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BUSINESS ESSENTIALS Gearing up for Brexit


TIMBER Supply and demand

Plus: News, training, e-commerce, acquisitions, industry comment and more.

Fantasy Football Taking shape! See page 51


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December 2020, Volume 30 No. 11


GETTING READY FOR BREXIT Business support and guidance for the end of the transition period from the Construction Leadership Council.


REALITY CHECK Updated Brexit advice from the Timber Trade Federation.


MARKING THE CHANGE Discussing the implications of the replacement for the CE Mark — the new UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) Mark.



ONE STOP SHOP In conversation with Price & Pierce.


STANDING TOGETHER Norbord reflects on a challenging year for the supply chain.




CONVERT OPERATIONS Baxi Heating and Worcester Bosch are supporting a pioneering trial of hydrogen gas boilers.


MAKING A MARK Altecnic drills down into the detail of the new UKCA Mark.


MEETING HOT WATER DEMAND Cylinder compatibility for new build developments.



SPECIAL REPORTS 10 THE PULSE Tracking confidence, concerns and prospects in the merchant sector.



























18 BRICKS & CLICKS An online platform that matches merchants and customers to maximise brick sales. 20 THE NEXT LEVEL The latest in electric-powered forklift trucks.


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Turning point?


t is customary in our December issue to offer an appraisal of the year gone by. This time last year, for instance, we were considering the events which led to a General Election being called and lamenting the political machinations which had caused the “inertia (that was) clearly impacting the economy in general and the construction industry in particular.” Little did we know that would be a relative highpoint in comparison to what was to follow. So, how does one even start to reflect on what we have seen since? I’m conscious of not wanting to repeat what has been discussed previously in this column over the last few months, but it is alarming to think that in many ways, we’re in a very similar place to late March with various forms of lockdown, social distancing measures and numerous other restrictions affecting the way we conduct business and go about our daily lives. Even the old ‘Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives’ mantra has made a recent reappearance at the front and centre of government communications. Of course, huge steps have actually been taken forward. The learned experience of the year means the NHS can manage treatment of the disease far better; tangible hopes of an effective vaccine are in now sight and, albeit belatedly and still with a number of flaws, a new round of support measures for businesses and individuals will provide much-needed assistance for those whose work is still constrained by the pandemic. There is a clearer picture on the restrictions facing merchants and their




BUSINESS ESSENTIALS Gearing up for Brexit


TIMBER Supply and demand

Plus: News, training, e-commerce, acquisitions, industry comment and more.

Fantasy Football Taking shape! See page 51

“Sadly, this race is far from run but if there are any moments of respite to be had, it is well worth pausing and reflecting on what has been achieved.” customers, whilst in more broad terms, the Government continues to place the building industry at the heart of the nation’s post-Covid recovery plan. To view the situation from the other side, the industry’s response to the crisis appears to have been nothing short of remarkable. With close cooperation and communication enhanced throughout, it has demonstrated considerable flexibility and agility when it was needed most to not just keep on trading in challenging circumstances, but in many cases absolutely thrive. Sadly, this race is far from run but if there are any moments of respite to be had, it is well worth pausing and reflecting on what has been achieved.

■ With the end of the EU transition period now just days away, we cannot finish this column without making reference to Brexit and, at the time of writing, a deal is yet to be agreed. Whilst the majority of construction products are made in the UK, around a quarter are imported and therefore on this and a range of other issues — from certification standards to employment practices — the industry must be fully prepared for the change, irrespective of the outcome of any final negotiations. A number of these topics are covered in detail later in the issue, along with signposts to a plethora of sector-focused additional information which we hope you will find useful.

■ As guidelines shift and business support packages

evolve, we would urge readers to check in with PBM’s website and social media streams for the latest news and updates. Please also make use of our digital ‘Readerlink’ enquiry service — www.rdr.link — to instantly access additional information on the topics, articles and new products featured in the magazine.

Editor Paul Davies Assistant Editor Abbie Smith Group Advertisement Manager Craig Jowsey craig@hamerville.co.uk Tel: 07900 248102 Advertisement Manager Sam Shannon-Tinsley stinsley@hamerville.co.uk Tel: 07554 013302 Midlands & Northern Advertisement Manager

Ian Duff Tel: 01204 596633/ 07810 353525 probuilder@sky.com Design Adeel Qadri Group Production Manager Carol Padgett Production Assistant Kerri Smith Circulation Manager Kirstie Day Managing Editor Terry Smith


Publisher Bryan Shannon Subscriptions to PROFESSIONAL BUILDERS MERCHANT are available at the following rates: UK – 1 year (11 issues) – £30 post paid EUROPE and OVERSEAS 1 year (11 issues) – £50 post paid AIRMAIL – 1 year (11 issues) – £65 post paid


Printed by Walstead Peterborough Published by HAMERVILLE MEDIA GROUP Regal House, Regal Way, Watford, Herts WD24 4YF. Tel: (01923) 237799 Fax: (01923) 246901 Email: pbm@hamerville.co.uk Copyright © 2020

Average net circulation figure for the 11 issues distributed between 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 = 9,912 To be removed from this magazine’s circulation please call 01923 237799 or email circulation@hamerville.co.uk

Cover story: MKM Building Supplies has opened its latest branch in Scunthorpe, creating 15 new jobs in the area.



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Revenue growth for Grafton Grafton Group plc’s trading update for the four months to 31 October 2020 shows revenue and profitability running ahead of expectations, with Group like-for-like revenue up by 6.3% and total revenue up 5.1% to £1.0 billion (2019: £962.0 million). The report notes the “strong recovery in the period following the significant disruption to trading in the second quarter caused by the pandemic” with demand strongest in the Woodie’s DIY, Home and Garden business in Ireland and in the residential repair, maintenance and improvement segment of the distribution markets in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands. In addition to benefitting from the pent-up

Wolseley plumbs in new identity To “further evolve its brand to highlight and signpost the business’s key specialisms”, Wolseley UK has announced the rebrand of its plumbing and heating division to Wolseley Plumb & Parts. Chris TaylorHone, Wolseley’s National Director for Plumbing & Heating, said: “Our rebrand is about much more than a change of name and signage. It is about providing brilliant customer service. We have made this important decision to make it easier for plumbing and heating customers to distinguish and identify where to find the specialist knowledge, services and products they need across our branch network.” The company’s outlet in West Drayton was the first to showcase the new branding whilst Wolseley Plumb & Parts is also investing in new teams outside of branch. A new team of Local Plumb & Parts Account Managers has been established to support installers in growing and developing their businesses, providing help with projects as well as advice and guidance on recruitment and other business matters.


demand that developed during the lockdown which, in management’s view, can be attributed to “households investing part of the savings from reduced spending on travel, leisure and hospitality in their homes”, the Group was also able to benefit from “investments made in recent years in its higher margin businesses, including the accelerated rollout of its digital strategy”. Focusing on Grafton’s UK merchant operations, average daily like-for-like revenue was up 2.3% in the four months to the end of October following the reopening of branches on a full-service basis by the end of June. In particular, Selco “performed strongly” with average daily like-for-like growth of 10.8% over

the four months whilst average daily like-for-like revenue was “marginally down” in the Group’s traditional UK merchanting business, as growth in residential RMI revenue was offset by softer housebuilding and commercial markets. Gavin Slark, Chief Executive Officer of Grafton Group plc, commented: “Despite all the current uncertainties, we are very encouraged by the trading and financial performance of the Group over recent months. Grafton is in a very strong financial position and has a diversified portfolio of market leading businesses with exposure to residential RMI leaving it well placed to benefit from current market trends.”

HSS joins BMF Well-known equipment hire specialist HSS Hire Group is the latest company to join the Builders Merchants Federation. Operating from a national network of own-brand branches, customer distribution centres and also within a number of builders’ merchant depots, the company’s Business Development Director Craig Stanford said: “We are extremely excited to join the BMF. This comes at a time when we are increasingly working alongside the merchant community, having built some brilliant partnerships with regional, independent builders’ merchants. “Having a facility onsite to offer tool hire for their customers has proved of mutual benefit. Now we are members of the BMF we look forward to becoming further involved in this exciting industry — one that has led the

way in overcoming adversity under this year’s highly unusual circumstances.” ■ The BMF has also announced that the 2021 All Industry Conference has now sold out its initial allocation. The dual-centre event will take place in Harrogate and York from 17-20 June and recently announced former Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow as keynote speaker. John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “We know more people are keen to attend and we are doing everything we can to increase capacity to accommodate those on our waiting list.” ■ For more information, visit www.bmfconference.co.uk

Virtual success

NMBS has reported the success of its first ever Virtual Exhibition — for the power tools, tools, fixings and workwear sector — which took place in early November. The event brought 25 suppliers from across the industry together with 421 individuals from 328 independent merchant businesses, and was sponsored by Draper Tools, Makita, Stanley, Forgefix and Toolbank. Although the physical NMBS Exhibition could not be held this year, the organisation was keen to make the Virtual Exhibition as beneficial to merchants as possible, and so visitors also enjoyed the same rebate deals that they have become used to at the physical event. Exclusive rebate for those who logged in to the Virtual Exhibition ranged from 1% to 7.5% from selected suppliers, with these rebate deals extended to all orders placed in November.

NMBS Commercial Director Andy Hextall said: “It’s great to see so many faces on the screen and to be able to meet up on platforms like this. It’s a new way to catch up, learn and identify opportunities, and we’re delighted with the support we’ve seen from our Members and Suppliers. We really wanted to put on an event for them in a year when so much has been put on hold.”

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TEL: 01923 237799



Up and running With the official name change from Quinn to Mannok completed on 16th November, the new brand has “come out of the blocks strong” with a new National Buying Group exclusivity deal, a firm commitment to the wider UK merchant market and a new look for its bagged cement range. Under its new name, the company has extended the exclusivity deal with NBG for Master Grade Cement. The deal gives NBG merchants exclusive access in the GB market to the product until the end of 2024, extending the current partnership by three years and builds on the agreement signed in 2018 when Master Grade cement was first launched under the Quinn brand. In addition, Mannok has also signalled its intent to continue its support of key industry events, such as industry awards and conferences, despite the current uncertainty which has hit the events industry harder than most. Lee Gillman, Mannok’s Sales Director, said: “Extending our exclusivity deal with NBG is a very clear signal of our intentions going forward under the Mannok name. We will bring with us everything we do best, which means we will continue to offer quality products and service to our customers, and demonstrate real commitment to the merchants who are key to our company’s success, through strong working

partnerships with bodies such as NBG. “We’re delighted to make this commitment with NBG, who have played a key part in the increased sales of cement we have experienced since launching our extended cement range in 2018. It’s been a fruitful partnership for all involved, and one which we’re very happy to continue for a further three years.” Mannok has also revealed its new look cement range, which carries the bold brand colours with the distinctive Mannok ‘M’ ensuring they will be easily recognisable to merchant customers. Master Grade Cement, for example, will be packaged in the Mannok teal (the primary brand colour) replacing the familiar blue bag whilst Premium Grade Cement will be packaged in the vibrant Mannok green. Lee added: “The new look cement bags will be in production early in 2021, along with newly branded insulation and new packaging wrap for our ranges of roof tiles and aircrete blocks, so merchants will see all product packaging change from Quinn to Mannok in the New Year.”

TTF and TRADA in merger talks

The Governing Boards of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to align the strategies and activities of each organisation with a view toward a formal merger. David Hopkins, Chief Executive of the Timber Trade Federation, said: “This is a strong positive

step for both our organisations and for the timber market in the UK. It has been fragmented for far too long. This will allow us to build a single supply chain organisation representing all points from sawmill to importer to manufacturers through to designer, specifier and contractor. “It will give timber a much more powerful voice in the market and at a political level, while enhancing services for members. The

a @PBMmagazine

Stump to sawmill The BSW Group has acquired Dick Brothers Forestry, reportedly the UK’s largest timber harvesting company. Established over 25 years ago and headquartered in the Scottish Borders, the business boasts state-of-the-art forestry equipment and market leading capabilities to harvest some of the largest and most complex forests in the UK. Dick Brothers is said to represent a cornerstone acquisition for the BSW Group, strengthening its vertical integration of the timber supply chain and securing in-house harvesting capabilities for its forestry and harvesting management division Tilhill. Tony Hackney, CEO of BSW, commented: “This is fantastic news for BSW (and) enables BSW to become a streamlined stump to sawmill operation. Dick Brothers is a business with strong heritage, fantastic prospects and one that we believe will bring huge value to BSW.”

past year has been tough for everyone in our sector, but this announcement makes the future look far more positive.” The two organisations will continue to run operations in parallel under a common management plan for at least the first year before starting to merge activities, ensuring that no aspect of current member services is neglected or lost from either.

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The show must go on!

