Tuesday, 17 October 2017

New industry awards for Builders' Merchant Sector

A new industry-wide awards scheme for the Merchant sector has been launched by Datateam Business Media, publishers of Builders Merchants Journal.

Culminating with a gala celebration in London in May 2018, these prestigious awards aim to celebrate and reward talent and achievement throughout the industry, from merchant branches to supplier brands.

“In the 10 years we have been at the forefront of publishing to the merchanting industry, we have learned that the most important part of the any industry is the people and the brands that they promote,” said editor-in-chief, Fiona Russell Horne.

In a break from the traditional format, these industry awards will be voted for by the entire industry, via a super-secure online portal, rather than a judging panel.

“Entries are now open and our aim is to reflect the massive pool of talent we have out there, celebrating the brands, names and businesses that keep the merchant sector thriving,” Russell Horne continued. "It's already resonated with suppliers as I'm thrilled to report that some of the indury's best-loved names have already come on board with us as sponsors, namely, Marshalls, Stonemarket, Marsh Industries, H+H and BA Clic Components."

There are three sections; ‘Brands’, ‘Merchants’ and ‘People’. The ‘Brands’ section covers a range of different sectors; from plumbing to heavy sides, timber to landscaping, kitchens to bathrooms, roofing to heating.

If you are looking for a new job in the merchant sector, find out more here>>

New, independent, multiple and online merchants will have their chance to shine too, with categories for each. The ‘Merchants’ section has awards for  ‘best marketing campaign’ and ‘best showroom’ as well as a ‘rising star’ award for stand-out achievements at regional and national level.

The ‘People Awards’ meanwhile, are designed to recognise those who go above and beyond in the pursuit of excellence. The categories are: ‘Industry Personality of the Year’, ‘Best Customer Service’ and ‘Best Sales Rep’.

Full details of how to enter and how to vote are on the dedicated awards website www.bmjindustryawards.co.uk

Monday, 16 October 2017

Shout it from the rooftops! The UK roofing market sees growth of 7% !

The overall UK roofing market grew by 7% in value terms in 2016, according to a new report by AMA Research. Since 2012, demand for roof coverings has been supported by the growth of housebuilding and domestic RMI, along with increased output in a number of commercial and industrial new build & refurbishment markets.

However, tendering for commercial and housebuilding roofing projects has remained highly competitive, and year on year performance has varied.

Overall market trends are largely determined by levels of demand for concrete roof tiles and
metal panel systems, which together accounted for around half of total sales in 2016. While
concrete tiles are predominantly used on commercial buildings, the main source of
increasing demand has been volume housebuilding. Demand for roof tiles and slates is
relatively lower within the commercial and industrial newbuild & major re-roofing and RMI
sectors, with flat roofing and metal roofing systems being used to an increasing extent.

Distribution of roofing materials varies significantly between different product sectors.
Builders’ merchants and roofing merchants are the key routes to market for suppliers of
concrete and clay tiles, while independent importers and distribution networks are the main
channels in the roofing slates sector, as the majority of products are imported. With flat
roofing systems mainly used on commercial buildings, the main channels are roofing
merchants and direct sales, while direct supply from the manufacturer is the main route to
market for profiled metal roofing projects, which often require bespoke design, structures
and close collaborations with manufacturers.

Several factors are threatening the construction market, and are likely to have a knock-on
effect for the roofing market. Uncertainty following Brexit and the general election result
appears to be undermining confidence within the UK construction industry at present, with
Q2 2017 state of trade data from the Construction Products Association and ONS new
orders and output statistics, suggesting major investors are starting to hold off from
funding major commercial and industrial construction projects. Since 2015, an acceleration
in the shortage of skilled roofers, which is likely to be exacerbated by the Brexit issue and a
potential reduction of EU workers, has resulted in a demand for higher wages and
contributed towards an overall reduction in margins.

Sales Jobs in the roofing sector >>

However, there are also a number of positive factors supporting the UK’s roofing market. A
significant share of roofing materials goes into RMI and replacement projects, which support
the market even during difficult economic times. The markets for EPDM and other types of
single ply membranes (SPMs) have grown strongly over the last half dozen years, also
taking some share from bitumen sheets within the commercial sector.

Keith Taylor, Director at AMA research, said: “The housebuilding market remains very
positive in the sense that demand levels are high, and the Government has indicated that it
wants to support the affordable sector with various schemes, something which should have
a positive impact on the roofing sector. In addition, a large part of the roofing sector is
driven by repair and maintenance and as such the market value has good support, even if
the wider construction market turns more negative.”

Bearing these factors in mind, we forecast a stabilisation in demand for roofing products
through to 2021, with more positive market growth in the latter part of the forecast period,
reflecting some improvement in confidence and the economy as the impact of the EU exit
settles down. As such the overall market is forecast grow by a very modest 4% between
2016 and 2021.

