BMF News

BMBI shortlisted twice at national marketing awards  


CIM Marketing Excellence Awards FinalistThe Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) has been shortlisted in two categories at the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s 2018 Marketing Excellence Awards.

The BMBI, which uses gold-standard sales-out data from GfK’s General Builders’ Merchants Panel to measure RMI in the economy, is a BMF brand launched and managed by MRA Marketing.  

The awards aim to celebrate outstanding, high quality and impactful marketing in a range of subcategories. The BMBI has been shortlisted for ‘New Product or Service Innovation’, and for ‘Best Use of Data and Insight’.  

Richard Frankcom, Senior Client Insight Manager for the Trade Panel, GfK says: “We’re delighted to be a double finalist at the CIMs. The BMBI contains data from GfK’s ground-breaking Builders’ Merchants Panel which analyses data from over 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales in Great Britain. GfK’s Builders’ Merchants Point of Sale tracking data sets a gold standard in reliable market trends. It’s based on actual sales from merchants to builders and other trades.”  

BMF Chief Executive Officer, John Newcomb, said: “I hope the BMBI wins in both categories but we’re very pleased to have just been shortlisted. I’m proud that BMBI is being recognised for the major step forward in construction data and insight it has achieved.”  

The CIM Marketing Excellence Awards will be held on 12 April 2018 in London. 

Visit www.bmbi.co.uk to download the latest BMBI report, learn more about each Expert or watch the Round Table debate videos where the Experts discuss important issues and the implications for merchants and construction overall.

If you’d like your brand to become a BMBI Expert and the voice of your market, call Lucia Di Stazio, MRA Marketing on 01453 521621.  
BMBI shortlisted twice at national marketing awards The Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) has been shortlisted in two categories at the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s 2018 Marketing Excellence Awards.

Carlton Manufacturing joins the BMF


Carlton ManufacturingCarlton Manufacturing has just joined the BMF. Carlton Manufacturing produce a comprehensive range of bagged, ready-to-use products for applications such as fence & gate posts, bases for sheds & greenhouses, brick & block laying and much more. 

Marc Case, UK Packed Products Commercial Manager at Carlton Manufacturing, specialist developers & manufacturers of bagged, ready-to-use cementitious products, said: “The BMF is respected within the construction industry, working on behalf of suppliers such as ourselves to ensure any issues we face are dealt with promptly and efficiently. By joining, we are adding to the strength of this superb organisation, which strives to ensure its members continue to succeed in an increasingly crowded marketplace.”  

The BMF’s membership numbers more than 640 merchant and supplier companies. As well as working alongside industry groups and regulatory bodies including trading standards and planning departments, it is an active lobbyist with local and central government in the UK. Training and development, business support, market data access and networking opportunities are among BMF member benefits.  

Marc Case added: “Joining the BMF provides us with a voice within the marketplace and at governmental level.  It’s a huge benefit to have organisations such as this promoting our cause.”  
 
Welcoming Carlton, BMF CEO, John Newcomb said “It’s great to have Carlton on board. Our members are at the heart of everything we do and I’m sure Carlton, will gain value from being part of a strong trade body.”  

For more information on Carlton products please contact: 0808 1000 321 or visit: www.carltonmanufacturing.co.uk  
Carlton Manufacturing joins the BMF. Carlton Manufacturing produce a comprehensive range of bagged, ready-to-use products for applications such as fence & gate posts, bases for sheds & greenhouses, brick & block laying and much more.

2018 - a year of celebration as BMF marks three landmark anniversaries  


BMF anniversary 1908-2018The BMF is set for a year of celebration with three major events taking place during 2018 to commemorate a trio of landmark anniversaries.  As well as the 40th anniversary of the Builders’ Merchants Federation itself, the BMF is marking 110 years as a Trade Body and 5 years since it relocated from London to its current HQ in Coventry.  

To celebrate these milestones in the BMF’s history, the Federation is holding its first Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons, its first Young Merchants’ Conference and a special Anniversary Dinner for 200 members at the Belfry.  

