Monday, 24 October 2016

Recruitment in the industry to be highlighted as a priority at the next BMF Conference

The importance of recruiting young talent into the building materials industry will be a key theme of the BMF All Industry Conference in Budapest next June. Steve Ingham, chief executive officer of PageGroup, a worldwide leader in specialist recruitment has been confirmed as a speaker at the event.

Mr. Ingham will address the challenges of recruiting young talent into the industry and draw on lessons that can be learned from other sectors.
When he joined Page, 30 years ago, he was tasked with expanding and diversifying a company known for one specialism, accounting, into a broad-based 'people' business. Now, in his 11th year as CEO, he has overseen the company's rapid growth to become a FTSE 200 business with a headcount of 6,000 employees spanning 35 countries. He also rebranded the business in 2012, bringing the three operational brands of Michael Page, Page Personnel and Page Executive together as PageGroup.

Today, Page recruits across all professions including property and construction, procurement, logistics, supply chain engineering, HR, legal and marketing as well as accounting. Their clients range from blue chip multi-nationals to family-run businesses.
Mr Ingham is also a non-executive director of Debenhams plc and a member of the Corporate Partnerships Board for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

John Newcomb, BMF managing director, said: "Youth recruitment and succession planning is a critical business challenge for the merchant sector. I think we all recognise that the general public does not view our industry as sexy or exciting, which can be a limiting factor in attracting young people. I'm looking forward to hearing Steve's thoughts on overcoming perception barriers and encouraging the next generation to take our industry forward.”

The BMF All Industry Conference takes place in Budapest from 15 to 18 June 2017 at the five-star Intercontinental Hotel. Broadcaster and TV personality, Gethin Jones, will host the event, which has already sold out.

Further details are available on the Conference website,

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

There's a dog in mi kitchen, what am I gonna do?

Homeowners now consider their dogs and their children when planning a new kitchen, alongside flexible working conditions and other factors. This has been revealed in new research by JM Blake Associates which shows that the factors influencing consumers when purchasing a new kitchen are changing. 

The study – which questioned 500 UK homeowners who had recently purchased a new kitchen – found that consumers are “showing a renewed willingness to invest in their kitchens” and are using “professional kitchen planners” to ensure their new kitchen suits their lifestyle.

“Our previous research has given us a valuable insight into the consumer purchase process for kitchens, but we realised that there was a stage before the consumer even entered a kitchen showroom which required further investigation,” said JM Blake Associates research director Jane Blakeborough.

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Outside influences also factor into consumers' choices when buying a new kitchen, with the report finding that television shows such as The Great British Bake-Off have a “positive influence” on the way kitchens are used.

Monday, 17 October 2016

NEW Job in Focus: National Specification Sales Manager for Heating & Plumbing Products - £70k OTE

Our new Job in Focus for is an excellent opportunity to become the National Specification Sales Manager for a manufacturer of high performance Heating and Plumbing products. The role comes with excellent benefits and OTE of £70k. You would be selling via specification to Architects, Consultants, Local Authorities and M&E Contractors

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.

Job Ref: J8175
Product: Heating & Plumbing
Location: National
Salary: £55k

Supplier of heating and plumbing products. Selling to Architects, Consultants, Local authorities, M&E Contractors. 

Package: £45K - £55K with £70K OTE - Company Car, Mobile, Laptop, Pension. 

Employer: A leading name within the heating a plumbing sector, part of a larger group with sustained funding and fantastic growth potential. Suppliers of high performance products. 

Job Description: A fantastic opportunity to generate business via specification across the UK. You will look to create and develop relationships with architects, local authorities, M&E Contractors and consultants while marketing the full range of heating and plumbing products. 

Area: Field based role covering nationally. Candidates can live anywhere on patch ideally in a central or well connected location i.e. Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester, London, Oxford, Bristol. 

Person: We are seeking a dynamic sales professional within the heating and plumbing sector with proven specification sales experience with local authorities and architects. Ideally you will have some exposure to working with healthcare projects although not essential. 

For further information or to discuss your career options contact Luke Rootham on 01480 405225 or apply online.

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Thursday, 13 October 2016

UK Construction Week: Let's show the UK how great the Construction Industry is!

Next week is the return of one of the success stories of the last couple of years - UK Construction Week.

It is now the UK's largest construction trade event and takes place at the Birmingham NEC from 18 – 20 October 2016.  It takes us back to the days when a late Autumn trade show (Interbuild) was a cornerstone of the industry.

