BMF News

BMF sponsors Dragon’s Den for net zero solutions

 
 7 September 2021
 
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is sponsoring a £1,000 prize for the winner of a Dragon’s Den style competition to accelerate the construction sector’s drive to net zero.  

Launched today by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, the competition is targeted at young professionals in the industry to provide support to accelerate practical ideas which are almost ready for implementation on sites or in factories, and which may be suitable for wider industry adoption.

In addition to the cash prize, the winning candidate will receive support from a CLC member to develop and implement their proposal into the sector and a 12-month mentoring arrangement with a CLC Business Leader.

The Dragon’s Den judging panel, chaired by Andrew Griffith MP, the UK’s net Zero Business Champion and comprising both industry and climate experts, will hear presentations from short-listed candidates mid-October, with the winner announced prior to COP26.
 
John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, and a member of the seven-person judging panel, said:

“The drive to zero carbon will be the single biggest challenge for the next decade and its success will be a defining factor for those who are now in the early stages of their construction career.  The BMF is pleased to support this exciting competition, and we look forward to seeing innovative and practical proposals coming forward from young professionals."

For more information about the competition and to submit your proposal, visit the CLC website . Entries must be received by midnight on 28 September 2021.
 


The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is sponsoring a £1,000 prize for the winner of a Dragon’s Den style competition to accelerate the construction sector’s drive to net zero.

Haulage a priority for BMF


3 September 2021

Haulage a priority for BMFNew data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK. 

A snap survey of BMF members found 67% of builders’ merchant respondents and 86% of supplier respondents are affected by haulage issues, citing it as their number one concern.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: 

“Haulage, and in particular the shortage of HGV drivers, has become our industry’s number one concern, and the results of our member survey have been fed into discussions between the transport industry and government.

“Some suppliers are reporting that the standard five-day lead time has more than doubled. In some cases, we are even seeing increases of up to four weeks. We have heard reports that suppliers are asking merchants to collect orders as they cannot get enough drivers to complete deliveries.

“Driver recruitment is the main challenge. Both suppliers and merchants are prepared to recruit or retrain existing staff as drivers, but there are limited opportunities for training and testing.  They want more testing to be made available to help get new HGV drivers on the road.”

The issue is not confined to the building materials industry.  The Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have contributed to haulage challenges, with transport industry bodies estimating a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, with an estimated 15,000 lost following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Logistics UK’s May 2021 tracker survey found 61% of respondents considered recruitment of HGV drivers to be a ‘severe’ or ‘very severe’ challenge, while 50% cited the availability of testing as a ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’ barrier to recovery.

John Newcomb added: 

“Builders merchants have done a fantastic job managing product demand and supply in the face of high global demand and reduced capacity resulting from the pandemic. Haulage is the latest challenge and our top priority.  We are doing everything we can to assist discussions between the freight industry and government as they seek to agree both short and long term solutions.”
 
Haulage a priority for BMF
New data from the BMF reveals the shortage of HGV drivers as the main challenge faced by its members, who are already performing a balancing act to keep the building materials supply chain running across the UK.

Zero-carbon entrepreneur confirmed for BMF Young Merchant Conference

 

25 August 2021
 
Angus Macdonald, founder and CEO of award-winning property development company Galion, is the latest speaker to be confirmed for the BMF Young Merchant Conference in October. 

Angus, who began his career as a Royal Navy helicopter pilot, switched his high-flying ambitions to sustainable housing in 2002 following an MSc in Property Development and Project Management.  He has successfully masterminded developments in Bristol and Plymouth, including a 28 acre MOD site where he developed 500 waterside homes. 

Galion offers traditionally designed homes using natural materials to reflect local vernacular and, as a keen advocate of the climate change movement, Angus is focused on sustainable construction to provide luxury newbuild and bespoke homes that have minimal impact on the environment and the communities around them.

