BMF News

BMF opens 30th Regional Centre of Excellence at Ideal Standard

6 December 2019

BMF RCOE at Ideal StandardThe BMF has just launched its 30th Regional Centre of Excellence at Ideal Standard at Clerkenwell in London.

The BMF launched the new centre during the Winter meeting of the BMF Young Merchants on 5 December.

The BMF’s growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence means training courses and regional meetings are now far more accessible to BMF members across the UK and Ireland. This BMF centre, based in Ideal Standard’s stunning new Clerkenwell Design and Specification centre, will serve BMF members in the London/South East region.

Ideal Standard International is a leading provider of innovative and design-driven bathroom products, with 100% focus on bathroom and washroom solutions, their brand portfolio includes the two most recognised and respected bathroom brands in the UK - Armitage Shanks and Ideal Standard. Together they form the leading manufacturer of bathroom and washroom products in the country and have a strong presence in every sector of the construction market. These resources mean the Company are able to combine expertise and experience with the latest manufacturing technology to deliver a range of high quality, high performance products.

Katie Cope, Marketing Director at Ideal Standard comments “We are really proud that our London centre is the 30th BMF Centre of Excellence, providing a place for their members to meet, train and network. Investing in skills is incredibly important to the ongoing strength of the merchant sector, the investment and support that the BMF is able to offer to members of all sizes is central to the values of the organisation.”

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “This is an excellent centre and we are extremely grateful that Ideal Standard are opening the centre to our members too, as localisation is an important strategy for the BMF. We look forward to holding future meetings and training courses here for members in the region.”  

For details of all the BMF Regional Centres of Excellence around the UK and Ireland please visit www.bmf.org.uk/membership and for more information about Ideal Standard visit www.ideal-standard.co.uk.



Pictured L-R: Alex Clifford, BMF Regional Manager), John Newcomb, (BMF CEO), John Robinson (Ideal Standard Business Director)
The BMF has just launched its 30th Regional Centre of Excellence at Ideal Standard at Clerkenwell in London, during the Winter meeting of the BMF Young Merchants on 5 December.

NMBS backs BMF launch of ETIM product data model

6 December 2019

NMBSThe NMBS has declared its support for ETIM as the most appropriate data model for the standardisation and classification of technical product data for its members.

The ETIM model, which simplifies the transfer of information between manufacturer and merchant, was first introduced to the UK’s electro-technical sector by the EDA, now the BMF is to begin work on its expansion into two further sectors, Building Materials and HVAC & Sanitary. 

Chris Hayward, MD of NMBS said: “As a buying society we strive to develop and strengthen independent merchants by innovating and adding value at every opportunity.  Clearly ETIM has as important role to play in this regard and we will support the BMF as they work with the industry to roll out this data-model in the building materials and HVAC sectors.”

ETIM not only ensures that all users of the product data employ the same terms to describe the same attributes and values, it streamlines the transfer of information, removes inefficiency in the supply chain and facilitates the transition to online trading.  More and more trade customers have grown up with the internet and there is a growing demand to order building products and manage trade accounts online.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “I am delighted that NMBS has announced their support for an initiative that will help independent merchants address the challenge of digitalisation. A major barrier to digitalisation in our sector is the need to obtain and manage standardised e-commerce friendly product data.  ETIM provides that standard and its introduction will be a priority for the BMF in 2020.” 


For more information about ETIM click here
The NMBS has declared its support for ETIM as the most appropriate data model for the standardisation and classification of technical product data for its members.

BMF forecasts short term slowdown in sales growth


BMF Forecast Q3 2019For the second quarter in succession, revisions to the Builders Merchants Industry Forecast of merchant sales show a drop in expected growth for 2019 over 2018.  The slowdown in growth is now expected to continue into Q1 2020.

Published by the BMF, values are forecast based on previous trends found within the Builders Merchants Building Index* (BMBI) data.  As the forecast is unable to account for external factors, such as the uncertainty caused by continuing Brexit delays and weather events that hinder construction activity, the BMF expects performance to go against previous industry trends and for growth to be lower in both Q4 2019 and Q1 2020.

Despite two successive quarters of negative growth in Q2 and Q3, 2019 overall is forecast to see a marginal increase with average year on year sales growth of 1.9% (revised down from the previous forecast of 3.0%).

