BMF News

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


3 March 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commenting on the launch, BMF CEO John Newcomb said: 

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

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

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

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

BMF Responds to Budget Statement


3 March 2021

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

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

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

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

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

BMF All Industry Conference moves to November date


1 March 2021

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

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

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

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

Builders merchants sales continue positive trend in Q4 2020


25 February 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RACHEL FRYERS APPOINTED BMF BOARD ADVISOR


08 February 2021

Rachel Fryers appointed BMF Board AdvisorThe BMF has appointed Rachel Fryers, Director of Merritt & Fryers in Skipton, as a Board Advisor with effect from 1 April 2021.

Before taking her position in the family firm, Rachel spent almost 20 years as a landscape architect, gaining a breadth of experience within large multidisciplinary infrastructure and construction teams, delivering a wide range of projects from new towns to schools, hospitals and prisons.

Since her return, she has overseen the expansion of the award-winning business. Rachel is motivated by a desire to see the industry embrace environmentally sustainable practices. She is also a champion of workplace training and education. As a director of one of the smaller independent merchants, she is well placed to support their development within the supply chain.

In addition to its board of directors, the BMF may appoint up to two non-voting advisors to strengthen the advice available to it on merchant, supplier or regional issues.  

Richard Hill, BMF Chairman said: “We are delighted to welcome Rachel as a Board Advisor.  She brings a wealth of valuable experience from the independent merchant sector that will help inform BMF activities as the construction industry steps up to help rebuild the post-Covid economy.” 
 
Rachel Fryers appointed BMF Board Advisor
The BMF has appointed Rachel Fryers, Director of Merritt & Fryers in Skipton, as a Board Advisor with effect from 1 April 2021.

BMF members urged to support NHS workers


2 February 2021

BMF members urged to support NHS workersThe BMF is urging members to support NHS workers in any way that can they can during the pandemic.

Many businesses have developed special offers and discounts especially for NHS staff during this critical time and the BMF is co-ordinating a collective programme for health workers 

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “A recent CBI webinar highlighted that helping to maintain the health and wellbeing of NHS workers is crucial to the current national effort and an important way that businesses can contribute.  There will undoubtedly be times when health workers need to make urgent repairs to their homes during this crisis.  We are seeking to help through the development of a collective discount programme for NHS workers.”

BMF members who would like to be involved in this scheme, should email hannah.taylor@bmf.org.uk in the first instance.

The BMF is also encouraging members with more than 50 employees to take part in the Government’s asymptomatic workplace testing programme, which has been extended to include anyone working in the construction industry. In England, free lateral flow tests and full training is now available for builders’ merchants with over 50 employees. Full details at www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests
 
The BMF is urging members to support NHS workers in any way that can they can during the pandemic.

Supply issues impacting on construction sector 


26 January 2021

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

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

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

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

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

“We are also facing significant issues with timber supplies. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Since then, the situation has only got worse. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Broadcaster Jason Mohammad to host BMF All Industry Conference 


25 January 2021

Broadcaster Jason Mohammad to host BMF All Industry ConferenceBroadcaster, Jason Mohammad will host the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference which takes place in historic Yorkshire in June.

A popular and much respected tv and radio host, Jason currently fronts TV’s Final Score, Good Morning Sunday on BBC Radio 2 and his weekday morning radio show for BBC Radio Wales.  Jason has also fronted coverage of the World Snooker Championships, Six Nations Rugby and was a key member of the presentation teams at the last two Olympics, Commonwealth Games, World Cups and European Football Championships.

Away from sport, Jason has co-hosted Crimewatch, presented Wales Children in Need and tested his acting skills appearing as a news presenter in two Christmas special episodes of Dr Who.  

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are delighted that Jason will be hosting the building materials industry’s first post-pandemic Conference.  We are looking forward to welcoming a full house of delegates from across the entire sector.”

