BMF News

W Howard signs up to the BMF in commitment to industry  


Leading supplier of MDF profiles, The W Howard Group has, this month, signed up to membership of the BMF.  

Signalling its continued commitment to the industry and its valued customers, the business has joined the national organisation to be active in progressing the needs and agenda of the industry.  

The BMF is the only organisation that represents and protects the interests of builders’ merchants, plumbing, heating, roofing, decorative and timber merchants and their suppliers. It is the authoritative voice for the building materials distribution sector, conveying the views and issues that face merchants and suppliers, to the widest possible audience.

W Howard’s Group Commercial Director, Simon Fleet said: “The BMF provides great opportunities for networking, training and importantly, legislation lobbying, ensuring that the market’s best interests are upheld and communicated at national policy level.”  

“Our new membership further demonstrates the business’s commitment to supporting the industry. We look forward to meeting many new BMF members and playing an active role in the Federation’s activities.”  

BMF Chief Executive John Newcomb said: “We welcome W Howard Group into membership. They clearly appreciate the value of being part of a strong trade body and we are delighted they are already planning to take a very active role with the BMF. We look forward to working with them.”  

Please visit www.whoward.eu to find out more about W Howard Group.
Leading supplier of MDF profiles, The W Howard Group has signed up to membership of the BMF. Signalling its continued commitment to the industry and its valued customers, the business has joined the national organisation to be active in progressing t

BMF shortlisted for FIVE Trade Association Awards  


The BMF has been shortlisted in no fewer than five categories in the Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Awards.  This is the fourth consecutive year that the BMF has been shortlisted in multiple categories of these prestigious awards, and they have set a new record in achieving five nominations in a single year.  

The BMF has been shortlisted for the following awards:

- Conference of the Year
- Commercial Initiative of the Year
- Membership Engagement Award
- Social Media Award
- Website of the Year  

TAF, which is “the trade association for trade associations” represents over 300 of the top trade bodies in the UK and the Awards are designed to recognise, reward and promote Best Practice amongst members. The TAF Awards are supported by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who are longstanding members of the independent judging panel.  

Commenting on the shortlist, Linda Cavender, TAF CEO, said: “The Awards offer TAF members an excellent opportunity to showcase their organisation, its expertise and recent achievements. I am always astounded at the quality of the entries and only the very best reach the shortlist.  They provide a benchmark for running a successful organisation which focuses on members’ needs.”

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We were surprised and delighted to be shortlisted in five categories this year, which is certainly a record number for us and I suspect for any trade body.  This is a remarkable achievement and one that reflects the quality of the work that the BMF team is undertaking to support our members.”

The winners will be announced at the Awards evening in London on 10 July.
The BMF has been shortlisted in no fewer than five categories in the Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Awards. This is the fourth consecutive year that the BMF has been shortlisted in multiple categories of these prestigious awards, and th

England footballer to speak at BMF Members’ Day  


Footballer Laura Bassett, one of the first female players to be awarded a professional contract, will speak at BMF Members’ Day Annual Conference & Awards which takes place at St George’s Park, the FA’s national football centre on 27 September.  

With over 60 international caps under her belt, including a bronze medal from the hugely successful 2015 Football World Cup, Laura Bassett has been a key figure for England’s Lionesses for almost a decade. Her international career includes two World Cups and three European Championships, securing a silver medal in the 2009 Euros and reaching the semi-finals of the 2017 Championships in the Netherlands before being knocked out by the hosts and eventual winners.  

Domestically, Laura has been one of the FA’s Women’s Super League’s most revered players. She has played for Arsenal, Chelsea, Leeds, Birmingham City and Notts County Ladies FC, winning both the FA Cup (twice) and the Premier League during her career. She is also a UEFA Level 3 Licence Coach.  

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “We are delighted to welcome Laura to speak at Member’s Day Conference. As the BMF embarks on its own campaign to increase the diversity of young people coming into merchanting her experience, both of captaining her Super League team and of being a prominent figure in the challenging world of a male-dominated sport, is sure to resonate.  

The theme of BMF Members’ Day Annual Conference & Awards 2018 is “The Future belongs to the Bold”. The Business Conference and the BMF’s black-tie Awards Dinner, which celebrates the achievements of young people working in the industry, both take place on 27 September. The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament and other social activities will be held on the previous day, 26 September. 