The event unites over 650 exhibitors with an audience of over 24,000 trade visitors and includes a massive nine shows all under one roof: Timber Expo, Build Show, Civils Expo, Plant & Machinery Live, Energy 2016, Smart Buildings 2016, Surface & Materials Show and HVAC 2016 running from 18-20 October and Grand Designs Live which is open to the trade on 19-20 October.

As well as lots of companies to see, there are seminars, award ceremonies, opportunities to network, gain business advice and lots of entertainment too!

Make sure you attend and support the industry. As well as keeping updated on your sector's innovation and competition, exhibitions are an excellent opportunity to become better in your current job or start researching the market for a potential new employer.

UK Construction Week is FREE to attend. Venue: NEC,  Birmingham - Halls 2, 3, 3A, 4 & 5. Opening Times: Tues 18th October: 10:00 - 17.00 | Wed 19th October: 10:00 – 17:00 | Thurs 20th October: 10:00 – 17:00

More on the exhibition.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Construction product sales increase for 14th consecutive quarter

Despite post-Brexit uncertainty, sales of construction products increased for the 14th consecutive quarter in the third quarter of the year, according to the Construction Product Association (CPA). We all should be pretty proud of that achievement, all of us: manufacturers, merchants and distributors, architects, consultants, contractors, builders and installers, and yes, even us recruiters!

In the first study after the EU referendum, the latest State of Trade Survey shows construction product sentiment improved between June and September, suggesting "activity remained resilient following initial uncertainty in the run-up to, and immediately after, the EU referendum in June," says Rebecca Larkin, CPA senior economist.

According to the report, half (50 per cent) of light side firms reported an increase in construction product sales with more than a quarter (26 per cent) of heavy side firms on balance also seeing growth in the third quarter of 2016 compared with the previous three months, although this was lower than the balance of 52 per cent recorded in quarter two.

On an annual basis, heavy side and light side firms said sales rose by 68 per cent and 60 per cent on balance, respectively, with almost half of heavy side manufacturers (45 per cent on balance) anticipating a rise in sales in quarter four.

According to the survey, almost two-thirds (67 per cent) of light side firms expected an increase in product sales in the next quarter, compared to a zero balance in quarter two with 42 per cent of heavy side firms and 40 per cent of light side firms anticipated an increase in export sales over the next year.

Annual cost increases were reported by 57 per cent of heavy side manufacturers and 56 per cent of those on the light side.

“In contrast to pre-referendum pessimism evident in manufacturers’ forward-looking views in last quarter’s survey, expectations for near-term sales turned markedly higher in quarter three," says Larkin.

“Interestingly, the sharp depreciation in Sterling does not appear to have translated into an increase in export sales in our sector.

"Instead, the effect of the weak currency has been manifested in rising costs for imported raw materials and higher fuel bills, adding to the existing inflationary pressures on wages created by skills shortages. Nevertheless, manufacturers anticipated a pickup in overseas sales over the next 12 months.”

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Monday, 10 October 2016

Research demonstrates growing importance of Kitchen and Bathroom products in the new build market

New AMA Research has shown just how important new housebuilding is for kitchen and bathroom products. In 2015 it was estimated to account for approximately 13% of the overall UK kitchen and bathroom products market.

The market for kitchen and bathroom products in new build housing increased by an estimated 12% in 2015 to reach a value in excess of £700m, reflecting the continued steady improvement in the UK economy, consumer confidence levels and significant growth in the housebuilding market.

Kitchen appliances accounted for the largest sector of kitchen and bathroom products in the housebuilders market with 40% share by value. Other key product sectors reviewed in AMA Research's report include kitchen furniture, worktops, sinks and tapware, bathroom products and shower products.

Following a static period between 2011 and 2013, market conditions have steadily improved in 2014 and 2015 with housebuilding levels showing good growth, supporting new build kitchen sales via contractors, developers, distributors and merchants.

The shift towards three and four bedroom homes has supported larger new build kitchens and additional utility room installations in the new build sector.

Most housebuilders offer homebuyers the option to customise their new kitchen and use predefined ranges of products such as worktops, splashbacks, furniture, tiles, lighting and appliances.

Key trends in new build kitchens include; a focus on layout and design, growing popularity of kitchen-diners with a seating area, growing demand for 'hotel-style' quality interiors, increasing focus on durability, particularly in the social housing sector, increasing usage of well-known reputable brands of kitchen appliances in order to attract buyers and an increasing choice of worktop materials and designs, with built-in or integrated appliances installed in the majority of new build homes.

Kitchen taps have become more advanced with added value options including pull-out hoses for food preparation, integral water filters and the hot water boiling tap.