Angus has founded two other zero-carbon companies, the first of which delivered 600MW of solar power during his 6-year tenure. In 2016 he founded the Talick Group of companies dedicated to helping reversing climate change.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “The devastating impact of human activity on the earth’s climate and the immediate need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming can no longer be ignored and it is down to each and every one of us to take action now.  Angus’ experience both as a developer and within the wider low-carbon sector will make for an extremely interesting presentation for our audience of young merchants, the future leaders of our industry.”

With the theme, “Building the Next Generation”, the BMF Young Merchant Conference is designed to encourage, inspire and enthuse.  Taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on 6 October 2021, the event is being held in connection with UK Construction week and will include a visit to the Build Show on site.  In addition to a full day’s business programme the BMF Young Merchant Conference features an evening social event at the Sky Loft within the Park Regis Hotel which enjoys unparalleled views over the City of Birmingham.

Registration for the BMF Young Merchant Conference is now open at www.bmf.org.uk/events  

The headline sponsor for the BMF Young Merchant Conference is Knauf Insulation. 
 
Angus Macdonald, founder and CEO of award-winning property development company Galion, is the latest speaker to be confirmed for the BMF Young Merchant Conference in October.

BMF's P&H Merchant Index shows bounce back continues


23 August 2021

Sales through specialist plumbing and heating merchants during the second quarter of the year show the market’s recovery following the adverse impact of the initial Covid lockdown last year. 

Figures released in the BMF's Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) show sales of plumbing and heating products during Q2 2021 were 93.5% higher than in the same three months last year, the trading period worst affected by the pandemic.

Sales in Q2 2021 were also higher than during the same period two years ago, before the pandemic, with the PHMI showing a 4% increase over Q2 2019. Quarter on quarter sales decreased, though this may reflect annual trading patterns within the sector. 

Sales in Q2 2021 were -6.7% lower than in Q1 2021, albeit with two more trading days in the first quarter. Taking extra days out of the equation shows that Q2 average sales a day were down by -3.7% on Q1. Overall, year to date figures for first six months of 2021 were +36.3% higher than the same period in 2020 and +3.8% higher than 2019.

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.
 
Sales through specialist plumbing and heating merchants during the second quarter of the year show the market’s recovery following the adverse impact of the initial Covid lockdown last year.

Record quarter for building material sales


23 August 2021

The latest report from the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirms Q2 2021 as the best performing quarter on record, for sales through GB builders’ merchants. 

Total builders’ merchants sales in Q2 2021 increased by an astonishing +96.0% over Q2 2020.  While this reflects the severe adverse impact of the initial Covid lockdown, looking further back the BMBI figures show Q2 2021 merchant sales increasing by +20.3% against Q2 2019.  All categories sold more in Q2 2021 compared with the same period in both of last two years.

Confirming the strength of the market, 2021 quarter on quarter sales also showed significant growth.  Sales in Q2 2021 were 24.1% higher than in Q1, with two less trading days in Q2.  Average sales a day in Q2 were 28.1% higher than in Q1. 

Q2 2021 vs Q2 2020 – Year on Year
Two of the strongest performers in Q2 2021 were the weakest in Q2 2020; Tools increased by +151.4% and Kitchens & Bathrooms by +141.3%.  In addition, four categories had their best-ever quarterly sales since the BMBI started in July 2014 – Timber & Joinery Products (+134.6%), Ironmongery (+105.9%), Heavy Building Materials (+81.4%) and Landscaping (+71.1%).

Q2 2021 vs Q2 2019 – Year on 2 Year
Comparing Q2 2021 with the same quarter two years ago, it is clear that the two strongest performers, Landscaping (+48.3%) and Timber & Joinery Products (+41.3%), drove the overall increase.  Sales increases were recorded in all categories, with the largest product category, Heavy Building Materials, up by +11.8%.  Other categories recorded smaller increases, including Plumbing Heating & Electrical (+3.2%), Decorating (+1.7%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+1.5%).

Q2 2021 vs Q1 2021 – Quarter on Quarter
Ten of the 12 product categories sold more in Q2 than Q1.  Once again Landscaping (+67.8%) was strongest, followed by Timber & Joinery Products (+29.3%) and Heavy Building Materials (+20.5%), with Decorating (+11%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+8.6%) amongst the others showing growth.  Only Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (-3.5%) and Workwear & Safetywear (-11.4%) sold less.

