BMF News

Marshalls Design Spaces to host BMF Regional Training Centres


Marshalls Design Spaces BMF regional training centreThe Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is set to launch two further Regional Training Centres with the assistance of Marshalls, the UK’s leading hard landscaping supplier. The new Regional Training Centres will be hosted in Marshalls Design Space facilities in central Birmingham and in Clerkenwell, London. They will both open after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

BMF Regional Training Centres provide meeting and training spaces for smaller groups to come together, reflecting the BMF’s localisation strategy to help members participate in events closer to their own home base, thus reducing time spent away from their business.

Peter Hallitt, Marshalls’ Group Trading Managing Director, said: “The two Marshalls Design Spaces are ideal venues for this purpose, designed for construction industry professionals to explore, experiment and imagine a range of possibilities. They are great places to learn too and we are delighted to support the BMF in this way.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “I would like to thank Marshalls for working with the BMF to bring our second and third Regional Training Centres on stream. They are both fantastic spaces and will serve city centre areas in the BMF’s Midland and London/South East regions. Our first RTC, in Cornwall, serves the far South West, and we are targeting three more by the end of the year, which will give us one in each of our five UK regions and one in Ireland.”
The BMF is set to launch two further Regional Training Centres with the assistance of Marshalls.

BMF backs CLC emergency plan to save UK construction


The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) was a co-signatory to the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) letter to the Prime Minister today, requesting clear and visible encouragement and support for the production of building materials to continue, if at all possible, and for builders’, plumbing and electrical merchants to remain open so that essential maintenance and construction works can continue.

The CLC, which comprises the CEOs of the 11 leading federations and representative bodies across the construction industry, has appealed to the Government to both recognise and support the essential role of the construction industry during the current crisis and to put in place measures to reduce current cashflow pressures affecting every business, which is essential if they are to play a full role in supporting a strong economic recovery.

The CLC has asked the Prime Minister to
- suspend PAYE and CIS tax due to HMRC in April and May for construction and consultancy firms and workers with no financial penalty
- defer/cancel Apprenticeship Levy payments for the duration of the crisis
- advise all public sector clients, regulated utilities and firms in the private sector to expedite cash flow throughout the supply chain
- support the directors of micro-businesses, who currently fall between the support provided by the Job Retention Scheme and assistance for the self-employed
- direct all Government bodies to release all retention monies, which are estimated to total £4.5 billion across the supply chain
- extend the £25k SME business continuity grants scheme to the construction sector.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:

“We are aware that merchants, building materials producers and construction workers who continue to operate through the crisis are being criticised by members of the public, and at times hampered by public officials, who are not aware of the crucial role they are playing.  We are calling on Government to make it absolutely clear that they are essential workers playing a vital role in building and maintaining NHS estates, enabling the transport sector to function and keeping the lights on in homes around the country. 

“But of equal importance, the UK economy requires a functioning construction sector once this crisis is over to get Britain building once more.  Our letter calls on Government to take steps to save jobs and companies in the long term, and to ensure that our sector can continue to function throughout the current crisis.”
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) was a co-signatory to the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) letter to the Prime Minister today.

Secretary of State thanks merchants, manufacturers and construction workers for critical support during COVID-19


The BMF has circulated to members a letter from the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, personally paying tribute to them for working tirelessly during these challenging times and thanking them for their hugely valued and critical contribution to the resilience of our country.

Earlier this week, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) published Site Operating Procedures (SOP) that align with the latest guidance from Public Health England to help ensure the safety of those who continue working on site. The BMF is one of the 12 leading construction trade bodies forming the CLC, the taskforce in daily contact with the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) advising on the developing situation that faces our sector. 

The BMF also secured from government a template letter for delivery drivers to use while continuing to deliver materials to essential customers during the COVID-19 crisis, should they be challenged.

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “Alok Sharma’s letter makes it clear that the Government needs the support of the whole construction industry to build temporary hospital wards, construct the infrastructure that society needs to function and ensure that people have safe and healthy homes to live in.

“But we are also extremely mindful that we are not in a ‘business as usual’ situation. Operations on construction sites and within builders’ merchants and building materials’ manufacturing plants must follow Public Health England guidelines to minimise the risk of transmitting coronavirus and, where people cannot work from home, to provide a safe workplace. The BMF is here to provide support, but our members must make the best decision for their individual business.

