Page 1

Issue: December 2012

News • Business • Products • Training • Publications • Diary

BMF CONFIRMS MOVE TO COVENTRY The BMF is relocating its headquarters to Coventry in 2013, following the sale of its current HQ in London’s Soho Square.


The new HQ at 1180 Elliott Court, Coventry Business Park has been secured on a 999 year lease. As well as providing 7000 sq ft of modern office space and ample parking, the building contains a number of spacious meeting rooms that will be used for training, smaller conferences and supplier days as well as being available for other organisations to hire. Announcing the details at BMF Members’ Day, BMF Chairman Terry Parker said: “I have long thought that the West Midlands with its excellent transport links is the natural centre of our industry. Our new HQ will be far more accessible to members and thus provide a real hub for our activities.”


The relocation also has a positive financial consequence, improving the Federation’s finances as it seeks to fully represent the interests of builders’ merchants and the companies that supply them.

All Industry Conference 2013 Merchant Booking Form

The BMF will retain a central London presence, with a small base at the Building Centre for any staff attending meetings in London or involved in lobbying and liaison with the government.

Fakro is headline sponsor for BMF All Industry Conference The BMF has secured its first ever headline sponsor for The All Industry Conference 2013. Fakro, one of the world’s largest roof window manufacturers, will be the major sponsor of the Conference, which BMF is gearing up to make the industry’s best event yet.

BMF Diploma & Foundation Degree BMF Business News

2012/13 DATES FOR YOUR DIARY December 12

BMF Yorkshire Meeting, Middlethorpe Hall, York


BMF Managing Director, John Newcomb, said: “We are delighted that Fakro has come on board to support us at this exciting stage, as we finalise the programme of events. We are putting together a dynamic programme of speakers and activities that will really get people involved. There will be opportunities for inspiration and collaboration as well as for reflection and relaxation. It will be a fantastic networking event for merchants and suppliers at a first class destination hotel. No-one will want to miss it.”


Steve Mascall, Fakro’s Sales Director, added: “This is the merchant industry’s premier event and we are delighted to be the first to support it. Fakro may be a relatively small player in the UK market but worldwide we are one of the biggest in our field and have a huge amount to contribute. More than ever before, the merchant industry needs a forum where every sector, and every size of business, can get together to debate current and future trends. BMF has an excellent conference lined up, and we look forward to playing our part in helping them to achieve it.”


The All Industry Conference, which is supported by Unimer and NMBS, will be held at The Tivoli Marina hotel, Vilamoura, Portugal from the 20-23 June 2013. An Early Bird delegate registration rate is available until 31 December 2012.

11-12 July Unimer Day, Wales

20-23 The All Industry Conference, Portugal

July 12-14 BMF MasterMerchant Competition, Lake District 17-18 BMF Members’ Day, venue tbc

See the BMF next year at: 10-12 Feb Totally Tools DIY, Coventry 8-9 May

Greenbuild, Manchester

14-15 May NMBS Exhibition, Telford 24-25 Sept Timber Expo, Coventry

The BMF ‘Going for Gold’

Highlights of BMF Members’ Day 2012 He said: “Our relocation to the Midlands gives BMF an opportunity to refocus and re-energise. We want to bring lapsed organisations back into the BMF fold in order to create a fully representative organisation that has the ear of government. But our immediate focus is on our existing members and looking after their interests.”

Emulating this year’s British Olympic team, BMF is ‘Going for Gold’ - and Members’ Day was just the start. Some 150 delegates attended the event in October. There was definitely a ‘buzz’ in the air with everyone waiting in anticipation to hear what the future holds for the BMF and its members. With the Olympics adopted as the theme for the day, delegates enjoyed a dramatic opening video of highlights from this year’s Olympics, interspersed with significant BMF achievements.

The BMF is therefore developing a number of initiatives to attract and retain members including closer, collaborative relationships with buying societies and groups; lobbying government; introducing a customer charter; more networking opportunities and developing merchant-specific training.

BMF announced that FAKRO has been secured as the headline sponsor of the All Industry Conference in June 2013 (front page) and, following the success of the BMF Diploma in Merchanting, a new BMF Foundation Degree (page 4) will be launched next year. Award and prize winners Two potential candidates for BMF’s management qualifications were also honoured at BMF’s Members’ Day.

Steven Rennie, Keith Builders Merchants was honoured as Apprentice of the Year, Level 3.

John Newcomb, MD, summarised his first 70 days as Managing Director, acknowledging the challenges facing the organisation but focussing on future opportunities. John’s vision is for the BMF to be the authoritative voice of the merchant industry; a fully inclusive Federation representing the interests of merchants and suppliers.

Keynote speech

Major announcements

Review of year and future plans BMF Chairman Terry Parker itemised achievements over the last 12 months – all designed to return BMF to the heart of its industry. These included the incorporation as a limited company, the appointment of a new managing director, the sale of our London headquarters and the purchase of a new base in Coventry; changes which have put BMF on a strong financial basis on which to build.