The Parliamentary Reception, which takes place on 24 April, will be hosted by Jim Cunningham, MP for Coventry South where BMF head office is based.  The event will bring together an invited audience of BMF members, MPs and Peers to network, and to promote and explain the role, value and importance of merchants within the building supply chain.  

The Anniversary Dinner for BMF members, on 29 November, sees the BMF return to the award-winning Belfry Hotel in Warwickshire, where the BMF celebrated its Trade Body centenary in 2008. Known for its world class golf courses and state of the art leisure facilities, the Belfry was named as England’s Leading Resort and Leading Conference Hotel at the World Travel Awards 2017.  

Details of the first Young Merchants’ Conference, which takes place on 11 October, will be finalised later this month.

John Newcomb, the BMF’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a very special year for the BMF and we have planned three very different events which both commemorate the merchant industry’s heritage and look forward to a vibrant future.  While much has changed over the years, the BMF’s support for the industry and our members remains as strong as ever. We look forward to working, and celebrating, with as many members as possible throughout this milestone year.”

The BMF is also gathering historic photographs and memorabilia from the industry’s 110 year history.  Companies that wish to contribute, or that are celebrating their own landmark anniversary in 2018, should email christine.wall@bmf.org.uk to share in the BMF’s anniversary celebrations.
2018 - a year of celebration as BMF marks three landmark anniversaries . The BMF is set for a year of celebration with three major events taking place during 2018 to commemorate a trio of landmark anniversaries. As well as the 40th anniversary of

BMF assesses Carillion impact on materials supply chain  


BMFThe BMF has undertaken an initial survey of its members following the collapse of Carillion to assess the potential impact of the company’s liquidation further down the building supply chain.  

The BMF represents builders, plumbing and timber merchants as well as companies that manufacture and supply a vast array of building materials.  BMF members’ combined sales turnover is around £28bn.  

BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “From our initial survey of members it seemed that very few traded with Carillion directly, and it was a very small part of business amongst those who did.  However, a number believe they are likely to be indirectly exposed as their customers include Carillion sub-contractors.  

“It is well-known that Carillion operated on 120 day payment terms and most of their sub-contractors are owed money for work carried out prior to the liquidation.  At the moment it seems that most of our merchant members will be covered by credit insurance for any losses, but they would like to hear from customers who may be affected as soon as possible so they can find ways to move forward and support them.  

“We would also call on the Government to learn lessons from this and take immediate steps to promote and enforce the Construction Supply Chain Payment Charter (CSCPC), which is designed to ensure that payments are made to the supply chain within 30 days.”  

The BMF is also highlighting the employment opportunities offered by the building materials industry, and urging Carillion’s 1,400 apprentices as well as other staff, to consider entering the sector.   

John Newcomb added: “There are opportunities within our sector in all parts of the country.  Through our own Apprenticeships Training Agency and our dedicated recruitment portal we can offer recruitment options to former Carillion employees who would like to find out more about furthering their career in the materials supply sector.”
BMF assesses Carillion impact on materials supply chain. The BMF has undertaken an initial survey of its members following the collapse of Carillion to assess the potential impact of the company’s liquidation further down the building supply chain.

Vince Cable to speak at BMF Members Day


Sir Vince Cable MPSir Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and MP for Twickenham, is the first headline speaker to be confirmed for BMF Members’ Day in September, which takes the theme “The Future Belongs to the Bold”.

A former chief economist at Shell, Vince Cable was the first UK politician to warn of the impending financial crisis of 2008. He now believes that a hard Brexit could create serious and prolonged economic difficulties ahead.  

As leader of the Liberal Democrats, his top priorities are fighting to make sure the UK remains at the heart of the EU, building an economy that works for everyone, investing in high-quality public services and a decent welfare system and building a mass movement that can win elections and make our country more liberal and more democratic.

Between 2010 and 2015, as the Coalition Government’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable created a distinctive Liberal Democrat vision for the economy. A long-term industrial strategy, promotion of science and innovation, banking reform, the creation of the world’s first-ever Green Investment Bank, support for young people through apprenticeships and the promotion of socially responsible capitalism.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “We are delighted that Sir Vince Cable will address BMF Members’ Day this year.  He is not only one of the country’s senior politicians but also a highly regarded economist who is not afraid to express bold, and sometimes contrarian, views.  This sits well with our Members’ Day theme, and I know that everyone will be keen to hear from him.”  