Year on year sales growth for Q1 2020 has also been revised down to 5.7% (from the previous forecast of 6.5%).  However, looking further forward, the forecast for overall average year on year growth in 2020 has improved to 4.6% (up from 4.3%).

The Builders Merchants Industry Forecast is a comprehensive analysis of merchant market performance* from July 2014 to September 2019 coupled with an analysis of the key factors affecting builders’ merchants’ sales to project future sales from October 2019 to December 2021.

A PDF edition of the 36pp Q3 Forecast (Winter 2019) can be purchased for £195 + VAT.  Contact Nyssa Patel, BMF Industry Analyst/Economist on 02476 854994 or email nyssa.patel@bmf.org.uk



For more information about the wide range of BMF market data available click here
Members can log in and download the Q3 forecast and other market data here




*The BMF’s econometric forecast model uses sales data from the Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) as the main sales variable. BMBI data is collated monthly from 80% of generalist builders merchants sales throughout Great Britain and analysed by research company, GfK. It is the most accurate sales date within the construction industry.  The forecast model also uses five other variables that indicated the highest level of correlation with builders merchants sales, namely: Repair, Maintenance and Improvement, Weekly Household Income, Season, All New Work, and Number of trading day (per month). 

 



For the second quarter in succession, revisions to the Builders Merchants Industry Forecast of merchant sales show a drop in expected growth for 2019 over 2018. The slowdown in growth is now expected to continue into Q1 2020.

Water conservation: the BMF respond to DEFRA

4 December 2019

BMF respond to DEFRAMore stringent regulations governing personal water use are necessary if rising residential demand is to be met and managed in coming years. That was the message from the BMF to ministers in a consultation that closed just before the General Election was called.

Demand for water is increasing due to societal factors, including a rising population. Supply is threatened for several reasons, including increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall, the BMF said in its response to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

DEFRA sought views on whether the current minimum standard of 125 litres per person per day for new homes in England should be changed. The BMF agreed and the optional standard of 110 litres allowed in the Building Regulations in water-stressed areas ought to apply to all new homes.

The BMF has seen forecasts by the National Infrastructure Commission that at least 3,300 million litres per day more water will be required by 2050. The BMF has also looked at figures from the Meteorological Office that show 2018 was the joint hottest English summer ever recorded, along with 2006, 2003 and 1976. Eighteen months ago, summer temperatures were above 30ºC for nearly a fortnight, putting 2018 in the top 5 driest years and top 5 sunniest years ever.

Brett Amphlett, BMF Policy and Public Affairs Manager, commented: “Consumers do not give water a second thought unless there is too much - namely floods - or too little - notably hosepipe bans. Information and advice only go so far. I suspect an unspoken belief held by many is that water is a basic right and residents do not care enough yet to change habits. Until there are financial consequences to water use, rising demand will not be halted by urging people to change behaviour. More stringent Building Regulations on new homes are necessary.”

Mr Amphlett noted that awareness of the link between water use and energy bills amongst the public is low. Whether for baths and showers or washing clothes and utensils, using water has implications. Metering for some properties, eliminating leaks and labelling schemes help to put over a message to consumers to make better, more informed choices when using water.

The BMF also argued that above and below-ground rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling systems should be adopted more widely - at both an individual level and on a community scale - as a way to reuse and recycle water.


For the latest BMF policy updates please click here.

More stringent regulations governing personal water use are necessary if rising residential demand is to be met and managed in coming years. That was the message from the BMF to ministers in a consultation that closed just before the General Election

BMF announces digitalisation initiative

03 December 2019

Margaret Fitzsimons (EDA CEO) and John Newcomb seated, with Chris Gibson (EDA President), and Tim Rowbottom (BMF Board member) behind) The BMF has announced an exciting new initiative for 2020 which will help members seeking to digitalise their businesses. The BMF has partnered with the Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA) to develop and implement the ETIM open source data model for the standardisation and classification of product data in the UK.  

One of the key benefits of ETIM is that it removes ambiguity and ensures that all users of the product data are using the same terms to describe the same attributes and values. It streamlines the transfer of information, removes inefficiency in the supply chain and facilitates the transition to online trading.  