“As a member of the CLC we are able to provide our members with the very latest information and advice from government.  And, of course, within that forum we are also raising the issues that are causing our members the most concern and finding ways to help overcome them.”
The BMF has circulated to members a letter from the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, personally paying tribute to them for working tirelessly during these challenging times and thanking them fo

BMF P&H Spring Forum to be held online


30 March 2020

The BMF will be holding its first virtual Forum in May. The Spring Plumbing & Heating Forum, which was due to be held at Installer2020, will now be delivered as part of InstallerFESTIVAL – a virtual industry gathering being organised by Installer from May 11-15, 2020.

The digital event will replicate the structure of a physical Forum with presentations, interactive discussions and even end of session networking online.  Members must register their interest and will be emailed details to login to the virtual event.

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “We have had to postpone a number of events in response to COVID-19 restrictions and have been looking at different ways to adapt to changing circumstances. 

“We are delighted that the Plumbing & Heating Forum will go ahead on 13 May as planned and thank Installer2020 for their support.  Members will be able to come together through a digital interface as opposed to face-to-face, but they will enjoy the same great content, discussion and debate.”

Installer2020 Event Director Mike Costain said: “We’re delighted to partner with the BMF to support the P&H Forum. We had to make the difficult decision to postpone Installer2020 following guidance by Government and Public Health England. The well-being of our visitors, exhibitors and staff is our top priority, so we hope you will agree that postponement is the sensible thing to do.

“However, Installer’s market-leading online channels and audience are growing, especially now, and provide the perfect platform to host important digital industry get-togethers.

“We’re delighted to have the BMF Spring Plumbing & Heating Forum as part of our ground-breaking InstallerFESTIVAL.”

Installer2020 has been rescheduled to 1-3 December 2020 and the BMF will now hold their Winter Plumbing & Heating Forum on 1 December at the exhibition.
The BMF will be holding its first virtual Forum in May. The Spring Plumbing & Heating Forum, which was due to be held at Installer2020, will now be delivered as part of InstallerFESTIVAL – a virtual industry gathering being organised by Installer fro

Appeal to builders’ merchants to provide vital PPE to the NHS

26 March 2020

With intense supply chain pressures affecting the ability of healthcare professionals to source the equipment, the BMF is appealing to builders’ merchants across the UK to provide much-needed personal protective equipment for NHS staff.

The move is part of a national initiative co-ordinated by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), comprising the major trade associations involved in the industry. 

The BMF’s merchant members operate from more than 5,450 branches nationwide and the vast majority will stock PPE.

In a bid to tackle the shortages, the BMF is appealing for merchants to donate items including FFP3 masks, full-face visors, safety goggles and glasses, hazmat/full body suits and hand sanitiser in a bid to tackle the shortages.

BMF merchants have been asked to contact their BMF Regional Manager with details of the level of stocks they can offer.

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF, said: 

“The unique nature of the BMF network puts them in pole position to support this initiative. 

“At the moment we are assessing what stock levels are in place through our merchants.

“We will then work with the relevant supply chain, through the CLC initiative, to get any items we receive to healthcare professionals.

“These are unprecedented times, but we can work together to pull through.”
With intense supply chain pressures affecting the ability of healthcare professionals to source the equipment, the BMF is appealing to builders’ merchants across the UK.

BMF clarifies builders’ merchants’ role during COVID-19 restrictions


24 March 2020

During today’s (24 March) Construction Leadership Council Taskforce briefing with BEIS, the BMF requested and received clarification on builders’ merchants’ operational status following the additional restrictions announced last night by the Government.

This confirmed that merchants are a vital part of the construction supply chain and that it is important that they continue to support the construction industry to operate on sites, and to provide the link between product manufacturers and the firms and tradespeople that use and install the products they make.  However, all operations should be carried out whilst observing Public Health England (PHE) Guidelines.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “The advice we received from BEIS following this morning’s briefing call makes it clear that merchants should continue to operate. 

“Ideally, this should be through online and delivery services, but those who need to maintain depot service are able to do so providing they observe PHE guidance including social distancing, cleaning and hygiene, staff welfare and all other means to minimise the risks of transmitting coronavirus.”