The winners of the BMF MasterMerchant competition, the ‘Merchanteers’ from Simpson & Allinson Ltd, were presented with the Winners’ Shield by John Newcomb.

Reiss Digby, Digby Trading, was also honoured as Apprentice of the Year, Level 2. Claire Digby received his award on his behalf.

David Smith, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times, analysed the longest recession most have experienced, examining global factors and policies closer to home. It was no surprise to hear that construction is currently the worst hit of all sectors in the UK economy, largely due to the reduced supply of credit. In other words banks are not lending to SMEs or homebuyers. Add to this the lack of government investment in infrastructure projects including housing, and it’s no wonder the construction industry is having a tough time. Fortunately he concluded with some reasons for optimism, these being that the job market is relatively strong; interest rates should stay low for at least two more years; the government has recognised the need for infrastructure projects and his own skip index (the number of skips in his street) is hovering between 1 and 2. That’s neatly between recession (no skips) and unsustainable growth (4 skips)! To sum up, if we can avoid major shocks in the Eurozone, 2013 looks set to be a better year; a prospect that BMF, as it moves to Coventry and completes its own reorganisation, hopes to reinforce.

Activity report for Oct/Nov

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION WEBSITE – NOW OPEN The conference website is now open for registrations from merchants at Companies are advised to book early to take advantage of the Early Bird rate which applies until 31 December. Contact or our event team at for more details.

Conference speakers The theme of the Conference is ‘Fit for the Future’ and a full and dynamic programme of speakers is currently being finalised. Next year’s conference will include four key speakers from within our own industry from national, regional, and small to medium sized independent merchants as well as a key speaker from within the supplier’s industry. We are absolutely thrilled to announce that the first three of these are already booked and they are:

Peter Hindle MBE, General Delegate, Saint Gobain UK, Ireland & South Africa

Andy Williamson, Andy Williamson, MD, IKO plc

David Kilburn, Executive Chairman, MKM building Supplies

The fourth merchant speaker and other speakers are being finalised and further announcements will be made over the coming weeks.

SPONSORSHIP PACKAGES A new category of sponsorship is being made available for 2013. The Silver package has been created to enable smaller manufacturers to attend. Companies can now choose between Platinum, Gold, and Silver packages.

October 2012 1-4 Attend Labour Party Conference, Manchester to lobby politicians 7-10 Attend Conservative Party Conference to lobby politicians 8/9 BMF Members’ Day Dinner and event 15 Meeting with BMF Marketing Agency 16 Held BMF South Wales Regional Meeting 17 Attend CPA External Affairs meeting 18-19 John Newcomb visits Bradford’s, Kellaway’s and RGB 18 Attend Green Deal Oversight & Registration Body reception, London 23 Terry Parker, BMF Chairman and John Newcomb officially open new Howarth Timber ‘Greenhouse’ 24-26 Meetings with all three trade papers on promotion campaigns for BMF 24 BMF sit on roundtable debate with DECC officials, Nick Raynsford MP and others on SME Green Deal business models 29 John Newcomb visits MKM and Danby’s 30 Held BMF East Midlands Regional Meeting 30 All-party Parliamentary Group on Green Deal to lobby politicians November 2012 5 Talks with BMF insurers about installation warranties/guarantees 6 Held BMF Scottish Regional Meeting 8 Attended CPA lunch 14-16 Visited Scottish members and attended NBG exhibition 22 Held BMF Young Merchants meeting, London 23 Attended Marketing Awards for Excellence lunch


Also available for the first time are five Key Sponsorship packages covering the main events during the conference. The first two of these are already secured - IKO plc is the Key sponsor for the Gala Dinner and Builders Merchants News are the Key sponsors for the Welcome Dinner. Details of all the sponsorship opportunities are available from Christine Harding at or tel.0207 534 7426. Don’t delay in securing your sponsorship package by taking advantage of the Early Bird rate which is available until the 31 December. Our thanks go to those companies who have already committed to supporting the event. They are: Platinum: Aco Technologies, Alumasc, Birtley/Expamet, Encon Insulation, Garador, Ibstock Brick, Keystone Group, Knauf Insulation, Owlett Jaton, Pavestone, Polypipe, Sig plc, Wavin Gold:

British Gypsum, Catnic, Digby Stone, Hargreaves Drainage, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Lafarge Cement, Marsh Industries, Natural Paving, Rixonway Kitchens, Vado, Weinerberger, WPL


KME Yorkshire

BMF Chairman Terry Parker (left) and MD John Newcomb were delighted to be invited to unveil Howarth Timber’s new sustainability centre ‘The Howarth Greenhouse’ in Rochdale. This was a first for the BMF and Terry and John were pleased to unveil a plaque to commemorate the occasion.



