BMF News

BMF All Industry Conference comes home for 2021


17 September 2020

The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.  

The main Conference business will take place at the award-winning Yorkshire Event Centre, outside Harrogate with the Gala Dinner held close by in the historic city of York.

In the year that the UK begins a new relationship with the European Union, the Conference theme Building Beyond Boundaries could not be more topical, as the country looks beyond traditional geographical boundaries to build new trading relationships, and the industry moves beyond the boundaries imposed by the Covid health crisis and responds to Government incentives to Build, Build, Build.

BMF Chief Executive, John Newcomb said: 

“In the wake of the disruption caused by Covid, and as the UK ends its current relationship with the EU, we were determined to demonstrate our support for Britain, by holding the All Industry Conference in the UK for the first time in 30 years.  By bringing our premier Conference home we are putting cash back into the UK economy and assisting a sector that has been particularly badly affected in 2020.

“Our industry thrives on networking and relationships and I know everyone was disappointed that this year’s event was, rightly, cancelled.  We will have to be out of social distancing measures for the 2021 Conference to go ahead, but that is not a reason not to work towards a fantastic event to signal our confidence in the market’s ongoing recovery.”

Conference delegates will have the choice of two four-star Harrogate hotels – the Majestic and the Crowne Plaza – which together can accommodate 350 guests.  A key difference to 2021 Conference programme is the addition of a Supplier Exhibition, replacing the Merchant/Supplier Exchange sessions.  However, the three-day event will, of course, feature the popular Friday night dine-arounds and a full programme of social activities.

The Crystal Group will sponsor the BMF All Industry Conference for the second year.  Other key sponsors include ACO, BMN, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Marsh Industries, Rockwool and SIG.

For further details and to register your interest at this stage, please contact june.upton@bmf.org.uk
 
The BMF is bringing the 2021 All Industry Conference home, with a patriotic dual centre event in Yorkshire taking place from 17-20 June.

New BMF service gives members hassle-free access to Govt Kickstart scheme 

 
07 September 2020

The BMF is encouraging Members to take advantage of the government’s £2 billion pound Kickstart scheme by providing full administrative support to simplify the engagement process and enable every BMF member to participate. 

Kickstart is the government’s post-Covid regeneration tool to enable employers to offer high-quality 6-month work placements to young people aged 16-24 who are at risk of long-term unemployment and are currently claiming Universal Credit.
 
Employers will be able to claim 100% of the National Minimum Wage for their charge, up to 25 hours, plus the associated employer National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

The BMF believes this is a tremendous opportunity for BMF members to bring young people into their business and help them to identify future apprentices.  However, the complexities and time-consuming administration of the scheme may prevent some from applying.  The BMF has introduced a new service to overcome these issues and open up the scheme to every BMF member wishing to participate. 
 
Carmen Daley, Operations Manager, BMF Apprenticeships Plus said:

“One of the largest barriers to entry is the requirement that employers undertake a rigorous application process and have at least 30 placements available. To ensure all BMF members have access to this incredible opportunity, the BMF Apprenticeship Plus team is offering a dedicated Kickstart Support Service. 

“As well as providing an access route for those who do not meet the minimum number of placements, the managed service oversees all practical and administrative elements of the initiative making it as simple as possible for all BMF members to engage.”

To find out more about the BMF Kickstart Support Service, or to register your interest, please contact Carmen Daley on 07496 370 224 or email carmen@bmfapprenticeshipsplus.co.uk 
 
The BMF is encouraging Members to take advantage of the government’s £2 billion pound Kickstart scheme by providing full administrative support.

BMF extends auto-membership to h&b Development Group


24 August 2020

The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Five merchants in the h&b Development Group are already BMF Members and the remaining 19, together with any new recruits, will be auto-enrolled into BMF membership during the period of the agreement. This new arrangement begins on 1 September and will bring the total number of BMF members to 751 – the highest figure since 1992. 

The h&b Development Group is a relatively new concept for the merchant industry which offers carefully selected smaller independent merchants who have a desire to grow their operations, access to the vast amount of knowledge and experience within the membership, whilst also benefiting from the commercial advantages associated with an established buying group. 

Jamie Wyatt, h&b Trading Director said:

“We are delighted that the BMF has agreed to include our Development Group within the group membership scheme.  Development Group members have access to a large range of negotiated deals and are also supported both centrally and through the existing network of successful entrepreneurs.  Adding BMF membership into this mix is another valuable benefit that will support Development Group members over the coming years.”