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said:


“This quarter’s results reflect both the strength of the current market and the vital role of builders merchants in the supply chain. With high global demand and UK workloads continuing at extremely high levels, merchants have done a fantastic job managing product demand and supply. The challenges faced in the first half of the year are likely to continue and the building materials supply chain will be working closely with customers to keep projects on track.”

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

“At the end of Q2 2020 the Builders Merchants sector was coming to terms with the initial fallout of the global pandemic and had just started to reopen.  Fast forward twelve months and last year’s ‘lost’ quarter has been replaced by the best performing quarter on record. The well documented surge in house building and buying has played a key role, while the stock shortages experienced across the UK hasn’t slowed down market performance.  The second half of the year is difficult to predict but will be fascinating to track.”
 
The latest report from the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirms Q2 2021 as the best performing quarter on record, for sales through GB builders’ merchants.

Andy Williamson to chair BMF Insulation & Dry Lining Forum


16 August 2021

The BMF will launch a new product Forum covering Insulation and Dry Lining in October.

To be chaired by Andy Williamson, Commercial Director at SIG UK, the new Forum will meet for the first time on 28 October at BMF’s head office in Coventry.

Andy is well known to many in the industry having spent over 30 years as a supplier into the merchant sector. He joined SIG in June 2020 as part of a new management team with the focus of improving the relationships with its builders merchants customers and suppliers alike. His former roles include Group Managing Director of IKO plc and Director of Digby Stone. He is currently the Senior Warden of the Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants and due to take over as Master in October. 

In taking on the role of Chairman of the BMF’s newly formed Insulation and Dry Lining Forum Andy plans to bring merchants and suppliers together to discuss the current challenges being experienced by all in the supply chain and facilitate a better understanding of how everyone can work better together on these along with looking at future trends and opportunities including changes in legislation. 

Commenting on the latest Forum, BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are delighted that Andy will chair the Insulation and Dry Lining Forum. He has always been a huge supporter of the merchant sector and also served on the board of the BMF for a number of years. I can’t wait for the first meeting, which will also be one of the first to be held physically at our head office since the lifting of Covid restrictions.”

Book your place at the inaugural BMF Insulation and Dry Lining Forum at the BMF website.
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) will launch a new product Forum covering Insulation and Dry Lining in October.

h&b adds to IoBM's growing support

17 August 2021

h&b Buying Group has added its support to the growing number of industry influencers who are backing the Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IoBM) ambitious plans to underpin a professional training ethos within the building materials industry since its merger with the BMF earlier this year.

The IoBM is targeting 1000 new members over the next 12 months, with a longer term ambition to become a Chartered Institute.

Jamie Wyatt, Trading Director at h&b Buying Group said: “The increased focus on training and development supported through the IoBM can only benefit the industry as a whole and the h&b group is delighted to show its support through Corporate membership.”

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “The IoBM has such an important role to play both in training newcomers to the industry and supporting the more experienced through CPD and we are delighted that h&b is espousing this ambition through corporate membership.  We have a long way to go to reach our ultimate goal of chartered status but the encouragement and co-operation we are now receiving will help us build awarenesss of the Institute’s role as the accreditation body that will raise professional standards for the whole industry.”


Find out more about IoBM membership categories at www.bmf.org.uk/IOBM
 
h&b Buying Group has added its support to the growing number of industry influencers who are backing the Institute of Builders Merchants’ (IoBM) ambitious plans to underpin a professional training ethos within the building materials industry since it

Charlie Luxton to speak at BMF Young Merchants Conference

12 August 2021

Charlie Luxton, the architectural designer and TV presenter, will be the Keynote Speaker at the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Conference, which takes place on Wednesday 6 October, during UK Construction Week at the NEC, Birmingham.