Peter Worthington addresses attendees at last year’s in-person NBG Awards in Glasgow

Though its annual conference and awards could not go ahead as planned, National Buying Group has continued to celebrate the success of Suppliers as the 2020 Annual Supplier Awards were held virtually on 25 November.


s with previous years, Partners voted for the Supplier of the Year in each of NBG’s eight Category Management Teams (CMTs), as well as Product of the Year and Brand of the Year in both the heavyside and lightside sectors. However, this year a brand-new category was added, and Partners were asked to vote for their NBG Lockdown Hero. The awards ceremony is usually the pinnacle of the NBG annual conference, with more than 600 Suppliers, Partners and guests in attendance. With Covid-19 restrictions remaining in place around the country, NBG epitomised the adaptability of the independent merchant sector, hosting the event virtually. The winners for the eight Category Management Teams were:

General Building

Brick & Block

Product of the Year was won by Mannok for its Master Grade Cement. Azpects took second for EASYJoint with Sika Everbuild’s EB25 securing third place. The Brand of the Year award for Heavyside was also taken home by Mannok (followed by Knauf Insulation and H+H UK (Celcon)). Lightside Brand of the Year was TIMco with OX Group and Toolbank in second and third respectively. Mannok swept the board after a special award was also unveiled this year to celebrate NBG’s Lockdown Hero. Mannok was

Forterra Building Products 2nd: Mannok, 3rd: H+H UK – Celcon

Civils & Landscaping Pavestone 2nd: Marsh Industries, 3rd: Long Rake Spar

Decorating, Hardware & Kitchens TIMco 2nd: Symphony Group, 3rd: Tembe DIY Products


Mannok 2nd: Everbuild Building Products, 3rd: Siniat

Plumbing, Heating & Showrooms Merlyn 2nd: VADO, 3rd: QX Bathroom Products

Roofing & Insulation Knauf Insulation 2nd: VELUX, 3rd: Mannok

Tools & Workwear Toolbank 2nd: Castle Clothing, 3rd: T King Associates

Timber Caledonian Plywood Co 2nd: MDM Timber, 3rd: Arbor Forest Products

presented with the award for an outstanding contribution to the NBG community during lockdown and how they went the extra mile to communicate with and support Partners. Taylor Maxwell and Cemex UK Materials secured the runners up spots. Over 300 Partners, Suppliers and friends of NBG logged on to watch the virtual ceremony and celebrate together with surprise party games, drinks and nibbles. The immersive awards event was made possible thanks to support from a number of Suppliers: Polypipe, TIMco, Toolbank, Forterra, Knauf, Quinn, Marshalls, Arbor, Everbuild, Aliaxis, Siniat, VELUX and Aggregate Industries. Nick Oates, Managing Director of NBG, said: “The NBG conference is the highlight of our calendar year and although we couldn’t be together in person, we thought it was important that we still celebrated our Suppliers. Although the ceremony was held virtually, there was no loss of atmosphere and we were still able to recognise success with equal enthusiasm as at previous events. “We are so grateful for the support from Suppliers that meant the awards could continue. Another big well done to all our winners and we look forward to celebrating in person as soon as we can.” ■ For more information, visit nationalbuyinggroup.com


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Merchants’ expectations and confidence ease As we approach the winter months, the latest ‘The Pulse’ survey indicates that merchants’ expectations and confidence are cooling. However, the overall outlook remains positive with merchants particularly confident in their own business.


t the time of interviewing, the Government’s announcement on a new one-month lockdown (and extension to the furlough scheme) had not yet happened, although the risk of another lockdown and managing a second wave of the virus was already weighing on merchants’ minds. The Pulse, by MRA Research, is a monthly tracking survey of merchants’ confidence and prospects. Telephone interviewing took place between 1st and 7th October. Impact of COVID-19 The shift to ‘Fully open’ continues, with just under 7 in 10 merchants back to operating normally, in accordance with Government guidance. This ratio varies by region with 9 in 10 merchants in the South and Scotland ‘Fully open’ compared to under 5 in 10 in the Midlands and North. Over 90% of merchants say all or most of their suppliers are able to supply them — Chart 1. But there are longer lead times and stock shortages of some materials, particularly plaster, timber and bricks.

Sales expectations A net +9% of merchants expected sales to increase in October compared to September — see Chart 2. Small branches (net + 22%), merchants in the South (+16%) and Nationals (+19%) were most bullish. Year-on-year, merchants’ expectations continue to strengthen with a net +19% anticipating better sales over the period (also Chart 2). Significantly more merchants in the North (+41%) and Scotland (+47%) predicted higher sales, than those in the South (+8%). A net -4% of merchants in the Midlands expected sales to drop.

However, the outlook for the next quarter (October-December) weakens with Chart 3 showing a net -3% of merchants predicting The difference between the percentage of merchants expecting growth and those expecting a decrease is the net figure, expressed as a percentage. A positive net percentage indicates growth, a negative indicates decline. Net zero implies no change.


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TRENDS MONITOR lower sales compared to the previous quarter (July-September). While large merchants are upbeat with a net +22% forecasting growth, mid-sized branches expect sales to fall (-20%).

While small and large outlets (+15% and +22% respectively) are still bullish, mid-sized branches (-24%) are concerned about the market. Year-on-year confidence in the market is affected too (net -49%) — see Chart 5. Merchants’ concerns over lockdown and a second wave, stocks and supplies were the main reasons, with Brexit starting to feature again too. Confidence in their business Although merchants’ confidence in their own business is down compared to the previous survey (net +34% in October compared to +48% in September), it remains strong. Merchants in the North are particularly buoyant (net +59%). Year-on-year, merchants’ confidence in their own business continues to improve, with a net +4% more confident over the period (Chart 5).

The outlook for the next six months, however, is strong. A net +16% of merchants forecast improved sales in October 2020 to March 2021 compared to April to September 2020. Expectations are similar across the board with large outlets (net +33%) and Nationals (+30%) most positive. Of those anticipating better sales over the period, nearly three quarters forecast growth of up to 20% (Chart 4).

Confidence in the market Month-on-month confidence in the market is ebbing, dropping to a balance of 0% in October from a net +21% in September’s survey.

■ About the Pulse The Pulse is a monthly trends survey tracking builders’ merchants’ confidence and prospects over time. Produced by MRA Research, the insight division of MRA Marketing, it captures merchants’ views of future prospects in terms of sales expectations, confidence in their business, confidence in the market, and the key issues and problems they experience. This report is the 18th in the series, with interviews conducted by MRA Research between 1st and 7th October 2020. Each month a representative sample of 100 merchants is interviewed. The sample is balanced by region, size and type of merchant, including nationals, regional multi-branch independents, and smaller independent merchants.

■ The full report can be downloaded from www.mra-research.co.uk/the-pulse or call Lucia Di Stazio at MRA Research on 01453 521621.



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MARKET MONITOR in association with

Scenario planning

Construction Industry Scenarios 2020-22 Autumn 2020 Edition - £210

The Construction Products Association warns of a ‘crucial winter ahead’ for the sector in its latest forecasting.


ccording to its latest analysis, the CPA main scenario for construction output in 2020 is a 14.5% fall as the construction industry shows promising signs of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The prospects, however, of both a deterioration in labour market conditions along with a potential ‘No Deal’ Brexit deal at the end of December mean that the upcoming winter will be decisive for how far such a recovery can be sustained. Published on October 19, the CPA’s Autumn Scenarios continue to expect a tick-shaped economic recovery as the most likely outcome, with output for construction rising by 13.5% in 2021 from the sharpest fall on record in 2020. The easing of lockdown measures over the summer was accompanied by a rush to meet pentup demand, particularly in private housing and refurbishment work that couldn’t take place as sites were closed. With social distancing integrated on construction sites, productivity was also able to pick up. The CPA points out that the housing market is being given a boost from pent-up demand coming through and transactions being brought forward by both the stamp duty holiday and the end of the first phase of Help to Buy in March 2021. Equally, private housing RMI has benefitted from home working brought on by the pandemic — and with more disposable income as a result of

spending less on travel and hospitality, many households are choosing to spend it on ‘safe’ options such as home improvements. Some caution remains from 2021 Q2, however, with the end of the stamp duty holiday and uncertainty in the employment market possibly reducing demand. Along with private housing, the CPA expects the infrastructure sector to be critical for growth. Next year will capture the start of main works on HS2, plus ongoing work on major projects such as offshore wind, Thames Tideway and Hinkley Point C. Noble Francis, the CPA’s Economics Director, said: “The easing of the social distancing restrictions in summer led to a sharp recovery in certain sectors of the construction industry — most notably, in the form of increased demand for private housing and private housing rm&i where growth is currently strong. The government’s commitment to infrastructure delivery, as outlined in the National Infrastructure and Construction Procurement Pipeline for 2020/21, is also a promising sign of growth. “But, uncertainty continues to loom for the commercial sector. If working from home becomes more engrained in society, footfall in city and town centres will decline leading to a lack of demand for office and retail space.” Published ahead of the second pseudo-lockdown in England and stricter measures across the UK, Dr

Francis outlined a ‘No Deal’ Brexit as a second ‘critical’ factor for the wider economy with the ensuing impact on the sector. This and a further national lockdown were identified in the CPA’s other scenario. Dr Francis added: “A free trade deal agreed in principle with the EU, with the details determined over time, would at least give some degree of confidence for what is still a fragile economic recovery. In addition, construction recovery so far has been highly reliant on government either directly through spending in infrastructure or indirectly through policy stimulus to boost housing. “Government has an extra responsibility, therefore, to deliver on its announcements and ensure construction recovery does not stall in the next 12 months. We certainly aren’t out of the woods yet.” ■ For more information from the Construction Products Association, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw001

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Universal e-learning Reflecting the impact of the coronavirus crisis, the big winners in our changing world will undoubtedly include all things digital — from online trading to online learning. Here, the BMF discusses a major overhaul to its BMF Campus e-learning platform.


e have all had to learn new processes and procedures in our working environment during this year, some of which may well continue as common practice once the pandemic is finally behind us. Of course, online learning is not a new concept and — launched back in 2012 — BMF Campus has a proven track record for high quality, cost-effective product and technical training and personal skills development. Yet while the content has constantly developed to meet market needs over the past eight years, the BMF Campus user platform has remained the same. However, the site has now been completely redesigned and relaunched as a fully responsive e-learning platform that has the flexibility to meet the varying requirements of all merchant members. This is very much in line with the BMF’s Project Excellence strategy designed to identify different merchant member types and create training and service packages to match their specific needs. The next generation BMF Campus platform went live in October, and the first tranche of existing users have already migrated to the new site. All users will be live on the new site by March next year.

Behind the new purple colourway branding, users will now enjoy a vastly improved online experience with content easily accessible across mobile devices as well as work PCs. Many other changes lie beneath the surface of the powerful custom learning platform — designed by the BMF’s Campus partner, Cortexa — to enable every merchant to effectively build their own BMF Campus subscription. There are three Tier subscription levels, all of which enable access to the BMF Building Block programmes encompassing four key training areas with a wide range of courses. These cover product and technical training, soft skills such as customer service, plus H&S and cyber security as well as core IT skills. Subscribers can build their own learning bundles by mixing and matching course sets to deliver the content they require. All three Tier levels allow local managers to take full control. They can enrol their staff onto BMF Campus, add new starters and allocate specific programmes to individuals. The Tier 1 subscription is generally best suited to smaller merchants, with up to 50 learners, who require only a single hierarchy point to manage all users and monitor their progress. Tier 2 provides a more granular experience and the facility to manage a network or

branches and departments to better organise and manage learners in different areas. Tier 2 subscribers can also add their own branding and visual themes, and create their own courses directly into the system using a range of assets including video and quizzes. They can also track and manage compliance with automated certification and recertification management to send reminders to learners to undertake retraining where appropriate. Lastly, Tier 3 is aimed at those with a strong in-house HR or learning development team, who require the system’s fully-featured capacity to build their own courses, run webinars and create and manage custom learning pathways for different user groups. ■ To find out more about the all-new BMF Campus, get in touch with your BMF Regional Manager or contact Jonathan Griffiths at Cortexa via Jonathan.griffiths@cortexa.co.uk ■ BMF training ranges from formal Apprenticeships and sector-specific Diplomas and a Foundation Degree in Merchant Management, to online product knowledge and other specialist skills training.