John Newcomb added: “Having a leading political speaker has long been a tradition at our bi-annual All Industry Conference.  Last year, we reintroduced this element to Members’ Day with a well-received presentation from the Housing Minister at the time, Alok Sharma.  With Vince Cable on this year’s stage, we are building on that success and taking it to the next level.”  

BMF Members’ Day 2018 will be held for the first time at St George’s Park, Burton on Trent – the home of England’s 28 national football teams.  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 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, click here or contact: june.upton@bmf.org.uk
Vince Cable to speak at BMF Members Day. Sir Vince Cable MPSir Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and MP for Twickenham, is the first headline speaker to be confirmed for BMF Members’ Day in September, which takes the theme “The Futur

West London’s no.1 independent welcomes Huq  

L-R: Shanker Patel (Lords Group CEO), Dr Rupa Huq MP (Labour, Ealing Central & Acton) and John Murphy (Lords Branch Manager)With local elections in all London Boroughs in May, political parties should remember that housing is not built, nor are homes improved, without London’s builders, plumbers and timber merchants. That was the message from Lords Builders’ Merchant, West London’s number 1 independent merchant, to Rupa Huq MP when she visited the 33-year old business in Park Royal, Ealing.  

Dr Huq was welcomed by Shanker Patel, Lords Chief Executive, to learn more on how merchants deliver for their communities - and to discuss issues affecting the supply chain and the wider London economy. The MP toured the business with Mr Patel and John Murphy, Branch Manager, who outlined the role, value and importance of merchants in creating local jobs and growth.  

Dr Huq heard how merchants like Lords have evolved since the ‘Credit Crunch’ of nearly ten years’ ago - and how the building materials’ supply chain is responding to today’s housing challenges.  

Several issues aimed at narrowing the gap between housing demand and supply were discussed in the context of the Mayor of London’s Housing Strategy and the new draft London Plan. If Londoners are to see the 66,000 new homes a year they need, one solution is a stronger emphasis on developing small sites that SME builders can undertake. According to Shanker Patel, better use has to be made of existing buildings and building upwards to add extra storeys must also be part of the package to deliver more homes in the capital.  

After visiting the 2-acre site, Rupa Huq MP said:   “I was delighted to visit Lords here in the constituency and see for myself their contribution to Ealing and the wider London economy. I pay tribute to Branch Manager, John Murphy and his team in helping customers with their building projects”.  

Housing is central to my Party’s thinking and we want to see better quality and more affordable housing in London if we are to improve the lives of constituents. This week, we saw another new Housing Minister appointed, meaning that there has been 7 Housing Ministers in the last 7 years, and 3 in the last 7 months. This is not helpful to firms like Lords that want certainty and stability in housing and planning policy to be able to invest confidently in people and products”.  

Concluding the visit, Shanker Patel, Chief Executive of Lords Group, said:   “I was grateful to Dr Huq for taking time to come today and gain further insight into our supply chain. We wanted to show her that builders’ merchants like Lords offer good jobs and rewarding careers, to people of all ages, and serve local communities in helping to improve their homes”.  

“Lords and the BMF are pleased that housing remains at the top of the political agenda and that MPs like Rupa Huq recognise the urgent need to build many more new homes. Merchants want to see unstinting efforts by both national government in Whitehall and local authorities in London to narrow the gap between housing demand and supply”.  

Mr Patel is also a Board Director of the BMF that represents the interests of builders, plumbers and timber merchants and manufacturers. Dr Huq noted that the latest available BMF economic data shows that sales figures for October 2017 were up nearly 10% overall, compared to the same month in 2016. These robust sales’ figures demonstrate the adaptable nature of merchants like Lords - especially in the housing repair and maintenance market.