The sold-out, dual-centre BMF All Industry Conference takes place in Harrogate and York from 17-20 June 2021. Further details are available on the Conference website, www.bmfconference.co.uk

Second stage registration will launch on Monday 22 February, when attendees will be invited to confirm delegate names, hotel choices and optional social activities.

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.
 
Broadcaster Jason Mohammad to host BMF All Industry Conference
Broadcaster, Jason Mohammad will host the 2021 BMF All Industry Conference which takes place in historic Yorkshire in June.

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


18 January 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


14 January 2020

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

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

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

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

Merchant industry speakers confirmed for BMF All-Industry Conference Forum


11 January 2021

Bence and Roberts BMF All-Industry ConferenceThe BMF has announced the final line up of speakers for the popular Industry Forum session at the 2021 All Industry Conference, taking place in Harrogate in June. Nick Roberts, CEO of Travis Perkins plc and Paul Bence, MD of George Bence Group complete the four-person panel and will each present their merchant industry view.  They join the previously announced duo, Andy Mitchell Chair of the Construction Leadership Council and Peter Hallitt, Group Trading Director at Marshalls plc.

The Industry Forum brings together industry leaders from across the building materials and wider construction industry to address key issues of the day and lead the discussion with delegates.

Nick and Paul represent different ends of the merchant spectrum. While Nick leads the UK’s largest supplier of building materials to the construction industry, Paul heads one of the country’s most successful independents, a family-run sixth generation business based in Gloucestershire.

They also came to merchanting via very different routes. 

Nick is a geologist by profession with over 25 years of international engineering consulting experience, and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He joined Travis Perkins in 2019 from design, engineering and project management consultancy, Atkins, where he was CEO.  He is now responsible for a £7bn market leading business including Travis Perkins Builders’ Merchants, Toolstation and Wickes.

Nick is a passionate advocate of safety and wellbeing, and of working collaboratively to improve productivity and diversity in the construction industry. He also supports the Travis Perkins’ Armed Forces Covenant programme, and is Deputy Chair, Trustee and Director of the Forces in Mind Trust in the UK, whose mission is to help servicemen and women transition to successful civilian lives.   

Paul’s first role within the family business transformed their struggling Obsidian Kitchens & Bathroom brand. The Group’s lightside business now encompasses multiple retail and trade showrooms. He took over as MD in 2010 and has directed similar growth across product sectors in heavyside, roofing and decorating. He is also Trading Director of K&B Showrooms within the Fortis independent merchant buying group, chairman of the BMF Kitchen & Bathroom Forum. A former BMF Young Merchant, he became the youngest member of the Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants when he joined in 2006.

Paul will draw on his experience of taking a single independent branch and delivering a multifaceted builders merchant with a clear product segmentation plan over the last decade.

The BMF’s sold-out, dual-centre All Industry Conference takes place in Harrogate and York from 17-20 June 2021. Further details are available on the Conference website, www.bmfconference.co.uk

Second stage registration will launch on Monday 1 February, when attendees will be invited to confirm delegate names, hotel choices and optional social activities.

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.
 
Bence and Roberts BMF All-Industry Conference
The BMF has announced the final line up of speakers for the popular Industry Forum session at the 2021 All Industry Conference

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Press enquires for the builders merchants and building materials industry;

The Builders Merchants Federation is the only trade association that represents and protects the interests of builders’ merchants and suppliers to the building materials industry in the UK and Ireland.

Total membership at 1 January 2020 stands at 710 merchant, supplier and service companies who together have combined sales of £32bn and employ around 138,000 people in the building materials industry. BMF’s 363 merchant members operate from over 5,450 branches across the UK and Ireland.

From the saw-mill, quarry and out to the shop floor, the BMF has a unique perspective, which is of value to the media.

For press enquiries regarding the building materials sector/merchants sector, please contact;

Jane Shepherd
jane@shepherd-pr.com
07985 129315
01538 308685