BMF COVID-19 bulletin - 17 March 2020

Firstly, I hope that you, your family and all of your employees are keeping safe and well through these unprecedented times.
A number of our members have contacted me to ask me what actions the BMF are taking to help them through what is undoubtedly a difficult period for them and their businesses. Therefore I am writing to you to outline the specific measures that we are putting in place to help protect our own employees and also to help our members trade through this escalating pandemic.
Our actions are now focused on 4 key priorities areas:


We are already sending out a weekly Coronavirus bulletin to all of our members, containing the most up-to-date information from both the Government and the CBI. From next Monday these bulletins will be issued twice weekly, on Mondays and Thursdays. The latest COVID-19 bulletin, issued today, can be accessed by clicking here. Don’t miss our new blog, giving information on “how to keep your business healthy as Coronavirus strikes”.

The BMF, with a membership of over 710 companies generating an annual turnover of £32 billion, is the only Trade Association representing both Merchants and Suppliers to the Building Materials Industry that has a direct line into Government. Today, I wrote directly to the Business Minister, Nadhim Zahawi , who you may recall spoke at the BMF Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons last October, expressing the key issues and concerns of our Industry and requesting a meeting with him to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on our sector.

The BMF has also requested meetings with our key contacts at BEIS to discuss specific industry-related issues and we will be looking to have regular meetings in Whitehall during the next few weeks.

With the Government asking everyone in the UK to avoid non-essential travel and contact with others to curb COVID-19, we have cancelled or will be cancelling all regional meetings, events and forums for the next 8 weeks.

We are also aware that a number of you are reluctant to send your staff on “classroom” style courses. For this reason we will be ramping up our “ONLINE” training offers to you over the coming weeks. We already offer a comprehensive range of online training services, such as BMF Campus and BMF Building Blocks, full details of which are on our website. These will now be supplemented by a series of webinars being planned for popular BMF training programmes, such as How A House Is Built, so your staff can still get the full benefits of BMF training. Full details of these courses will be sent to you either by Richard and Paige from our Training Department or by your specific Regional Manager.

Please also remember that there is a comprehensive suite of BMF Plus Services to help you during this difficult time. We have Intelligent Employment advice through our partner, Halborns, Insurance advice through our partner, Miles Smith, Health and Safety advice through Southalls and Digital online advice, which is set to double over the next 12 months because of the crisis, through specialist digital providers such as eCommonSense. Information on all of these services can be found on the BMF website or by contacting your Regional Manager, who can talk you through the services in more detail over the phone.


Finally, it is of course one of my key priorities to look after my own staff here at the BMF. From tomorrow morning approximately 70% of BMF staff will be working from home. A full IT audit has been conducted and all of those staff that have now been designated “home based” are fully operational and able to take calls and emails from members.

For the time being the BMF Office in Coventry will remain open and fully operational with a small skeleton staff, including myself. I am sure you will appreciate that this situation is fluid and could well change in the future.

Regardless of COVID-19, we remain totally committed to our core objective of helping our members to Build Excellence in materials supply. It is at exactly such times of business uncertainty that any industry needs a strong and reliable Trade Association to represent its interests and the BMF remains totally committed to looking after your interests.

The BMF is here to do all we can to help and support you and your teams in this very difficult period. You have my personal assurance that the weight of the BMF and the recognition and the respect that we command is now fully dedicated to help manage you through this crisis.

If you have any specific questions, or you would like us to share any experiences and information from your own business with other members, please do not hesitate to contact me or any one of the BMF team. All our contact details are on the BMF website.

Take care and stay safe. I look forward to seeing you at one of the BMF events in the Autumn when, hopefully, we are through the worst of this unprecedented health crisis.