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said:

“The BMF is here to support merchants of all sizes and sectors - local, regional or national, generalist or specialist.  h&b have shown their commitment to helping smaller merchants develop their business and BMF membership will provide even more opportunities for them, with access to training, specialist Forums, networking and other business support. 

“I am also delighted to report that the latest tranche of h&b members not only takes us to our highest overall membership in almost 30 years, but also means there are very nearly 400 BMF merchant members operating from over 5,700 branches throughout the UK and Ireland.”
The BMF and h&b Buying Group have extended their group membership agreement to include the 24 smaller merchants comprising the h&b Development Group.

Merchants sales plummet in Q2 – but Landscaping surges in June 


19 August 2020

Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.  

However, digging deeper into the figures uncovers three very different trading months during this extraordinary period.

April, with almost a full lockdown, saw a year on year decline of -76.5% as most merchants only provided essential deliveries to active trade account holders.  May recovered to -39.9% on the previous year as restrictions were relaxed, while June sales were up +2.2% on June 2019, helped by two more trading days this year and a surge in sales of landscaping products, which saw year on year growth of 50.3% driven by garden walling/paving, fencing & gates and decking.

Landscaping was the strongest performer across the whole quarter, but still down -13.3% on Q2 2019, followed by Workwear & Safetywear, which fell by -31.2% on the previous year.  Tools down -58.6%, was the weakest performer, followed by Kitchens & Bathrooms (-57.9%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-53.1%).  

The two largest product groups also saw a significant fall in sales for the quarter, with Heavy Building Materials falling by -38.4% on Q2 2019 (and by -26.7% on Q1 2020) and Timber & Joinery Products down -39.8% on the previous year and by -28.1% against Q1 this year.
However, both performed better in June with Timber up +1.4% on the previous year and Heavy Building Materials at +0.2%, driven by strong cement, aggregates and roofing performance

Commenting on the results, BMF CEO, John Newcomb, said: 

“The initial impact of Covid-19 was industry-wide and merchant sales figures reflect other industry indicators for the Quarter.  In the first few days of the crisis, many construction sites, builders’ merchants and manufacturers temporarily closed before putting Covid-secure measures in place, which pretty much wrote off April.  Sales in May and, in particular, in June improved, but we are not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately, closing production lines led to shortages in certain product areas which is taking some time to unwind.  We are also now experiencing quarantines for returning travellers and local lockdowns.  Add Brexit and economic uncertainty to this and it is bound to impact consumer confidence.  The remainder of the year is impossible to predict, but I think everyone is expecting a bumpy ride.” 

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

“This year is probably unique and we still have some way to reach before 2021.  The initial shock and fear have been replaced by the realisation that this is a long term problem, and the ever-present threat of a second wave remains.  For merchants, the next couple of months will be crucial in helping the sector recover losses incurred during April and May.  Good summer weather will help, but continued development of digital platforms across the sector provides a potential roadmap for the future, hopefully offering a solution to the second wave threat.”
 
Sales figures for the second quarter of 2020 just published in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction industry with the sector down by -38.6% on Q2 2019.

BMF to lead on Movement of Goods & Materials in CLC Brexit Working Group


19 August 2020

The BMF is to lead one of four workstreams within a dedicated Brexit Working Group set up by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) in advance of the expiration of the UK’s transition period with the European Union on 31 December 2020.

The CLC Brexit Working Group will advise the government on how to protect construction if no deal is agreed between the UK and the EU by the end of the year.  It will also signpost business guidance and information to assist construction industry preparedness to maintain business continuity at the end of the transition period.

The BMF will co-chair the Movement of Goods and Materials workstream along with the Construction Products Association.  The two organisations also co-chair the CLC’s Product Availability Group, set up in the wake of COVID-19. 

Movement of Goods and Materials will cover preparing for the new customs regime, guidance on WTO rules in the event of no agreement with the EU and alternative sourcing opportunities in the rest of the world and the domestic market.

Other workstreams will cover:

Movement of People: preparing for the new immigration rules, accessing alternative labour supply and reciprocal arrangements on skills and qualifications in the new trade deals.