The ‘Roofing Market Report UK – 2017-2021 Analysis’ report is published by AMA
Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25
years’ experience within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is
available now and can be ordered online at www.amaresearch.co.uk or by calling 01242

Image from Shutterstock: shutterstock_366411191

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Good news as private housing demand drives builders' merchant sales growth

New data released by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) presents positive view of the construction industry, which is good to see after some rather negative claims in recent weeks, particularly from data released from the ONS.

Despite the ONS claiming that “construction output contracted by 0.8% in the three month on three month series in August 2017” builders’ merchants, who supply materials to the construction industry, saw sales increase by 5.8% in August compared with the same month last year. Additionally, August sales were 1.1% ahead of July, helped by one extra trading day.

The BMF’s and ONS data both agree though that their is growth in private housing and that this is having a positive impact on the construction industry.

The BMF figures are contained in the ‘Builders Merchants Building Index' which tracks builders’ merchants’ actual sales using GfK data. The index shows growth over the past twelve months (September 2016 to August 2017) which was 4.6% higher than the previous year.

The data also states that year to date sales have strengthened and are 4.5% ahead of the same period in 2016. Ironmongery (+7.4%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+7.0%) were the leading performers.

The continued robust sales figures achieved by builders merchants show that, despite some predictions of a recession in the construction industry, Britain’s building materials supply chain is performing well, supporting both new housebuilding and housing renovation.

They also state that it shows demand from households to renovate their property, as shown by Kitchen and Bathroom sales being 11.1% higher in August compared to the same time last year.

John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the BMF, said: “Our latest figures show that builders’ merchants are delivering the building blocks for growth and supporting housebuilding across the country. Demand has also been fuelled by families wanting to repair, extend or adapt their homes However, there are signs that consumer confidence is slowing due to concerns over inflation which may impact private housing renovation once current projects are completed.

“In the light of this, we are pleased that the Government made further commitments to housebuilding last week. Our members are ready to work with local authorities, developers and consumers to get the right materials in the right place to build the homes the country needs.”

Would you like a Sales Job in the builders merchant sector? >>>

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Where is the new work in the Construction Industry?

September data revealed a difficult month for the UK construction sector, as a sustained drop in new work led to the first reduction in overall business activity since August 2016. Survey respondents attributed the drop in workloads to fragile confidence and subdued risk appetite among clients, especially in the commercial building sector.
The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) registered 48.1 in September, down from 51.1 in August and below the crucial 50.0 no-change threshold for the first time in 13 months. The latest reading signalled the fastest decline in overall construction output since July 2016.

Lower volumes of construction work reflected marked falls in both commercial and civil engineering activity during September. The reduction in civil engineering work was the steepest for almost four-and-a-half years, which some firms linked to a lack of new infrastructure projects to replace completed contracts.

The latest decline in work on commercial development projects was the second-sharpest since February 2013 (exceeded only by the post-EU referendum dip seen last July). Survey respondents widely commented on a headwind from political and economic uncertainty, alongside extended lead times for budget approvals among clients. 

House building was the only broad area of construction activity to register an expansion in September. However, growth momentum eased to a six-month low amid reports citing worries about less favourable market conditions ahead.    

New business volumes dropped for the third month running in September, thereby suggesting a continued shortage of work to replace completed construction projects. Aside from the downturn seen around the EU referendum last year, the  current period of decline is the longest recorded since early-2013. More subdued demand led to another fall in sub-contractor usage and a relatively weak rate of job creation among construction firms during September.   

Input buying decreased for the first time in six months, largely in response to reduced workloads across the sector. Lower demand for materials helped to alleviate some strain on supply chains, as delivery times from vendors lengthened to the lowest extent since November 2016. Construction companies continued to face headwinds from rising input costs, with higher prices for imported materials helping to drive up inflationary pressures to a seven-month high.   
Fragile demand conditions appeared to weigh on construction firms’ expectations for growth in the next 12 months. The latest survey indicated that business optimism eased to its second-lowest since April 2013. A number of firms cited concerns about UK business investment prospects, linked to uncertainty around the path to Brexit.

Tim Moore, Associate Director at IHS Markit and author of the IHS Markit/CIPS Construction PMI®:“A shortfall of new work to replace completed projects has started to weigh heavily on the UK construction sector. Aside from the soft patch linked to spending delays around the EU referendum,  construction companies have now experienced their longest period of falling workloads since early-2013.

“Fragile client confidence and reduced tender opportunities meant that growth expectations across the UK construction sector are also among the weakest for four-and-a-half years. At the same time, cost pressures have intensified, driven by supply bottlenecks and rising prices for imported materials. 

“Commercial development has been the worst performing category in recent months. Construction firms attributed falling volumes of commercial work to subdued business investment and reduced risk appetite among clients, linked to heightened economic and political uncertainty. 