The full text of the statement the BMF has issued to members follows.

Last night, the Government announced additional restrictions that would apply to business and individuals to reduce the spread of coronavirus. These restrictions specify that people should work from home where this is possible, but also states that where this is not possible, people can continue to work as normal, whilst observing PHE guidelines. Construction and manufacturing operations are given as examples of workplaces where people cannot work from home. The guidance also states that retailers can continue to operate where this is essential, for example providing food and other essential items, and that online and delivery operations involving limited contact can also continue. 

Builders merchants are a vital part of the construction supply chain. It is important that they continue to support the industry to operate on sites, especially where it is undertaking essential work, and also to continue to provide the link between product manufacturers and the firms and tradespeople that use and install the products they make. To ensure they can continue to operate they are advising our members that: 

- builders merchants should continue to operate, and to provide a key service to their customers, but do this taking account of the guidance provided by Public Health England;
- online and delivery services can operate as normal, although drivers should seek to follow advice on social distancing, and avoid close contact with customers;
- where firms operate stores, they should consider how to manage ordering and collection systems and store operations to observe PHE guidance including social distancing, and on cleaning and hygiene, including of staff welfare facilities, to minimise the risks of transmitting coronavirus; and
- merchants open to the public should consider whether to continue to allow this during the period when restrictions are in place, and if this is necessary, should consider restrictions on the number of people in their stores at any one time, and how to improve cleaning and hygiene within stores to minimise the risk of transmitting coronavirus.
During the Construction Leadership Council Taskforce briefing with BEIS, the BMF requested and received clarification on builders’ merchants’ operational status following the additional restrictions announced last night by the Government.

Builders’ merchants unite to offer trades a route to support the vulnerable during COVID-19 crisis


13 March 2020

Ray Stafford Members of the BMF across the UK have joined forces to offer a united front in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

‘Trades Against The Virus’ has been set-up to give tradespeople a recognised route to support vulnerable people in need, using the extensive merchant network to help replenish stocks in food banks nationwide.

Branches large and small have already pledged their support for the scheme, the brainchild of Ray Stafford, the Managing Director of Williams & Co, a trade only plumbing and heating supplies merchant based in Fareham, Hampshire and covering the south east of England Bristol, Milton Keynes and Manchester.

Ray appealed to his trade body, the BMF, for help over the weekend to move the plan forward, and the response was immediate.

BMF merchants operate from more than 5,450 branches across the UK.  Companies including Jewsons, Travis Perkins, Buildbase and PTS are among those signing-up to the cause, ensuring the length of breadth of the UK is supported by the initiative. 

All the participating merchants will now act as drop-off points for their trade customers, including builders, plumbers, heating engineers, roofers and joiners, to bring store-cupboard basics, ready for transportation to a local foodbank.

Ray said: “The idea is to boost the stocks in the nation’s food banks during this time of crisis.

“Many food banks have already run out of items, and others are struggling to help their clients, who are among the most vulnerable in our society.

“Recent supermarket shortages are also adding to the pressure. The country needs help quickly and effectively. With thousands of stores across the nation, vans, drivers and a strong customer base, the UK’s network of builders’ merchants is well-placed to deliver a targeted approach, quickly and effectively.”

Ray and his team are directing those merchants taking part to their local food bank through the Trussell Trust website, https://www.trusselltrust.org/ or suggesting they support facilities they know drawing on their own community knowledge.

The merchants will then deliver the provisions, using whatever social distancing protocols the food banks recommend.

Ray added: “In my experience, tradespeople are incredibly generous and will want to do their bit in these difficult times.

“With ‘Trades Against The Virus,’ we can unite and make an impact fast, to get the donations to people in need. ”

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF, said: “The unique nature of the BMF network, with so many sites across the UK, transportation capability and community-minded staff and customers, puts them in pole position to make a difference to those people most in need at this difficult time.

“The response has over the weekend has been overwhelming but it comes as no surprise that so many have chosen to support this campaign.” The initiative is also being supported by the Band of Builders, a charity set up by tradespeople to help members of the UK construction industry battling illness or injury.  They are publicising the campaign to their 10,000 members.

John Newcomb concluded: “These are unprecedented times, but we can work together to pull through.”