Standards and Alignment: guidance on the Construction Products Regulation, EU notified bodies, CE marking, UK designated standards, UKCA marking and the longer term prospects of (de)harmonisation and (de)alignment.

Data Adequacy: business awareness of the potential impact and mitigating actions on data flow in the event of no agreement with the EU and no decision by the European Commission on the UK’s ‘data adequacy”.

In addition, the existing workstreams of the CLC will take on Brexit-readiness related work, helping to produce guidance on matters including procurement and contracts.

Andy Mitchell CBE, Co-chair of the CLC said: “The CLC has a leading role to play in getting our business ready for the changes that will come at the end of the transition period. While businesses contend with the fallout from COVID-19 and adjust to the new ways of working, the clock continues to tick on reaching an agreement with the EU. Whether we reach an agreement or not, our relationship with our European neighbours and the rest of the world will change and we’ll be doing all we can to help the industry adapt, adjust and rise to meet the Prime Minister’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ ambition.”

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF said: “The four workstream areas are critical for business continuity following the Brexit transition period, and the Movement of Goods and Materials is particularly relevant for the building materials sector. 

“The BMF will also be helping members keep abreast of changes through a dedicated Brexit landing page on our website.  This will go live in September and will host guidance and advice produced by ourselves, the CLC, government and other relevant bodies, to help prepare merchants and manufacturers for changes in our trading relationship with the EU.  

“This information will also be included in our regular sector Forums and will be covered in online seminars hosted by the CLC in the Autumn.”

The CLC’s Brexit Working Group has been welcomed by Government.

Nadhim Zahawi MP, Minister for Business and Industry said: “The construction industry is a key part of the UK economy, and I am grateful for the ongoing hard work and support the CLCL continues to provide, helping to ensure the sector can take the actions needed to ensure a smooth transition from 1 January 2021.”
 
The BMF is to lead one of four workstreams within a dedicated Brexit Working Group set up by the CLC in advance of the expiration of the UK’s transition period with the European Union on 31 December 2020.

Sporting heroes Backley and Black to give Keynote Address at BMF Virtual Conference


12 August 2020

Backley and BlackThe BMF has announced two sporting heroes, Olympic medallists Steve Backley OBE and Roger Black MBE, as Keynote Speakers at the Virtual BMF AGM and Members Conference  on 17 September 2020.  

The sporting duo will also host one of the “Training Taster” sessions taking place on the day.

For over a decade, Steve Backley was one of Britain’s most consistent athletes and established himself as one of the all-time greats of his sport, with seven gold championship medals, three world records, two Olympic silver medals and one bronze.  He is the only British track and field competitor to win medals at three different Olympic Games in Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney.  When he finally hung up his javelin at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, he was still one of the world’s best, placing fourth in the final.

As an individual 400 metre runner and as a member of the 4x400 metre relay team Roger Black represented Great Britain for fourteen years. He successfully overcame several serious injuries during his career, winning fifteen major Championship medals including European, Commonwealth and World gold medals and Olympic silver.

Steve and Roger are not only accomplished and entertaining motivational speakers, they have also teamed up to develop Mind-Setting, a new online coaching programme to help individuals optimise their performance.  Delegates can find out more at a 30-minute Training Taster session, which will follow their Keynote address.

The BMF thanks our Virtual Conference headline sponsor, Marshalls/Stonemarket, the Building a Sustainable Britain session sponsor Kerridge Commercial Systems, and Keynote Speaker sponsor, UK Construction Week.

To find our more and book your place for the BMF AGM & Business Conference  on 17 September 2020, contact june.upton@bmf.org.uk
 
Backley and Black
The BMF has announced two sporting heroes, Olympic medallists Steve Backley OBE and Roger Black MBE, as Keynote Speakers at the Virtual BMF AGM and Members Conference on 17 September 2020.

BMF, Williamson and Blair agree on vocational training


07 August 2020

BMF, Willianson and Blair agree on vocational trainingGovernment moves to improve the prestige and importance of apprentices with a greater focus on further education are welcome and long-overdue, according to the BMF.

Last month, the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson MP, said he wanted to end the culture of qualifications for qualifications’ sake and to pour money into further education instead. The Minister said there was an inbuilt snobbishness about those who take up vocational training rather than university. Consequently, he was abandoning Tony Blair’s admissions’ target set in 1999 that 50% of young people should go to university and take degrees. The Minister added that he would unveil a new German-style, employer-led further education policy later on this autumn.