Trends worth noting in the new build bathroom sector include; a continued trend towards two or more bathrooms / ensuites, increasing investment in quality fixtures and fittings offering longevity and luxury, minimalist designs, 'future proofing' of bathrooms so they can be easily adapted to changing needs driven by an ageing UK population, increasing popularity of wetroom areas, and higher usage of digital technology in the premium sector in applications such as digital shower controls, spa baths, sensor operated mixer taps etc.

Despite the general trend towards showering, a bath continues to be an essential feature in the main bathroom in the vast majority of new build homes.

With a growing proportion of flats and apartments expected in the longer term and the small size of the average UK bathroom and kitchen, there will be a continuing demand for space-saving solutions, such as wall-hung sanitaryware, clever kitchen storage, slim-line appliances and compact bathroom furniture.

Housebuilders are continuing to focus on family homes, which should drive sales of larger, higher value kitchens.

Increased choice is likely to become more important as housebuilders compete to attract homebuyers, with branded 'connected' appliances, solid surface or stone worktops, digital showers, freestanding baths, wetroom areas etc. being increasingly offered.

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"The new housing sector continued to recover until mid-2016, underpinned by mortgage assistance schemes such as Help to Buy, a more buoyant economy and undersupply for a number of years," notes Keith Taylor, director of AMA Research. "However, the referendum decision to leave the EU has resulted in some economic uncertainty and housebuilders are likely to remain cautious. Consequently, this may result in a lower level of housing starts in 2017, which will affect volume sales of bathroom and kitchen products into the new housing sector."

Although Brexit may have a negative effect on the construction industry and a decline is likely in some sectors including housing - particularly in volume terms - underlying demand and the possibility of higher costs for imported raw materials and products, may support value growth in the housebuilding as well as the kitchen and bathroom sectors.

The value of kitchen and bathroom products in the housebuilding market is forecast to grow by around 4% between 2016-2020.

Photo: ref. 119843548

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Construction sector returns to growth in September

Happy days as September data highlighted an upturn in business activity across the UK construction sector for the first time since May. 

This has been primarily driven by a recovery in residential building. New orders also rebounded during September, which ended a four-month period of sustained decline.

Lets hope this good news is set to continue over the coming months.


  • Business activity rises for the first time since May
  • Solid upturn in housing activity offsets decline in commercial work
  • Fastest increase in new orders for six months
Survey respondents cited improving confidence among clients and a reduced drag on demand from Brexit-related uncertainty. Reflecting this,construction firms indicated a further recovery in their business expectations for the next 12 months, with optimism the strongest since May. Just under half of the survey panel (45%) forecast a rise in output over the year ahead, while only 9% anticipate a reduction. However, the degree of confidence remained softer than that seen at the start of 2016.

Adjusted for seasonal influences, the Markit/CIPSUK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) registered 52.3 in September, up from 49.2in August and above the 50.0 no-change value for the first time in four months. 

The latest reading was well above July’s seven-year low and indicated the fastest rise in construction output since March. The pace of expansion was nonetheless still softer than the long-run survey average (54.6).A solid rebound in residential activity was the key factor boosting overall construction output during September. Moreover, the latest increase in housing activity was the strongest recorded sinceJanuary. A number of firms cited resilient demand for residential building work and generally improving market conditions.

Construction companies pointed to a renewed rise in civil engineering activity, with the pace of expansion the fastest since March. Commercial construction activity decreased for the fourth month running, which is the longest period of sustained decline since early-2013. However, the latest fall was only modest and the slowest recorded since the downturn began in June.

Higher levels of overall construction activity were supported by a rise in new work for the first time since April. Anecdotal evidence suggested that signs of improving domestic economic conditions,and an upturn in housing-related demand in particular, had contributed to greater volumes of incoming new work in September. This in turn led to a further moderate rise in employment levels across the construction sector, although subcontractor usage continued to fall at one of the fastest rates since late 2013.

Mirroring the positive trends seen for business activity and new work, latest survey data highlighted a return to rising input buying across the construction sector. Meanwhile, construction companies indicated that supply chain pressures eased in September, with the latest deterioration in vendor performance the least marked seen for almost six years.There were again widespread reports that exchange rate depreciation had pushed up the cost of construction materials during September. A number of survey respondents noted that domestic suppliers had sought to pass on higher imported raw material costs. Although easing since August, the rate of input price inflation was close to the highest for two years.

David Noble, Group Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said: “The residential sector was the winner this month, as consumer confidence made a modest recovery, post the EU referendum.