ETIM is a tried and tested model that has been adopted by manufacturers and wholesalers in 20 countries across Europe and by the USA and Canada.  Initially designed for the electro-technical market, ETIM has expanded to include general building materials and heating, ventilation and plumbing products. It has now developed further to include a 3-D modelling version to provide digitalised data for BIM applications.

ETIM was adopted by the EDA in 2017 as a ‘must’ for the digitalisation of the UK electrical installation supply chain. The BMF will now start work to bring ETIM to the Building Materials and HVAC & Sanitary sectors.

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “A straw-poll of our merchant members found that 53% have difficulty in obtaining product data from their suppliers in an easily usable format, and 94% would value readily available and accurate product data. 

“With a growing number already doing business online and 65% planning to launch or increase sales from online platforms during the next two years the need for high quality, consistent and updatable digital data is set to escalate. Supporting the introduction of ETIM within our sector fits well with the BMF’s mission to help members build excellence within their business.”

The BMF will begin the process of implementation from January 2020. David Bate, who performed a similar role for EDA, has been appointed BMF’s ETIM-UK Project Manager. He will lead a number of ETIM Standardisation Working Groups, drawing together expertise from BMF members involved in different product areas, and drive the UK roll-out of the ETIM Classification model for building materials and HVAC through the UK supply chain, comprising manufacturers, merchants, specifiers, contractors and installers. 

If you would like to be involved in one of the working groups, please get in touch with the BMF.

Further information on ETIM can be found at www.etim-uk.co.uk and on LinkedIn under ETIM UK.



Pictured:Margaret Fitzsimons (EDA CEO) and John Newcomb seated, with Chris Gibson (EDA President), and Tim Rowbottom (BMF Board member) behind)

 




The BMF has partnered with the Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA) to develop and implement the ETIM open source data model for the standardisation and classification of product data in the UK.

Climate change: BMF thanks by Lib Dem Deputy Leader


26 November 2019

“We have got to get on with insulating more homes because that’s the low-hanging fruit to make housing more energy efficient” Sir Edward Davey has told the BMF.

“And we have to find ways to re-purpose gas heating to move to a net zero carbon economy".

The BMF attended an invitation-only City of London breakfast briefing to hear the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats discuss the finance and economics of climate change prior to next month’s General Election. Ed Davey is also Shadow Chancellor and speaks for his Party on financial, economic and taxation policy. He told guests that - apart from Brexit - tackling the climate emergency is central to Lib Dem thinking.

Brett Amphlett, BMF Policy and Public Affairs Manager, asked if the Shadow Chancellor was willing to intervene in the tax system and give Enhanced Capital Allowances to help manufacturers bring to market the materials and products needed to de-carbonise heating and electrify homes. His answer was an emphatic yes.

Sir Edward wants more done to re-purpose gas boilers and noted work being done by BMF members to develop boilers that burn either hydrogen or hydrogen-blended fuel. The question is whether it is do-able. If hydrogen is the answer, he said he supports tax relief for businesses to help bring to market heating that does not use fossil fuel and to scale-up to meet demand. But carbon capture and storage projects are also needed in the production of hydrogen, he added.

Ed Davey reflected on his time as Energy and Climate Change Secretary in the 2010-2015 Coalition Government. He recalled his frustration then in trying to make two different - but complimentary - regulations on energy efficiency and on heating work better together to benefit consumers.

The Shadow Chancellor has met Brett Amphlett and the BMF several times before - most recently at the Lib Dem Party Conference in Bournemouth two months ago. He thanked the BMF for all its work in trying to overcome problems surrounding the Green Deal before it ran into difficulty and eventual closure in 2015.

For the latest BMF policy updates click here

 
 
“We have got to get on with insulating more homes because that’s the low-hanging fruit to make housing more energy efficient” Sir Edward Davey has told the BMF.

Negative growth in Builders Merchants sales in Q3


26 November 2019

Figures for Q3 2019 just released in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) report negative growth in sales through UK builders’ merchants for the second successive quarter.
In value terms, total merchants’ sales for Q3 2019 were down -0.8% over the same period in 2018, despite one more trading day this year.  A comparison of average sales per day (which removes the impact of trading day differences) shows a year on year decline of -2.3% for the period.

The trend is mostly driven by a -4.7% decline in Timber & Joinery (the second largest category), with the core sub-categories of Timber and Sheet Materials key contributors.  The largest category, Heavy Building Materials, was down by -0.4% in value, with a decline in Bricks balanced against growth in Cement/Aggregate, Plasters & Plasterboards and Insulation. 