A dedicated website is under construction and should be live by close of play on Monday 23 March.  It will include more details about ‘Trades Against The Virus,’ including a list of builders’ merchants taking part, as well as the full specifics of the campaign. www.tradesagainstthevirus.org
Ray Stafford
Members of the BMF across the UK have joined forces to offer a united front in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Construction industry trade body welcomes Government support package


23 March 2020

The BMF has welcomed the Government’s plans to protect wages, announced this evening by Government.

According to the national trade body, the move from chancellor Rishi Sunak could ensure the UK’s vital building materials supply chain - which represents a large proportion of the national economy - is kept moving.

With the building materials sector valued at £55 billion pounds – and responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK – the Federation has advised the Government of the devastating impact if the pandemic shuts down the industry. 

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF, said: “Around 80 per cent of the UK’s building materials are manufactured in the UK, which is a considerable benefit, particularly in these hugely challenging times.

“BMF merchant members perform a vital function in distributing materials and products from quarries, kilns, sawmills, factories and ports to where they are needed onsite every day.

“Unlike supermarkets and high street retailers, we do not anticipate panic buying of the materials and products that BMF members make, stock and deliver.

“However, it is important that this vital part of our economy is able to function, to support the national economy in this difficult time.”

The BMF is the trade association for businesses in the building materials’ supply chain in the UK and Ireland.

It has represented builders, plumbing and heating and timber merchants and those who manufacture and supply building materials, home improvement products and renewable energy systems for 111 years.

The Federation has 710 members, with combined annual sales of over £32 billion, and employing around 138,000 people. They trade from more than 5,450 branches throughout Britain and Ireland.

Mr Newcomb added: “These are unprecedented times, but we can work together to pull through.

“The manufacturers, merchants and supply companies we represent are willing to work in partnership with Government on the serious construction, housing and employment issues we jointly face.”
The BMF has welcomed the Government’s plans to protect wages, announced this evening by Government.

BMF prioritises member support with appeal to Government over COVID-19


18 March 2020

The BMF has advised the Government on the likely impact of coronavirus on the building materials supply chain and warned of the devastating impact if the pandemic shuts down the construction sector. 

The BMF will continue to express the concerns of the sector over the coming weeks as the situation develops and has requested urgent meetings with the Business Minister, Nadhim Zahawi and with key contacts at BEIS to discuss specific industry-related issues.

Reflecting the concerns of the industry directly into Government is one of four priority areas for the BMF as it helps members to continue to trade through the unprecedented health crisis.  They are also issuing twice-weekly bulletins with the most up-to-date advice both from the Government and the CBI.

In line with Government requests to avoid non-essential travel and contact with others, the BMF is cancelling all regional meetings, events and forums for the next 8 weeks.  The Federation is also ramping up On-Line Training to replace classroom style courses, with a series of webinars for popular BMF training programmes, such as How a House is Built.  This is in addition to its existing comprehensive range of online training services such as BMF Campus and BMF Building Blocks.

Through the BMF Plus Services members can access expert Employment, Insurance and Health & Safety advice.  They also have access to Digital online advice, an area of business that is set to double over the next 12 months as purchasing habits are forced to change.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “It is exactly at times of business uncertainty that any industry needs a strong, reliable and effective Trade Association to represent its interests.  The BMF will do all we can to help and support members through this very difficult period.”

In common with many office-based businesses, the BMF has instituted home working for the majority of its staff. A skeleton staff, including John Newcomb, will continue to work from their Coventry HQ.  All staff will be fully operational, providing a full service to members.

John Newcomb concluded: “Regardless of COVID-19, we remain totally committed to our core objective of helping members to build excellence in materials supply. They have my personal assurance that the weight of the BMF, and the recognition and respect we command as the only trade body for the whole building materials supply chain, is fully dedicated to helping members to manage through this crisis.”
The BMF has advised the Government on the likely impact of coronavirus on the building materials supply chain and warned of the devastating impact if the pandemic shuts down the construction sector. ​

The Budget: BMF reaction

12 March 2020

Budget boxReacting to the Budget Statement, John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), said: “For understandable reasons, the Chancellor gave a wholly different Budget to Parliament than he had originally planned to when he took up the job a month ago. The threat posed by a coronavirus outbreak and the likely impact on the building materials’ supply chain is a hot topic among BMF members”.