The BMF recently met the two MPs primarily responsible for pressing the government over rising fuel costs – including continuing increases in Fuel Duty.

BMF launches new Foundation Degree in Merchanting The BMF launched a new Foundation Degree in Merchanting at Members’ Day. The new qualification, developed in partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol) is a major enhancement in management training for the builders merchants sector. The BMF/ UWE, Bristol Foundation Degree offers a logical progression to those taking the BMF Diploma in Merchanting, which has done much to enhance the professionalism of the industry. The BMF Foundation Degree builds on the BMF Diploma syllabus and includes study of the impact of the sustainability agenda within the workplace. Linking to current legislation and knowledge, students develop an understanding of data collection and interpretation to prepare a report of value to their place of work, which explores how to manage the environmental impact of their organisation. Commenting on the launch of the BMF Foundation Degree, BMF Secretary Peter Matthews said: “The BMF Diploma in Merchanting has been extremely successful as a management development tool and we felt it was important to move on to the next level, developing general management awareness and merchanting expertise. We have no doubt that the investigation and written report on the impact of current legislation will be highly beneficial both to the student and their employer.” Dr Lesley Moore, Associate Professor in Work Based Learning and Director of the UWE, Bristol Shell Award Framework, said that the University was delighted to be working with the BMF to offer further personal development training to the merchanting sector. The new Foundation Degree, known as the Integrated Professional Development Foundation Degree (Merchanting), will be managed through the University’s Shell Award Framework, which offers a means for organisations to have in-house training accredited, and students to study whist in work.

NEW GREEN DEAL FACTSHEETS The Green Deal A new way for owners and tenants to pay for home improvements

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has alerted BMF to a series of new factsheets that explain its Green Deal and new Energy Company Obligation. In doing so, DECC recognises the important role that merchants play in reaching SME builders and allied trades. The “Green Deal Quick Guides” give a clear, succinct message about these policies that came into force on 1 October. Each factsheet covers an aspect of the customer journey - from having an assessment done, to what to expect if you buy property that has a Green Deal Plan attached to it.

get a green Deal from January 2013. start now with an assessment.

This scheme lets you pay for some or all of the improvements over time through your electricity bill. Repayments will be no more than what a typical household should save in energy costs.

some ways you could improve your home CreAte your own energy Loft insuLAtion Heat rises and it may be leaking into your loft. Insulating your loft, or topping up your existing insulation, will keep heat inside your living spaces for longer.

Technologies like wind turbines and solar panels can capture energy and turn it into electricity or heat for your home.

winDows Homes leak heat through their windows. By replacing your windows with double or triple glazed windows, or installing secondary glazing to your existing windows, you’ll keep your home warmer and reduce outside noise.

BoiLers Older boilers tend to lose a lot of heat so they use a lot of energy.

DrAught proofing Gaps around doors, windows, loft hatches, fittings and pipework are common sources of draughts. Sealing up the gaps will stop heat escaping your home.

High efficiency condensing boilers and air or ground source heat pumps recover a lot of heat so they use less energy.

externAL AnD internAL soLiD wALL insuLAtion Older homes usually have solid walls. Installing insulation on the inside or outside of the wall can dramatically reduce the heat that escapes your home.

CAvity wALL insuLAtion Some homes have walls with a hollow space in the middle. Putting insulation in this space is quick and makes no mess because the work can be done from outside your home.

All 11 Quick Guides can be downloaded from the DECC website at:

Builders Merchants Federation Limited 15 Soho Square, London W1D 3HL Tel: 020 7439 1753 | Fax: 020 7734 2766 Email: | Registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 No 31516R

Robert Halfon MP (Harlow) and Martin Vickers MP (Cleethorpes) spoke to BMF at the Conservative Party Conference to learn more about the situation facing merchants. We told them transport is the second biggest operating cost after wages – and is hard to pass on when economic recovery is (at best) fragile. If merchants add a diesel surcharge to invoices, customers’ costs rise faster than expected which is inflationary. If they do not, margins are squeezed and merchants find it ever-harder to keep trading. Halfon & Vickers shared news of two inquiries into fuel pricing they helped to secure. Firstly, the Office of Fair Trading is looking at pricing at the pumps. Diesel is more expensive than petrol in the UK – the exact opposite of most other countries. Yet we know from the AA that diesel was the same (or cheaper) than petrol on international wholesale markets during 2012. Secondly, the Financial Services Authority will examine alleged oil price fixing. Suspicions are that oil traders, hedge funds and City speculators are rigging markets to drive up prices. This comes in the wake of the LIBOR scandal that artificially inflated interest rates for bank customers. The BMF welcomes these investigations – and believes a wholesale price indicator could be the answer to illustrate the variation in prices that are not passed onto fleet managers. And don’t forget: the next planned rise in fuel duty of 3 pence per litre comes into force on 1 January 2013.

Link December 2012  
Link December 2012  

BMF Link Newsletter