Pictured L-R: Shanker Patel (Lords Group CEO), Dr Rupa Huq MP (Labour, Ealing Central & Acton) and John Murphy (Lords Branch Manager)

West London’s no.1 independent welcomes Huq. With local elections in all London Boroughs in May, political parties should remember that housing is not built, nor are homes improved, without London’s builders, plumbers and timber merchants. That was

BMF wins UFEMAT Best Practice Award for second year running  


L-R: Peter Hindle MBE (BMF Chairman), Marnix Van Hoe (UFEMAT General Secretary), John Newcomb (BMF CEO)The BMF was delighted to win the Best Practice Award for the second year running at the recent UFEMAT AGM held in Stockholm. UFEMAT is the European Association of National Builders’ Merchants Associations and Manufacturers.  

The Award was presented by Marnix Van Hoe, UFEMAT General Secretary, to Peter Hindle MBE, BMF Chairman, and John Newcomb, BMF CEO (pictured).  

Receiving the award, John Newcomb said: “It is a remarkable achievement to win this prestigious Award again. Many UFEMAT members have far larger operations than our own and it is a terrific tribute to the BMF team that our work to support our members has been recognised again this year.”  

Adding his congratulations, Peter Hindle said: “This is testament to the professionalism of the whole team. I am delighted their hard work has been acknowledged once again.”   



Pictured L-R: Peter Hindle MBE (BMF Chairman), Marnix Van Hoe (UFEMAT General Secretary), John Newcomb (BMF CEO)  
BMF wins UFEMAT Best Practice Award for second year running. The BMF was delighted to win the Best Practice Award for the second year running at the recent UFEMAT AGM held in Stockholm. UFEMAT is the European Association of National Builders’ Merc

PageGroup hosts latest BMF Regional Centre of Excellence 


PageGroup - BMF Regional Centre of ExcellenceThe BMF has launched its latest Regional Centre of Excellence with the support of PageGroup, a UK market leader in recruitment. 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 PageGroup’s prestigious London office in Victoria House, Holborn, will serve BMF members in London and the South East. Victoria House, which overlooks Bloomsbury Square, offers excellent meeting accommodation, and is now available to the BMF and its members.  

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “This is a fantastic centre that is well used by PageGroup’s clients, and we are extremely grateful that they are opening it to our members too. We look forward to holding London/South East meetings here, along with our own training courses for members in the region. The first meeting to take place at the new centre will be the BMF board meeting on 8 March.”  

Andrew Ward, Director at Page Executive, said: We’re delighted that PageGroup’s London office has been selected as a BMF Regional Centre of Excellence. With over 40 years’ experience of working with merchants and suppliers within the building materials sector, this will not only strengthen existing relationships with BMF members, but also allow us to promote best practice talent attraction and diversity / inclusion strategies, both within the industry and attracting top talent in from other sectors. This will be key to sustained success throughout the rapidly changing construction industry.
PageGroup hosts latest BMF Regional Centre of Excellence. The BMF has launched its latest Regional Centre of Excellence with the support of PageGroup, a UK market leader in recruitment. The growing network of BMF Regional Centres of Excellence is ma

A solid October for builders' merchants

BMBI October 2017 data
Builders’ merchants’ sales grew 10.0% compared with October last year. Heavy Building Materials did better, up 11.1%

Builders’ merchants’ average sales a day (which account for one extra trading day this year) were 5.0% higher.

BMBI data is released monthly and is a unique data source of builders' merchant sector sales to builders. It's the most reliable indicator of RMI housing.

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.  

Download the report    

Visit www.bmbi.co.uk/the-index to see the latest monthly or quarterly report. Read trends, analysis and comment on industry issues from our panel of construction industry experts.


Source: GfK Builders' Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data July 2014 - October 2017.  
Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) Email: info@bmbi.co.uk Website: www.bmbi.co.uk Twitter: @TheBMBI Telephone: 01453 521621  
Copyright © 2017 Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI), All rights reserved.
A solid October for builders' merchants. Builders’ merchants’ sales grew 10.0% compared with October last year. Heavy Building Materials did better, up 11.1% ...

BMBI wins Best Product Launch at the Construction Marketing Awards  


BMBI win Best Product Launch at CMA AwardsThe Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) has won Best Product Launch at the prestigious Construction Marketing Awards (CMA) for what the judges described as “an innovative offering to the market.” The CMAs recognise the marketing achievements of organisations and individuals in the construction industry. The awards are run by the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG), and winners were announced on 30 November 2017.  