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Social distancing in play as MKM Building Supplies opens its new branch in Scunthorpe

Expansion plans Whilst the disruption that has dominated most of the year continues as the nation maintains its rear-guard action against the coronavirus pandemic, many of the sector’s largest merchant businesses have forged ahead with plans to open new branches through both acquisition and the launch of brand new sites. PBM reports.


ith an uneven series of lockdown measures still in place across the four nations of the UK and a final departure from the European Union close on the horizon yet remaining to be precisely settled, the year has not exactly been easy to navigate. For all the uncertainty, the merchant sector’s relatively strong recovery since the initial easing of measures in the summer has allowed the pause button to be released and expansion plans to be actioned once again. Focusing on some of the sector’s largest merchant business, there has been a real flurry of activity in recent weeks right across the nation. MKM Building Supplies, for


example, has extended its geographic coverage in Scotland through the acquisition of DTC Merchants’ three branches based in Dumfries and Irvine, Ayrshire. Established by Donald Young, Roger Thomson and Colin Cameron in 2007, DTC has grown impressively and has carved out a first-class reputation in its territory. Donald Young, who has run and driven the growth of the company, will remain with the business for a period of time to assist with the ownership transition. The acquisition of this high-quality merchant network in the South West of Scotland continues the rapid growth of MKM and expands its geographic coverage

still further, and closely follows on from the opening of a further new branch in Scunthorpe in November. Up to 10 additional jobs will be created in Bristol when Selco Builders Warehouse moves from its Bedminster branch into a new 140,000 sq ft site on Cater Road, Bishopsworth on December 14. The new location will be the largest outlet in the company’s 69-strong UK network and Chief Executive Howard Luft said: “The internal space at Cater Road alone is more than double the size of the old site and there is the added advantage of a huge external yard.” The new store will host more than 12,500 building supplies and materials, with wider

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Jumping for joy as Williams Trade Only Plumbing and Heating Supplies embarks upon a significant programme of growth.

aisles making it easier for customers to shop. Reflecting one of the year’s key developments, the branch will also feature a dedicated Click & Collect area. Despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Selco has also unveiled plans for its first branch opening of 2021 with a new location in Bootle scheduled to open in April and becoming its 70th UK branch. Howard explained: “Liverpool has been a long-term target area and we are delighted that we will be bringing that to reality next year. “The coronavirus crisis has been an extremely challenging period for the entire country and it’s been no different for us at Selco, but we are determined and excited to keep moving the business forward.” The year’s unpredictable trading conditions have equally not dampened the outlook of Williams Trade Only Plumbing and Heating Supplies which was set to open the doors to its 39th branch, in Poole, on 1st December. Despite the unprecedented challenges, the independent merchant has retained all its branches and maintained its ambitious plans for substantial further growth. This latest branch to open in the South West joins the firm’s ‘huge’ Bristol regional fulfilment centre and trade counter which opened in 2019. MD Ray Stafford commented: “Poole is the first in our next wave of branch expansion, which will include locations in Wiltshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire in addition to Dorset. These additional sites will be supported by further investment in our second distribution centre, which will be created by the expansion of our current site at Milton Keynes. This expanded distribution facility will come online early in 2021.” Lastly, and continuing its own ongoing ambitious expansion plans, Huws Gray Group has acquired Leeds-based Milford Building Supplies. Milford was established 41 years ago from a single site on Cardigan Road in Headingley and the business grew steadily through the 80s and 90s with a second site on Skinner Lane in the Mabgate area of the city acquired in 1997. This acquisition is the first in the Leeds area for Huws Gray and significantly strengthens the company’s presence in Yorkshire. Matthew Owen, the Group’s Head of Acquisitions, said: “We are delighted to be actively on the acquisition trail again, and optimistic about the future.”


■ National Timber Group has launched a new division named ‘National Timber Systems’ to supply trussed rafters, gable and party spandrels, engineered joists, floor and roof cassettes as well as the innovative NYTROOF rapid fit ‘room in the roof ’ system. The new brand will combine the design, manufacturing, and logistic capabilities of National Timber Group’s existing portfolio — which have been previously provided through Arnold Laver and NYTimber — to create one high-quality national offering. Newly-appointed MD Nick Kershaw previously led NYTimber and founded its engineered wood products division in 2010, successfully diversifying the business and creating a new £10m revenue stream. He said: “I’m really excited about the new division and what we will be able to offer our customers in the future.”

■ The new Chandlers Roofing Supplies branch in Guildford is

said to be the largest of its kind in the region. Following a multimillion pound investment, the 17,500 sq foot flagship branch in Peasmarsh uniquely features a ‘drive thru’ facility whilst the “huge new warehouse and equally large yard” can stock in excess of 600 roofing products. This latest branch joins the newly opened Leatherhead branch whilst a further new branch is set to open in Rye, East Sussex and will bring the number of Roofing Supplies branches in the group to nine, operating from the Midlands to the South East. ■ AVS Fencing & Landscaping Supplies, which became part of Lawsons Holdings back in February, has acquired West Sussex-based Bell Davis with its site in Worthing becoming the eleventh AVS branch in the south of England. AVS MD Roger Peace said: “We are delighted to acquire this longstanding business, extending and enhancing our ability to serve customers with high quality fencing and landscaping products.”


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Flex-R is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of EPDM materials and cold-applied roofing systems. This year, the company celebrates a significant milestone in its history by marking 20 years of supplying to the roofing industry.

PBM spoke with Duncan Winter, Trading Director of Flex-R.


As Flex-R celebrates its 20th anniversary, can you tell us how it all started? To put it simply, it all began with EPDM. The company started 20 years ago with the plan to launch a rubber roofing system into the UK market as although an established product in America, back in 2000 EPDM products were relatively unknown here. Launching an unknown system into the market could only work by supplying a trusted and reliable world leading product. Flex-R worked with Carlisle SynTec, the pioneers of rubber roofing, to exclusively distribute Rubberbond Fleeceback. In fact we believe in the product so much we still supply it today. However, getting customers to use a new product is never easy and it has taken a lot of hard work! Flex-R knew the benefits of EPDM — a strong, flexible system which is quick to install — but to start with, installers weren’t comfortable about moving away from their usual systems.


What can you offer merchants? Merchants play a vital role in getting any product direct to market and we believe the merchants deserve a supply partner who works with — and offers unique product to — them and not direct to their customers. Flex-R created an exclusive range of own brand products for the


merchant market which provides flexibility to their customers. We supply two distinct EPDM products, ClassicBond an economical membrane which is easy to install and ClassicBond Pro, a highperformance polyester reinforced EPDM which offers greater tear and puncture resistance. When we supply a product, you can be confident that we’ve done the research to launch a system which solves problems for a merchant’s customers. For example, our ClassicBond EPDM is available in a range of large sheet formats with rolls up to 15m and this flexibility means a lot of smaller projects can be completed in one piece, whilst merchants can cut the membrane to size.


So do you only supply EPDM products? No, Flex-R has always believed in working closely with merchants and their customers, listening to the issues they face on the roof. We supply a range of cold applied systems for most applications: ClassicLiquid is a strong, rapid curing, one component liquid membrane for application over existing roofing systems. ClassicRepair is a cost effective, all year-round, patch & repair waterproofing solution. Finally, we have Sure Edge, a fast-fit, PVC-u edge trim system designed around a high-quality finish and the durability to offer an extra-long life.


What else can you offer merchants? We are all about building the relationship with merchants. We achieve this by getting out and visiting the merchants to showcase our range of products. It is our ability to be handson with merchants and their customers that is a real point of difference for us. For example, we provide in-store training for merchant staff so they fully understand the benefits of our systems and we also hold demonstration events for their customers to show the simplicity of installing Flex-R systems. Most importantly for merchants, we also carry enough stock at any one time available for next day delivery.


Apart from the obvious issue of coronavirus, what do you see as some of the key industry challenges? The industry is facing big challenges in the future through a lack of labour. By working with Flex-R and offering training through the merchants, we hope that contractors can see the benefits of this busy and rewarding industry. Keeping the working environment safe is also a constant consideration. We want to find the safest and cleanest products available for the contractor which is why we are now looking to launch a selfadhered membrane. ■ For more information on Flex-R’s product range and support services for merchants, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw002


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Global Stone has announced two senior appointments. Firstly, Glen Swainston (left) as joined as Regional Sales Director, Midlands after more than 22 years in the industry including recent roles at MKM and Brett. Chris Bourne, who has been with Long Rake Spar for nine years, will take up the role of Regional Sales Director, South in early 2021. Chris brings over 20 years’ experience of working within the industry with previous roles at Tarmac and Hanson. Ibstock Concrete has made a number of senior appointments, with Chris Piper taking up the position of Sales Director for Housing, and Gavin Hoe appointed as Sales Director for Merchants. Tim Wright, MD of Ibstock Concrete’s building products division, said: “Our aim is to give our customers a single point of contact for multiple product solutions, adding value to the service we provide through a more integrated, marketled approach.” The National Merchant Buying Society has expanded its E-Commerce team with Ellie Harris and Kayleigh Owen joining as E-Commerce Assistants to help support the development and growth of the OnePlace platform, as well as working on NMBS’ other digital channels. They will be working closely with E-Commerce Manager Reece Gerrard to test and drive new developments on the platform, to on-board suppliers, and demonstrate the platform functionality to members and suppliers. Wayne Stonehill has joined Evergreens UK Group. The newly appointed Sales Manager for the South East of England will reach out and support stockists and installers and the ArtificialGrass.com team supplying independent builders’ merchants nationwide. This new position is a fresh challenge for Wayne, who joins the seven-strong sales team amongst thirty employees at the Midlandsbased company from his previous role at Brett Paving. He also ran his own landscaping business and brings a breadth of product and market knowledge as well as first-hand experience.

Azpects has welcomed Sophie Wentworth to its Midlands Sales Team. Sophie has worked in sales for the last 15 years across the heating and plumbing industry and will focus on supporting suppliers and landscapers across the South Central region as well as strengthening the company’s customer support function. Chloe Crease and Natasha Pratley have also joined the firm to lead its Marketing and Communications.

Williams has promoted Patrick Skilton to Head of Commercial from his prior role as Senior Commercial Manager. Patrick takes responsibility for product and pricing plus the marketing and supply chain functions will report to him. Louise Kelly has also been promoted to the role of HR Manager from Senior HR Business Partner. Louise joined Williams back in 1998, working in a variety of roles before landing in HR 15 years ago.



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One of the key trends to have emerged from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic is a turbocharging of the digital domain, with businesses ramping up their online capabilities to keep trading through the crisis. PBM reports on an online platform that works in tandem with merchant partners to drive brick sales.

Clicks and bricks


n online platform for the brick industry, Search A Brick is “looking to revolutionise the way bricks are sourced for all types of projects”. The business was established in October last year by Lee Ring using the experience he had gleaned from more than 20 years in the industry, starting out as a qualified bricklayer and then with subsequent roles in sales focusing mainly on brick facades for prestigious buildings, supporting architects and helping with brick matching. Identifying what he deemed to be a gap in the market, Lee saw an opportunity for a technology-driven solution that could “help build a bridge” between merchants and customers seeking a particular type of brick for their project, making the entire process as quick and efficient as possible. The company’s mission statement reveals its intent to “disrupt the brick industry by offering a platform that enables the ultimate connection between both buyers and sellers in the brick market — from merchants looking to upload their stock and be seen by

1,000s of daily visitors, to end consumers looking for a fast, free solution to check brick stock levels and locate bricks based on type, quantity and location.” From a customer perspective, the company says it recognises that “selecting the right brick can be a minefield, with so many colour types and textures available” and the platform can help by providing a single source of ideas for a new project, for brick matching purposes or even assisting a contractor or developer in looking for a lower cost option. In partnership with a number of specialist brick merchants currently, the portal offers customers the ability to source bricks via an easy-to-use search engine and view a sizeable online library. For the merchant, the service opens up huge potential for generating additional sales, unlimited by current trading areas. Indeed, the company’s tagline is telling: ‘Selling your bricks for you 24/7’. Merchants can also search the catalogue to find stock for their own customers.

And as the coronavirus pandemic has accentuated, it can be a vital differential for merchants to have a digital presence and develop their online reach to facilitate additional ‘real world’ sales. As Lee contends: “Many merchants do not even have an online presence, let alone an online store. Failing to move from the ‘traditional’ to the online world is the first step of a formula to fail. We aim to help, and with Digital Marketing specialists on board we can hit audiences not available to most merchants.” In a tumultuous year that has thrown up unprecedented disruption to established practices and borne witness to innovative solutions to meet the challenges head on, Lee stresses the importance of ‘constantly evolving’ the platform: “We are looking to listen to both merchants and their customers. We aim to offer a solution that not only makes everyone’s lives easier, but also reduces the amount of time consumption involved. Listening to feedback and evolving the platform as we grow shows just how flexible our business model can be.”

■ To explore what Search A Brick has to offer, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw003



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The next level Electric-powered forklifts are growing in popularity amongst merchant businesses, as technological improvements mean the units can offer a growing number of in-use benefits such as reduced emissions and noise without any compromise to performance. PBM reports on the recent launch of Still’s latest RX 60 electric forklift truck.


ith stricter emissions standards for diesel vehicles, many merchant firms have reassessed their full vehicles fleet to consider more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective alternatives. For numerous reasons, albeit with some notable exceptions, the internal combustion engine remains the default for delivery vehicles yet merchants such as Lawsons and Covers are among an increasing number to have adopted electric forklifts from a number of manufacturers. Furthermore, their duties are not just limited to the relatively more amenable surroundings of the warehouse, but are able to operate outside in the yard as well. Whilst it also has an established portfolio of diesel and LPG machines, Still produced its first electric FLT — the EGS 1000 — back in 1949 when forklifts as a


concept were a rarity in Europe. Indeed, the company can trace its expertise in electric engineering right back to its inception in 1920 when founder Hans Still established a business repairing electric motors in Spaldingstrasse, Hamburg. Now, in its centenary year, the company has expanded its forklift line further with the launch of the latest member of the successful RX 60 electric forklift truck family. With a load capacity of 3.5 to 5.0 tonnes, the new addition is said to offer benefits not only to those customers who primarily handle loads indoors, but also those which have to transport heavy loads outdoors. In addition to its agility, maneuverability and high driving comfort, the compact 80 Volt electric forklift truck is said to offer outstanding handling performance and high availability — all without exhaust fumes.