“Overall, the fastest rise in new orders for construction projects since April ended a four month decline, and purchasing activity was at its highest since March. But, though there were modest rises in staffing levels, these were at one of the weakest rates in the last three years.

“Supplier delivery times recovered at a moderate rate, as higher stocks of building materials were reported and business optimism improved, ending a 39-month low. But, the sector still faces challenges with continuing pressures on input prices resulting from the weaker pound and the lingering uncertainty of the Brexit process and how it will impact on future business.”

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Housebuilding industry welcomes new government measures

The housebuilding industry has welcomed the measures announced by communities secretary Sajid Javid aimed at increasing new homes supply. Hopefully this will be good news for all areas of the building industry.

“Moves to speed up the planning process, bring more land forward more quickly and assist small developers are exactly what the industry has been telling government is needed and should build on the increases of recent years,” said the Home Builders Federation.

Measures announced today include the launch of a £3 billion Home Builders Fund which will provide £1 billion of short term loan funding for small builders, custom builders, and innovators, aimed at delivering 25,500 homes by 2020. This is an increase of £325 million over the previous commitment through the £525 million Builders Finance fund and the £150m Build to Rent fund - these will now be incorporated within the new combined fund.

The fund will also provide £2 billion of long term funding for infrastructure aimed at unlocking a pipeline of up to 200,000 homes over the longer term – with the emphasis on developments on brownfield land. HBF said that £1.2 billion of this £2 billion had been previously announced as the Large Sites Infrastructure Fund in 2015.

Javid also announced an “Accelerated Construction” programme paid for through £2 billion of new public sector net borrowing – this will be used to address “failures in the market”.  The government aims to use surplus public land to build faster, encouraging new developers with different models into housebuilding, and to support SMEs.

The government will partner with new entrants, SMEs, custom builders and offsite manufacturers that it hopes can build out sites quicker than a large developer might.

The announcement also focused on proposed changes to the planning system. While there is a focus on bringing forward brownfield sites for redevelopment there is no return to a “brownfield first” strategy, either explicit or implied.

The government also says it intends to “strengthen national planning policy to create a “de facto” presumption in favour of housing on suitable brownfield land and to drive up density levels in high demand areas while ensuring that developments are well-designed and respect the character of the local area” 

Speaking today, Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation said of these announcements: "Even after the huge increases in housing supply over the past few years we are some way short of building the number of homes the country needs. Housebuilders are still stifled by planning delays that prevent them getting on sites and delivering homes more quickly. Efforts to address this and remove some of the many barriers that new entrants face when trying make it into the industry and build new homes will undoubtedly help to boost housing output.

“Most of the big increases in supply in recent years have been driven by the largest house builders who have significantly boosted investment in land and skills. If we are to get to the level of supply required we need to see more players on the pitch. We need to enable small builders to play more of a part as well as facilitating more of a contribution from other sources.”

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Job in Focus for October: National Sales Manager for Luxury Bathroom Products - £65-85k

Our Job in Focus for October is a superb National Sales Manager's role managing a team of Area Sales Managers covering Retail, Specification & Contract channel sectors for a leading manufacturer of luxury bathroom products. £65-85k plus bonus.

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.

ob Title: National Sales Manager
Job Ref: J7636
Product: Bathroom Products
Location: National
Salary: £85k

National Sales Manager opportunity, working for a market leading manufacturer of luxury bathroom products. 

PACKAGE: Basic salary £65k to £85k plus Bonus Scheme, Car, Healthcare, Pension & other company benefits plus the opportunity to join a fantastic brand. 

EMPLOYER: Our client are a market leading manufacturer of luxury bathroom products boasting an excellent reputation. They are now looking to grow significantly and offer a superb opportunity for someone to develop their career in a true market leader. 

JOB DESCRIPTION: Superb opportunity to prove your management skills managing a team of Area Sales Managers covering all channel sectors including Retail, Specification & Contract. This person will inherit a strong team who are very experienced in their own dedicated channel - this person will need to be capable of understanding the differences between selling via Retail, Specification & Developer sectors and be comfortable being the visible face and voice to key customers in all of these sectors. They will be expected to set & monitor targets providing strong growth and motivate the team to achieve and surpass these targets. 

LOCATION: National role so someone living centrally would be advantageous including, West Midlands, Birmingham, Manchester, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire etc 

CANDIDATE: We are looking for a high calibre manager with a clear background in the Bathroom industry - preferably with strong experience in the Retail channel 

For further information or to discuss your career options contact Colin Hoy on 01480 405225 or apply online

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