Charlie, who currently presents Building the Dream, Homes by the Sea and Homes by the Med on More 4 has presented numerous programmes on our architectural heritage and providing design advice across the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and in the USA.
Charlie is passionate about the environment and communicating his enthusiasm for sustainable architecture and eco-friendly design.  Following a first class honours degree in Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, he completed an MA at the Royal College of Art in London and worked for a number of architecture practices before becoming a founding director of Free State in 2000, where projects included Electric Storm, a three month renewable energy event on London’s South Bank.

Since 2005 he has focused on sustainable housing. As Charlie Luxton Environmental Design he is currently working several sustainable housing projects in London, Wiltshire and the Cotswolds, where he now lives.  

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “We are delighted to secure Charlie for our Young Merchant Conference.  Sustainability and the drive to net zero are extremely high priorities both in society and within our industry.  I know that everyone is looking forward to hearing from him.”

With the theme, “Building the Next Generation”, the BMF Young Merchant Conference is designed to encourage, inspire and enthuse. Taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on 6 October 2021, the event is being held in connection with UK Construction week and will include a visit to the Build Show on site. In addition to a full day’s business programme the BMF Young Merchants Conference features an evening social event at the Sky Loft within the Park Regis Hotel and enjoy unparalleled views over the City of Birmingham.

Registration of the BMF Young Merchant Conference is now open at www.bmf.org.uk/events   

The headline sponsor for the BMF Young Merchant Conference is Knauf Insulation. The Keynote Speaker is sponsored by Mannok. 
 
Charlie Luxton, the architectural designer and TV presenter, will be the Keynote Speaker at the Builders Merchants Federation’s (BMF) Young Merchant Conference, which takes place on Wednesday 6 October, during UK Construction Week at the NEC, Birming

BMF commits to zero carbon operations


10 August 2021
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has signed up to the SME Climate Commitment and pledged to take action to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2040.  

The announcement comes the day after the publication of the United Nations’ landmark scientific report confirming the devastating impact of human activity on the earth’s climate and the immediate need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming. 

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “Climate change poses a threat to the economy, nature and society at large, and reducing carbon emissions is something businesses of every size must act upon. The BMF is supporting and promoting the Construction Leadership Council’s ConstructZero programme and encouraging our members to become Net Zero Business Champions.  But it is just as important for us to take proactive steps to reduce our own carbon impact as well as supporting our members on their path to net zero. We encourage every member business, no matter what their size, to take action now.”

The BMF’s net zero project group has been meeting regularly since March to assess their current environmental impact and identify short, medium and longer term actions they can take to reduce carbon output, create a healthier working environment and, ultimately, save on operating costs.

The BMF’s Tracy Wootton, who is leading the net zero team, said: “Assessing our carbon impact at the outset of our journey will enable us to accurately measure our progress. As a first step we have reviewed the day to day sustainability of our operations, for example  lighting, climate control, printers and toner waste, use of plastics and travel / car use and have already identified simple and relatively low cost ways to reduce our carbon output and create a healthier working environment. We are also speaking to our suppliers and utilities companies to confirm their commitment to zero carbon.”

Simple first steps implemented by the BMF include increased use of LED and movement activated lighting, using paper rather than plastic wrappers to mail out its magazine and year books, moving from individual desk printers to larger shared printers, and using sustainable promotional materials for conferences and events.  

The BMF is also investigating financial incentives available for green initiatives to support medium to longer term objectives including the installation of electric vehicle charging points, solar panels, and changes to the current heating and ventilation systems.  

Earlier this year the BMF introduced a new Sustainability Forum, to bring together merchants and supplier members for regular briefings and discussions on net zero objectives and to share progress and best practice. The Forum, which next meets on 27 November, is chaired by Giles Bradford of Bradfords Building Supplies – one of the first companies to become a ConstructZero Business Champion.  

Sustainability features strongly in the four major BMF events this Autumn, with Andrew Griffith MP, the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion speaking at its Members’ Day Conference on 23 September; low carbon building materials showcased at the BMF Parliamentary Reception in October; Galion Homes speaking on sustainable construction at the BMF Young Merchant Conference in October, and a dedicated Sustainability Forum at the BMF All Industry Conference in November.
Find out more about the SME Climate Commitment and Climate Commitment Hub at www.smeclimatehub.org

Book your place at the next BMF Sustainability Forum here.
 