The BMBI is a joint enterprise between GfK, the BMF, and MRA Marketing. Before launching the Index, there was no reliable measure of Repair Maintenance and Improvement (RMI) building activity in the UK. Economists, media and Government made do with a patchwork of measures of variable reliability.  

Since its launch in 2015, the BMBI is helping to put construction and builders’ merchants on the map and achieving wide exposure in and outside the industry. Centred on an agreement with GfK to use the top line of their Builders Merchant Panel data, new quarterly and monthly reports are produced by MRA Marketing to help close the knowledge gap. The initiative is supported by a high profile strategic PR programme that has resulted in 200+ press appearances over the last 12 months, and is winning the attention of leading organisations, institutions, and government bodies.  

The CMA judges said: “This is an innovative offering to the market to provide clarity on what is a very nebulous index to measure. Great insight to the market for RMI and great service to subscribers.”   An integral part of the Index is the panel of leading industry Experts who speak exclusively for their markets. Each Expert adds perspective and context to the data, and helps to make sense of trends for users of the BMBI. These include: Encon Insulation, Timbmet, Knauf Insulation, Keylite Roof Windows, Hanson Cement, Keystone Lintels, Crystal Group, IKO PLC, Alumasc Water Management Solutions, Ibstock Brick, Heatrae Sadia and Natural Paving Products.  

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF comments: “BMBI is achieving tremendous momentum in the market and this award is recognition of all the hard work that has gone into launching this unique and essential tool for the RMI sector. It would not exist without the combined efforts of GfK, the BMF and MRA Marketing.”   Visit www.bmbi.co.uk to download the latest BMBI report, learn more about each Expert or watch the Round Table debate videos where the Experts discuss important issues and the implications for merchants and construction overall.   

If you’d like your brand to become a BMBI Expert and the voice of your market, call Lucia Di Stazio, MRA Marketing on 01453 521621. To find out more about the Builders Merchant Panel data email Richard Frankcom at GfK on Richard.Frankcom@gfk.com.
BMBI wins Best Product Launch at the Construction Marketing Awards. The Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) has won Best Product Launch at the prestigious Construction Marketing Awards (CMA) for what the judges described as “an innovative offer

New Merchant Apprenticeship launched for 2018  

BMF merchant apprenticeship launchThe BMF and the Electrical Distributors Association (EDA) have jointly championed the development of a brand new, industry specific Trade Supplier Apprentice Standard. It is the first Apprenticeship to be designed for our industry by experts in our industry, and is set to become the sector’s primary Level 2 qualification when it is launched to employers next year. 

The Trade Supplier Level 2 Apprenticeship Standard has just been launched to more than fifteen training providers who will deliver the training programme across the UK. From January 2018, the new Standard will be offered to builders merchants through BMF Apprenticeships Plus.  

Trade Supplier Level 2 was developed as part of the government’s Trailblazer initiative. This encouraged groups of employers to work together to create robust apprenticeships for their own sector, to ensure that people have up-to-date workplace skills that are fully relevant to business and industry.    

Speaking at the launch, Richard Ellithorne, BMF Membership Services Director  said: “Merchants and other trade suppliers play a vital role in ensuring an efficient flow of goods and services between manufacturers and their skilled trade customer base, but this is the first time that an Apprenticeship has been designed to meet the industry’s specific needs.  It is a huge step forward, and I would like to thank all those who gave their time and energy to ensure this new apprenticeship delivers the skills and knowledge needed by new recruits to our industry.”  

John Henry, Director of BMF Apprenticeships Plus (the BMF’s Apprenticeship Training Agency) said: “This employer-led qualification will give young people entering the industry an excellent grounding in merchanting and will raise the bar in terms of skills and knowledge at an early point in their careers.  Having been in close communication with many businesses it is clear that the merchanting sector has been waiting for this new apprenticeship and I am confident of a significant take up by employers wishing to recruit and train new entrants and existing colleagues.”         