“A genuine worry is a downturn in the home improvement market, where projects are cancelled or postponed, because either the home-owner is confined at home, unable to work, or that their trade customers are unavailable if they have self-isolate”.

Mr Newcomb was disappointed not to hear more from Mr Sunak about investing in new buildings and existing properties to decarbonise homes on the road to a net zero carbon economy. He pointed out that household energy-efficiency was noticeable by its absence, both from his speech, and from the Budget Red Book.

John Newcomb continued: “Promises to introduce schemes for heat pumps and renewable heating in 2022, however welcome, are too vague and insufficient for the task we all face. A package of incentives - including a cut in VAT to 5% for home improvements - was what the industry had called for to persuade and encourage residents to upgrade their home”.

On housing, the BMF was pleased that the Affordable Housing programme will be boosted by a further £12 billion to build more much-needed social and affordable homes.

Elsewhere, promises to look again at improving the workings of the Apprenticeship Levy, the continued freeze of Fuel Duty, and more money to encourage the switch to using electric vehicles were all welcome developments, Mr Newcomb concluded.
Reacting to the Budget Statement, John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF said: “For understandable reasons, the Chancellor gave a wholly different Budget to Parliament than he had originally planned to when he took up the job a month ago. The threat posed by a

Nick Knowles to give keynote address at BMF Young Merchants Conference 2020

10 March 2020

Nick KnowlesTV personality Nick Knowles will be the Keynote Speaker at the BMF's Young Merchants Conference, which takes place on Wednesday 7 October, during UK Construction Week at the NEC, Birmingham.

As the presenter of the UK’s best-loved property transformation programme, Nick has become the face of construction on TV. His rapport with the builders on site and his empathy with the buildings’ future occupants has made the show compulsive viewing.  The programme not only transforms lives, it celebrates the spirit and professionalism of the building community – including the many local trades that volunteer their skills and time, and the merchants and builder materials suppliers who regularly offer support.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “Nick was an extremely popular speaker at the BMF All Industry Conference last year, and we are delighted that he is continuing his association with the BMF at our second Young Merchants Conference, which we are confident will now become a bi-annual event.”

The BMF Young Merchants Group, which is hosting the conference, is open to those aged between 21 and 40 working in the building material supply industry.  Appropriately, the BMF Young Merchants Conference takes the theme “Building the Next Generation” and is designed to encourage, inspire and enthuse.

For full details and registration information, please email James Spillane, james.spillane@bmf.org.uk.



To view the forthcoming BMF Events click here
TV personality Nick Knowles will be the Keynote Speaker at the BMF Young Merchants Conference, which takes place on 7 October, during UK Construction Week at the NEC, Birmingham.

The Budget: investment needed for a net zero economy

5 March 2020

Rishi Sunak MPThe Chancellor must be bold, imaginative and use his Budget to lay the foundations for a net zero carbon economy and action to future-proof new homes and retrofit existing properties, according to the BMF.

Tackling regional imbalances in productivity by investing further in training and skills to support BMF merchants and their manufacturers, suppliers and trade customers must be the way forward.

That was the message from John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, in a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, prior to his first Budget next Wednesday.

The BMF wants Mr Sunak and his fellow ministers to concentrate on the two major issues affecting members - narrowing the gap between housing demand and supply, and the decarbonisation of heating and electrification of homes.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We welcome the Government’s ambition to help BMF members and the residential, commercial and public sector markets they serve to move towards a net zero carbon economy by 2050.”

“Public and private sector finance will both be required to invest in industrial production and new ways of business operations to make the necessary changes. However, we see a genuine need to support businesses to make that transition. That is why we urge the Chancellor to use his Budget to invest and to demonstrate a willingness to work with merchants and manufacturers.”

Next week’s hotly-anticipated Budget comes only a month after a consultation by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government closed that sought views on the Future Homes Standard aimed at decarbonising new homes. In its response, the BMF said tightening the Building Regulations is realistically the only way. But this means taxpayer funds are necessary to transform markets, improve installer skills and bring about behavioural change.