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has signed up to the SME Climate Commitment and pledged to take action to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2040.

Leadership, diversity and performance to the fore at BMF All Industry Conference 

4 August 2021

Nicky Moffat CBE, who was Britain’s highest ranking female Army officer, retiring as a Brigadier after almost 30 years of service, is the latest speaker to be confirmed for the BMF All Industry Conference in November.

Nicky’s expertise and insights as a leader are drawn from roles as a Recruitment Training Commander, Training Regiment Commander and Director of her Branch of the Army. Throughout, she led diverse mission-focused groups in an organisation both steeped in tradition but subject to rapid and significant changes of policy, technology and resources.

In her largest command, as brigadier, she led some 4,500 soldiers within the Army’s personnel and finance function. More broadly, Nicky served in strategy, policy, career management and finance roles in the Army’s Personnel Centre, Army Headquarters and the Ministry of Defence.

She oversaw the Armed Forces Workforce Planning and Pay Review Programmes, focusing on recruitment, retention and on valuing and supporting service personnel financially for their work on operations.

She also advised Army board members on the retention and progression of female talent, with a view to developing a more inclusive high-performing culture. In 2012, Nicky left the Army to set up What Good Leadership Looks Like. She now helps companies develop their people and make transformative and sustainable improvements in leadership and culture.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “Nicky will give her perspective on the role of strong leadership in driving inclusive change and optimum performance, in what promises to be another fascinating session at the much -anticipated BMF All Industry Conference.”

The sold-out, dual-centre BMF All Industry Conference is due to take place in Harrogate and York from 4 to 7 November 2021. Further details are available on the Conference website, www.bmfconference.co.uk 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.
Nicky Moffat CBE, who was Britain’s highest ranking female Army officer, retiring as a Brigadier after almost 30 years of service, is the latest speaker to be confirmed for the BMF All Industry Conference in November.

NBG latest to support for IoBM’s ambitious plans


2 August 2021

National Buying Group (NBG) is the latest trailblazer to join The Institute of Builders Merchants (IoBM) as a Corporate Supplier member, the membership category for manufacturers and suppliers to the merchant industry who support the IoBM’s professional training ethos.

Following the merger of the IoBM with the BMF earlier this year, the Institute’s management committee is looking to the future, with an emphasis on youth and the highest standards. At their first management meeting they agreed that all BMF Young Merchants will be automatically enrolled within the Institute during its first 12 months. A longer-term aspiration is to become a Chartered Institute.

Nick Oates, Managing Director of NBG said: “NBG are supportive of raising standards within the industry and view the IoBM developments as a positive step. The Executive Board of NBG fully support the ambition to become a Chartered Institute and are keen to see a clear plan for developing the IOBM with standards put in place early with a view of achieving Chartered status.”

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that the plans and ambitions expressed by the new management committee is attracting the support of high profile Corporate Supplier members like NBG. Their input will be extremely valuable in helping the Institute to grow, both in numbers and stature.”

NBG has also signalled its willingness to play an active role within a revitalised IoBM, suggesting that Corporate Supplier members meet annually to review and provide input into plans.  They will also promote the Institute via the NBG Hub to NBG’s Partners

Find out more about IoBM membership categories at www.bmf.org.uk/IOBM
 
National Buying Group (NBG) is the latest trailblazer to join The Institute of Builders Merchants (IoBM) as a Corporate Supplier member, the membership category for manufacturers and suppliers to the merchant industry who support the IoBM’s professio

Six BMF members achieve CLC net zero carbon Business Champion status


28 July 2021 

For the third consecutive month, BMF members featured prominently amongst the latest cohort of net zero carbon Business Champions supporting the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) CO2nstruct Zero initiative.

With the confirmation of Hanson UK, JCB, Knauf Insulation, Saint-Gobain, Cocuun and Steel Blue as net zero Business Champions, thirteen BMF members have now committed to share evidence of their own progress to net zero carbon, and to work with other companies in the sector to support the industry-wide change programme.