Some categories did show value growth during the period, notably Plumbing, Heating & Electrical which was up by +2.4% from Q3 2018, while Kitchens & Bathrooms grew by +3.2%, and Landscaping by +1.3%.

Comparing Year to Date performance figures for the first nine months of 2019 against 2018 continues to show value growth, but this has slowed for the second quarter, down from +2.1% in June to +1.1% in September.  Nonetheless the core categories of Heavy Building Materials and Timber & Joinery show year to date growth of 1.3% and 0.3% respectively, while Landscaping increased by +4.6% from 2018.

The BMBI uses GfK’s point of sale tracking data drawn from over 80% of builders merchants’ sales throughout the country, making it the most reliable source of data for the sector.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said:  “The results highlight marked differences between heavy side and light side product sales in Q3, suggesting buildings in progress are being finished, but with fewer new starts..  Our industry is directly affected by political, economic and actual climate, and we have seen adverse conditions in all three for some time.  With the final quarter of this year dominated by a general election, I suspect we will have to wait until 2020 to see any evidence of an upturn.”

Emile van der Ryst, Senior Client Insight Manager – Trade, at GfK said:  “With year to date growth still in positive territory we can take some comfort from this quarter’s figures.  Despite difficult trading conditions in 2019 to date, the builders’ merchants industry appears to be weathering the storm.  With the upcoming election we will hopefully have some finality to the dreaded ‘B-word’ and this will allow the industry to start looking forward again.”

To access the full report visit www.bmbi.co.uk
Figures for Q3 2019 just released in the BMF’s BMBI report negative growth in sales through UK builders’ merchants for the second successive quarter.

BMF achieves three nominations in Association Awards


The BMF has been shortlisted in three categories of the prestigious Association Awards, which promote best practice and showcase important work being done in UK Trade Associations and Professional Membership Organisations.

The BMF is shortlisted for Best Conference Development, in recognition of the 2019 BMF All Industry Conference, and for the Best Professional Development Initiative, in recognition of two training and development initiatives, the BMF Learning Academy and the Branch Managers Forum.  BMF CEO John Newcomb has also been shortlisted as Executive Director of the Year.

Run by the Association of Associations Executives, which has over 23,000 members worldwide, the focus of the Association Awards is to share best practice. The shortlisted nominees are invited to discuss their successful projects with their peers on the morning of the Award ceremony at the Association’s UK Congress.  The organisers then facilitate the dissemination of in-depth case studies with practical information and data that enables members to achieve the best results from their own projects and developments. 

BMF CEO John Newcomb said:  “We are once again honoured and delighted to see the BMF’s work acknowledged by our peers. I am particularly pleased that the BMF team has been recognised for the continued development of the All Industry Conference, the flagship event for the whole merchant sector.”

The Award winners will be announced 17 December at the ICC, Birmingham.
The BMF has been shortlisted in three categories of the prestigious Association Awards, which promote best practice and showcase important work.

BMF body sets out value of European relations for future success

20 November 2019

UFEMATThe BMF has set out a blueprint to support industry connections with Europe over the next 12 months.

The move comes as John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF, completes one year in the elected role as President of UFEMAT, the European Association of National Builders’ Merchants Associations and Manufacturers. As he enters his second year of office in 2020, John has pledged to strengthen links with industry across the EU, to ensure the UK’s multi-billion pound merchant and building materials industry, represented by the BMF, retains its trading position.

The BMF values the UK’s builders’ merchant and building material supply sector at £56 billion - approximately one third of the nation’s total construction industry – with more than 330,000 jobs held across 23,000 companies nationwide.

Within the BMF’s membership alone, 80 per cent of all building products used in the construction of homes and buildings are manufactured in the UK.

John Newcomb said: “Ours is a sector often under the radar as an industry when compared with others such as aerospace and automotive, but our members play an important and significant role in the UK economy.

“It’s a sector that focuses on its people, and innovation, and we need to maintain links with our partners in Europe to continue our work.

“Key to our industry’s success in the UK will be a narrowing of the gap between housing demand and supply, together with decarbonising heating and electrifying homes.

“That means collaboration with manufacturers and merchants across Europe to support the industry overall.”