The BMF has since learned from the recently-appointed Minister for Housing, Christopher Pincher MP, that his officials have received 3,000 responses to the Future Homes Standard consultation.


The Chancellor must be bold, imaginative and use his Budget to lay the foundations for a net zero carbon economy and action to future-proof new homes and retrofit existing properties, according to the BMF.

Kyran Bracken MBE to host BMF Members' Conference

27 February 2020

Kyran Bracken MBEFormer England rugby international Kyran Bracken MBE will host the Business Conference at the 2020 BMF Members Conference & Awards which takes place on 16 and 17 September at De Vere Beaumont Estate, Old Windsor.

Kyran Bracken played rugby for England for ten years, the highlight being his contribution to their World Cup win in 2003.  Until the advent of the professional game, he balanced playing for Bristol with a successful career in law.  He went on to play 170 times for Saracens, tour with the Lions and appear on numerous occasions with the Barbarians.

After retiring, he swapped his rugby shirt for ice skates to win ITV’s Dancing On Ice.  His passion for skating continues, but he has also stayed close to rugby as a coach at Leicester.  He is equally engaging on the conference platform outlining his formula for success, using practical examples from an England team who progressed from nearly men to World Champions.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “As a champion in two different disciplines, Kyran embodies our Conference theme of Sustaining Excellence.  We are delighted that he will be hosting our main event for BMF members this year.”

The two-day BMF Members’ event sees the business Conference and black-tie Awards Dinner taking place on 17 September at the De Vere Beaumont Estate, Old Windsor, Berkshire.   The Conference’s social programme, which takes place on 16 September, features the BMF’s annual Golf Tournament at the nearby Windlesham Golf Course, and the Great BMF Boat Race, which involves coaching and a fun regatta at Dorney Lake Boat Club. 

The BMF thanks headline sponsor, Marshalls Stonemarket, and Monument Tools and First Event for sponsoring our social activities.


For more information please contact june.upton@bmf.org.uk or call 02476 854980 or click here.
Former England rugby international Kyran Bracken MBE will host the Business Conference at the 2020 BMF Members Conference & Awards on 16 & 17 September at De Vere Beaumont Estate, Old Windsor.

BMF comment: backlog of unbuilt homes

26 February 2020

John NewcombReacting to new analysis from the Local Government Association that more than a million homes granted planning permission in the past decade have not yet been built, John Newcomb, Chief Executive, BMF, said: “The Local Government Association’s findings are part of a long-running debate over whether (or not) housebuilders and property developers are land-banking on a significant scale”.

“It is understandable why the LGA wants the Government to grant their members the power to take action on unused planning permission. Their main proposal is to make it easier to use compulsory purchase powers on land where much-needed homes remain unbuilt”.

I am reminded of what the-then Labour Leader, Ed Miliband MP, told his Party Conference in 2013. The BMF were in the Brighton Conference Centre to hear him unveil a new “Use It or Lose It” policy aimed at builders who do not start work onsite straightway. Labour wanted to persuade property speculators to release land for building before ministers stepped in to force their hand”.

John Newcomb noted that two separate independent enquiries - Kate Baker’s Review of Land Use Planning (in 2006) and Sir Oliver Letwin’s Review of Build-Out (in 2018) - had both found no real evidence of land-banking. And in his October 2018 Budget, former Chancellor, Philip Hammond MP, said speculative land-banking was not part of the business model for major housebuilders.

John Newcomb concluded: “The LGA is right to say no-one can live in a planning permission, or a half-built house where work on a site has begun but not been completed. That is why in our advocacy, the BMF wants to see unrelenting determination by government and business to simplify and speed up the process to increase the number of completions to narrow the gap between housing demand and supply. The whole thrust must be implementation to enable BMF members to invest confidently in the people and materials and products needed to ‘Get Britain Building’”.


For the latest BMF policy updates please click here

BMF CEO John Newcomb reacts to new analysis from the Local Government Association that more than a million homes granted planning permission in the past decade have not yet been built.

Get Britain Building highlights £94bn return from buying British

25 February 2020

Get Britain BuildingA renewed Get Britain Building campaign is urging the government to get behind SME builders and UK manufacturers and distributors of construction products as it ramps up investment in critical infrastructure, public and commercial buildings and housing.