The BMF thanks Encon Insulation, the headline sponsor of BMF Members’ Day Annual Conference and Awards 2018, and Marsh Industries and Monument Tools, who sponsor the Awards Dinner and Golf Tournament.  

For more information on the BMF Members’ Day Annual Conference and Awards Dinner event click here or contact: june.upton@bmf.org.uk.
Footballer Laura Bassett, one of the first female players to be awarded a professional contract, will speak at BMF Members’ Day Annual Conference & Awards which takes place at St George’s Park, the FA’s national football centre in September.

Grundfos hosts latest BMF Regional Centre of Excellence  


The BMF has launched its 19th Regional Centre of Excellence with the support of Grundfos. The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the country. The latest centre, based in Grundfos’s fantastic office in Leighton Buzzard, will serve BMF members in the South East.  

Grundfos was founded in Denmark in 1945 by Poul Due Jensen. Grundfos now produce pump solutions for a wide range of applications, setting the standard in terms of innovation, efficiency, reliability and sustainability. Grundfos now develop water solutions for the world, setting the standard in terms of innovation, efficiency, reliability and sustainability. They have 80 sales companies across 55 countries, producing 17 million pump units each year, with a global turnover in 2017 of €3,445m.  

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, said: “The centre was opened after our BMF Plumbing & Heating Forum on 24 May. This is an excellent centre that is well used by Grundfos’s clients. We are extremely grateful that they 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.”  

Dave Lacey, Director of Sales, Domestic Building Services at Grundfos said “Grundfos are delighted to be recognised as a Regional Centre of Excellence by the BMF, which we believe will strengthen our relationships with BMF members. We are very excited at the opportunity to assist the BMF in promoting industry best practice as well as increasing the awareness of our innovative product and service solutions on offer to the BMF members and their customers.”  

For details of all the BMF Regional Centres of Excellence please visit www.bmf.org.uk/membership and for more information about Grundfos visit https://uk.grundfos.com.
The BMF has launched its 19th Regional Centre of Excellence with the support of Grundfos. The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the country. Th

CABLE PRAISES SUCCESS OF TWICKENHAM TIMBER BUSINESS


If the UK Government does not secure mutually-beneficial customs’ arrangements before the United Kingdom leaves the EU in ten months’ time, Twickenham firm Alsford Timber will have to pay millions more upfront to buy European softwood used in local construction.  

That was the message from Alsford Timber, South-West London’s largest timber and builders’ merchant to Sir Vince Cable MP when he visited the 136-year old business in the town.  

The Liberal Democrat Leader was welcomed by Neil Fuller, Alsford’s Managing Director, to see for himself how merchants deliver for their local communities. Growing the market for timber used in new housing and to convert, extend and repair existing homes was top of the agenda.  

Alsford Timber and its trade body, the Builders Merchants Federation, are concerned that not enough is being done in Whitehall to prepare for a ‘no deal’ situation - and the impact it will have on prices and supplies of building materials. Concern is focused on Value-Added Tax and the likelihood of having to pay 20% VAT upfront on European timber and other materials.  

Neil Fuller explained to Sir Vince that the UK is not self-sufficient in timber - 60% of imports come from EU countries like Sweden, Finland and Latvia. Unless Britain secures a mutually-beneficial customs’ agreement, Alsford Timber will have to pay 20% more for timber because VAT becomes liable to pay upfront before consignments can leave ports. Mr Fuller warned of the serious and immediate implications for cashflow, costs and prices for merchants such as Alsford Timber.  

Twickenham MP Sir Vince Cable said: “It’s great to see an example of business flourishing in Twickenham. Alsford Timber plays a critical role in local house-building, and especially the home repair, maintenance and improvement market in the Borough and beyond. I enjoyed meeting Neil Fuller and the team, and wish Branch Manager Tom Stratford continued success in the coming years”.  

Neil Fuller, Managing Director of Alsford Timber, added: “We were delighted to welcome Sir Vince to Alsford Timber and show him how the company has evolved over the past few years. It is always great to have our MP taking an interest in local businesses such as ours. I hope Sir Vince can help us by raising the issue in Parliament and with ministers. Merchants already face significant cost increases due to rising world prices and currency fluctuations involving Sterling. Paying 20% more due to VAT rules is not something we look forward to”.

This visit was another arranged by the BMF as part of its industry and parliament programme. The aim is to show MPs how trade essentials and value-added products get from quarries, brickworks, sawmills & factories to where they are needed - and to outline the role, value and importance of merchants in delivering for their communities. This year, the BMF celebrates its 110th anniversary as a trade association and 40th anniversary as the Builders Merchants’ Federation.  