Initiatives proposed by John over the next 12 months include fact-finding tours to key construction events in the UK by European visitors.

John is also looking to roll out the BMF’s successful UK ‘Young Merchants’ initiative - where best practice and fresh ideas are shared by ambitious younger representatives in the industry - across Europe.

And the annual UFEMAT Conference, which brings together representatives from 19 countries across Europe, is being held next year in London. John added: “The BMF has developed a range of initiatives to make ours an attractive industry to work and develop.

“That includes a clear training and opportunities programme for members, giving staff in the building materials industry a defined career route, from apprenticeships through to foundation degrees.

“Our members are also taking the lead in providing innovative solutions to help de-carbonise homes, including energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures, to support the achievement of sustainability goals nationwide.

“We bring real value to the UK’s economy and through our involvement with UFEMAT we will continue to uphold relations across Europe to support our work.”


View the
UFEMAT 2020 Conference in London preview here
For more information about the Conference, please contact june.upton@bmf.org.uk.
For more information about UFEMAT please visit www.ufemat.eu
.
The BMF has set out a blueprint to support industry connections with Europe over the next 12 months. The move comes as John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF, completes one year in the elected role as President of UFEMAT

Net Zero: Shadow Chancellor pledges to build the retrofitting supply chain


John McDonnell responds to the BMF20 November 2019

“Retrofitting millions of homes is all part of Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution to move to a net zero carbon economy" John McDonnell told the BMF today. "And we want to build up the supply chain throughout the country to do that”.

The Shadow Chancellor was answering a question from Brett Amphlett who represented the BMF at a Labour Party event at Westminster. Mr McDonnell gave a keynote televised speech, prior to next month’s General Election, on corporate governance and reforming company law to give workers, suppliers and customers more say in how businesses are run.

Brett Amphlett asked John McDonnell if - as an incoming Chancellor of the Exchequer - he is willing to intervene in the tax system and give Enhanced Capital Allowances to help manufacturers bring to market the materials and products needed to de-carbonise heating and electrify homes.

Mr McDonnell said the threat of climate change is Labour’s priority if it is elected next month. If there needs to be support for businesses to help in the transition, he will look at tax reliefs to help them scale-up to meet demand - for example with hydrogen as an alternative to gas in boilers.

The current system of business tax reliefs has built up over time and no-one has looked at them as a whole to see which ones work, he added. Labour will conduct a review to see which reliefs are effective in meeting the challenge of the climate emergency. He said big companies not taking adequate steps towards de-carbonisation should be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange.

The Shadow Chancellor also told Brett Amphlett that the BMF is doing a good job representing its members like one his own constituency. Mr McDonnell was referring to Lords Builders Merchants who he visited last year to meet Shaker Patel, Lords’ Chief Executive, in Dawley Road, Hayes, West London, organised by the BMF.



For the latest BMF policy updates click here
“Retrofitting millions of homes is all part of Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution to move to a net zero carbon economy" John McDonnell told the BMF.

BMF hosts first Kitchens & Bathrooms Forum

14 November 2019

BMF Kitchens & Bathrooms ForumThe inaugural Kitchens & Bathrooms Forum hosted by the BMF took place at Roca’s new conference and showroom facility in Leicester on 12 November.

Newly-elected Chairman, Paul Bence (Managing Director of the George Bence Group) led the proceedings to a full-house of 74 members. Presentations included a BMF update from BMF CEO John Newcomb, then Nyssa Patel (BMF Industry Analyst/Economist) gave a K & B market report. Jamie Welch (Roca) and Tom Reynolds (BMA) gave an economic and political update to members, then Renee Mascari (Mascari) talked members through kitchen design and, in particular, the use of open living spaces. Mark Parrish (Cortexa) generated a lot of interest in the BMF Building Blocks training, then Mike Tattam (Lakes Showering Spaces) highlighted the importance of showrooms. Finally Ben Roberts (Virtual Worlds) gave an interactive and entertaining look into the world of 4D showrooms and their benefits.

The forum closed with a very informative question and answer session, involving all the speakers, where members took the chance to discuss and share their own input in the points raised during the day.

Chairman, Paul Bence said: “I very much enjoyed chairing the new BMF K&B Forum, with very engaging and enlightening industry speakers. As discussed, there is so much opportunity for merchants to get involved with this sector to grow and diversify their businesses, and I actively encourage more members to get involved in future forums.”

BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “This was an excellent launch, addressing many aspects of the kitchen and bathroom supply chain. It was great to see such a huge attendance from our members at this first forum. Our thanks go to Paul Bence for chairing this event, all the great speakers, to Roca for offering their amazing new venue to launch this new forum and to Roca and Schneider for the ‘goodie bag’ for members.

Following the huge response to this new forum, the BMF are now actively looking for larger venues for the next K&B Forum in 2020. For more information please contact Joanne Exeter at joanne.exeter@bmf.org.uk.



To find out more and to book your place on the wide range of BMF Forums click here
The inaugural BMF Kitchens & Bathrooms Forum took place at Roca’s new conference and showroom facility in Leicester on 12 November. ​

BMF pledges support to the Armed Forces community


11 November 2019

The BMF has received a Bronze Award for demonstrating its support for the Armed Forces community through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.  The scheme encourages employers to support the defence community and highlights companies that share the same values as the armed forces.

To receive the Bronze Award, the BMF signed the Armed Forces Covenant, a nationwide pledge to support military personnel both past and present, as well as their dependents, by treating them with fairness and respect in their communities for serving with their lives.

Bronze Award holders endeavour to uphold the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant in all their business dealings.  For example, by recognising the skills, qualities and contribution reservists and veterans can make to the civilian workplace, by granting extra support and leave for service spouses and ensuring reservist’s training and deployment is accommodated and supported.

The BMF is exploring opportunities with Building Heroes, which provides skills training to military veterans and support into employment in the building trades, for a pilot programme with members in BMF’s Anglia Region.

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “Promoting the fact that we are an armed forces-friendly organisation is an important part of the Covenant we signed.  Not only will the BMF seek to support the employment of members of the Armed Forces community, we also encourage our members and others in the building materials supply industry to do the same.

“In doing so we are joining the many businesses that actively recruit from the ex-Forces pool or talent and ensure that applications are welcomed from serving spouses and reserves.”
Armed Forces Covenant
The BMF has received a Bronze Award for demonstrating its support for the Armed Forces community through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. The scheme encourages employers to support the defence community and highlights companies that share th

Toolstation joins the BMF


Toolstation Regional Centre of ExcellenceToolstation, one of the UK’s fastest growing suppliers to the trade, has joined the BMF.

First established in 2003, Toolstation prides itself on making its customers’ work easier by ensuring they can get the right product for the job just when they need it. Low prices, stock availability and convenience are key to the brand.  More than 20,000 selected products are available from over 380 branches, open 7 days a week and offering a speedy click and collect or next day delivery service, via the Toolstation website or dedicated UK call centre.

James MacKenzie, Toolstation’s MD said: “We are really pleased that Toolstation is now a member of the Builders Merchants Federation and having access to all it has to offer. The work that the BMF does in supporting our industry is commendable and gives us some fantastic benefits in joining. It’s particularly great to have the reassurance for our customers that we are supported by this organisation so we can offer the best buying experience to them.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are delighted to welcome Toolstation to the BMF and we are looking forward to working with them.  It is clear that they are keen to play an active role within the BMF and recognise the value this ultimately adds to their customer experience.”
Toolstation, one of the UK’s fastest growing suppliers to the trade, has joined the BMF.

Minister acknowledges Building Materials Industry’s net zero carbon role

30 October 2019


Nadhim Zahawi MP and John NewcombNadhim Zahawi MP, the Minister for Business and Industry has acknowledged the vital role the building materials industry will play in the development and delivery of new technologies that will significantly reduce carbon emissions, to help deliver the Government’s net zero target by 2050.

Mr Zahawi was speaking at the BMF’s Parliamentary Innovation Reception at the House of Commons on 29 October, which showcased some of the latest products developed by the BMF’s supplier members. Thirteen companies were on hand to show how they use materials science and process technology to develop low-carbon solutions, increase resource efficiency and improve product performance.

Paying tribute to the innovations that BMF members have developed, Mr Zahawi said: “Whether it is to improve insulation, to develop new applications for traditional products, reduce the environmental impact of buildings or products and processes, or bringing to market emerging technologies such as heat pumps, BMF members are playing a leading role in improving the productivity and international competitiveness of the sector in the UK.”