Hanson’s priority is to innovate and to produce the lowest carbon materials for use in construction.  They have committed to carbon neutral concrete by 2050 with key accelerated milestones to help them achieve this. Around 90% of the Hanson UK CO2 emissions are from its three cement works and they have prioritised reductions by increasing the use of alternative fuels and raw materials; by using secondary cementitious materials with a significantly lower CO2 footprint; by making major investments in plant efficiency, carbon capture and storage, and by increasing the share of sustainable low carbon concrete products.

JCB has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of its global manufacturing facilities and supply chain and has a waste reduction program that focuses on packaging and its ability to be fully recycled.  JCB products have evolved to use less fuel, with 10 machines now fully electric and great progress with hydrogen including the world’s first hydrogen powered 22 ton excavator, and the first hydrogen motor in a backhoe loader.

Saint Gobain has developed road maps for each of its operating businesses to reach net zero by 2050, with interim targets along the way.  Specific actions include committing to renewable energy, new cars to be fully electric by end 2023, capital investment in a new glass furnace to class leading performance, increasing recycled gypsum content in products, an active energy reduction programme, the use of alternative fuels in logistic, 100% recycled packaged by 2030 and deploying LED lighting across its network.

Knauf Insulation’s sustainability strategy commits the company to reducing the embodied carbon of its products by 15% between 2019 & 2025 and cutting its organisational carbon footprint by 25%.  Since 2015, Knauf has reduced energy use at manufacturing sites, reducing CO2 emissions by over 5,000 tonnes a year. Industry-leading compression technology already reduces distribution road miles and the use of plastic packaging. This year will see new packaging across the range made from a minimum 30% recycled content, which is also itself easier to recycle.

Cocuun was founded in 2020 with net zero as its inspiration. The company embodies three of the CLC’s nine net zero priorities: whole house retrofit delivery, low carbon heat solutions - scaling up industry capability and supporting heat pump deployment, trials of hydrogen heating systems and heat networks - and enhancing energy performance of both new and existing buildings, through higher operational energy efficiency standards and better building energy performance monitoring.

Steel Blue, the workboot manufacturer, aims to be carbon neutral by 2025 globally. A 100kw solar panel system at its head office and manufacturing facility generates 71% power during peak operation and 100% power during off peak operation periods. The company also uses LED lighting and has implemented a hybrid car policy.  Since 2012 they have reduced the use of solvent based adhesives in manufacturing by 92.5%. They are also identifying potential circular economy opportunities and exploring improved recycling rates and a reduction in waste

The six BMF members were amongst 14 organisations confirmed in the third wave of CO2nstruct Zero Business Champions, the others being RDM Electrical and Mechanical, Mott MacDonald, The Clarison Group, Mitie, Signify, Jackson, McLaughlin & Harvey and SES.

The CLC is running an ongoing monthly recruitment drive for more companies to commit to CO2nstruct Zero as Business Champions.  If any BMF member would like to be considered, please contact John Newcomb in the first instance, at [email protected]

For the third consecutive month, BMF members featured prominently amongst the latest cohort of net zero carbon Business Champions supporting the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) CO2nstruct Zero initiative.

Covid-19 app impacts on building materials' supply chain

23 July 2021

Self-isolation alerts are having a significant impact on the supply of building materials, according to the BMF.

It has raised concerns with government about the affect staff shortages are placing on an industry already balancing unprecedented demand.

John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF, said: “We are currently facing the biggest demand for building products we have seen in more than 30 years.

“We are already struggling with the labour we have to meet that requirement. Now, with many staff going into isolation after being pinged by the NHS Covid app, builders’ merchants, and building materials suppliers and manufacturers, are facing a huge challenge. The past two to four weeks have been described as the most challenging of the entire pandemic by some members.

“Our concern is that lead times will be pushed even further back and we could see disruption, now and later down the line. The supply chain is extremely stretched on all fronts. We are feeding all our data back to the government as they establish a complete picture of the situation.

“Hopefully a solution can be achieved. An ideal situation would be to pull the exemption date forward for the sector.”