Commenting on the visit, John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF said: “Merchants are delivering the building blocks for growth in the South East and the rest of the country. We’re grateful of the Liberal Democrats’ support for customs arrangements and their importance for the merchant supply chain. Our members and the building materials supply chain has consistently reported robust growth, but we are not without challenges. The uncertainly of customs arrangements after Brexit is particularly worrying. 60% of timber used in the UK is imported from other countries. The central issue for timber firms is preparing for an uncertain Brexit future. As long as the UK stays within the customs unions, businesses like Alsford don’t have to pay customs’ duties at borders, provide rules of origin declarations and experience little or no delays to imports or exports”.
The Liberal Democrat Leader was welcomed by Neil Fuller, Alsford’s Managing Director, to see for himself how merchants deliver for their local communities. Growing the market for timber used in new housing and to convert, extend and repair existing h

Builders Merchants sales growth continues upward trend in Q1 2018  


While no one would deny that the building and construction sector faced a challenging first quarter, figures just released in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) show continued growth, albeit at a slower rate. Sales value growth in Q 1 2018 was up +0.4% in absolute terms and up +2.0% per trading day on the same period last year.  

Growth would have been stronger had it not been for the “Beast from the East” hammering the external product categories and Good Friday falling into March removing a trading day from Q1 2018. March, with two fewer trading days than 2017, was down -8.6% year on year, but January and February’s sales compensated, at +8.4% and +4.0% respectively delivering growth for the quarter.  

Quarterly growth was driven by Timber, up +2.3%, alongside multiple internal product categories, notably Plumbing and Heating (+8.0%), Kitchens and Bathrooms (+3.6%), Ironmongery (+2.1%), and Decorating (+1.2%), all suggesting that work stayed inside due to the poor weather.  

External categories fared less well including Landscaping (-4.9%) - where garden walling and paving were particularly badly affected - and the major category of Heavy Building Materials down -0.8% with Cement and Blocks feeling the freeze.  

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.

Commenting on the results, John Newcomb CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation said: “Sitting in the spring sunshine we have all but forgotten the artic blasts that swept the country in the first three months of the year, but they certainly impacted construction performance.  Under these conditions it must be seen as a positive that merchant sales growth is continuing.  While we may not see the market grow at the same levels as 2017, we remain confident that the trend will continue throughout 2018.”  

Richard Frankcom, Client Insight Director at GfK compared the quarter’s figures to a diamond in the rough, saying: “Merchant sales have outperformed the revised construction figures from the ONS, which fell -2.7% on the previous quarter.  They also appear to be bucking the UK consumer’s negative outlook as seen in GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index, which was still in the doldrums.  However, before we polish these diamonds, we need to see the delayed external work shift into April and then continued growth year on year in May and June. Value growth is great, but price inflation is a factor we cannot ignore and only this continued growth will really give us clarity.”
While no one would deny that the building and construction sector faced a challenging first quarter, figures just released in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) show continued growth, albeit at a slower rate. Sales value growth in Q 1

Andrew Harrison and David Kilburn to speak at BMF Young Merchants Conference  

Two of the most influential leaders in the builders’ merchant industry will speak at the BMF Young Merchants Conference at the NEC, Birmingham in October.   

Andrew Harrison, Deputy CEO – Plumbing and Heating at Travis Perkins and David Kilburn Executive Chairman of MKM Building Supplies will each give presentations at the event’s Industry Forum and then take part in a Q&A session on the issues raised.  

Both men have a lifetime’s experience in merchanting and pivotal roles in the industry, one with the UK’s leading merchant group, the other chairing the country’s largest independent.    

Andrew Harrison, started his merchant career in 1980 as a management trainee with Graham Reeves, part of the Graham Group, in Cornwall.  Following branch and area management roles, he moved to Sharpe & Fisher as Operations Director helping to grow the business to 38 branches prior to its acquisition by Travis Perkins in 1999.  Andrew was then Managing Director at CCF, Benchmarx Kitchens and Joinery, and Keyline before becoming Divisional Chief Operating Officer of Travis Perkins General Merchanting Division in 2013, with responsibility for Travis Perkins, Benchmarx, Managed Services and Toolhire. He took up his current role in June 2017.  