This move came in the same week that Euan Blair, son of Tony, criticised the British obsession with a ‘one size fits all’ university education which could result in a skills’ crisis. Mr Blair junior is the Founder and Chief Executive of White Hat, a tech start-up company that matches non-graduates with apprenticeship opportunities.

Interviewed on “Times Radio”, he acknowledged the pledge his father gave 20 years ago, but said that too many leave university with ‘useless’ degrees, huge debts and without the necessary basic skills. Euan Blair wants to encourage school-leavers to take apprenticeships instead.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, commented:

“This Government announcement is welcome news and endorses the long-held BMF view that bad or non-existent careers advice fails to encourage young people to take an apprenticeship in merchanting, or in manual trades that we desperately need in house-building and property RMI.

“In the post-Brexit and post-Covid 19 economic recovery, all efforts are necessary to tackle prejudice where parents see apprenticeships as being for kids who are educational failures, and teachers put pressure on pupils to go to university because it counts towards school performance in league tables”.
 
As part of its revitalised national youth recruitment campaign, the BMF launched the website Building Materials Careers to showcase the excellent career opportunities throughout the building materials supply chain. This is supported by a team of 55 Industry Ambassadors, drawn from the ranks of the BMF’s members, who promote the wide array of opportunities offered by the industry to students and young job-seekers throughout the country.

BMF Apprenticeships Plus also helps members to recruit and manage apprentices. Over the past three years, 54 member companies have recruited over 200 apprentices with our assistance.

Euan Blair has met the BMF before - notably the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships - where he, the BMF and other employers lobby for parity of esteem between academic and vocational education - and to improve current arrangements like the Apprenticeship Levy.
 
BMF, Willianson and Blair agree on vocational training
Government moves to improve the prestige and importance of apprentices with a greater focus on further education are welcome and long-overdue, according to the BMF.

BMF and TrustMark to deliver quality supply chain for Green Homes Grant


TrustMark to deliver qualoty supply chain for Green Homes Grant05 August 2020

The BMF will work in partnership with TrustMark to ensure that homeowners can be confident of the quality of both the materials and the workmanship of projects completed under the new Green Homes Grant scheme.

The Government is urging tradespeople to sign up for TrustMark accreditation in a drive to support 100,000 new jobs to fulfil the new energy efficiency scheme, which will give over 600,000 homeowners in England up to £10,000 to install insulation, heat pumps and draft proofing to help them cut energy bills.

TrustMark has strict accreditation rules for tradespeople involved in the scheme, which covers green home improvements ranging from insulation of walls, floors and roofs to the installation of low-carbon heating, including heat pumps or solar thermal – measures that could help families save up to £600 a year on their energy bills.

BMF supplier members manufacture the products that will be installed into homes under scheme rules and BMF merchant members provide the major distribution channel for these materials.  The BMF and TrustMark will work together to ensure the quality of the supply chain from manufacture to project completion.  A dedicated page on the TrustMark website will list, by region, the BMF members participating in the scheme.

The BMF will also help TrustMark facilitate specialist product training for tradespeople signing up for the scheme, using the trade body’s extensive physical and on-line training capacity. The BMF has also offered its 32 Centres of Excellence across the country as potential training centres, with a number of these already located at insulation specialists such as Encon, Knauf, Saint Gobain, SIG, Superglass and Xtratherm.

The two bodies will hold a working group meeting on 13 August to finalise details, with a number of BMF merchant and supplier members involved in initial discussions.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“We are excited to work with TrustMark to develop the quality supply route required to facilitate an anticipated 600,000 projects through the Green Homes Grant.  BMF supplier members are at the forefront of product development in insulation and heat pump technology and our merchant members account for over 80% of trade distribution channels, making this a natural partnership.  

“We fully support this Government initiative that will not only cut energy bills for consumers and reduce the country’s carbon emissions but will also support over 100,000 jobs for skilled tradespeople.” 

Simon Ayers, Chief Executive of TrustMark said: 

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the BMF and build a partnership that takes in the whole supply chain.

“Consumer confidence is not only essential to the recovery of the UK economy but also to the protection and creation of key jobs that will support the long-term delivery of quality green home improvements.