“Civil engineering work decreased at its fastest pace since April 2013, which prompted concerns from survey respondents about a near-term lack of new infrastructure projects. “House building slipped down a gear in September, which highlighted that fragile confidence has spread across all three key market segments. Some firms suggested that the loss of momentum for residential construction reflected worries about the outlook for ultra-low mortgage rates and less upbeat demand expectations.” 

Duncan Brock, Director of Customer Relationships at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said:“A dismal picture of construction emerged this month as the sector showed signs of worsening business conditions across the board. With the biggest contraction in overall activity since July 2016, and a drop in new orders, optimism was in short supply.

“Respondents pointed to obstructive economic conditions and the Brexit blight of uncertainty, freezing clients into indecision over new projects. Even housing, the stalwart of the construction sector stuttered with a dwindling performance, but civil engineering was the biggest victim falling to its weakest level for four and a half years.

“The contagion continued all along the supply chain as material shortages placed a strain on delivery times and increased commodity prices were affected by the weak pound. Despite a marginal increase in employment figures, this wasn’t enough to dispel the descending autumnal gloom where it is unclear where any major shift in momentum for the sector will come in the next few months.”

Image from Shutterstock

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Spotlight on the housing industry is set to intensify

The spotlight on the housing industry is set to intensify with the government reiterating its commitment to housing as a key priority, Stewart Baseley, HBF’s executive chairman said at last weeks' Housebuilder’s Housing Market Intelligence conference.
Baseley highlighted the Prime Minister Theresa May’s willingness to stake her legacy on fixing the housing market, as stated in her conference speech yesterday.

“If you thought the heat on the industry was hot, it’s going to get even hotter,” he said.

Baseley also talked through the myriad challenges that the industry faces, including quality and leasehold issues, skills and the decline of SME housebuilders. “If we could get back to 2007 levels of SME numbers, that would produce 25,000 more homes,” he said.

He also defended the Help to Buy scheme, to which the government has pledged an extra £10 billion. “I firmly believe it has done exactly what it set out to achieve,” he said, pointing out that the scheme was launched as a result of lenders being required by regulation to insist on deposits for homes of 20%. 

Also speaking at the conference, Nick Walkley, ceo of the Homes and Communities Agency, outlined the key roles of the new Homes England which will launch at the end of this month.

“These are opportune but challenging times,” Walkley said. “It’s about identifying where the opportunities are, flexing the tools we have and making the case for new tools.

“Creating Homes England gives us a chance to review our relationships to tackle the broken housing market.”

Monday, 2 October 2017

UK Construction Week is almost here!

UK Construction Week is the UK's largest construction trade event and it is now getting very close! Make sure you make some space in your busy schedule to visit and you'll see just how positive our industry still is. 

It is taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 10 – 12 October 2017, the event unites over 650 exhibitors with an audience of over 30,000 trade visitors.

The multi award-winning UK Construction Week (UKCW) is FREE to attend for trade visitors and consists of nine incredible and unique shows: Timber Expo, Build Show sponsored by Easy-Trim, Civils Expo, Plant & Machinery Live, Energy 2017, Smart Buildings 2017, Surface & Materials Show and HVAC 2017 running from 10-12 October and Grand Designs Live which is open to the trade on 11-12 October.

Make sure you register today here>>

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Job in Focus: Office Furniture to Architects and Designers in London - £100k OTE

Our new Job in Focus is a superb opportunity to become the Sales Manager for a high end provider of Office Furniture selling to architects, designers and corporate end-users in London. The role has an OTE of £100k.

Our Construction & Building Industry Job in Focus feature takes a detailed look at some of the fantastic sales & marketing construction and building materials job vacancies currently on our books. 

Job in Focus is also promoted on our website. www.pinnacleconsulting.co.uk 


Job Title: Sales Manager
Job Ref: J9495
Product: Furniture
Location: London & South East
Salary: £70k (100k OTE)


PACKAGE: On offer is a basic salary of up to £70K with a realistic OTE of £100K, plus pension, healthcare, mobile phone, laptop and 25 days holiday 

EMPLOYER: A global market leader in the design and supply of office furniture. 

JOB DESCRIPTION: Area Sales Manager: This is an exciting opportunity to join a recognised brand with a fantastic name in the sector. You will be tasked with developing business and growing existing accounts in a role that is roughly 70% account management. Products include high end office furniture such as tables, desks and chairs with the client base including architects, interior designers, corporate end users such as law and finance companies. 

LOCATION: Covering London - you must live within easy commute of the office so ideally in Middlesex, Greater London, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, East Sussex, West Sussex, Oxfordshire or Kent 

CANDIDATE: You must have experience working in a field sales role within the interiors market and be used to working with architects, interior designers or corporate end users and want to join a flourishing brand great opportunities for career advancement. Any knowledge of high end products would be an advantage but is not essential. 