David Kilburn started his career fifty years ago with Crossley Building Products in Teeside before joining the Graham Group now part of Jewsons.  He set up his first business in Scarborough in the 1980s and sold it soon afterwards, joining Harcros Timber and Building Supplies. Ten years later he was made redundant, giving him the spur to form MKM Building Supplies which opened its first branch in Hull in 1995 in a 5000 square foot shed with no outside yard.  Today MKM is the UK's largest independent merchant with 52 branches and revenue in excess of £350 million.  

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “We are delighted to welcome two of our industry’s current leaders to take part in our first Young Merchants Conference which takes the theme Building for the Future. The industry has changed dramatically in the last 30 years and is likely to change even more dramatically in the next.  Our conference programme brings together expert opinion from our own industry and beyond as well as providing opportunities for delegates to challenge and debate current issues both in the Industry Forum Q&A and during a further Panel session.”  

The BMF Young Merchants Conference takes place on 11 October 2018 during UK Construction Week at the NEC.  The Conference is free of charge to current members of the BMF Young Merchants group. The event is also open to anyone aged between 21 and 40, working in the building material supply industry for a small fee. For full details and registration information please contact james.spillane@bmf.org.uk.

To book your place click here.
Two of the most influential leaders in the builders’ merchant industry, David Kilburn and Andrew Harrison, will speak at the BMF Young Merchants Conference at the NEC, Birmingham in October.

BMF wins ASI award for second time


Oz BhamThe BMF website, launched in April 2017, has recently received the coveted Great Things Award for the second year running, in the annual awards and conference run by the worldwide software company ASI.  

ASI, which developed the iMIS member engagement system which is instrumental to the functionality of the BMF’s website, supports Trade Associations, membership bodies and other not for profit organisations around the globe. Their Awards judge websites on content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality and interactivity and overall user experience.  

Given annually at ASI's iNNOVATIONS partner and client conference, the Great Things Awards are based on ASI's mission to "Help People Achieve Great Things Through Innovative Solutions". ASI recognises iMIS clients who have demonstrated excellence in using iMIS to improve operational efficiency, advance their mission and achieve 'great things'.   

Commenting on the Award, Oz Bham, Membership and IT Manager said: “The BMF places high functionality at the core of its website. When we launched the site in April 2017 we had a clear set of priorities and winning this Award is recognition that we have achieved those aspirations.  

“We wanted our merchant, supplier and service members to understand how the BMF can deliver added value to their businesses, which have different needs. We also wanted to engage with prospective members and lead them through the process from initial contact to full membership. To achieve this, personalisation was a key aspect of the design. For example, the homepage offers the option to display the most appropriate content by job role and sector. This enables all visitors to tailor their experience depending on their exact requirements and interests.  

“The overall user experience has been enhanced by sign posting methods using clear ‘call to actions’ across the website to ensure that every visitor can easily navigate to the required page with minimum effort. The call to action buttons include finding out what BMF can do for you specifically, requesting a call back where face-to-face interaction is preferred, as well as highlighting information on training up-and-coming events and latest news. We continue to enhance our website to maximise engagement for our members.”  

Visit the BMF website at www.bmf.org.uk.
The BMF website, launched in April 2017, has recently received the coveted Great Things Award for the second year running, in the annual awards and conference run by the worldwide software company ASI.

BMF completes Cyber Essentials Certificate with GDPR/Cyber Audit Plus service  


The BMF has completed the Cyber Essentials Certificate, ahead of the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) law on 25 May 2018.  

Following guidance by the BMF‘s GDPR and Cyber Audit Plus Service supplier, the BMF was assessed by RDS Global, an accredited IASME Consortium Assessor.  

The certificate confirms that the BMF has been assessed as meeting the Cyber Essentials implementation profile, published in February 2017, demonstrating that, at the time of testing, the BMF’s ICT defences are satisfactory against cyber attack.  

BMF Membership & IT Manager Oz Bham says “We are proud to complete the Cyber Essentials certificate. GDPR is changing the way businesses obtain, store, use and delete data and we are proud to complete this first step, ensuring our data is currently protected against cyber attack. I urge our members to take the necessary steps towards GDPR compliance, to protect their businesses too.”  

RDS Global can provide all BMF members with a free Cyber Risk Assessment where a series of questions will be completed by the business and RDS will then provide some feedback in regards to next steps. They will also provide more information on the policies and processes the business needs to have to be compliant and avoid any fines following May 2018.  