Frank Elkins, Group Chief Operating Officer for Travis Perkins plc, said: “We are disappointed that our colleagues have not been included on the list of workers that can be made exempt from full self-isolation if they are alerted by NHS test and trace. Having worked hard to put in place measures that safeguard our staff while they have played such a vital role in helping to maintain essential services that are so crucial to keeping us all dry, warm, safe and secure, we urge the Government to look again at the broader construction supply chain and its importance to the country at large.” 

Martyn Coffey, Chief Executive Officer, Marshalls plc, said: “After the challenges in 2020, no one could have accurately predicted the shape of demand in 2021. This demand continues to grow and the effects of Covid, in particular, the ‘self-isolation’ practices are now beginning to bite within the Marshalls business. 

“Health and Safety has always been our number one consideration throughout this pandemic. We have gone above and beyond government guidelines to keep our people safe. What we are now seeing is a very high incidence of absence (due mainly to self-isolation through NHS Test and Trace) and this is compromising our ability to operate. 

“What is most challenging is the volatile nature and the inability to plan for this random alerting. As we support our colleagues to self-isolate, it is putting increasing pressure on those who are attending work resulting in an increasing concern about the mental health and wellbeing of these individuals who are carrying additional workloads. If the construction manufacturing sector could be categorised as ‘essential’ it would be a significant help to maintaining production levels. This would mean that colleagues who have been double jabbed could be exempted from self-isolation in the period from now until the rule change (currently planned for 16th August 2021).”

Paul Bence, managing director of Cheltenham-based independent builders’ merchant George Bence Group, added: “Currently, 15 per cent of our workforce have been affected by self-isolation this week. None of them have tested positive for Covid-19. 
“With it also being staff holiday season, we have been operating on a skeleton staff basis in many areas.” 
 
Self-isolation alerts are having a significant impact on the supply of building materials, according to an industry trade body.

Labour and product shortages putting pressure on the construction industry

21 July 2021

Labour and product shortages are having a significant impact on the construction industry’s supply chain across the UK leading to delayed deliveries and rising prices.

An unprecedented demand for building products has been reported throughout the year, but the latest statement from the Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability Group has identified a lack of labour as a rising concern.

All regions are reporting that hauliers, HGV and LGV drivers are in short supply and very difficult to recruit.  There are further issues with recruiting skilled and unskilled staff, including experienced bricklayers and yard operatives, across the supply chain and these labour shortages are being exacerbated by the high number of staff being required to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 and being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Test and Trace programme.

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation, and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability Group, said:

“The supply chain is extremely stretched on all fronts, but our members are pulling out the stops to keep supplies in branches and deliveries out to customers in very challenging. circumstances.

“Alongside pricing, stability and accuracy of supply remains the overarching concern and regular, accurate and transparent communication throughout the supply chain to the end client is deemed vital by all.  It is important that all parties recognise the extent of the extraordinary challenges we are currently experiencing and adopt a flexible and collaborative approach to finding solutions. 

The latest Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability Group report is available here
 
Labour and product shortages are having a significant impact on the construction industry’s supply chain across the UK leading to delayed deliveries and rising prices.

Concerns over HGV driver shortages raised by construction trade body

14 July 2021

Transport issues are hitting suppliers to the construction trade, as builders’ merchants work to get supplies into their stores and deliver orders to customers.

Members of national trade body the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), have reported widespread disruption and delays, with a shortfall in drivers able to transport goods across the country.

Across the BMF membership, companies are recruiting and retraining existing staff into driving roles, but have reported difficulties sourcing new and replacement drivers, as well as struggling to secure agency cover due to demand.

Limited test slots are also preventing staff from taking HGV driving tests, while holiday plans over the summer further reduce driver availability.

BMF East Midlands Regional Chairman, Jim Parlato, a Director at Browns Builders Merchant, said: “Drivers are our biggest concern at present.

“We have two of our warehouse and yard operatives taking their tests shortly but getting courses and booking tests has become an issue with demand meaning months of waiting.”

The issues are leading to extended lead times for some products, and even failed deliveries.