“TrustMark accredited tradespeople working with a recognised supply chain will provide homeowners with the confidence they need that those working on their homes have been thoroughly vetted for technical competence, customer services and trading practices.”

The £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme goes live at the end September.  Consumers in England will be able to claim the new vouchers, which are worth up to £5,000 for homeowners. Households on low income can receive vouchers covering 100% of the cost of the improvements, up to a maximum of £10,000.
Green Homes Grants will give homeowners, including owner occupiers and social/private landlords, vouchers to install one or more of the following:
solid wall, under-floor, cavity wall or roof insulation
air source or ground source heat pump
solar thermal

In addition, households can use their voucher for further energy saving measures. These include one or more of the following:
double or triple glazing/secondary glazing, when replacing single glazing
upgrading to energy efficient doors
hot water tank/appliance tank thermostats/heating controls
 
TrustMark to deliver qualoty supply chain for Green Homes Grant
The BMF will work in partnership with TrustMark to ensure that homeowners can be confident of the quality of both the materials and the workmanship of projects completed under the new Green Homes Grant scheme.

BMF prioritises housing & business support for post-Covid recovery in Wales


28 July 2020

BMF prioritises housing & business supportThe BMF has written to the Welsh Minister for Housing and Local Government with practical suggestions to support the building supply chain and lay the foundations for long-term, enduring economic recovery.

The BMF, whose Welsh members account for approximately £2.8 billion annual sales and employ more than 3,000 people, encouraged the Welsh Government to invest in building more homes in Wales and to introduce a similar scheme to the Green Homes Grant in England to incentivise homeowners and landlords to improve the thermal and energy performance of existing homes.

The BMF also prioritised support for businesses across the building supply chain through business rate holidays for merchants who were forced to close temporarily, making it easier for SMEs to bid for public procurement contracts post-Brexit and excluding firms from public procurement if they do not pay promptly.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:  “The BMF is a member of the Wales Construction Federation Alliance along with others who represent the construction, house-building and property RMI industries. At a recent meeting the Minister asked what really matters to the supply chain and we welcomed the opportunity to provide our thoughts on how best to focus their efforts recovery.” 
 
BMF prioritises housing & business support
The BMF has written to the Welsh Minister for Housing and Local Government with practical suggestions to support the building supply chain.

BMF and h&b announce group membership scheme


27 July 2020

All full Members of the h&b Buying Group will become members of the BMF from 1 August 2020 following the conclusion of a group membership agreement between the two organisations.

h&b is one of the UK’s largest co-operative buying organisations for independent merchants with a collective buying power of nearly £1 billion.

There are currently 61 h&b full Members in BMF membership and the remaining 23 will join the BMF in August.  Any new h&b full Members will be auto-enrolled into BMF membership during the period of the agreement. 

The BMF and h&b will also work together to agree specific training requirements for h&b members and develop programmes to encourage maximum participation.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“This is a landmark occasion.  The BMF has long enjoyed a positive relationship with h&b and I am naturally delighted that this mutually beneficial agreement moves it up another level.

“I have made it my personal mission to develop the membership of the BMF and strengthen our sectors’ profile and influence, both within the wider construction industry and with legislative bodies.   The last few months have shown how far we have travelled in that direction, demonstrating the strength that comes from acting together and the collective benefits that brings.”

Jamie Wyatt, h&b Trading Director said:

“This is a major step forward in the relationship of h&b and the BMF.  With many h&b members already taking an active role in the BMF we have been considering a more formalised agreement for some time.  The value of a strong and proactive trade body became even more evident as individual merchants sought to navigate the Covid crisis and the clear and authoritative response of the BMF was apparent.  

“The benefits afforded by this agreement fit well with the h&b ethos and our future plans. The time is right to move forward with the BMF.” 
 
All full Members of the h&b Buying Group will become members of the BMF from 1 August 2020 following the conclusion of a group membership agreement between the two organisations.

BMF confirms Virtual Members Conference for 2020


24 July 2020

With social distancing measures still in place, the BMF has confirmed that this year’s Members Conference & Awards cannot be held as planned at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in September.  

Instead, the 2020 BMF AGM & Business Conference will go ahead as a half-day virtual event  on 17 September 2020, sponsored by Marshalls/Stonemarket. 

Sadly this year’s annual Golf tournament, social events and Awards Dinner have been cancelled, but the BMF plans to hold a full 2-day Members’ event at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in September 2021.