The BMF’s industry and parliamentary programme actively engages with politicians from all parties throughout the year, representing members’ interests on relevant issues of the day and demonstrating the role they play in the construction supply chain.  

Addressing the Parliamentary Innovation Reception, BMF CEO John Newcomb stressed the need for the building materials sector to shine a spotlight on its investment in innovation and the contribution this makes to the country’s economy.

John Newcomb said: “We are aware that Construction and, in particular, the Building Materials sector has for far too long flown under the radar. Despite the importance of a sector that is overwhelmingly based in the United Kingdom, directly provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of people and is critical to the future economic success of the country, our industry is often overlooked by Government, perceived as “old fashioned” and lacking innovation.  Collectively we need to address this error and this event is part of that process of change. 

“It is, therefore, extremely gratifying to hear Mr Zahawi praise the innovation he has seen today. There is a concern that current Government Policy directly promotes a move away from UK manufactured materials to offsite and modular homes where the raw materials are almost all imported. If not managed carefully this could result in the long-term demise of a very important UK based industry and the loss of the multiplier effect to the circular economy.

“Our desire is to work with Government to harness the current investment in innovation within the building materials sector to help to deliver the jobs and growth that we will need in a post-Brexit economy.”

The BMF thanks UK Construction Week for their Headline sponsorship of this event. Thanks also to our supplier sponsors: ACO, Aliaxis, BSW Group, Crystal Direct, Fernox, Grundfos, Ibstock, JCB, Marsh Industries, Rockwool, Talasey, Velux and Worcester Bosch.



For more BMF policy updates read our blogs and policy updates



Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Minister for Business and Industry has acknowledged the vital role the building materials industry will play in the development and delivery of new technologies that will significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Merchants’ sales fall as Brexit deadline nears 

22 October 2019

BMBI August 2019After a strong start to the year, growing uncertainty around Brexit led to a marked slowdown in merchants’ sales in Q2. As the deadline looms closer it’s clear that the uncertainty continues to impact negatively on merchants’ sales.

Total Builders Merchants’ sales in August 2019 were down 5.6% compared with the same period in 2018. On a like-for-like basis, with one less trading day, average sales a day were only 1.1% down. The best performing sector in August was Kitchens & Bathrooms, which increased by 3.0% year-on-year, on an adjusted basis.

Source: GfK Builders' Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data July 2014 - August 2019.


Download This Month’s Report

The latest Monthly Construction Update from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy highlights BMBI as one its sources.

You can download a copy of the update here.

About BMBI  

The Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) tracks builders’ merchants’ actual sales to builders and contractors using GfK’s Builders’ Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data. The BMBI represents over 80% of the value of the builders' merchants' market. Visit www.bmbi.co.uk/the-index to see the full August 2019 report. Read trends, analysis and industry issues from our panel of construction industry experts.
After a strong start to the year, growing uncertainty around Brexit led to a marked slowdown in merchants’ sales in Q2. As the deadline looms closer it’s clear that the uncertainty continues to impact negatively on merchants’ sales.

BSS joins the BMF

21 October 2019

BSSThe BMF welcome their newest merchant member - BSS - the UK’s largest, leading distributor of pipeline and heating solutions.

With a rich history that began over 110 years ago, BSS (part of the Travis Perkins Group) are a nationwide business with over 60 branches across the UK and the Republic of Ireland and employing 1,200 experts. They have over 84,000 products in stock, with leading brands including Geberit, Grundfos and Polypipe. They also provide tool and equipment hire through Hire-It, a nationwide service.

BSS serves a wide range of sectors and trades with bespoke solutions to customers including products, technical support and aftersales care.

Angela Rushforth, BSS Managing Director says: “We are delighted to be joining the BMF. We look forward to benefiting from the industry-wide knowledge base within the BMF and are keen to support the ongoing work on diversity in merchanting.” 

Welcoming BSS into membership, BMF CEO, John Newcomb says, “I’m delighted that this thriving nationwide merchant recognises that the huge variety of networking opportunities and services the BMF offers will add value to their business. I look forward to working with them.”

For more information about BSS, please visit www.bssindustrial.co.uk .
The BMF welcome their newest merchant member - BSS - the UK’s largest, leading distributor of pipeline and heating solutions.

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