The latest phase of the 11-year old Get Britain Building campaign, which launched on 25 February at the World HQ of JCB, highlights the multiplier effect of buying UK-produced materials and building new homes using local builders, which could deliver a £94bn return to the UK economy at current rates of build.

Led by the Building Alliance, the BMF, and the Federation of Master Builders, the campaign also calls for a major investment in our existing housing stock, to help achieve the government’s Net Zero Carbon target by 2050 and to encourage owner-occupiers to adapt their homes to meet changing needs.

Addressing the skills gap is another priority area, with the campaign calling upon Government to work with the industry and educators to increase the take up of construction apprenticeships and introduce an upskilling programme to encourage continuous improvement across the sector.

Commenting on the campaign, Mike Leonard, CEO of the Building Alliance said: “We are at the start of a new decade, with a new government that has a unique opportunity to build our way to success. Investing in critical infrastructure, public and commercial buildings and housing will support long term economic growth, create jobs and promote social inclusion. The UK needs high quality homes that are safe, flexible, adaptable, resilient and built to last 150 years. We currently manufacture 80% of the materials we use to build new homes in the UK. No other industry can rival this. We must continue to invest in UK manufacturing and support local builders to enjoy the huge economic multiplier that results.”

John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF said: “The building supply chain is vital to our economy, supporting both new build and the upgrading of existing homes. The government must create a UK business environment where manufacturers of construction materials and products have the confidence and desire to invest, particularly at a time when they are asking the industry how best to construct, insulate, heat and ventilate our homes. Furthermore, if we are to achieve net zero by 2050, government must provide confidence and support to homeowners to undertake the necessary upgrades.”

Brian Berry, CEO of the Federation of Master Builders said: “Builders are tackling a skills shortage that could hamper growth in the sector over the new decade. More than half of builders are struggling to hire bricklayers and carpenters, and intermediate apprenticeship starts are in decline. We have the tools we need to turn this around – dedicated builders passionate about their craft – we just need the Government to ensure that the policy landscape allows them to train to a high standard. That means investing in small businesses to create opportunities for young people. The Government has ambitious targets around building a million new homes and reaching a low-carbon standard for new homes by 2025. Master Builders stand ready to meet these challenges but they need the support of Government to help them secure a pipeline of new talent coming through.”

The three organisations behind Get Britain Building are encouraging other industry trade bodies to get involved and add their voices to the campaign.

Mike Leonard concluded: “There is much to support in the government’s outline construction plans, but they need to consult organisations that understand the industry. The experience of all of industry professionals and the research carried out by academics will help to guide practical, workable policies that achieve the best long-term results for our homes, our environment and our industry.”

For further information please contact Mike Leonard 07778 842831 or mike@buildingalliance.co.uk.
A renewed Get Britain Building campaign is urging the government to get behind SME builders and UK manufacturers and distributors of construction products as it ramps up investment in critical infrastructure, public and commercial buildings and housi

Louise Polston to chair BMF London & South East Region

24 February 2020

Louise PolstonLouise Polston, Commercial Director of Alsford Timber, is to chair the BMF's London & South East Region.  Louise, who will be formally elected to the role at the Region’s next meeting in June, is the first woman to hold this position.

With a background in sales, Louise moved into construction products in 2009. Her career swiftly progressed through sales management and export operations roles to Commercial Director, and in November 2015 she joined Alsford Timber. 

Commenting on her appointment, Louise Polston said: “I am delighted to accept the position of BMF Chair for the London & South-East region. There are a wealth of opportunities, training schemes and support functions available via the BMF which I am keen to promote to ensure both the BMF and its membership gain as much as possible from each other.  I look forward to networking with key contacts in the region, supporting local members, and ensuring our meetings cover relevant topics that provide clear take-outs for the individual businesses to benefit from.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb, congratulated Louise on her new role, saying: “I can think of no-one better than Louise to take on this role.  The fact that she is our first female Regional Chair highlights one of the many diversity issues facing our sector.  I know she is a keen supporter of the BMF and our industry, and the fresh perspective she brings to the role can only serve us well.”
Louise Polston, Commercial Director of Alsford Timber, is to chair the BMF's London & South East Region. Louise, who will be formally elected to the role at the Region’s next meeting in June, is the first woman to hold this position.

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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