Commenting on the collaborative development process, Margaret Fitzsimons, EDA Director said: “Created by wholesalers for wholesalers, this new entry-level apprenticeship reflects the substantial commitment and knowledge sharing from across the building, timber and joinery, kitchen installation and electro-technical sectors. It has been a pleasure to work with similar trade organisations and their members to pool our significant wholesaling experience.”  

Crawford Knott of Hawk Training, an Ofsted accredited Outstanding training provider added: “Boosting the level of skills and productivity in the UK is vitally important, even more so as we move into the post-Brexit era. Apprenticeship standards like this one will enable employers in the sector to harness new talent and support the development of industry-specific skills.”  

The new Trade Supplier Apprenticeship Standard will replace the Trade Business Service framework apprenticeship, formerly used by merchants.  The new Standard is far more closely aligned with the merchant working environment.  Trade Supplier Apprentices will be trained and assessed on:  

  • dealing with customer sales at the trade counter and over the telephone
  • understanding incoming deliveries, stock control and despatch
  • processing customer orders and taking delivery of goods
  • technical knowledge of the products and services offered
  • using bespoke systems and equipment within their company
  • communication and building relationships both internally and with customers. 

Trade Supplier Apprentices may work on the trade counter, or they can specialise in other roles in the trade business environment including sales, purchasing account management, logistics and administration.  

The new Apprenticeship received approval from the Skills Funding Agency and OFQUAL earlier this Autumn, and will be eligible for funding under the new Levy system.
New Merchant Apprenticeship launched for 2018. The BMF and the Electrical Distributors Association (EDA) have jointly championed the development of a brand new, industry specific Trade Supplier Apprentice Standard. It is the first Apprenticeship to

BMF expands into the Irish market  


Allied Merchants Buying AssociationThe BMF has signed a group membership agreement with Allied Merchants Buying Association (AMBA), Ireland’s leading independent merchant buying group.  

Formed in 2011, AMBA is the fastest growing merchant buying group in Ireland, encompassing 17 members with 85 outlets and an annual spend of some €130m on building materials, plumbing and heating goods and timber products. Total turnover of members is around €230m. All 17 AMBA members will join the BMF on 1 December 2017  

Welcoming AMBA members, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “While the BMF has always had the ability within its constitution to extend its reach into Ireland, strategically the impetus to join had to come from Irish merchants.  When AMBA made their request, we were delighted to respond and look forward to providing our full range of training and support services to their members. We are very excited at the prospect of developing our alliance and extending our core membership benefits to AMBA’s members.”  

Keith Giblin, AMBA CEO explained why AMBA has joined the BMF:  “AMBA’s fundamental purpose is as a low cost, highly professional group with strategically placed members working with partner suppliers.  Our Buying Group has grown rapidly since its inception, successfully ensuring we defend and grow our members’ competitive position, profitability and market share by working together. We are continually focussed on adding further value to our members and an alliance with the BMF offers numerous opportunities to enhance our members’ businesses. Foremost amongst these is the BMF’s approach to recruitment, which is helping to attract and develop talented people within the merchant industry.”  

Allied Merchants Buying Association and the BMFBrexit is another factor in AMBA’s desire to create a strong link with the BMF as an international trade association.  

Dennis O’Connor, AMBA Chairman said: “We have three aims for our ongoing relationship with the BMF: alliance, recruitment and awareness.  Our market is somewhat reliant on the UK and with the countdown to Brexit well underway it is essential to draw closer to a Federation that represents merchants and building materials suppliers operating in the UK in order to develop a greater awareness and understanding of the issues on both sides.”  

Peter Hindle MBE, BMF Chairman added: “Many building materials producers administer the UK and Ireland as one commercial region and it is likely that this will continue beyond Brexit.  It is strategically important for the BMF to continue to develop its links with European trade bodies such as UFEMAT and FEST in order to support existing members in the UK as well as our latest members in Ireland. I look forward to welcoming Allied Merchants Buying Association into membership.” 

The addition of AMBA’s members increases the number of BMF Merchant members to 337, operating from over 5,000 branches throughout the UK and Ireland. From 1 December, the BMF’s total membership, including Supplier and Service members will stand at 640. Together, BMF merchant and supplier companies have combined sales of £28 billion and employ 123,000 people in the building materials industry.  



