Our Commitment to You

Welcome


The BMF exists to foster business-friendly conditions for its members. Policy and public affairs mean influencing parliaments and governments to explain the role, value and importance of merchants - and the Federation itself - in delivering for local communities.

The BMF strives to ensure the voice of its members is heard so their interests can be properly considered. In an ever-changing world, this is a vital service, especially for small independents. We are more effective in doing so than individual companies - not least, because BMF membership is at its highest level since 1985. Collectively, our merchants represent approx. 85% of the trade by turnover. This makes us the fourth largest trade association in construction and we are the ‘commentator of choice’ for the building materials’ supply chain.

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


  • narrowing the gap between housing demand and supply
  • simplifying and speeding-up planning & development approvals
  • improving the thermal & energy performance of buildings towards net zero by 2050
  • decarbonising road transport to reduce pollution and prepare for alternatively-fuelled vehicles
  • educating businesses about the responsible use of natural resources
  • encouraging investment in vocational training and skills inc. apprenticeships
  • boosting the overall capacity and capability of our supply chain to deliver.

Our USP is that buildings & structures (especially housing) are not erected - nor are properties (especially homes) converted, extended, repaired, maintained or improved without the primary materials and valued-add products that our members make, stock and deliver.

We hope you find the information helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact the people named.
 

Policy 


Collaboration


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 away from London to the regions. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own parliaments, assemblies and devolved administrations. The BMF works with policy-makers throughout the UK’s political system to ensure that our members and their interests are represented. The BMF collaborates with more industry partners and property professionals than ever before. We participate in industry-led alliances like the Scottish CICV Forum and the Wales Construction Federation Alliance - to present a united front to government and to lobby for common objectives. By working with them, we can pool resources and maximise our influence, in a shared co-ordinated way, helping us to achieve common objectives.

The BMF is a member of the Construction Leadership Council Taskforce, a formal joint government and industry strategic partnership that strives to create a more resilient industry - with initiatives on (for example) embodied carbon, building safety and digitalisation. The CLC’s work is carried forward by a dozen workstreams - and we actively participate in them, notably:

- the Product Availability Group (that we chair) monitors the distribution of materials & products to identify goods in short supply - either as demand increases or delays in global trade disrupt well-established supply lines - to manage expectations of construction customers
- the Standards & Regulatory Alignment Group helps businesses prepare for UKCA conformity assessment & certification arrangements that replace CE Marking after 31 December 2022
- the Domestic RMI Group is developing a national retrofit strategy to tackle cold, draughty and poorly-insulated homes and improve their thermal & energy performance.  

To learn more about the Construction Leadership Council - and to read the latest monthly Product Availability Group Statement - please visit: https://www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk/  

Consultation 


The BMF provides central government, local authorities and other statutory bodies with coherent, balanced and convincing input to inform strategy, shape policy, allocate funding and test delivery arrangements. New and emerging proposals are screened for unintended consequences, detrimental impacts and inconsistencies. Wrongful assumptions are challenged and wherever possible, we try to give alternative proposals.

The most obvious way is to participate in consultation exercises. Examples of major consultations we have responded to are: 
  • DBEIS Market-Based Mechanism for Low-Carbon Heat (January 2022)
  • DfT Phase-Out of Sale of New Non-Zero Emission HGVs (September 2021)
  • MHCLG Planning White Paper (October 2020)
  • DBEIS UK Internal Market (August 2020)
  • MHCLG Future Homes Standard (February 2020).

Your first point-of-contact is Dan Hodder on (020) 7451 7315 or [email protected].

Current policy issues

 

Market-Based Mechanism for Low Carbon Heat (UK-wide)

 

To force the up-take of heat pumps, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is pressing ahead with transforming the heating market by introducing a Market-Based Mechanism. Whitehall wants to compel boilermakers to manufacture heat pumps and to increase their direct sales, starting in 2024. Ministers will put an obligation on boilermakers to achieve more heat pump installations towards the government target of 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028. The BMF put in a strongly-worded reply to the consultation. It is overly complicated and unduly burdensome. We neither agree with, nor support, the move. The DBEIS appears to rely on claims & calculations made by energy business that believe they can get (a) the price down to approx. £1,000 per unit and (b) installation time down to 2 or 3 days. This is a serious threat to BMF members and will disrupt the way that merchants sell boilers.

UK Conformity Assessment and Certification (UK-wide)


New UKCA conformity assessment, certification and labelling of materials & products will replace CE Marking that will not be allowed in Great Britain after 31 December 2022. BMF members - along with other industry partners - are collaborating to find ways around complex technical difficulties.

For construction products falling under the Assessment & Verification of Performance System 3, ministers have decided to ease previously-announced rules that would have obliged firms to have goods re-tested & certified by an accredited UK Approved Body.

This decision allows manufacturers with existing type tests from EU Notified Bodies under AVCP System 3 - where their goods were tested before 31 December 2022 - to affix the UKCA Mark to their goods - and to continue to supply them to the GB market, without needing to be re-tested. Historic test data & reports under the Construction Products Regulation will be recognised: a key BMF ‘ask’.