Power and performance The Still Performance System is described as standing for “the intelligent linking of all hardware and software components for the lift and travel drive”. As a result, the new RX 60-35/50 has been designed to provide a well-matched package of powerful drive components and sensitive operating functions. Within the series, seven different vehicle variants are available to customers with a

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load centre of 500mm as standard, or 600 mm upon request. Furthermore, both lead acid batteries and lithium-ion technology are available whilst a high-performance variant is available in all weight classes and is said to “excel in demanding application profiles with even more handling capacity, more power and acceleration”. In 2019, independent testing certified that the ‘little brother’ of the new series — the RX 60-25 with a load capacity of 2.5 tonnes — ranked among the “best in direct electric forklift truck competition with a handling performance and gradeability on a par with a comparable diesel forklift truck”. This successful drive concept has been transferred to the new RX 60 up to 5.0

tonnes, made possible by two powerful encapsulated three-phase drive motors with active cooling in the front axle. In the high performance version, the two 11 kW motors provide even more power and increase the drive motor output by 46% compared to the predecessor. Maneuverability is said to be assured as both motors are driven, even at the full steering angle. Demand-driven active cooling, meanwhile, ensures high thermal stability even at maximum handling performance whilst “robust and maintenance-free” fans cool the encapsulated components of the power electronics as well as the lift and drive motors via temperature control.

High availability Still asserts that no matter what the application, users will be able to rely on the machine’s availability. This is due to the quick start mode and the automatic spring-loaded parking brake, but also to the intuitive Easy Control on-board computer which enables the truck to be ready for operation in a matter of seconds with the driver immediately presented with a clear and convenient overview of all relevant performance functions and truck information. Thanks to its low consumption and a battery capacity of 930 Ah (59.5 kWh) — or up to 118.4 kWh in the Li-Ion version of the RX 60-50 — the power pack has been designed to “easily cope with two shifts in a row without interim charging”. In terms of operator comfort and convenience, and therefore linking in to safety in operation, the RX 60 features a low front body and the well-considered placement of controls and displays, including enhanced leg- and headroom. Furthermore, the mast profiles are designed for optimum visibility to create an extra-large field of vision on the transported goods and past the mast. Choosing the ‘right’ forklift truck has perhaps always been a complex process that must marry lifting capacity and performance with the particular operational and logistical needs of a business. And increasingly, the choice of the right energy system clearly has a major role to play. With the performance advantages now offered by modern lead-acid batteries and, particularly, lithium-ion batteries set against the ongoing steps to meet significant CO2 emission reduction targets, merchants now have even more options open to them when considering their materials handling fleets. Added to that, Still contends that with the RX 60 now with a load capacity of up to 5 tonnes, another segment of the forklift truck market has the opportunity to give even more consideration to electric forklifts.

■ For comprehensive information on the full Still forklift truck range, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw004



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Getting ready for Brexit

Collaboration has been a key feature of the sector’s response to the coronavirus crisis. And with the Brexit transition period set to expire at the end of the year, the industry has once again come together through the auspices of the Construction Leadership Council to ensure that businesses are fully appraised of the information they need ahead of the UK’s departure from the European Union.


onstituted back in August, the Brexit Working Group of the Construction Leadership Council was established with the aim of producing comprehensive guidance and information to help the construction industry get ready and be prepared to maintain business continuity at the end of the transition period. The Group has sought to identify and disseminate the critical issues facing the sector whilst reflecting the possible outcomes of any deal, or in the event of no agreement, whilst also feeding back into Government. The work of the group was split into four distinct workstreams covering the following key areas: Movement of People: preparing for the new immigration rules, accessing alternative labour supply and reciprocal arrangements on skills and qualifications in new trade deals.

Movement of Goods and Materials: preparing for the new customs regime, guidance on WTO rules in the event of no agreement with the EU and alternative sourcing opportunities in the rest of the world and the domestic market. Standards and Alignment: guidance on the Construction Products Regulation, EU notified bodies, CE marking, UK designated standards, UKCA marking and the longer term prospects of (de)harmonisation and (de)alignment. Data Adequacy: business awareness of the potential impact and mitigating actions on data flow in the event of no agreement with the EU and no decision by the European Commission on the UK’s ‘data adequacy’. The Builders Merchants Federation has acted as co-chair of the Movement of Goods


and Materials workstream along with the Construction Products Association (with the two organisations also co-chairing the CLC’s Product Availability Group, set up in the wake of COVID-19). John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF, commented at the time: “The four workstream areas are critical for business continuity following the Brexit transition period, and the Movement of Goods and Materials is particularly relevant for the building materials sector.” Since late September, the CLC Brexit Working Group has been publishing a series of business support guides to help companies manage their processes ahead of the end of the transition period. For example, the Movement of Goods and Materials Guide addresses the impact of the Government’s decision to leave the EU Customs Union and begin its own custom regime as an independent trading state, whether a deal is secured with the European Union or not.


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Accordingly, as the UK institutes its own customs territory, businesses importing goods will need to make preparations to comply with the new customs rules from 1st January 2021. Broken down into nine sections, the guide covers: • Customs Regime – Importing Goods and Materials • Trade in Goods and Materials between Great Britain and Northern Ireland • Trade in Goods and Materials between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland • Tariffs and Tariff-Rate Quotas – The UK Global Tariff • Standards and Alignment • Preparedness of Border and Emergency Planning • Shortage Materials and Stockpiling • Useful Resources • Further Information John Newcomb commented: “With many businesses focused on trading through the COVID-19 pandemic they may have lost sight of the fact that the UK’s transition period with the EU ends on 31st December (but) we must all be prepared for new customs rules and other changes that come into effect from 1st January. “While the majority of construction products used in the UK are made here, almost a quarter (24%) are imported, with nearly two thirds (61%) of these coming from EU countries — just one reason why the whole building materials supply chain should engage with this guidance.” Other publications have already covered ‘Brexit data protection and GDPR’ and ‘Movement of People’ whilst the ‘Conformity

Marking of Construction’ guide explains that, from January, there will be three different product marks that manufacturers — and others in the supply chain — may need to apply, depending on where the product is intended to be used. As detailed in the new guide, the three marks are: • The EU’s marking for product conformity (CE marking) • The United Kingdom Conformity Assessed mark (UKCA mark) • The United Kingdom Northern Ireland mark (UK(NI) mark), which is additional to the CE marking in some instances. The guide helps businesses plan for the changes by presenting several scenarios that explains which legislation will apply to products, what marking is needed and which conformity assessment body they may need to assess a product’s compliance before placing it on the relevant market. Peter Caplehorn, Chief Executive of the CPA and Chair of the Standards and Alignment workstream, said: “We hope the guidance is of help to clarify the situation with regard to marking of products, especially as we transition from one system to another. “We recognise that there are several areas still to be worked on across this whole topic and some revision may be necessary in coming months. The group is also working on a number of further documents around information that supports the marks including testing, standards, certification processes, and organisations providing these or supporting manufacturers when placing products on the market.”

BMF’s CLC Task Force role confirmed Following a review of the Construction Leadership Council’s structure and operating model, the Builders Merchants Federation has been confirmed as a full member and will play a key role in supporting the work of the CLC over the next 12 months as the country transitions out of the EU and manages the ongoing economic impacts of COVID-19. BMF CEO John Newcomb will sit on the CLC Task Force, one of three CLC groups created in order to both represent the industry effectively and take forward an ambitious programme of work, with the aim of “building the better, stronger and more sustainable industry that Britain will need in future”. The redefined role of the CLC Task Force Group is to lead and co-ordinate the industry activities identified in the 1st June 2020 Roadmap to Recovery plan and the deliverables established by the respective Working Groups and Workstreams, acting as the “convening and representation group for the CLC and the wider industry”. John Newcomb said: “The CLC Task Force has proved its effectiveness in supporting the industry during the Covid crisis. The BMF’s contribution has now earned the building materials sector a permanent seat at the ‘top table’ of the construction industry. We look forward to continuing to represent our sector during the implementation of the Roadmap to Recovery.” ■ To view the full suite of business readiness advice from the CLC, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw005



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BUSINESS ESSENTIALS The Timber Trade Federation has assessed many of the key implications of the UK’s departure from the European Union in recent months, with regular email bulletins and updates to the Brexit hub on its website. It has recently issued updated advice to help firms prepare for the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021.


esigned with the aim of supporting the UK timber supply chain to prepare for the new processes and challenges as the Brexit transition period concludes, the recently launched ‘TTF Brexit Guide: preparing for 1 January 2021’ offers detailed information on the following: • the introduction of Custom Checks on goods coming from EU countries • the UK Global Tariff replacing the EU Common External Tariff • the need for most timber firms to complete Due Diligence • the introduction of UK Conformity Assessed (UK CA) marking The TTF cautions that these are “significant changes, as the EU is the primary source of timber imports into the UK” and the introduction of new requirements such as Custom Checks will mean a “greater administrative burden for firms when importing from the EU”. While most timber products will remain duty free under the UK Global Tariff, it states that firms should still check and familiarise themselves with the Commodity Codes relevant to their products. UK importers of EU timber will also be considered ‘Operators’ and will be obliged to exercise due diligence to ensure negligible risk of illegally harvested timber entering their supply chain. The Timber Trade Federation recently launched a free Due Diligence Toolkit to support firms to meet their obligations. Enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw006 for details. UK CA marking commences from 1 January 2021 and while manufacturers can continue to supply CE marked goods to the UK during 2021, where they are using an EU Notified Body they must prepare for the UK


Reality check CA mark to become the sole UK requirement from January 2022. European harmonised standards and UK designated standards will be identical to begin with; however firms should also plan for a future where these may diverge over time. David Hopkins, Chief Executive of the TTF, said: “Regardless of whether a deal is signed, the UK will see a fundamental shift in the relationship with our biggest trading partner. When the UK exits the EU single market and customs union, it is essential every business in the UK timber supply chain is prepared. “Using this guidance, which is tailored to meet the needs of the timber supply chain, firms will be able to build a working knowledge of these changes, as well as be directed to where they can find detailed information.

“Make sure you take the time to analyse how the end of the transition period may affect your business, use the TTF tools to get yourself on the right path, and clearly communicate any potential issues with both your customers and your suppliers to minimise disruptions.” The guidance is focused on providing information on Contract Documents, Logistics, Customs Entry, Finance, CE Marking, Plant Health, EUTR vs UKTR, Duty Rates, Commodity Codes, Trade Preferences, and linking to where firms can find more. ■ For more information, visit the Brexit information hub on the TTF website by entering the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw007 To download the ‘TTF Brexit Guide: preparing for 1 January 2021’, use www.rdr.link/mw008


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Marking the change

David Osborne, Managing Director of Roman, explains the change in UK legislation from CE to UKCA Marking which comes into force on 1st January 2021 and details the considerations for manufacturers, merchant resellers and customers alike.


s the UK leaves the EU at the end of December, there is a very important change in mandatory product marking to follow with the new UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) Mark being phased in from 1st January 2021 to replace the CE Mark in the UK (this includes England, Wales and Scotland). This marks a critical change in legislation, however a transition period will run from the start of the New Year to ease the changeover as all products placed on the market in Great Britain with the CE Mark will remain valid until 1st January 2022. Similarly, the UKCA Marking does not apply to existing stock — i.e. products manufactured and ready to place on the market before 1st January 2021 — with the CE Marking on such products still valid. The UKCA Marking is invalid for products placed on the EU market which require CE Marking, and the same applies for Northern Ireland market which will

“It is the responsibility of manufacturers to ensure their products conform to the standard, but the final reseller — for example, builders’ merchants or plumbers — also has a legal responsibility to ensure the products they stock, or are specifying, conform to the standard.”

At Roman, every product is digitally photographed before final packaging and carries an individual product code for complete traceability. As a responsible British manufacturer of showering products, it carries out three main tests to ensure all showering products conform to the BS EN14428 Standard: ●

require the CE Marking or new UK (NI) Marking. All products placed in Great Britain can have both the CE and UKCA Marking affiliated to them, providing they fulfil the associated requirements. It is the responsibility of manufacturers to ensure their products conform to the standard, but the final reseller — for example, builders’ merchants or plumbers — also has a legal responsibility to ensure the products they stock, or are specifying, conform to the standard. It must be stressed that the CE/UKCA Marking is a mandatory legal requirement with enforcement. Two of the common misconceptions are that it is something that the manufacturers would resolve if there was a problem; and secondly saying that you conform is one thing, but proving you conform is actually what CE/UKCA Marking is all about. There are still many non-compliant products out there and there are huge consequences for the seller of the non-compliant product. Indeed, the internet and the lower end of the market have been prospering by openly selling a wide array of non-compliant products.