For more information about the BMF Cyber Audit Plus contact RDS Global on 0330 2211244 or email sales@rds.global
The BMF has completed the Cyber Essentials Certificate, ahead of the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) law on 25 May 2018. The certificate confirms that the BMF has been assessed as meeting the Cyber Essentials implementa

Mayor backs opportunities for WM young builders' merchants  


John Newcomb and Mayor Andy StreetAndy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, today praised the commitment of the BMF for encouraging more young people to enter the building materials industry.  

During a visit to the BMF's headquarters, the Mayor met with apprentices and discussed the career prospects for young people in the sector, which is valued at £56bn, directly provides 330,000 jobs (which is more than the automotive and aerospace manufacturing industries combined) working across 23,000 companies in the UK and has experienced high levels of growth over the past year. 

Data produced by the BMF Regional Sales Indicator show that December - February 2018 sales in the West Midlands were 14.3% higher than the same period in 2017, and sales for the 12 months to February 2018 were 4.4% higher across the region than the 12 months to February 2017.  

Builders merchants supply construction materials, such as bricks and timber, to businesses as well as the general public. The BMF claims that, despite Brexit, their members expect robust sales to continue and that this makes the building materials industry an ideal place for young people to build a career.  

The Mayor congratulated the BMF for establishing their own Apprenticeships Training Agency, which works to increase the number of school and college leavers considering a career in merchanting. He said: “I’m delighted by the work the BMF is doing to attract young people in the West Midlands to take up apprenticeships in the building materials industry. As a region we have ambitious plans to grow, so we’ll need our materials supply chain to be performing at its best. This presents great opportunities for young people to start a career in an exciting and growing industry”.  The Mayor met with John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF, who welcomed the Mayor’s support for the industry.  

“Merchants are delivering the building blocks for growth in all parts of the West Midlands. We’re delighted by the Mayor’s vision for boosting the economic development of the region, and this presents many new employment opportunities within the builders merchants industry. " 

“Our members are committed to supporting the training and development of staff, and the BMF is partnered with universities in Birmingham and Coventry to further develop young merchants skills and to make the most of the technological changes that will shape our industry over the coming years.  “We are grateful to the Mayor for his backing of our merchants apprenticeship scheme and we urge any school or college leaver to look into joining our industry”.  

The visit from Mayor Street also marked the 5th anniversary of the BMF relocating from London to Coventry. John Newcomb said “We’re proud to be based in the West Midlands and are ambitious for the area in the years ahead”.  
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, today praised the commitment of Coventry-based BMF for encouraging more young people to enter the building materials industry.

BMF extends Policy and Public Affairs presence in Scotland/Northern Ireland  


The BMF has appointed Perspectiva Consultants to act as Government Relations Consultants in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Perspectiva are an established Consultancy with much experience and contacts with both the Scottish and Northern Irish devolved legislatures. The Perspectiva team is headed up by Karen Freel, who will be the Account Manager and point of contact for BMF and Scottish and Northern Irish BMF members.  

The client portfolio of Perspectiva includes Scottish Gas Networks, Montrose Port Authority, Government of Gibraltar, Infinis and Renewable Energy Systems.  

Perspectiva have been appointed to ensure that the BMF and their members develop a Government relations action plan for Scotland and Northern Ireland which consists of strategy, key messaging and key stakeholder identification and mapping. They will also ensure that BMF is fully briefed on the political landscape and will raise awareness amongst MSPs, MLAs and MPs on the valuable contribution to the economy made by the BMF and their members.  

Karen Freel, Account Manager at Perspectiva says “I am delighted to work with the BMF to raise the profile of builders' merchants and ensure that politicians understand some of the challenges which they face."  

BMF CEO John Newcomb commented: “The BMF realise that the political situation is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland and we need to communicate at a more local level. Karen and her team at Perspectiva are ideally placed to ensure that the views and needs of our members are accurately communicated to politicians in Scotland and NI.”  

For more information about the BMF’s lobbying activities on behalf of members please visit www.bmf.org.uk/news.
The BMF has appointed Perspectiva Consultants to act as Government Relations Consultants in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Perspectiva are an established Consultancy with much experience and contacts with both the Scottish and Northern Irish devolved

2nd BMBI Round Table Debate now live on video!  


