Supporting our industry

18 February 2020
By BMF CEO John Newcomb

John NewcombThe BMF’s annual membership survey provides us with feedback on which of our services members most value, as well as areas where they would like more support.  

While it came as no surprise to see the BMF’s networking opportunities at the top of the list of acknowledged benefits – with many requesting more Product Forums and Regional meetings - this was closely followed by a number of other areas where we have expanded the services offered in recent years, for example the provision of accurate market data. In this area, our established monthly Builders Merchants Building Index and the recently launched Builders Merchants Industry Forecast Report together offer the most comprehensive analysis of merchant market performance and projected sales forecast available today and are viewed as essential reading.

Legislation and lobbying activities also featured strongly. Members value the BMF’s role in keeping them up to date with details of upcoming changes to legislation and building regulations that will affect them, as well as increasing the BMF’s political representation with Government in tandem with our growing member voice. The BMF has placed greater emphasis on policy work in recent years and 2020 will see our third annual Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons on 19 May, where the focus will be on Building a Sustainable Britain.

The BMF is also supporting the next phase of the Get Britain Building Campaign, alongside the Building Alliance and the Federation of Master Builders. With greater stability within Government and our exit from the European Union now certain, the latest Campaign will launch later this month.

The campaign is extremely pertinent to our members. We asked them how they viewed the future. While some concerns were expressed, notably around skills shortages and low-cost competitors, their overall sentiment was positive with members keen to embrace emerging technologies and committed to retaining their relevance to tomorrow’s customers and provide excellent customer service. They are in an exceptional position to do so. 80% of the materials used to build new homes in the UK are manufactured here. No other industry can rival this.  By supporting the building materials supply and the wider construction industry, the Government will reap the benefit from the huge economic multiplier that results.

With the speaker programme currently under development, I’m sure the BMF Members' Annual Conference in September will be discussing this further under the overall theme of Sustaining Excellence. With both a new venue, the De Vere Beaumont Estate in Windsor, and a new headline sponsor, Marshalls and Stonemarket, I am looking forward to welcoming members to this flagship event.

Our drive to Get Britain Building, does not mean we are turning our back on Europe.  Far from it. In October, the BMF will be hosting the 2020 Ufemat Conference in London – and as the current President of Ufemat I am delighted to bring the event to the UK.  Taking the theme Europe European Unity in a Digital Age, it will bring together professionals from every sector of the building materials supply chain and from every corner of Europe and provide a unique opportunity for members to broaden their networks and share ideas and best practice to take back to their own markets.

It’s going to be a busy and productive year!

This article first appeared in the February 2020 edition of Builders Merchants News