A water test to ensure there is no leakage. This is tested with a shower valve set at the stated pressure in the enclosure being tested for a set amount of time. A cycle rig to test the opening and closing of the shower enclosure door. The cycle rig will open and close the door 20,000 times, which replicates a product lifecycle. A swing ball test, which uses different weighted balls of up to 50kg, to swing into the shower enclosure, wetroom panel or bath screen. This test is undertaken to imitate if someone were to fall into the product — to make sure the structure is strong enough to withstand the impact (testing of glass is a pre-requisite at point of toughening).

More information on Roman’s range of products and support services for merchants can be found via www.rdr.link/mw009 Large fines and imprisonment can be the ultimate result for knowingly selling non-conforming products, so it is strongly urged that buyers ask the right questions around CE/UKCA marking to all their suppliers. ■ For further details on the transition from the CE Mark to the new UKCA Mark, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw010


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One stop shop With an incredible history that references both Napoleon and the NFL’s New England Patriots, Price & Pierce Forest Products is a leading supplier of responsibly sourced timber, plywood and panel products from across the globe. PBM spoke with the company’s Keith Fagg to discover more about the firm’s merchant offer and how it is responding to the current market challenges.


s laid out in fascinating detail on the company’s website, the story of Price & Pierce begins in 1812 “when Napoleon was successfully blockading the Swedish ports to deny Britain access for masts and spars for their navy.” To source the necessary timber, the British Admiralty sent one Mr. William Price to Canada — and the mission was a resounding success. William Price remained in Canada, building up a “very substantial timber business” which was duly passed on to his sons. In the 1860s, William’s son Edward came to England to establish a UK office and in 1869 formed a timber agency partnership with John Pierce of Liverpool. The


partnership flourished and by 1905, Price & Pierce floated on the London Stock Exchange as a Public Limited Company. International expansion and diversification followed over the ensuing years whilst in 2019, the total shareholding of Price & Pierce Forest Products was acquired by International Forest Products (IFP) — a subsidiary of the Kraft Group conglomerate, placing the company within the same corporate structure as the all-conquering New England Patriots American Football team, and the New England Revolution, one of the founding franchises of Major League Soccer. In conversation with PBM, Price & Pierce’s Keith Fagg states that “Becoming

part of the Kraft Group has been a tremendous positive and has led to Price & Pierce being able to increase our operations within the UK timber trade both in terms of the existing portfolio of products and other new products.” Within that portfolio is a range that, as the firm’s website attests, is “globally sourced and sustainable… to suit all of your construction needs”. Keith explains further: “We offer a very broad base of products which includes; sheet materials (TG4 chipboard, MDF, OSB, structural hardwood & softwood plywood), structural timber, decking, sleepers, fencing materials, joinery softwood, door cores, with more supply being sourced all the time.”

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With stock operations based in Poole, Tilbury, Hull and Creeksea offering a variety of products from each location, the firm provides just in time deliveries to meet the requirements of national, regional and local merchants across all parts of the country. Typically, says Keith, the business works on a two-day delivery lead time and merchant support is a vital component of the company’s service provision. He says: “Our sales offices will always have people on hand to advise merchants on any technical issues or questions. With many employees having worked for Price & Pierce and in the timber trade for over 30 years, there are not many questions we cannot answer. “Over the years we have seen big changes in the timber trade with merchants wanting a range of materials on a single delivery as they look to offer their customers a more diverse product range. With this trend, Price & Pierce has also adapted and in doing so we look to offer a one stop shop service.” To meet the ever-evolving needs of its customers, Keith added: “We will often supply samples to our customers to show them the quality of what we have to offer, giving them confidence in a material before they purchase it. We also supply technical data sheets for our products and

certification to show that our products have been responsibly sourced and are environmentally friendly. “Further to this we are also members of TRADA who, when needed, can provide us with advice and assurance on our products.” With security of responsibly sourced supply and ensuring products are fit for their intended purpose being vital and long standing issues in the timber industry, Keith notes: “There are certainly challenges when it comes to the performance of sheet materials and that they actually meet the criteria for the class use they have been marked with. Furthermore, the management of forests is also an important issue as we look to protect the environment as the threat of global warming and damage to habitats continues to grow.” He adds: “The industry has seen a real focus on making sure products reach the class standard they are assigned. More testing has been carried out to ensure the required criteria are achieved, and there is a focus on regular mill visits to ensure standards are being met.” With the coronavirus crisis continuing to present an unprecedented challenge, and ongoing uncertainty about the precise nature of the UK’s trading relationship with the EU

and the rest of the world lingering as we approach the end of the transition period, Keith remains resolute about the future: “Despite the current economic climate, the timber trade has done particularly well with a very strong market at the moment. Having said that, we know this will not last forever and it is through keeping a diverse product range that we have the ability to focus on different areas of the market in order to maintain a strong and stable business. “Brexit is obviously a big talking point, but just as Price & Pierce has adapted over time by holding more stock on the ground and venturing further from our historical agency basis, we will continue to expand our range of stocks on the ground and as the transition period ends, if needed, adapt deliveries in the event of any possible delay that might be experienced.”

■ For more information on the Price & Pierce product portfolio and its range of merchant support services, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw011



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Standing together As we reach the end of a year that has presented more difficulties than anyone could have reasonably foreseen, PBM speaks with two of Norbord’s senior sales managers about how the business is looking to help the builders’ merchants sector through current challenges and beyond.


anjit Dosanjh, National Sales Manager for UK & Ireland: It is obvious and well-documented that the nature of lockdown, furlough, safe distance protocol and new remote ways of working have meant that all companies must adapt and operate new practices in order to succeed in today’s new world. What exactly does this mean for Norbord as a supplier to the merchant and building industry? In essence, we are very talkative and communicative, speed of response-driven, efficient and “modern” in communications, as have our customers. In turn, our customer base is reaping the rewards of changing the way we work together. Of course, nothing is the same as a face-to-face meeting, but we are all adapting to the new norm across the building industry — and


everywhere! It has been challenging at times for all of us as any change is; but we have moved forward, as has the industry, and the building world is a really positive place to be. Due to the lockdown, and subsequent limitations on travel and staff levels, customers have not been on site or available for physical meetings. Yet we are talking more. Norbord’s base of merchants has reacted and we are working in tandem very well. We keep in touch with Zoom or Teams meetings — we are communicating much more, with more people in one place, and in much less time which is good for everyone. Merchants and suppliers alike now seem easier to access and results are quicker to realise. As a merchant’s customers now order on a click-and-collect basis in the main, their

online presence is crucial. In turn, we are supporting our customers with online sales and product training and, if a conversation is needed, our team is ready.


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ichard White, Norbord’s Distribution Sales Manager, explains how the business is working in partnership with the supply chain to drive trends in the engineered wood panel industry: The essence of the distribution business is the flexibility of supply — we provide solutions both regionally and nationally and understand the requirement to break bulk for the many micro-markets in the UK, Ireland and Europe. As a leader across many customer channels, Norbord’s job is to keep up with and, indeed, pioneer the trends in each one. With more satellite distribution operations in the supply of building materials generally, it is important we maximise our

super-efficient, consistent communication and delivery service — we offer EDI backed up by a good logistical offer with back-office support. The key to any good business relationship is there being a real value for both partners. We understand the value of great customers and have a real desire to work hard to make sure we remain of value to them. And in an ever-changing market place, flexibility in terms of support is crucial and the team at Norbord is committed to optimising service levels. As the only UK manufacturer of the three core products of OSB, ParticleBoard and MDF, we are set up to answer market demand quickly and the way to make our customers grow is to

support them to ensure that they gain market share in their segments. We are looking on the horizon of the next three to five years and we are shaping our business to integrate further; not the other way round.

Fit and forget ■ In a year of disruption, the ability to maximise time on site is even more

vital than ever. And with the vagaries of the British weather typically posing a particular challenge, solutions that perform come rain or shine are set to be in great demand. Following the recommendation of its local merchant, NYEs Building Supplies, Horsham-based construction, renovation and oak framing company Cartwood UK has utilised Norbord's CaberShieldPlus flooring on a recent project. The P5 chipboard flooring is protected on both sides with a tough, waterproof coating and is BBA approved for 60 days’ exposure to the weather when used with Norbord’s CaberFix D4 adhesive. Peter Woodley, co-owner of Cartwood, said: “It is the first time we have used a fully waterproof system like this on our developments. We were impressed with the versatility of the product and how easy it is to use — it handles well and there are no fussy storage requirements for the sheets prefitting, whilst it cut nicely with a circular saw and fitted together without issue using the CaberFix D4 adhesive.” Cartwood used CaberShieldPlus over the entire first floor level at a property development in West Sussex, and, as is all too common in the UK, the construction company was challenged with the usual rainstorms. Peter explained: “We had experienced extreme rainfall over the whole floor but we were really pleased it has dried without any signs of failure. In future, we will not be using another product due to its effectiveness — just fit and forget it!”

■ For further information on Norbord’s range of products and its support services for merchants, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw012



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BSW TIMBER IRO TIMBER INNOVATION AWARD IRO Timber, manufactured by BSW Timber, has claimed top spot in the Innovation category at the Wood Protection Association’s annual awards ceremony. An exclusive range of cladding and decking products which takes its inspiration from ‘Yakisugi’ — the traditional Japanese method of charring timber — IRO fought off tough competition at the prestigious awards after being shortlisted alongside Wood Campus, Gripsure and WJ Components. IRO, which is Japanese for ‘colour’, is crafted using an intricate seven-step process that is described as “combining an eye for detail with the latest timber technology”. The awardwinning product — available in a suite of 15 colours — is heat enhanced, brushed, treated, kiln dried and coated in a protective wood cream, resulting in a self-cleaning, lowmaintenance surface and “adding a twist to traditional cladding and decking”. Hamish Macleod (pictured), Director of Public affairs at BSW, said: “We are extremely proud of the popularity of IRO since its launch from both design-focused individuals and businesses alike, and it’s brilliant to see IRO being recognised for the innovative product that it is, making the team’s hard work all the more worthwhile.”

To see details on the range, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw013

CHESHIRE MOULDINGS BUSINESS INVESTMENT A further £2m has been invested by Cheshire Mouldings to increase its UK production and distribution capabilities. The company says the investment will “bolster its warehouse capacity, speed up production and streamline its processes whilst continuing to provide the superior support to its merchants and stockists that it has become renowned for.” This month, a new 30,000 sq.ft. distribution centre is scheduled to open at its Merseyside site, housing a state-ofthe-art barcode picking and warehouse management system that is designed to reduce order lead times. An 80,000 sq.ft. storage warehouse will follow in late 2021. The business has also taken delivery of a brand-new automated moulding machine — a Powermat 1500 moulder from Weinig UK — to boost production efficiency. Cheshire Mouldings also reports that its commitment to product development has seen new stair part ranges developed to mirror latest trends and styles. Common parts have been redesigned “with the tradesman in mind” to make install as easy as possible, as well as reducing stock holdings in stockists and merchants. Furthermore, the introduction of new literature, including interactive options, an updated website and improved fitting instructions across all ranges is intended to provide merchants with quick reference materials whilst also offering installers all the assistance and support they need at their fingertips.

For full details on the infrastructure investment, new product ranges and marketing support, use the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw014

JB KIND 2021 DOOR COLLECTION Marking an impressive 150 years in business, Derbyshire door distributor JB Kind has announced the early launch of its 2021 Door Collection which is described as featuring “the classic styles customers love, plus some fresh new designs and twists on favourites.” With the previous 2020 ‘iPad brochure size’ proving so popular, the 2021 collection is also being produced in the same handy format. To make life even more convenient for merchants and their customers, there is also a new online flipbook option with informative links whilst merchants will receive a QR code sticker to display so the brochure can be easily downloaded via mobile in store. Sales Director Simon Johnson said: “We are delighted to be in a position to launch our new 2021 Door Collection early. All our top-selling favourites are still very much in situ, but we are proud of the many fresh new looks and features we are launching this year. “We’ve come a long way since our founder John Blower Kind started out in 1870, but our ethos of great quality at affordable prices remains unchanged.”