This year’s Virtual Conference format can accommodate up to 300 delegates. There will be no charge for the event but delegates must reserve their place in advance.

While some amendments have been made to the agenda, the programme is packed with informative content around the Conference theme of Sustaining Excellence – a topic that takes on even more importance as the industry seeks to reset and recover in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the key elements of the day is an hour-long session on Building a Sustainable Britain, featuring the Rt. Hon. John Gummer, Lord Deben, as the headline speaker. Lord Deben has consistently championed an identity between environmental concerns and business sense. He was the longest serving Secretary of State for the Environment the UK has ever had (1993-97) and now Chairs the Committee on Climate Change as well as running Sancroft a corporate responsibility consultancy working with blue-chip companies around the world.  

Lord Deben will be joined by Megan Adlen, Head of Sustainability for Travis Perkins. As well as setting sustainability strategy and targets, Megan leads the company’s responsible sourcing and anti-slavery agendas and manages the Group Environment team.  Travis Perkins will publish its own net zero targets before the end of 2020 and is committed to engaging with others in driving change to optimise carbon reduction across the construction industry value chain.

Other elements of the day include the BMF’s Annual General Meeting, industry and keynote speakers and a choice of training and membership services taster sessions.

The BMF will also use the occasion to announce their exciting plans for the All Industry Conference 2021, which is set to bring the building materials industry together in person once more.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said:

“Covid-19 restrictions made it impossible for us to go ahead with a hotel-based Conference at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor as planned, but we will now hold our 2021 Members’ event there.

“We were determined that our 2020 Members Conference and AGM should continue and I would encourage as many members as possible to attend. We will be using bespoke Conference technology to facilitate our biggest event of the year online, with 300 places available. It may be a new format, but it will still deliver huge value.  

“Delegates will also be the first to hear about the ‘live’ All Industry Conference we are currently planning for 2021.”

To find our more and book your place for the BMF AGM & Business Conference  on 17 September 2020, contact june.Upton@bmf.org.uk
 
With social distancing measures still in place, the BMF has confirmed that this year’s Members Conference & Awards cannot be held as planned at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in September.

Builders Merchants amongst first employers to sign up for talent scheme


24 July 2020

Companies employing more than 100,000 people have signed up to support the Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme as it goes live today (24 July 2020).  

The Construction Talent Retention Scheme is a not-for-profit programme, backed by Government, business organisations, professional institutions and construction unions.

The online portal allows skilled individuals to showcase their experience and expertise and helps businesses across the industry find the skills they need. 

There has been strong interest in the Scheme since it was announced as part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Plan for Jobs earlier this month. 

More than 350 employers have signed up to use the Scheme. These companies – drawn from across Britain - range from multinational engineering giants, through building product manufacturers and merchants to SME builders. Early adopters in the merchant sector who have roles listed at launch include Bradfords, MP Moran & Sons and Travis Perkins.

Construction Minister and Construction Leadership Council co-chair Nadhim Zahawi MP said: “Building new homes, accelerating infrastructure, and making sure people have the right skills are all at the heart of the government’s plans to build back better from Covid-19.

Launching today, this scheme will help to retain vital knowledge within the construction industry, enabling businesses to rapidly recruit talented individuals and reduce skills shortages at this pivotal time in the nation’s economic recovery.” 

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said: “The Construction Leadership Council moved quickly, working with Government to develop a portal designed to keep vital skills built up over many years within the industry.  The Talent Retention Scheme can play a major role in securing the construction sector’s long-term recovery and I am delighted that builders’ merchants are amongst the first employers to sign up and support the Scheme.”

The free-to-use site allows the redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy and enables temporary employee loans between businesses. 

It also gives displaced workers from other sectors a route to find new employment.

The platform offers a fully featured system allowing companies to easily search candidates’ online profiles and CVs on a local, regional and national basis.

It allows you to promote and directly manage information about your business, services, latest vacancies, news and events to skilled workers seeking new opportunities and to contact them directly.

The site is now live at www.clc-talentretention.co.uk  and is open to both businesses and candidates looking for work.
 
Companies employing more than 100,000 people have signed up to support the Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme as it goes live today (24 July 2020).

Builders’ merchant sales bounce back in May


22 July 2020

BMBI May 2020The latest figures from the May Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report reveal a sharp rise in sales as lockdown restrictions ease and trades return to work. 