A comprehensive suite of videos from the second annual BMBI Round Table Debate are now live at www.bmbi.co.uk. The videos cover five main topics, with trailers for each one so viewers can get a flavour of the discussions before diving into the debate.  

BMBI Experts taking part included: John Sinfield, Managing Director Knauf Insulation; Nigel Cox, Managing Director Timbmet; Andy Simpson, National Commercial Director Hanson Cement; Derrick McFarland, Managing Director Keystone Lintels; John Duffin, Managing Director Keylite Roof Windows; Paul Rivett, Managing Director Heatrae Sadia; Tony France, Sales Director Ibstock; Andy Williamson, Group Managing Director IKO PLC; Malcom Gough, Group Sales & Marketing Director Natural Paving Products; and Michael White, Business Development Director Alumasc Water Management Solutions. The debate also included BMF Chairman Peter Hindle MBE representing builders’ merchants and Mike Rigby CEO of MRA Marketing the producers of the BMBI reports.  

The debate focussed on:

- Digitisation & Omnichannel Trading
- Brexit - Journey into the Unknown
- Skills, Materials Shortages & Capacity
- Economy & Inflation
- Grenfell Tower Fire & the implications  

“The debate covered a lot of ground,” says Lucia Di Stazio, MD of MRA Marketing and BMBI’s producers. “This is a high quality debate from some of the best informed brands in the industry. The videos allow us to share knowledgeable comment, insights and implications from these BMBI Experts on a number of major issues and trends.”  

The BMBI, a brand of the BMF, is a reliable and up-to-date measure of Britain’s Repair Maintenance & Improvement (RMI) activity. The quarterly and monthly reports are produced and managed by MRA Marketing using GfK’s Builders Merchant Panel which analyses sales out data from over 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales across Great Britain.  

The Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. Each Expert adds perspective and context to the data, and helps to make sense of trends for users of the BMBI.  

Visit www.bmbi.co.uk to watch the videos, read the reports, and learn more about the Experts. 
A comprehensive suite of videos from the second annual BMBI Round Table Debate are now live at www.bmbi.co.uk. The videos cover five main topics, with trailers for each one so viewers can get a flavour of the discussions before diving into the debate

IoBM to Sponsor BMF Mastermerchant Challenge  


The Institute of Builders Merchants (IoBM) is to sponsor the 2018 BMF Mastermerchant competition, the industry’s annual team building challenge. This is the first time that the IoBM has supported the event and marks the beginning of a closer working relationship with the BMF.  

The IoBM is a renowned supporter of training for its individual members and the BMF’s team building challenge takes this to a new level. The two-day competition, involves a series of mental and physical problem-solving exercises designed to test creativity, leadership skills and improve channels of communication. It is a fun event with a serious purpose as the competition is designed to help colleagues learn about each other’s strengths and skills and what can be accomplished through teamwork.  

Allan Durning, President of the IoBM, said: “The IoBM embraces those working at all levels of the builders’ merchants business, from the yard operative to the branch manager and beyond – just like the Mastermerchant Challenge, which makes this an excellent fit with our commitment to continuous personal development.”  

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “We are delighted to be working with the IoBM on this well-established competition and see it as the start of a long and fruitful partnership.”  

The BMF Mastermerchant Challenge which takes place in the Lake District from 13-15 July, is open to teams of four people from any BMF member company – both merchants and suppliers.   

Entry is limited to 24 teams, and there are only two team places remaining.  If you your think your company is up to the challenge, please contact June.Upton@bmf.org.uk for details.
The IoBM is to sponsor the 2018 BMF Mastermerchant competition, the industry’s annual team building challenge. This is the first time that the IoBM has supported the event and marks the beginning of a closer working relationship with the BMF.

Keystone hosts latest BMF Regional Centre of Excellence  



The BMF has launched its latest Regional Centre of Excellence at Keystone in Swadlincote. The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the country.   

The latest centre, based in Keystone’s stunning Swadlincote office in Derbyshire, will serve BMF members in the East Midlands.  

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “The centre was opened during our BMF East Midlands regional meeting on 17 April. This is a fantastic centre that is well used by Keystone’s clients, and we are extremely grateful that they are opening it to our members too. We look forward to holding future meetings here, along with our own training courses for members in the region.”  