For further information or to discuss your career options contact Natalie Matthews on 01480 405 225 or apply online.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Builders Merchants given boost by MP at BMF Members' Day

The Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma has told builders merchants that housing is a major priority for this Government and welcomed plans by brick maker Ibstock to invest £50 million in a new factory in Leicestershire.

Sharma, who is MP for Reading,  was the headline speaker at BMF’s annual Members’ Day event in Leicestershire last week and emphasised the vital role builders’ merchants play in getting more homes built in this country.

He said: “Delivering more homes is a key priority for this Government. Builders’ merchants have an absolutely vital role to play in this, supplying the essential materials we need to get our country building faster.  I congratulate the resilient performance of UK builders’ merchants over this year, and I look forward to working with the sector to put into action the far-reaching reforms of the Housing White Paper. By working together, we will ensure we have the right building blocks in place to meet local housing needs and promote growth across all areas of the country.”

According to the latest figures released by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) through their Builders Merchants Building Index, sales in Q2 2017 were 5.3% higher compared to the same period last year (when adjusted for there being two less days trading in the period). The data also states that builders’ merchants year-to-date sales are 3.8% higher compared to the same time last year.

Interested in working for a builders merchant? Find out more>>>

Sharma also said that the Ibstock £50m investment was: “fantastic news for the building materials industry, demonstrating continuing confidence in this sector and growing consumer demand.” 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants Federation said: “As a country we need to build many more homes, but these cannot be built without the materials and products that BMF members make, stock and deliver on a daily basis to where they are needed. There are also thousands of households wanting to repair, extend or adapt their home, and again they rely on builders’ merchants to provide the materials to do this.

“Despite our members’ robust performance so far this year, there are still some challenges facing our sector such as the supply of materials and the potential for the price of materials to increase due to higher commodity prices and fluctuations in exchange rates. We also want to see the Government press ahead with its proposals contained in the Housing White Paper, as this will bring a welcome boost to housebuilders”.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Over 5% of UK homes now have a wetroom installation!

The value of the wet room market has increased by 10% between 2014-2016, according to a report by AMA Research. The sector offers significant growth potential within the UK bathroom market, with demand for wet rooms having increased significantly in recent years.

Growth was particularly strong in 2015, with more modest rates in 2016/17 of around 3% per annum. Moderate growth is currently forecast to 2021, when the market is expected to have increased by 18% compared to the market size in 2017.

Demand for wet rooms has increased significantly in recent years as the showering area has become an essential part of bathroom design, with householders increasingly choosing to shower rather than bathe. Key market drivers in 2014/15 included increasing levels of new housebuilding, particularly the retirement/care sector, where wet rooms are more common. In 2016 and H1 2017, the wet room market experienced modest growth, largely a result of the political and economic uncertainty in the UK at present.

The floor formers and level access trays sector dominates the wet room market in terms of value, followed by waterproof tanking kits, glass wet room panels and drainage products. While traditional shower trays and enclosures have lost some market share, the 25mm level access shower tray that can be set flush into the wet room floor is in greater demand and often used as an alternative to the wet room floor former. Glass frameless wet room panels have also seen good growth, and can be used to ‘zone’ the wet room, creating a wet and dry area.

Recent product developments include pre-moulded wetroom floor formers with a built-in gradient and membrane waterproof tanking systems, which are easier to install and provide greater installation accuracy, saving a significant amount of installation time. Developments in the drainage products sector include wall mounted and linear drains for a seamless finish and digital drainage pumps that operate wirelessly when the shower is turned on.
One of the key reasons that wetrooms have become more appealing is their versatility, which can be attributed to product innovations and improvements. It is now possible for wetrooms to be installed in any room of the house and on most types of floor. Prices have also fallen, making wetrooms a more affordable choice to the mainstream consumer.
Going forward, demand will also be supported by the emerging trend towards multi- generational households. These properties would need to be adapted inclusively to suit the needs of all family members living at home, and the accessibility of wetrooms compared to traditional bathrooms for elderly and disabled consumers represents a key driver of growth. Wetrooms is one of the most popular bathroom adaptations paid for by a Disabled Facility Grant (DFG), which is set to double over the next 2-3 years.

New housebuilding volumes are set to stabilise despite the uncertainty currently surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU and the 2017 General Election. Prospects remain positive in this sector and will support demand for wet room products installed in new housing, including self- build housing. Wet rooms also represent a popular method of designing easy access and space efficient showering areas in commercial buildings including hotels, leisure facilities, specialised housing, care homes and hospitals, while the use of prefabricated wetroom PODs is also expected to increase.

The ‘Wetroom Market Report – UK 2017-2021 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at www.amaresearch.co.uk or by calling 01242 235724.

Photo from Shutterstock