To see more on some of the highlights of the 2021 collection — such as the Urban Industrial range and a line-up of FD30 glazed fire doors — go to www.rdr.link/mw015



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TIMBER & JOINERY MEDITE SMARTPLY SITE HOARDING With merchants key customers, Medite SmartPly is outlining the importance of site hoarding as an “essential aspect” of any construction project. The firm cites the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which demonstrates the duty of care that all construction companies and site managers have to take all reasonable steps to ensure that both employees and the public are safe from construction work hazards, and hoarding is a crucial part of this. Smartply Siteprotect and Site Protect Plus OSB3 panels are said to have been specially developed as solutions to the five key hoarding considerations: 1. Site hoarding needs to be strong and durable enough to provide a secure barrier and withstand adverse weather. 2. It should be quick and hassle-free to install, enabling projects to start on time and progress efficiently, especially in current circumstances. 3. It should be adaptable to the site location. 4. It should adhere to the controlled access requirements of the site and be able to incorporate appropriate signage. 5. Finally, all site hoarding should always be aligned with the sustainability goals of the entire construction project itself, which can leave no room for illegally sourced tropical plywood, or boards which have unclear supply chains. The products can be produced in structurally sound panels of up to three metres tall. These can be supplied pre-primed to ensure projects can get up and running efficiently, whilst they are also available in thicknesses of 18 and 16mm for a lighter weight — but just as durable — option where ease of install is paramount. Finally, both versions of the FSC-certified panels have been developed to offer a smooth, flat surface to allow suitable, clearly visible signage to be incorporated easily around the site.

More details on the firm’s hoarding solutions are available via www.rdr.link/mw016

TIMBER TRADE FEDERATION CLASS 4 TIMBER TREATMENTS Merchants are being urged to uplift staff knowledge about treated timber, particularly in relation to the regulatory change to Use Class 4 (UC4) timber treatments for any material that will be used on the ground or in ground contact, such as decking bearers. Accordingly, the TTF has been co-operating with the Wood Protection Association and Timber Decking & Cladding Association to promote this key information across the supply chain. This is set against the findings of a survey of merchants conducted on behalf of the WPA and the TTF found that 97% did not know that a specific class of timber treatment exists for timbers used in ground contact, with only 3% recognising that a UC4 timber treatment is needed for this application. David Hopkins, CEO of the TTF, said: “This applies not only to sleepers and fence posts but to any material sold for use underneath timber decking. Even if it is sitting on a membrane on the ground, it is still ‘in ground contact’ so must have received a UC4 treatment before being sold for this purpose. “Educating all your staff gives merchants an opportunity to maximise sales and minimise risks.” Joists or carcassing material is often recommended for decking supports, but this material is only treated to UC2 or UC3 for internal use within a house — its treatment is not suitable for use on the ground outside. David added: “Timber Trade Federation members are aware of the change to UC4 timber treatment and are able to sell UC4 material to customers. Merchants need to ask their timber suppliers directly for UC4 treated timber, and ask for confirmation on the order.

HOLZ-HER VERTICAL PANEL SAW Offering an efficient, on-demand sheet material cutting service to your customers could be a real advantage for merchant businesses, and HolzHer — part of the Weinig Group — is outlining the benefits of its best-selling SECTOR 1254 vertical panel saw. Designed and manufactured specifically for timber and builders’ merchants, the machine has been built to provide a simple, cost-effective way of cutting materials to size. Described as ‘small but mighty’, the unit has a compact footprint of just 4.085 x 1.67m to allow “even the smallest branches to benefit from the precision cutting of perfectly square panels”. Built around a 100% rigid welded frame for strength and rigidity, the latest model in the series has a cutting length of 3,300mm (10 feet) and cutting height of 1,900mm (5’ 10”) with a cutting depth of 60mm and a standard five horsepower motor. The saw also comes equipped with a digital display that dispenses with lengthy set-up times whilst helping to ensure accuracy and reduce waste.

For more information including a video demo, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw018

Posters illustrating where different timber treatments should be used are available from the TTF for merchant’s yards and counters. Enter www.rdr.link/mw017 for details.



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Convert operations

As the industry continues to look to a future beyond natural gas heating systems given the UK’s ongoing commitment to reduce its carbon emissions, two of the sector’s leading manufacturers are supporting a new trial that features homes heated by prototype hydrogen gas boilers. PBM reports.


oiler manufacturers Baxi Heating and Worcester Bosch have installed hydrogen burning boilers at ‘HyStreet’ in purpose-built demonstration houses at DNV GL’s specialist test site at Spadeadam in Northumberland. The site has been used to complete over 200 tests, researching and proving the safety of converting homes and gas networks to hydrogen. The project is part of H21, a Network Innovation Competition project


sponsored by Ofgem. Northern Gas Networks is leading the project with partners Cadent, Scottish Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities, National Grid, DNV GL and the Health and Safety Executive’s science division. H21 is demonstrating how existing natural gas networks can be repurposed to safely carry 100% hydrogen. For the first demonstration, both Worcester Bosch and Baxi Heating have installed combi boilers into the houses on

HyStreet. The boilers have been developed as part of the UK Government-funded Hy4Heat programme, which is also supporting the development of hydrogen-ready gas cookers, fires and gas meters. As around 85% of UK homes currently rely on natural gas for heating and hot water, repurposing the natural gas grid for use with hydrogen would mean a low disruption option for householders to decarbonise their heating without the need for extensive changes to their existing system.

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Domestic properties responsible for approximately 15% of the UK’s carbon emissions, therefore tackling the impact of home heating is essential and one of the most difficult challenges in achieving net-zero emissions, given the need to make adaptations in almost every home. A growing library of studies and reports conclude that all viable scenarios for the UK to hit net-zero include hydrogen as a vital component. That is why Government and industry are working on various projects across the UK. Tim Harwood, Northern Gas Networks’ Project Director for H21 said: “Seeing the

boilers in situ at Spadeadam is an exciting step in the journey to realising our goal of a gas network transporting 100% hydrogen to customers. The hydrogen boiler looks and feels just like the natural gas version we all have today and is just as user-friendly, showing that a transition could cause minimal disruption to customers.” Dan Allason, Head of Research and Innovation, at DNV GL’s Spadeadam Research and Testing commented: “Eight out of ten homes in the UK use a gas boiler to heat their homes and provide hot water and replacing all gas boilers with electric

White heat ■ Worcester Bosch has recently published a white paper focused on decarbonisation and developing the practical adoption of the Government’s ‘Net Zero’ Fuelling carbon target by 2050. Titled Fuelling the Future, the document outlines the challenge faced by the industry the future at large and assesses a number of the emerging Working hand in hand with the government to decarbonise home heating. technologies — including hydrogen-ready boilers, heat pumps and hybrid systems — that will all contribute to a cleaner environment. Writing in the Executive Summary that introduces the white paper, Worcester Bosch CEO Carl Arntzen highlights the need for the industry to “roll up our sleeves and start putting plans into action” and also recognises that there “is unlikely to be one singular answer for all applications”. Consequently, Carl reports, there is a requirement for a broader analysis and an investigation into “how best certain heat generating sources may be more suited to certain property types over others”. Accordingly, Worcester intends that the white paper has been produced to “give an honest, impartial and technology agnostic view on the benefits, advantages and suitable applications for the UK’s future domestic heating requirements”. To download a copy of the Worcester Bosch Fuelling the Future white paper, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw019


alternatives could be extremely costly. Both of the boiler manufacturers have developed options with their hydrogen ready prototypes to assist the switch to a lower carbon alternative. “Having these fitted to the HyStreet demonstration project at Spadeadam gives gravitas to the proof of concept and public acceptability of appliances such as these. The boilers are one of the first important steps.” Baxi Heating’s Managing Director Karen Boswell added: “This is an important step forward on our hydrogen journey and we are delighted to be able to demonstrate this innovative new technology in a real life setting in the UK.” Concluding, Carl Arntzen, CEO of Worcester Bosch, said: “It is fantastic to see our prototype hydrogen boiler running successfully at this demonstration site. The boiler has operated seamlessly in its first month of operation and continues to provide both heating and hot water. “It proves that hydrogen gas has great potential as a zero-carbon alternative to natural gas for heating and hot water in the UK and beyond. These initial tests are incredibly encouraging and will hopefully give key decision makers confidence to deploy hydrogen gas as a fuel for the future.” ■ For more information on the potential of hydrogen gas boilers, enter the appropriate shortcode: Baxi Heating www.rdr.link/mw020 Worcester Bosch www.rdr.link/mw021 Hy4Heat programme www.rdr.link/mw022


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Making a mark Gary Perry, MD of Altecnic, discusses the changes coming in January to CE marking as a result of the UK leaving the EU and the implications it will bring for merchants and their customers.


ou will probably have heard, seen and know about ‘CE marking’. It appears on many products that are traded on the single market in the European Economic Area. The letters ‘CE’ mean that: • The manufacturer has checked that these products meet EU safety, health or environmental requirements • The product complies with EU legislation It also allows free movement of products within the European market. New UKCA marking With the UK leaving the EU, the Government has created a new UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking which will apply to most goods currently subject to the CE marking for items that are being sold in Great Britain. The new UKCA marking can be used from 1 January 2021 and to allow businesses time to adjust to the change, they will still be able to use the CE marking for a further year, and, in the majority of cases, until January 2022. However, the UKCA marking will not be recognised on the EU market or in Northern Ireland. So, products currently requiring a CE marking will still need one for sale in the EU from 1 January 2021. Goods can carry both the CE and UKCA markings so long as they are fully compliant with both UK and EU regulations. When the UKCA marking will be used Companies will need to use the new UKCA marking after 1 January 2021 if all of the following apply:


• the product is for the market in Great Britain • it is covered by legislation which requires the UKCA marking • it requires mandatory third-party conformity assessment • conformity assessment has been carried out by a UK conformity assessment body and the conformity assessment files haven’t been transferred from the UK body to an EU recognised body before 1 January 2021 From January 2022, the UKCA marking must, in the majority of cases, be affixed directly to the product. What you need to look out for As a result of these changes, merchants and installers alike will need to remain vigilant that the products that they sell and buy are marked correctly and therefore safe and legal to install in the UK. Without the proper marking, the products being used may not be manufactured to high or legal standards.

However, this does not apply to existing stock, for example if the product was fully manufactured and ready to place on the market before 1 January 2021. In this situation, the goods can still be sold in Great Britain with a CE marking even if covered by a certificate of conformity issued by a UK body.

What we are doing Here at Altecnic, we pride ourselves on only supplying approved and accredited products into the plumbing and heating market. To this end, we are working with all relevant industry partners to keep ahead of the changes in product marking regulation so we can assist our customers through the transition. Our aim is to make the switch from CE marking to UKCA markings a smooth one for all our stakeholders.

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■ Following the news that Altecnic has

recently been awarded ISO 45001:2018, the international standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S) management systems, the company has continued to add to its portfolio of more than 5,000 product lines with the launch of a new Thermostatic Mixing Valve (TMV) that enables the “thermal disinfection process to be brought up to the tap or shower head, reducing the time and cost to remove the potential for bacteria growth such as legionella”. The new Mixcal Careflo Plus TMV is said to remove the need to take off the TMV to ‘flush’ out the system, making the process quicker and more efficient. TMVs keep water temperatures safe by blending hot and cold water and maintaining it at a constant level, with the recommended temperature range for delivery of safe hot water where a TMV is installed is 38-44°. To prevent the growth of legionella bacteria, water should be stored below 20° or above 60°. As TMVs allow for high temperature water storage, the risk of bacterial growth is reduced but not eliminated. With Altecnic’s new TMV, using a special tool and the manual override function allows thermal disinfection to be performed through to the outlets, enabling a complete — rather than a partial — flush. This full thermal disinfection further helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. The Mixcal Careflo Plus TMV has been designed and made to meet the requirements of BS 7942:2000 and the NHS model engineering specification D08 for use in healthcare settings, hospitals, care homes and schools. ■ For detailed information on the new Mixcal Careflo Plus TMV, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw023

■ To find out more about the UKCA marking and the latest information, head to the Government’s Business and Industry web pages by entering the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw024

■ For more information on Altecnic’s range of products and services and to download its latest Product Guide, enter www.rdr.link/mw025 in your browser.



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While combi boilers remain a popular choice, depending on the hot water demand of a new build property, a cylinder could be a requirement. George Linder, Product Manager at Heatrae Sadia, explains how merchant teams can help to recommend hot water cylinder products.