Year-on-year, Total Builders Merchants value sales in May were down -39.9% compared with May 2019, reflecting the cautious reopening of merchant branches with many still operating a restricted service. However, the overall trading figures are a significant improvement on April 2020 sales (-76.3%). 

A closer look at how individual product categories performed in May reveals that year-on-year, Tools (-66.1%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (-62.7%) have been hit hardest by the pandemic lockdown. Timber & Joinery Products were also down by 40.5% over the same period, however month-on-month, the category is showing some green shoots of recovery with sales more than tripling compared to April 2020 (+199.5%). Heavy Building Materials, the largest product category, was down 39.0% year-on-year but showed a substantial month-on-month improvement on April 2020 (+157.6%). 

The biggest winner in May was Landscaping, with sales of this seasonal category down just -12.5% on May 2019. This is a remarkable recovery from April, when sales were down a massive -74.4% compared to April 2019. Workwear & Safetywear was less affected by the lockdown, with demand for PPE continuing to drive sales. 

The BMBI is a brand of the Builders’ Merchants Federation, developed and produced by MRA Marketing. The Index uses GfK’s Builders Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data which analyses sales out data from over 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales across Great Britain, making it the most reliable source of data for the sector.

BMF CEO John Newcomb comments: “As expected, May’s sales figures show a huge year-on-year decline, but they also indicate the strength of the initial bounce-back from April’s COVID-19 crash low-point. The massive effort by the entire supply chain to develop and implement COVID-secure working practices to enable the safe and rapid re-opening of manufacturing facilities, merchant branches and construction sites can be seen in May’s results. There is a long way to go on the road to recovery, but we can look on this as a positive first step.”

Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade at GfK adds: “The Builders Merchants sector has seen a strong and expected recovery from April’s lockdown as the core categories of Heavy Building Materials, Timber & Joinery and Landscaping drive market activity. May growth is still down by -40% from last year, with the next couple of months critical. Favourable weather conditions and relaxed restrictions will hopefully provide the platform for these core categories to recover some of the losses seen during lockdown.”

Download the May report, watch the round table videos and learn more about the Experts at www.thebmbi.co.uk.
 
BMBI May 2020
The latest figures from the May Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report reveal a sharp rise in sales as lockdown restrictions ease and trades return to work.

BMF, MPs and SMEs call for planning investment


20 July 2020

MP Andrew LewerMore investment is needed urgently in the planning function of local authorities, and in the training of planners and other related professionals, if the industry is to build anywhere near 300,000 new homes per year. That is not just the view of the BMF - but also MPs keen to showcase and promote smaller firms as vital players in the mix of housing solutions.

This is one of several recommendations of a report published this week in the House of Commons by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for SME Housebuilders. Members were asked what the problems with the planning system are - and what the solutions may be. It found that staff shortages in local planning authorities were the top issue faced by SME house-builders.

Chairman Andrew Lewer, MP for Northampton South, unveiled the report that describes ways to improve planning permission from the perspective of users - SME builders and developers.  The aim of the Group is to provide answers to Parliament and Government on how England can deliver more and better new homes, especially through SME builders and developers.

Andrew Lewer MP said:

“Who better to ask how the planning system can be improved than the people building, or seeking to build, the new houses?  Furthermore, who better to ask than the SME house-builders and their partners in the housing industry? The quality and the quantity of the responses we received underline the on-going success of this APPG. People who really know what they are talking about have given their time and effort towards this report. We as MPs will try our best to ensure that it both gets into the right hands and into as many hands as possible”.

This APPG report was launched ahead of the Government’s much-anticipated Planning White Paper. Participants were clear in wanting more investment in planning departments to ensure that promises to “Build, Build, Build” are taken literally and completions are accelerated.

Brett Amphlett, BMF Policy and Public Affairs’ Manager, attended and said afterwards:

“The BMF welcomes efforts to mobilise SMEs who are the customers of merchants. The APPG recommendations are consistent with the BMF’s own views. We want to see unrelenting determination to simplify and speed up the process to narrow the gap between demand & supply”.

Other strong themes emerged from this report:
-     a small sites register to help local councils respond more quickly to any failure to meet local housing need and assist SME house-builders to deliver;
-     a certain percentage of land on strategic sites delivery should be earmarked for local SMEs
-     more efforts to delegate planning applications to officers to determine - in accordance with planning policy - rather than elected members.
 