Pictured: L-R: Dennis O'Connor (AMBA Chairman)  and Keith Giblin (AMBA CEO), John Newcomb (BMF CEO), Peter Hindle MBE (BMF Chairman)
The BMF has signed a group membership agreement with Allied Merchants Buying Association (AMBA), Ireland’s leading independent merchant buying group.

Lakes Bathrooms joins BMF as new supplier member


Lakes BathroomMike Tattam, Lakes Bathrooms' new sales & marketing director,  right, with BMF CEO John Newcombs, a leading manufacturer and supplier of shower enclosures, doors and bath screens, has joined the BMF as a supplier member.  

Lakes Bathrooms has been supplying builders’ merchants for more than 30 years. An independent family business set up in 1986, it has built a strong reputation in supplying high quality shower enclosures to the trade, backed by reliable service and support.  

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam comments: “Builders’ merchants are a key target market for our business, so it’s important we look at new opportunities to strengthen relationships and build our brand in this sector. The BMF is a prominent industry body that has grown strongly over recent years. It’s therefore a sensible step forward to join. I’m confident it will give us a new platform in which to position and build our brand in this market.”  

Tewkesbury-based Lakes Bathrooms is renowned for its first class customer service, speed of delivery and for creating innovative, market-leading products that are ‘superior as standard’ yet affordable. Its extensive portfolio includes timeless classic and contemporary designs and framed, semi-framed and frameless doors, screens and enclosures to cater for all tastes and requirements.  

Lakes Bathrooms’ optically superior PureVueHD glass, which has minimal iron content to reduce the green hue found in standard glass to near zero levels, results in glass that is clearer, lighter and brighter and comes as standard at no extra cost on its Classic, Coastline and Island collections. Another thoughtful feature available free of charge on products within these ranges is the company’s AllClear® protective coating, which is applied to both sides of the glass to help users keep their enclosure looking as good as new with minimal effort.  

The BMF is the only trade association, which represents and protects the interests of builders’ merchants and suppliers to the merchanting industry in the UK. Through its membership, Lakes Bathrooms will benefit from training, development and professional support opportunities through a variety of services and key events where members can meet and exchange ideas with fellow merchants, suppliers and leading industry figures.  

BMF CEO John Newcomb says: “We are delighted that Lakes Bathrooms has joined the BMF and appreciates the value of being part of a strong trade body. I am looking forward to working with them in the coming months.”  


Pictured: Mike Tattam, Lakes Bathrooms' new sales & marketing director, right, with BMF CEO John Newcomb  
Lakes Bathrooms joins BMF as new supplier member. Lakes Bathrooms, a leading manufacturer and supplier of shower enclosures, doors and bath screens, has joined the BMF as a supplier member.

BMF response to today's UK Government Industrial Strategy announcement


John Newcomb (BMF) and Greg Clark MPResponding to the UK Government’s much-anticipated Industrial Strategy unveiled today, John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF said:  

“The BMF is pleased to see the Industrial Strategy recognises and showcases the construction industry through the announcement of a Construction Sector Deal.    

“We believe that people and skills are the single most important aspect for the success of the deal and indeed, the Industrial Strategy. The BMF has long argued for parity of esteem between academic education and vocational training and skills and as a direct consequence of the start of the Apprenticeships’ Levy eight months ago, the BMF established its own Apprenticeship Training Agency to make it easier for builders, plumbers and timber merchants to take on and support new apprentices.  

“However, our members need to be free to use Levy payments to train apprentices in firms up or down the supply chain if we are to properly train the next generation of builders’ merchants, house-builders and construction workers. The BMF believes the 10% that employers will be allowed to spend elsewhere from next April is too low, and we question whether payments will be confined to just one other employer - instead of multiple employers - who can benefit, especially SME builders and allied trades who are the customers of merchants.  

