association (AMBA), Ireland’s leading independent merchant buying group.  

Formed in 2011, AMBA is the fastest growing merchant buying group in Ireland, encompassing 17 members with 85 outlets and an annual spend of some €130m on building materials, plumbing and heating goods and timber products. Total turnover of members is around €230m. All 17 AMBA members will join the BMF on 1 December 2017  

Welcoming AMBA members, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “While the BMF has always had the ability within its constitution to extend its reach into Ireland, strategically the impetus to join had to come from Irish merchants.  When AMBA made their request, we were delighted to respond and look forward to providing our full range of training and support services to their members. We are very excited at the prospect of developing our alliance and extending our core membership benefits to AMBA’s members.”  

Keith Giblin, AMBA CEO explained why AMBA has joined the BMF:  “AMBA’s fundamental purpose is as a low cost, highly professional group with strategically placed members working with partner suppliers.  Our Buying Group has grown rapidly since its inception, successfully ensuring we defend and grow our members’ competitive position, profitability and market share by working together. We are continually focussed on adding further value to our members and an alliance with the BMF offers numerous opportunities to enhance our members’ businesses. Foremost amongst these is the BMF’s approach to recruitment, which is helping to attract and develop talented people within the merchant industry.”  

Allied Merchants Buying Association and the BMFBrexit is another factor in AMBA’s desire to create a strong link with the BMF as an international trade association.  

Dennis O’Connor, AMBA Chairman said: “We have three aims for our ongoing relationship with the BMF: alliance, recruitment and awareness.  Our market is somewhat reliant on the UK and with the countdown to Brexit well underway it is essential to draw closer to a Federation that represents merchants and building materials suppliers operating in the UK in order to develop a greater awareness and understanding of the issues on both sides.”  

Peter Hindle MBE, BMF Chairman added: “Many building materials producers administer the UK and Ireland as one commercial region and it is likely that this will continue beyond Brexit.  It is strategically important for the BMF to continue to develop its links with European trade bodies such as UFEMAT and FEST in order to support existing members in the UK as well as our latest members in Ireland. I look forward to welcoming Allied Merchants Buying Association into membership.” 

The addition of AMBA’s members increases the number of BMF Merchant members to 337, operating from over 5,000 branches throughout the UK and Ireland. From 1 December, the BMF’s total membership, including Supplier and Service members will stand at 640. Together, BMF merchant and supplier companies have combined sales of £28 billion and employ 123,000 people in the building materials industry.  

Pictured: L-R: Dennis O'Connor (AMBA Chairman)  and Keith Giblin (AMBA CEO), John Newcomb (BMF CEO), Peter Hindle MBE (BMF Chairman)
The BMF has signed a group membership agreement with Allied Merchants Buying Association (AMBA), Ireland’s leading independent merchant buying group.

Lakes Bathrooms joins BMF as new supplier member

Lakes BathroomMike Tattam, Lakes Bathrooms' new sales & marketing director,  right, with BMF CEO John Newcombs, a leading manufacturer and supplier of shower enclosures, doors and bath screens, has joined the BMF as a supplier member.  

Lakes Bathrooms has been supplying builders’ merchants for more than 30 years. An independent family business set up in 1986, it has built a strong reputation in supplying high quality shower enclosures to the trade, backed by reliable service and support.  

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam comments: “Builders’ merchants are a key target market for our business, so it’s important we look at new opportunities to strengthen relationships and build our brand in this sector. The BMF is a prominent industry body that has grown strongly over recent years. It’s therefore a sensible step forward to join. I’m confident it will give us a new platform in which to position and build our brand in this market.”  

Tewkesbury-based Lakes Bathrooms is renowned for its first class customer service, speed of delivery and for creating innovative, market-leading products that are ‘superior as standard’ yet affordable. Its extensive portfolio includes timeless classic and contemporary designs and framed, semi-framed and frameless doors, screens and enclosures to cater for all tastes and requirements.  

Lakes Bathrooms’ optically superior PureVueHD glass, which has minimal iron content to reduce the green hue found in standard glass to near zero levels, results in glass that is clearer, lighter and brighter and comes as standard at no extra cost on its Classic, Coastline and Island collections. Another thoughtful feature available free of charge on products within these ranges is the company’s AllClear® protective coating, which is applied to both sides of the glass to help users keep their enclosure looking as good as new with minimal effort.  

The BMF is the only trade association, which represents and protects the interests of builders’ merchants and suppliers to the merchanting industry in the UK. Through its membership, Lakes Bathrooms will benefit from training, development and professional support opportunities through a variety of services and key events where members can meet and exchange ideas with fellow merchants, suppliers and leading industry figures.  

BMF CEO John Newcomb says: “We are delighted that Lakes Bathrooms has joined the BMF and appreciates the value of being part of a strong trade body. I am looking forward to working with them in the coming months.”  

Pictured: Mike Tattam, Lakes Bathrooms' new sales & marketing director, right, with BMF CEO John Newcomb  
Lakes Bathrooms joins BMF as new supplier member. Lakes Bathrooms, a leading manufacturer and supplier of shower enclosures, doors and bath screens, has joined the BMF as a supplier member.