BMF South West Regional Chairman, David Young, of Bradfords Building Supplies, said: “We have 16 LGV driver vacancies at the moment. We’re struggling to recruit and also no agency cover is available due to demand.

“The knock-on effect is lead times to our customers are extended by a day, from one-to-two days to two-to-three days.

“We do have 22 internal drivers being trained up but there are not enough test slots available so this is taking longer than normal.

“Suppliers to builders’ merchants have also been hit by the shortfall, resulting in restrictions on some products and failed deliveries at short notice.”

BMF Anglia Regional Chairman, Hugh Guntrip, of Huws Gray Ltd, added: “We are struggling to recruit new and replacement drivers within our merchant branches.

“The largest impact is on our suppliers resulting in product restrictions and failed incoming deliveries at very short notice.”

The BMF has 760 merchant and supplier member companies, who together have combined sales of £39bn and employ over 207,000 people in the building materials industry.

The issue comes as figures from The Road Haulage Association (RHA) show an existing deficit of 60,000 lorry drivers has been compounded by 15,000 European drivers leaving the UK and the cancellation of 30,000 HGV driving tests during the pandemic.

The BMF is now compiling information across its member network to share with Government and look towards a solution to address the issue.

BMF CEO, Mr John Newcomb said: “It is clear that there is a major deficit of HGV drivers and issues with training and supporting new recruits into the role, and this is now causing delayed deliveries and rising costs across the UK.”
 
Transport issues are hitting suppliers to the construction trade, as builders’ merchants work to get supplies into their stores and deliver orders to customers.

Six Blaze a trail with IoBM


8 July 2021

Six trailbazers, Aco, Knauf Insulation, the Keystone Group, Mannok, the NMBS and Reisser have joined The Institute of Builders Merchants (IoBM) as Corporate Supplier members, the recently enhanced membership category for manufacturers and suppliers to the merchant industry who support the IoBM’s professional training ethos.

Fees paid by Corporate Supplier members will fund the support of training and development throughout the professional Institute.  In return they may nominate two employees as IoBM contacts within their business, and the Institute will include details of any free CPD or merchant training programmes offered by Corporate Supplier members. 

John Newcomb BMF Chief Executive said: 

“The past year has shown the power of working together and ‘inclusivity’ will become a watchword of the IoBM.  Corporate Supplier members will help us embrace the entire building materials sector within the Institute. That this category has rapidly gained support from the industry’s leading buying society and five major building materials suppliers signals its relevance and value across the whole industry.”  

“We are also looking to attract a diverse group of individual members, particularly younger members, and have an initial target of 1000 new members within the first year.”

The Institute’s new management committee which includes representatives of the BMF Young Merchant group as well as two BMF directors and two long-term IoBM board members has also agreed that all BMF Young Merchants will automatically be enrolled into the Institute during its first year as a brand of the BMF.

Knauf Insulation was one of the first suppliers to sign up to the enhanced Corporate Supplier membership category.  Jo Callow, an IoBM member in her own right and Head of Communications at Knauf Insulation said:

“We became IoBM Corporate Supplier members as we recognise the work that the IoBM and the BMF have done together to breathe life back into the Institute. We are keen to encourage training, development and learning for individuals throughout the industry and recognise that this is a great way to support that.”
 
John Ryszkowski, Managing Director of ACO, another IoBM trailblazer, said:

“ACO are delighted to be one of the first Trailblazers to sign up to support the newly merged Institute under the BMF brand and look forward to helping to promote IoBM membership throughout the industry.”  

Find out more about IoBM Corporate membership at www.bmf.org.uk/IOBM
 
Six trailbazers, Aco, Knauf Insulation, the Keystone Group, Mannok, the NMBS and Reisser have joined The Institute of Builders Merchants (IoBM) as Corporate Supplier members, the recently enhanced membership category for manufacturers and suppliers t

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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 July 2021 stands at 760 merchant, supplier and service companies who together have combined sales of £39bn and employ around 207,000 people in the building materials industry. BMF’s 393 merchant members operate from over 5,900 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
[email protected]
07985 129315
01538 308685