“It should be remembered that industries like construction and house-building cannot function properly without a vibrant, resilient, and enduring supply chain that the BMF represents. We therefore urge the Government to work with Britain’s Builders’ Merchants to ensure that we continue to deliver the building blocks needed for growth in order to meet the Industrial Strategy’s aims of boosting the economy, addressing low productivity, harnessing new technology, and improving incomes and living standards around the United Kingdom.”  


Pictured: John Newcomb (BMF CEO) and Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) at the 2017 Conservative Party Conference
John Newcomb (BMF) and Greg Clark MP
BMF response to today's UK Government Industrial Strategy announcement. Responding to the UK Government’s much-anticipated Industrial Strategy unveiled today, John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF said: “The BMF is pleased to see the Indust

Strong Q3 sales for Builders Merchants  


BMBI Q3 2017Data released today in the Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) shows that builders merchants Q3 2017 sales performed strongly for the quarter. 

Third quarter sales were 5.2% higher than the same period last year, despite one less trading day. The largest product sector, Heavy Building Materials (+6.0%) did slightly better than the total market, whereas the second largest, Timber & Joinery Products, was marginally below at +5.0%.   Ironmongery (+8.4%), Kitchens & Bathrooms (+8.2%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical  (+7.4%) were the strongest performers. Total merchants’ average sales per day, which mitigates for the trading day difference, increased by 6.9%.  

The BMBI contains data from GfK’s Builders Merchants Panel, which analyses data from over 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales throughout the UK. While the data shows a year on year increase in sales performance, the quarter on quarter comparison found that sales have slowed, with Q3 falling by -2.2%, after taking into account three more trading days than Q2.  

Year to date sales for the nine months January to September 2017 were 4.3% ahead of the same period in 2016.  With one less trading day this year, average sales per day were actually up by 4.9%  

Commenting on the results, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “Builders merchants’ sales frequently show a small dip in Q3 after an annual peak in Q2 and this year was no exception. Builders’ merchants will point to the increase in year on year sales as a more useful indicator, but they will also be taking a keen interest in the Chancellor’s Budget speech today, to see what’s in store for housebuilding and home improvement – both key markets.  

“The merchant sector has shown resilience throughout the first three quarters of 2017. We remain confident that it will continue to prosper as we approach the end of the year, and maintain that momentum into 2018.”  

Richard Frankcom of GfK said: “Builders’ merchants continue to buck the trends seen across most areas of the retail market.  However, we saw a steady rise in inflation during Q3, starting in July at 2.7% and rising to 3.0% by September, which led to the first rise in interest rates since July 2007.

“As we have only been tracking the data used in the BMBI for 39 months, we are yet to fully appreciate the correlation between merchant sales and wider economic indicators.  Will we see a slow down over the coming months, or will the UK’s demand for new or upgraded properties continue to drive this sector?  Only time will tell.”
Strong Q3 sales for Builders Merchants. Data released today in the Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) shows that builders merchants Q3 2017 sales performed strongly for the quarter.

The Autumn Budget: BMF welcomes commitment to housebuilding  


Philip Hammond MPResponding to today’s Budget (22.11.2017), the BMF has welcomed recognition by the Chancellor that housebuilding needs to be one of the Government’s main priorities.  

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF said: “The BMF is pleased that the Chancellor has acknowledged the profound need to deliver and build new homes. This needs to be an unflinching, unrelenting determination by government at all levels to narrow the gap between housing demand and supply. We also want to see the Government press ahead with its proposals contained in the Housing White Paper, as this will bring a welcome boost to housebuilders and to the manufacturers and merchants in the  building materials supply chain.  

“Access to finance, available land, more SME builders, sclerotic planning approval, slow build-out rates, over-stretched local authorities, brownfield versus greenfield, and residents’ resistance, must all be confronted and resolved. However, we welcome the new money that has been found for the Home Building Fund, for small sites, and for construction skills. In addition, we are pleased to see the lifting of the cap on Housing Revenue Accounts for Local Authorities and the immediate scrappage of stamp duty for many first-time buyers."
The Autumn Budget: BMF welcomes commitment to housebuilding. Responding to the 22.11.17 Budget, the BMF has welcomed recognition by the Chancellor that housebuilding needs to be one of the Government’s main priorities.