This is a win for BMF lobbying but there remain several significant legal and technical matters to resolve. For example: there is insufficient testing capacity, capability & competence available to have goods certified for the British market, using UK Approved Bodies.

Plastic Packaging Tax (UK-wide)


The new tax on plastic packaging of £200 per tonne came into force in April 2022. It applies to firms that produce or import plastic packaging which does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content. Only packaging which is not predominantly plastic by weight is excluded. Manufacturers and importers of less than 10 tonnes per year are exempt.

Our supply chain uses a lot - mainly due to products being transported on pallets, shrink-wrapped, or bound with plastic straps, or with protective polystyrene - to prevent damage and ensure safe delivery. This plastic is often discarded as soon as goods are unloaded or unpacked.

We are looking at the impact that ‘due diligence’ is having on our members in the BMF compliance scheme. Most merchants do not pay this tax but must show ‘due diligence’ has been carried out. Consequently, merchants now have extra work to contact their suppliers to check that manufacturers & importers have accounted for, reported and paid the Plastic Packaging Tax to the HMRC.

Nutrient Neutrality (England & Wales)


Nutrient neutrality is a serious issue facing house-builders following the ‘Dutch N’ court ruling. This prompted Natural England to revise its guidance to local authorities advising them to assess all planning applications to guard against pollution from nitrates & phosphates. The vast majority of the nutrients in rivers comes from agriculture, or the failings of water companies, not house-building.

New housing projects in 74 local authorities must now demonstrate nutrient neutrality before building can resume or start. The result is that an estimated 114,800 new homes are delayed. This halt in granting approvals originated in Southern England (Somerset, Hampshire & Kent) but has spread to the Welsh Marches and onto Northern districts in Cumbria and the Tees Valley.

A group of SME builders & merchants in Wessex was formed to campaign to find cost-effective solutions between Natural England, central & local government and builders. The BMF and others are lobbying DLUHC and DEFRA ministers to find a way forward so that local authorities can grant planning applications and builders can resume onsite.

Your first point-of-contact is Brett Amphlett on (020) 7451 7316 or [email protected] 

Public affairs

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 are also BMF members.

In addition to our own efforts, the BMF channels its members’ views through other bodies we belong to - notably the CBI and two pan-European merchants associations: FEST  https://festassociation.eu/  and UFEMAT  https://www.ufemat.eu/
 

Visits


Most politicians have little or no grasp of how materials and products reach the end-user. To overcome this, we take them to visit merchants or manufacturers in their constituency to gain insight into a local business and our supply chain.

For over ten years, we have welcomed government ministers, party spokesmen & women, local authority leaders and other elected or appointed members to our members’ branches, showrooms or factories. The gallery above shows a selection of successful visits.

Your first point-of-contact is Brett Amphlett on (020) 7451 7316 or [email protected]
 

Parliamentary Receptions


The BMF has held three receptions in the Houses of Parliament in recent years to showcase excellence in the manufacture and distribution of materials & products. The aim is to engage parliamentarians and explain the role, value and importance of merchants in delivering for local communities. We want to show that our supply chain is integral to improving sustainability and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Our last reception was in October 2021, prior to the UN COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. It attracted 30+ MPs and Peers who met 115 BMF merchants & manufacturers - at which both the Minister for Small Businesses and the Minister for Housing spoke for the Government.

Construction is working hard to play its part in achieving net zero - but the industry we serve has more to do on embodied carbon, operational carbon and transport emissions. At this reception, the BMF released its “Race to Zero” policy document, showcasing the steps that our members are taking. Our document set out several ‘asks’ of government as part of BMF efforts towards decarbonisation. Principal among them is our desire for a 20-year fully-costed National Retrofit Strategy to improve the energy and thermal performance of homes.

Please click here to down your copy of “Race to Zero”: 

Your first point-of-contact is Brett Amphlett on (020) 7451 7316 or [email protected]
 

Publicity

The BMF writes articles and features for its own communications and the trade press to support the activity described on these pages; to answer queries from our members; and to look ahead to ideas & proposals on the horizon that will affect the BMF. This is in addition to the usual press releases.

Some notable examples are:
- Government Heating Proposals Threaten BMF Members (Spring 2022)
- Back to Business in Brighton & Manchester (Winter 2021)
- Parliamentary Reception Showcases Sustainability (Winter 2021)
- Ending CE Marking on Materials & Products (Autumn 2021)
- New Plastic Packaging Tax (Summer 2021)
- Post-Covid Recovery in Wales (Autumn 2020).

In addition, we provide smaller pieces for the trade press on a wide range of topics. In the last 15 months, for example, items about:
- clean air & zero emission zones in several cities
- new Building Regulations for EV charge-points
- Extended Producer Responsibility and the WEEE Regulations
- zero rate VAT on energy-saving materials
- the provision of retirement housing
- All-Party or Cross-Party Parliamentary Group meetings.

Your first point-of-contact is Dan Hodder on (020) 7451 7315 or [email protected]
 

 
ENGLAND



SCOTLAND



WALES



NORTHERN IRELAND