Meeting hot water demand


ifferent customers will require varying heating set-ups, dependent on the needs of the end user. In developments likely to have a high hot water demand, a hot water cylinder is often considered essential. Merchant teams are in an excellent position to add-value if asked about hot water cylinders in order to help customers working on new build projects to avoid over- or under-sizing. Hot water requirements If merchant teams are involved in the early stages of product specification to meet the building brief, it is useful to understand the number of bathrooms there will be. These plans can be used to determine which cylinder is recommended. An unvented cylinder option should be suggested for homes with multiple bathrooms as it uses mains pressure, providing a more stable and even flow of hot water. This allows a greater variety of terminal fittings to be chosen and the ability


to run different outlets at the same time. While the size of cylinder can already be determined before the merchant is asked to fulfil the order, there can be cases where a merchant is asked to recommend the most appropriately sized cylinder. Sizing should be based on the number of bathrooms — for example, a cylinder size of 210 litres would be best for a two-bathroom house. With the average wet room using 60 litres of water, the expected recovery period of 70% of the volume for this cylinder is 30 minutes, when a heat input of approximately 15kW is used. This will ensure wait times for the end user are kept to a minimum. For larger homes, with more than two bathrooms, a bigger cylinder should be suggested by merchants to provide the hot

water required while avoiding a 30-minute wait time for the hot water to replenish. Sales simplified To help with recommendations, hot water cylinder manufacturers can support merchant teams with technical and general sales support. So, while it is important that merchants have an awareness of how different sized cylinders will perform, manufacturers can always help with more complex product or even installation queries. Cylinders such as the Megaflo Eco SystemFit are designed with new-build developers in mind. Arriving pre-wired and plumbed from the factory floor, the unvented cylinder provides developers with a consistently neat appearance across their

“Merchant teams are in an excellent position to add-value if asked about hot water cylinders in order to help customers working on new build projects to avoid over- or under-sizing.” www.professionalbuildersmerchant.co.uk

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plots. With factory-fitted plumbing and wiring, developers can save a considerable amount of time on the cylinder installation — keeping costs low and returns high. It is also important for merchants to be aware of the full package of product benefits to help customers make a decision. For example, a quality product such as the Megaflo Eco comes with a warranty that provides extra peace of mind that the system being promoted is covered for years to come. To keep a product in warranty, merchants should remind their customers that a cylinder service should take place once every 12 months. With a yearly service increasingly becoming a condition of the manufacturers’ warranty, it’s important that merchants can pass this information on to their customers. Merchants can also work closely with manufacturers to ensure they are prepared to

meet customer demand for parts and appliances. Overall, a knowledgeable merchant team will make it easier to sell cylinders. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to hot water cylinders. However, merchants do have a breadth of product choice and information at their disposal to help customers make the right decisions. Manufacturers, such as Heatrae Sadia, have a full range of hot water solutions to help ensure that no matter the requirement, there is always a product to suit.


■ For more information on the Heatrae Sadia range of hot water cylinders and other hot water solutions, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw026


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PLUMBING & HEATING STELRAD K3 RADIATORS The heating system sector is said to have seen increased demand for larger radiators to accommodate the increasing number of low temperature heating systems being installed across the country. For instance, a K3 radiator is simply one which comes with three sets of panels and three sets of fins to ensure additional heat is emitted, and is only a little larger than a K2. Stelrad has been offering its Compact K3 radiator range for several years but the increase in demand for K3s has seen the firm launch new versions of its popular Elite, Compact with Style and Planar series, now available in 40 sizes.

To find out more about the new K3 options from Stelrad, enter the shortcode: www.rdr.link/mw027

ARISTON ELECTRIC WATER HEATING IN RENTAL PROPERTIES UK landlords are legally responsible for ensuring their tenants have adequate hot water at all times. As a result, any water heater needs to be robust and reliable, while also complying with the latest energy efficiency legislation. Accordingly, Ariston has a range of energy efficient products designed with landlords, HMOs and rental properties in mind. For example, Ariston’s Velis Evo Wi-Fi, boasts fast reheat times and utilises slim twin tank technology for optimum performance. With a choice of 45 or 80-litre models available, units offer up to 16% more hot water availability compared to an equivalent capacity standard electric water heater.

For more information on electric water heaters, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw028

VOGUE (UK) MULTI-RAIL TOWEL WARMERS Vogue is offering a range of multi-rail heating solutions to create a dedicated place to warm, dry and even store towels, as well as reduce laundry costs for a more efficient, sustainable lifestyle Sales Director Steve Birch said: “We understand that expressing your personal style is also vital when heating your home, which is why we offer a comprehensive range of classic and modern designs to raise both the style factor and comfort level of your bathroom.”

Visit www.rdr.link/mw029 for more information.

RWC RELIANCE VALVES Blending elements from across its group portfolio, RWC has launched its first ever Reliance Valves range featuring push-fit connections from JG Speedfit. The valves that are now available with push-fit connections include the Easifit Thermostatic Mixing Valve (TMV) – 15mm; the 312 Compact Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) – 15mm and 22mm; the Nickel-Plated Ball Valve – 15mm and 22mm, and the Automatic Air Vent – 15mm. The Easifit TMV, for instance, blends hot and cold water to a safe and comfortable temperature. This valve is compliant with both TMV2 and TMV3 schemes and benefits from its small size, which simplifies installations in tight spaces.

For further details, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw030


FERNOX EXPRESS INHIBITOR TEST With a pass or fail result shown in just 10 seconds, The Fernox Express Inhibitor Test is a dip-test that is designed to make annual testing of central heating systems — a core requirement under BS 7593:2019 and the Benchmark Commissioning Checklist — easier and quicker. This means that time on site is kept to a minimum and installer productivity is maximised. By comparing the test strip to the colour chart label on the bottle, installers can assess whether the system water includes the correct concentration of inhibitor. A fully protected system will have inhibitor levels of 100ppm or above — and will therefore pass the test.

To see the Express Inhibitor Test in action, go to www.rdr.link/mw031


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Counter talk

Throughout the lockdowns and COVID restrictions, Professional Builder magazine has continued to communicate with trade professionals across the nation, increasing its digital reach when the trade counters were closed. In this most difficult of years, PBM considers the results of its sister publication’s ‘Top Products’ awards, based on direct feedback from the trade, along with looking at some of the advertising campaigns to feature in the latest issue as active suppliers seek to influence the buying decisions of more than 100,000 trade professionals at merchant branches each month.


he centrepiece of Professional Builder’s December edition is its annual round-up of some of the most popular and innovative new products, with these “much coveted industry accolades… bequeathed by the best judges in the business — the builders with the breadth of knowledge and hands-on experience that will ultimately determine the success of a manufacturer’s solution.” Each year, the highest honour — named in memory of the publication’s former Products Editor, Charles Godfrey — is handed to a product that breaks away from the norm and provides a unique solution to a particular on site problem, with the potential to make the job easier for the UK’s legion of tradespeople. And sometimes, it is the seemingly simple that can make such a big difference with the Charles Godfrey Award for 2020 going to bricklayer-turned-inventor Marc Foley for the Flexi Block Spot — an alternative to the humble spot board. As much a fixture of a building site as a mixer and a trowel, more often than not a spot board is nothing more complicated than an off cut of ply. The trouble is,

they’re normally heavy to lift onto scaffolds, absorb the water from the mortar — drying it out in the process — and are rarely quite the right size. Providing the answer is the Flexi Block Spot, a high-quality rubber cover which sites over a standard pile of bricks or blocks and provides a perfect, clean non-absorbent surface for the mortar. They are extremely pliable and light — a labourer can easily carry up to ten in a bag onto the scaffold — whilst at the end of the day, they can be

washed down and left in place for the next day’s building. “After working through a number of designs and approaching some potential manufacturers, we came up with prototypes which I used on my own sites and put out some to other builders I know in the area,” enthuses inventor, Marc Foley. “The feedback was tremendous, with the usual stuff of being so simple why didn’t we think of it ourselves! Of course, I am under no illusions that we can change so many years of practice overnight. Bricklayers are a conservative bunch, and with good reason, but I really think we have something which will improve their ability to lay more bricks per day, which in turn means greater productivity and profitability on the job.” ■ For further information on the Flexi Block Spot, including a demo video, head to www.rdr.link/mw032 ■ Some of the other winners in PB’s 2020 Top Products Awards include familiar brands such as Mirka, MagPly, Makita, Bond It, Dunlop, Artex and Buckler. Enter www.rdr.link/mw033 for full details.


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Eclisse Pocket doors


With a 100% galvanised steel frame and runners FD30 A AVAILABLE VA AILABLE that have T OO! TOO! been tested to 100,000 cycles, Eclisse CALL C ALL A 0333 5770828 uses this ad in PB to www.eclisse.co.uk www .eclisse.co.uk outline the strength and durability of its ‘made to last’ pocket doors. With a wide range of systems available — from singles and doubles (standard and wiring-ready) in addition to a fire-rated FD 30 version — increasing numbers of merchants are seeing the benefits of offering the products. Further details await via www.rdr.link/mw034 reliable running gear Smooth, reliable

Strong galvanised steel frame Strong Extractable track

High quality timber lining kit

Complete with fixings, self-centering door guide and profile under door profile



Dulux Trade Scuffshield Matt

Said to offer the ultimate scuff resistance, the unique formulation of Dulux Trade’s Scuffshield Matt will offer maximum protection for walls in high-traffic spaces. The cleanable matt finish is also scrub and stain resistant, whilst the advert also highlights the Dulux Trade Promise — if the product doesn’t deliver “the perfect colour with a uniform finish and the coverage stated” the company will replace it. Enter www.rdr.link/mw035 for more.




Fischer Power-Fast II

Billed as the only performance woodscrew your customers ‘will ever need’, the Power-Fast II is said to combine technological know-how with high design quality to work in a number of demanding applications. Plenty of information, including an informative video, can be found at www.rdr.link/mw036



Metabo Cordless plunge saw

For powerful plunge cutting

For powerful plunge cutting and precise cuts up to a The new new cordless cordless plunge plunge s saw aw w with ith 66 66 mm mm cutting cutting d depth. epth. depth of 66mm, your customers will need to look no further than this latest bit of kit from Metabo. The unit is said to offer versatile application thanks to variable speed settings for different materials whilst the LIHD high-performance battery packs and the Metabo brushless motor are designed to guarantee maximum power and enduring sawing. Comprehensive details including a demo video can be found via www.rdr.link/mw037 www.metabo.com/uk www.metabo.com/uk


Norbord The complete flooring system

For a highly durable, waterproof top surface that can withstand high site traffic, Norbord says it is a simple equation — match up its CaberDek P5 board with its CaberFix D4 solvent-free, one-component polyurethane adhesive which is BBA-approved for up to 42 days exposure. The board also comes complete with a slip-resistant film which protects against all sorts of on-site occurrences and will peel off to leave a clean surface at the end of the job. Visit www.rdr.link/mw038 for the full specifications.


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Royal wave BSW Timber is reporting “rapid success” since launching its premium merchant membership initiative, the Crown Distributor Scheme, back in August.


he BSW Timber Crown Distributor Scheme was designed to offer the company’s “most dedicated and forward-thinking stockists” across the country an unparalleled timber support package. Since going live in August, the scheme has now seen 67 branches sign up. The Crown scheme covers key business areas — sales and marketing, service and innovation, finance, training, and presentation — and a wide range of timber products, including BSW’s flagship IRO and Alchemy brands. As well as assisting with the growth of both traditional and added value timber sales, the initiative also offers the selected stockists a variety of premium benefits including: • enhanced security of volume and supply; • dedicated one-to-one timber marketing support; • exclusive staff training and development programmes; • increased visibility on all BSW web and social channels; • priority access to new BSW products; • access to an exclusive suite of branded workwear, point of sale, shop fitting options and vehicle fleet accessories. Dave Chapman, BSW Timber’s Sales and Marketing Director, said: “We are thrilled about the growing success of our Crown 46 PBM DECEMBER 2020

Distributor Scheme in such a short time. Our aim is to continue branching out and gain more distributors by maintaining the gold standard for timber and merchanting, and by forging new and exciting relationships within the timber industry.” Merchants joining the scheme are said to face a “strict membership criteria” to ensure that the products they deliver are to the highest standard and that “their service is also second to none”, with firms such as Beers Timber, LBS, WH Bond, Barkers Fencing, SW Yorke, Main Line Timber, WJ Odds and Fountain Timber all appointed as Crown Distributors ahead of the scheme launching. Haven Timber was also one of the first customers to sign up to the scheme. Martina Dytor Butler, Managing Director of the Somerset-based business, said: “BSW has

always emphasised its quality, security of supply and commitment to future development, which echoes our ethos here at Haven Timber. “We are excited to build on our existing relationship with BSW by becoming a Crown Distributor, together with the support and tools offered by the scheme. Some of the benefits of the Crown Scheme include guaranteed service levels, security of volume and supply, new product exclusivity and staff training and development.” Martina continued: “This level of support is unheard of for independent businesses such as Haven Timber, and with this we will be able to continue and excel in our mission to provide excellent timber, excellent service and an excellent workplace for our team while continuing to grow.”

“We are thrilled about the growing success of our Crown Distributor Scheme in such a short time. Our aim is to continue branching out and gain more distributors by maintaining the gold standard for timber and merchanting, and by forging new and exciting relationships within the timber industry.” ■ For more information about BSW Timber’s Crown Distributor Scheme, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw039

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To help its Partners create stand-out showrooms and displays, Lakes has introduced a new suite of point of sale material. The range is detailed in a new brochure to make it easy for merchants to browse and order what they like, whilst there are bespoke options for Lakes Platinum Partners. The publication showcases a wide range of eye-catching material including banner boards, posters, backboards, stickers and more. Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam said: “We’ve revamped, updated and added to our POS suite as part of our ongoing commitment to building longstanding and mutually beneficial partnerships with our customers.”