More investment is needed urgently in the planning function of local authorities, and in the training of planners and other related professionals, if the industry is to build anywhere near 300,000 new homes per year.

BMF support for Construction Talent Retention Scheme


08 July 2020

The BMF has expressed full support for a number of measures to secure jobs within the construction industry announced within the Chancellor’s statement today (8 July).

One of the key announcements in the written statement is the launch of the Construction Talent Retention Scheme (CTRS), a partnership between the Government and industry to secure essential talent in the UK construction sector.

The CTRS will be run by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) which is made up of trade and business associations from across the supply chain, including the BMF. It is designed to keep skills in the sector, matching displaced workers with employers seeking new staff.  It is based on a proven model to safeguard talent in the aerospace and automotive sectors.

Formally launching later this month, the CTRS will be an online portal that supports redeployment of staff at risk redundancy across the sector, while also enabling temporary employee loans between businesses.  The scheme will also give displaced workers from other sectors a route to find new employment in construction. 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “Covid-19 has already had an impact and we are seeing businesses having to reduce their workforce.  We need to keep the skills built up over many years within the industry in order to secure construction’s long-term recovery.

“The CLC’s Talent Retention Scheme, alongside the financial measures announced by the Chancellor to encourage businesses to employ and train young people and provide quality apprenticeships, will help to retain our talent base and redeploy their skills across the entire sector as well as well moving to secure the future by investing in the next generation.”

The CTRS has funding secured from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy until the end of the financial year, providing a free online platform for any organisation looking to hire, while ensuring that candidates’ skills and experience are given a prominent platform within the industry.  

John Newcomb added: 

“This is a proven programme, with no cost for users, that is supported by the entire construction industry bringing significant scope and scale to its successful delivery. We will be promoting the CTRS online portal extensively within the building materials sector and encouraging BMF merchant and supplier members to register their interest so they are fully up to speed when the portal goes live.”

Businesses can register their interest in the scheme at: www.trs-system.co.uk/construction
 

 
The BMF has expressed full support for a number of measures to secure jobs within the construction industry announced within the Chancellor’s statement today (8 July).

Investments in greener homes set to protect thousands of jobs across the building industry supply chain  


07 July 2020

A leading building industry trade body says Government plans to create greener homes will protect thousands of jobs and lead to new innovations in the sector.

The BMF, has welcomed the Chancellor’s scheme, which is set to support energy saving projects for homeowners in England. 

According to the BMF, the move will help make a significant impact in addressing the carbon emissions of the nation’s housing stock.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely pleased that the Government will provide this vital measure for the UK homeowners and at the same time bring confidence in the building materials industry.

“Thousands of jobs will be protected and investment will be kept flowing, enabling the supply chain to trade with confidence.
  
“The UK’s current housing stock contributes to 40 per cent of the nation’s carbon emissions.

“The Chancellor’s proposal will make significant inroads to tackle that figure and provide confidence, incentive and support to homeowners to undertake the necessary upgrades.”

The BMF’s 710 members across the UK and Ireland have combined sales of £36 billion and employ more than 170,000 people in the building materials industry. Its 354 merchant members operate from 5,648 branches across the UK and Ireland.

They play a leading role in the distribution of materials across the country. That includes accounting for almost 90 per cent of the sales of insulation in the UK, a market valued at £1.2 billion.* 
Mr Newcomb added: “Builders merchants have a vital role to play in the delivery of the programme.

“The building materials sector in which our members operate is currently valued at £56 billion and directly provides more than 330,000 jobs, working across 23,000 companies in the UK.

“The sector makes a significant contribution to the economy and it’s important for us to reinforce the message of its value and significance.

“Currently, 80 per cent of all building products used in the construction of homes and buildings are manufactured in the UK.

“This home-grown sector will be more important than ever, creating vital jobs in manufacturing, construction and the service sector in the current economic climate.

“Our members are already making significant in-roads in areas including sustainability and the delivery of quieter, more energy efficient buildings and environments.

“The Chancellor’s proposal will bring more confidence to press ahead with new innovations and bring new developments to the marketplace.”
 
A leading building industry trade body says Government plans to create greener homes will protect thousands of jobs and lead to new innovations in the sector.

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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