Adrian Forbes, Group Sales Director of the Keystone Group said: “We are honoured to be associated with the BMF with two regional Centres of Excellence and consider it a significant milestone in our progress and maturity as a business. We look forward to welcoming the BMF team and members to Swadlincote, and Cookstown, for many years to come.”
The BMF has launched its latest Regional Centre of Excellence at Keystone in Swadlincote. The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is making training courses and regional meetings more accessible to BMF members around the country.

Housing Secretary backs new wave of builders merchant apprentices to deliver housing growth  




Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has praised the builders merchants industry for attracting apprentices into the sector to help solve the housing crisis. 
   
Speaking at a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons to mark the 110th anniversary of the BMF, the Housing Secretary pointed to the vital role the building materials industry will play in meeting the Government’s housebuilding targets. He welcomed the work of the BMF and its members in using the Apprenticeship Levy to create apprenticeship roles and opportunities for young people to enter the sector.  

With housing high on the political agenda, the BMF has increased its political advocacy over the last 18 months, promoting the interests of its members and ensuring that politicians from all parties understand how materials get from the quarry or factory gate to building sites. Merchants remain the most efficient route to market for those products and the industry offers excellent career options both through apprenticeships and graduate traineeships.  

The BMF revealed that since the Apprenticeship Levy came into effect just a year ago, 74 builders merchants have so far used the BMF Apprenticeship Plus service and they anticipate a further 200 new apprenticeship roles by the end of this year. John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation, said the numbers will continue growing quickly over the coming years and also pointed to Travis Perkins’ recent announcement of plans to create 200 further apprentice roles in 2018 alone.    

John Newcomb, Chief Executive, BMF said: “At £55bn the UK building materials supply chain is bigger than the automotive and aerospace industries combined. We’re growing too, with merchants delivering the building blocks for economic and housing growth across the country seeing robust growth through 2017 and into this year.   

“The confidence, growth and resilience in our sector means we’re able to invest more into opening up opportunities for young people to enter the industry. We truly value what apprentices can bring to our industry and through our own Apprenticeships Training Agency we are keen to encourage as many people as possible into the sector. This is why we welcome the Government’s introduction of the Apprenticeships Levy, as we’ve been able to use this to boost the availability of roles for trainees and to help address skills shortages in our industry.  

“Many merchants have been around for over 100 years and are family businesses. We care about our local communities. This is why we’re the perfect partner for a government looking to build more homes, and a great place for young people to build a great career for themselves”.  

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said:   “For over a century the Builders Merchants Federation has played a crucial role in supporting our construction industry to build the homes our country needs and training the next generation’s workforce.   

“I want to congratulate the BMF and its members for their long service and continued work offering young people the potential for a great career in the industry.”
Speaking at a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons to mark the 110th anniversary of the BMF, the Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid pointed to the vital role the building materials industry will play in meeting the Government’s housebuilding t

Ray Stubbs to host BMF Members Day  



The sports broadcaster Ray Stubbs, one of the best-known voices in football, will host the Business Conference at BMF Members Day which takes place at St George’s Park, Burton on Trent, the home of England’s 28 national football teams.   

Ray’s career began rather modestly – he describes himself at the worst left-back in the history of Tranmere Rovers, having never progressed beyond the reserve team – but he went on to carve a successful career in sports broadcasting. Following two decades at the BBC covering football, snooker and darts, he headed Premier League football coverage for ESPN, moving on to BT Sport and Talksport, where he hosted the Ray Stubbs Show. He may not have dazzled on the football field, but Ray’s natural gift for words, honed over four decades “talking nonsense about football” make him an entertaining and highly engaging host.   

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “With BMF Member’s Day to be held at the home of England’s national football teams for the first time, we are delighted that it will be hosted by one of football’s best-known broadcasters, Ray Stubbs.”  

The theme of BMF Members’ Day 2018 is “The Future belongs to the Bold”. The Business Conference and the BMF’s black-tie Awards Dinner, which celebrates the achievements of young people working in the industry, both take place on 27th September. The BMF’s annual Golf Tournament and other social activities will be held on the previous day, 26th September. The BMF thanks our Members’ Day headline sponsor, Encon Insulation, and Marsh Industries and Monument Tools, who sponsor the Awards Dinner and Golf Tournament.  

For more information on BMF Members’ Day visit the BMF website at www.bmf.org.uk/events or contact: june.upton@bmf.org.uk.
The sports broadcaster Ray Stubbs, one of the best-known voices in football, will host the Business Conference at BMF Members Day which takes place at St George’s Park, Burton on Trent, the home of England’s 28 national football teams.