The Draper Tools Advent Calendar has been launched, and features 49 specially selected tools hidden behind 24 doors. The calendar includes a measuring tape, adjustable wrench, a selection of pliers, hex keys and a ¼” hex magnetic screwdriver with 31 different insert bits — all contained in a sturdy case to keep everything safe and organised. For every advent calendar sold, Draper is donating £1 to NHS Charities Together “in recognition of all hardworking NHS heroes who have done so much this year”.


Featuring over 320 pages, the new catalogue is broken down into eight different bathroom categories — Bathing, Showering, Lighting, Tiles, Brassware, Radiators, Accessories and Ancillaries — and presents Imperial Bathrooms’ comprehensive range of bathroom products, from the Carlyon collection to the Astoria Deco collection. James Stevenson, Creative Director, said: “As the likes of Instagram and Pinterest continue to demonstrate how influential the right product presentation can be, we’ve focussed our attention on providing visual inspiration with our latest ‘Classical British Bathrooms’ brochure.”


Installers visiting merchants for plumbing products could end up winning a selection of top-of-the-range prizes by entering the new Polypipe Perks scheme. Participants must purchase Polypipe products at a merchant, upload their proof of purchase to the website and then they will be entered into the prize draw. Polypipe will be giving away 16 prizes each month, with the gifts ranging from an LG 50” 4K television, iPhone 11 and Xbox One, through to Amazon Echo Dots, Amazon Fire Sticks.


Marking 150 years in business, JB Kind has announced the early launch of its 2021 Door Collection. Like the 2020 version, it is available in iPad brochure size whilst it can also be accessed as an online flipbook option with informative links. In addition, merchants will receive a QR code so the brochure can be easily downloaded via mobile in store. Sales Director Simon Johnson said: “We are delighted to be in a position to launch our new 2021 Door Collection early. All our top-selling favourites are still very much in situ, but we are proud of the many fresh new looks and features we are launching this year.”


Permaroof has launched its first loyalty scheme with a Rewards Programme that allows trade customers to build up points with every purchase they make, which can then be redeemed and put towards future investments. Tracked through the app, customers will be entitled to exclusive rewards and offers. MD Adrian Buttress said: “We’ve wanted to do something to give back to our customers for a while and, after a year that’s been challenging for so many, feel that now is the perfect time to launch our rewards scheme and thank those who have used us as their supplier.” For more examples of supplier support for merchants via the PBM website, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw040



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PRODUCTS & SERVICES DULUX TRADE SCUFFSHIELD MATT Incorporating scuff resistance technology, Dulux Trade has developed its “most technologically-advanced anti-scuff formulation yet” with new Scuffshield Matt. The product is designed to reduce the impact of plastic and rubber materials on the paint surface, protecting walls against scuff marks from everyday items like shoes and bags. Karen Wilkinson, Dulux Trade Marketing Lead, said: “Scuffshield Matt makes the maintenance of a building or busy home much easier, less costly, and more environmentally friendly, as you have to utilise less product and less labour to manage it on an ongoing basis.”

BTB PRODUCTS BUILDER’S TEA BOX Offering a solution to the “problem of broken cups, missing kettle-bases and the lost spoon”, the Builder’s Tea Box is said to be a one-stop-shop for tradespeople on the go with inventor and former electrician Dan Anderson saying: “The Builder’s Tea Box has finally put an end to the hassle and lets us get on with our work.” The kit can be thrown into the back of the van without fear and weighs just 2kg. Included in the box is CE compliant cordless kettle with automatic switch, two enamel cups, two enamel containers, a stainless-steel spoon and a hard-wearing carry case and shoulder strap for ease of use.

LAFARGE CEMENT HIGH PERFORMANCE AND INSTANT CONCRETE PRODUCTS Three new cement products have been added to the Lafarge Cement portfolio. The High Performance and Instant Concrete products, for example, are both ready to use with no mixing required and are available in 20kg bags. In terms of application, the 40N strength High Performance Concrete is suitable for forming the base for domestic garages and driveways whilst the 15N strength Instant Concrete is said to be ideal for garden sheds, greenhouses and domestic footpaths and steps that require quick setting. Finally, Premium Cement is a 42,5N cement made from a higher specification material, specially designed for applications that require extra strength.

HIKOKI CJ36DA AND CJ36DB CORDLESS JIGSAWS HiKOKI Power Tools has extended its Multi Volt range with the new CJ36DA and CJ36DB cordless jigsaws. Depending on the application, users can choose between the CJ36DA with top handle and the CJ36DB with barrel handle. Thanks to the AUTO Mode function, the two jigsaws start with a reduced number of strokes and then accelerate automatically, ensuring better control when positioning the saw blade and thus precise cutting results. The electronic constant speed control of the brushless motor ensures consistent speeds and thus maximum cutting speed even under heavy load, whilst an LED makes the cutting line easier to see.

WERNERCO PAXTOWER The new PAXTower with folding base comes in two build methods and delivers several new features whilst also being “fully compliant with the latest safety regulations” with a sturdy design, in accordance with the latest EN1004 specification, to ensure safe working at height. Merchants have the option to stock any combination of the base packs and additional packs to extend the tower to the heights required. While on display, the packs fold to save space and come in specially designed packaging to make them instantly recognisable.

HB42 ULTIMATE WATERPROOFER This waterproof membrane is highly elastic, self-levelling, non-brittle, and has gap filling properties suitable for all kinds of repairs and seals both internally and externally. Available in trade-sized 6kg tubs, it is ready to use, easily applied, fast curing and immediately waterproof. It can also be applied in dry or damp conditions and on damp surfaces too, making it ideal for repairs where leaks or seals have ruptured. The waterproofer is odourless, has low emissions and features an anti-slip membrane. Durable and UV resistant, it contains no silicone, isocyanates or bitumen and is Phthalate free.


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BOND IT SEAL IT ACCELERATOR To compliment the recently launched Seal It Liquid Membrane, Bond It has introduced an additional element to the system to combat the onset of the winter months. Seal It Accelerator is a gel-like additive, that when mixed with the Seal It Liquid Membrane, accelerates the curing process. This allows for installations to be carried out at temperatures below 5°C and permits work to be performed down to minus 20°C. The gel is simply added into the membrane and mixed using a heavyduty mixing paddle on a slow speed, prior to roof application.

SNICKERS WORKWEAR SUSTAINABLE MERINO WOOL CLOTHING Your customers can stay warm or cool in Snickers Workwear’s All-Natural Merino Wool midand base-layer clothes. Available in the collection is short and long sleeve T-shirts as well as leggings and topwear that combine wool warmth with body-mapping designs for base- and mid-layer protection in really cold conditions. Merino wool is extremely soft, and naturally odourpreventive for an all-day fresh feel. It is also temperature-regulating and repels water and dirt particles.


LECICO BATHROOMS DESIGNER SERIES Lecico has added to its Designer Series of design-led contemporary bathroom solutions with a range of countertop washbasins. These include options with and without a tap deck, and come in round and square variants. Each tap-deck washbasin comes with a subtle rim surrounding the deck to aid in the prevention of water spillages, allowing for use in busier environments such as public washrooms. The new vessel washbasin models without tap decks are designed to be the centrepiece of the bathroom or washroom and can be paired with tall basin mixers or wall mounted basin mixers.


Makita has added to its range of accessories with a new collection that includes belts, braces, pouches, holders, bags, cases, gear and equipment, offering users the durability and reliability needed for everyday use. With over 40 products in the range, the company states it has a solution to suit every task with the pouches and holsters available in a range of designs, depending on the end use. Each has the benefit of Anti-Slip Technology, which is used on all friction points and pocket edges, to tightly grip tools, stopping them from sliding around and keeping them securely in place to help prevent accidental falls.

With its patented Tenz Stairs Thread Technology, the Tenz From Perry wood screw has been in development for over a year. The product is said to offer “an unrivalled grip, fixing and overall drive performance ability” whilst low screwing torque and reduced energy needs mean that capacity is used as efficiently as possible — and can even extend the tool life when using a battery powered drill.

For more details on these and other new products on the PBM website, enter the shortcode www.rdr.link/mw041



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Aanco (UK) Ltd t/a Made For Trade .......................................................................page 9 Bond It ..............................................................................................................page 22 BSW Timber Ltd ................................................................................................page 12 Buckler Boots Ltd ..............................................................................................page 25 Checkatrade.com ...........................................................outside back cover, loose insert Combilift Ltd ......................................................................................................page 35 C-Tec N.I. Ltd ......................................................................................................page 4 ERA Home Security Ltd .........................................................................inside front cover International Business Media Services Ltd/EISENWAREENMESSE ......................page 25 Kerridge Commercial Systems Ltd ......................................................................page 22 Long Rake Spar Co. Ltd ......................................................................................page 7 Naylor Industries Plc ...........................................................................................page 41 Norbord Europe Ltd ...........................................................................................page 19 Permaroof UK Ltd ..............................................................................................page 35 Price & Pierce Forest Products Ltd .....................................................................page 32 Stelrad Radiators ...............................................................................................page 43











Timber cutting machines for merchants

DOORS, WINDOWS & SECURITY Opening up new sales

Plus: News, Huws Gray’s 30th anniversary, apprenticeships, industry comment and more.


DRAINAGE & WATER MANAGEMENT Fantasy Football Season’s greetings! See page 51

SuDS and flood prevention

Plus: News, customer feedback, apprenticeships, industry comment and more.


Fantasy Football A new beginning See page 51




BUSINESS ESSENTIALS Gearing up for Brexit

Change and transformation

Showroom solutions for the new normal





Opportunities in the great outdoors



Brick slips in demand



ROOFING, FLOORING & INSULATION Gearing up for the Green Homes Grant

TOOLS, FIXINGS & ADHESIVES New product innovations

Plus: News, BMF Members’ Annual Conference, acquisitions, industry comment and more.


Fantasy Football All to play for! See page 51


PLUMBING & HEATING The impact of decarbonisation

TIMBER Supply and demand

Plus: News, training, e-commerce, acquisitions, industry comment and more.

Fantasy Football Taking shape! See page 51


Please contact Kirstie Day on 01923 237799 50 PBM DECEMBER 2020

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With Paul Davies

IN THE WIDER INTERESTS OF FOOTBALL Forgive me for being a little self-indulgent, but Tuesday 3rd November 2020 is now a date to be etched into the memory banks alongside my wedding anniversary and my daughter’s birthday, marking the end of a near 30-year period since my football team last had a proper home game. After a 10,776-day wait, a team playing in yellow and blue kicked off in a stadium in Plough Lane, Wimbledon. Whilst some denounce the notion of AFC Wimbledon going ‘back’ to Plough Lane, for the club’s supporters it is just the next step of an incredible journey that started back in 1889 with the formation of Wimbledon Old Centrals FC. Along the way, there has been Eddie Reynolds scoring four headers as the Dons beat Sutton United in the 1963 FA Amateur Cup Final at Wembley, Dickie Guy saving Peter Lorimer’s penalty in a famous FA Cup run in 1974-75, election to the Football League, the rise of the Crazy Gang to the top flight, Dave and Diana in 1988 and then being a regular thorn in the side of many a Premier League club. The decision to allow the club to relocate 60+ miles up the M1 still rankles, and especially the FA’s proclamation to the fans that “Resurrecting the club from its ashes as, say, Wimbledon Town is not in the wider interests of football”. Fortunately, we ignored them and another weird and wonderful ride played out — hay bales as a grandstand at Sandhurst Town, cheese rolls at Merstham, Seb Brown’s penalty saves in the

Conference play-off final against Luton, back at Wembley to beat Plymouth and gain promotion to League One… Since 2002, I’ve watched my team play in nine different steps of the football pyramid. Many of our fans have seen the club do the non-league to Football League journey twice over! We’ve seen managers and players come and go, but we’ve never had a home game. Not really. Not until now.



To rather badly paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to lose one defensive lynchpin may be regarded as misfortune, but to lose two looks like carelessness… Well, how about four or five? Liverpool were supreme in winning the title last year, but it looks as though fate simply isn’t on their side this time around, as recent injuries see Joe Gomez join Virgil Van Dijk on the long-term absentee list with Trent Alexander-Arnold expected to be out for up to a month. With Joel Matip and even possible defensive fill-ins Fabinho and Thiago all struggling, Jürgen Klopp has understandably expressed his frustrations with a packed fixture list and insufficient recovery time between games. Mo Salah’s positive coronavirus test probably hasn’t lifted his mood…

With a spate of injuries at both Liverpool and Manchester City combined with ludicrous VAR and penalty decisions, and even the effect empty stadiums is clearly having on the players, this is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and open leagues in a long time — could it even eclipse Leicester’s incredible title win in 2015? With Everton, Villa and Southampton among the early pacesetters, there’s an odd early 80s vibe about the table that I rather like, but can it really continue? Villa certainly seem to have the fixtures to keep their form going and Jack Grealish looks to be among the best fantasy picks at present.

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Profile for Hamerville Media Group

Professional Builders Merchant December 2020  

Professional Builders Merchant December 2020