Our Commitment to You

The BMF is an economic trade association that exists to foster business-friendly conditions for its members. As our names suggests, this means builders, plumbers and timber merchants - although manufacturers and specialist suppliers can also be BMF members.  

Policy means influencing parliaments and governments to ensure the voice of merchants is heard so their interests are properly considered. We are the ‘commentator of choice’ for the building materials’ supply chain - “one industry, one voice”.  

The BMF provides an authoritative and collective voice for not only our members but also the wider supply chain. We are more effective in doing so than individual businesses. In an ever-changing world, this is a vital service, especially to small, often family-owned independents. 

Throughout the year, the BMF will be typically working on policy themes such as:

  • narrowing the gap between housing supply and demand
  • improving the thermal and energy performance of homes and workplaces
  • making better use of existing buildings including adaptations, conversions and extensions
  • educating businesses about the responsible use of natural resources
  • encouraging investment in vocational training and skills including apprenticeships
  • informing companies about changes in the law, its implementation and enforcement
  • boosting the overall capacity and capability of our supply chain to deliver. 
BMF opinion is essential because construction can be seen as fragmented, without one voice, or a unified view. We provide that perspective because builders, plumbers and timber merchants are the most efficient route-to-market for materials & products from quarries, kilns, sawmills or factories. 

Our USP is that buildings (especially housing) are not erected, nor are properties (especially homes) adapted, converted, extended or improved with the primary materials and valued-add products that our members distribute.  

BMF Policy Outlook document


BMF Policy Outlook document John Newcomb (BMF CEO) and Lord Paddy Ashdown (former Lib Dem leader) L-R James Talman (NFRC CEO), Vince Cable (Lib Dem leader, John Newcomb (BMF CEO)
 

The BMF launched the latest BMF Policy outlook document at the Liberal Democrat Party conference on 18 September 2017.   Download a copy here.

Consultation

The BMF provides government, regulators and other statutory bodies with reputable advice on industry concerns and supply chain issues. We have over a hundred years of practical knowledge and experience to guide and inform law-makers and opinion-formers. 

Policy and regulation affects our members in many ways. Current policy and new ideas are screened for unintended consequences, detrimental impacts and inconsistencies. Wrongful assumptions are challenged and wherever possible, we try to give alternative proposals. 

Officials are responsible for assembling stakeholder views for politicians to take smarter decisions. We offer coherent, balanced and convincing input to inform strategy, shape policy, simplify funding, and test delivery arrangements. 

Examples of consultations we responded to in 2016:
  • keeping reduced rate of Value-Added Tax on supply & installation of energy-saving materials
  • allowing upward extension of buildings in London to add extra living space
  • improving air quality in London including replacing home boilers
  • extending the current Energy Company Obligation
  • extending the existing NEST anti-fuel poverty scheme in Wales.

Collaboration

L-R: Andy Street, Conservative Mayoral Candidate in Birmingham with BMF MD John Newcomb

In the 21st century, it is no longer enough to talk to Westminster and Whitehall. In England, there is a shift in local government with devolution of functions and responsibility from London. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have parliaments or assemblies, with more powers promised on the way.

England has Combined Authorities and Police & Crime Commissioners. London, Liverpool and Bristol (amongst others) have a directly-elected Mayor. Further devolution is coming with elected Metro-Mayors for big cities as part of City Deals. (pictured L-R: Andy Street, Conservative Mayoral Candidate in Birmingham with BMF MD John Newcomb, and Steve Rotheram, Labour Mayoral Candidate in Liverpool with BMF's Brett Amphlett)

Steve Rotheram, Labour Mayoral Candidate in Liverpool with BMF's Brett AmphlettThe BMF collaborates with a greater number of partners than ever before in our 108-year existence. This means speaking to (or learning from) a broader range of people and organisations. We forge alliances and conduct joint assignments with other trade associations, property professionals, environmental groups, and think-tanks in pursuit of common objectives.




Briefing

Occasionally, a story hits the headlines requiring the BMF to react quickly to put our members’ point of view - especially to rebut untrue stories or correct misleading facts. MPs, Peers and others will be given a verbal or written BMF briefing on current policy or an emerging issue.  

When a topic is debated in parliament, legislation is considered, or a committee holds an inquiry, we will brief elected members. In cases of line-by-line scrutiny, it can be quite specific in nature.  

Examples of briefings given in the last 12 months are:

  • building materials - notably on brick supplies and acoustic insulation·
  • new homes - notably on self- & custom-building and taxpayer-funded support
  • planning permission - notably on use classes, permitted development, pre-commencement conditions, and under-resourced planning departments
  • taxation - notably on reduced rates of VAT following a European court case·
  • vocational training and skills - notably on the new Apprenticeships’ Levy. 

Politicians say they value this because we are a business & economic voice that speaks for companies in almost every constituency. We rarely stray into policy we know little about.


Representation

The BMF represents all types of merchants - irrespective of product, turnover or geography. FTSE-listed businesses, mid-sized regionals, and numerous small local independents are members. Manufacturers and specialist suppliers to merchants can also be BMF members. 

In addition to our own efforts, the BMF channels its members’ views through other bodies we belong to like the Construction Products Association and the CBI. We are members of the two pan-European builders’ merchants associations, FEST and UFEMAT.


What Are We Doing in Your Region?

 
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