Monday, 21 August 2017

Builders' Merchant Sales for Q2 2017 up by over 5%!

New data released in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirms a continuing positive trend for UK builders merchants with Q2 sales increasing by 5.3% (when adjusted for there being two fewer trading days in period) compared to Q2 2016. This is positive news for the building industry, especially in light of some disappointed industry research released in the last few weeks.

The actual Q2 year on year sales figure (for 61 days trading compared to 63 in 2016) is still positive at +1.9%. Furthermore, year to date sales figures to June are 3.8% higher than for 2016, a period with the same number of trading days.

The majority of product areas performed well in Q2. Sales of Ironmongery (+8.4%) and Kitchens and Bathrooms (+8.3%) led the way in adjusted year on year growth for the quarter.

The three largest product groups also performed well with sales of Timber & Joinery up by +6.0%, Landscaping +5.9% and Heavy Building Materials +5.6%. Sales of Plumbing, Heating and Electrical products also showed growth at +3.8%, although the increase was lower than the total builders merchants channel.

The BMBI tracks builders merchants actual sales using point of sale data collected by GfK that represents over 80% of the value of the builders’ merchant market.

The Q2 results appear to tell a different story to the trend reported by the Office of National Statistics earlier this month, in which overall construction output fell by -1.3% in the three months to June compared with Q1 and rose by just +0.4% on the same period last year.

Commenting on the results, John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “The majority of trade indicators are finding that order books are being sustained by private housing and RMI work – the mainstay of many a merchant’s business – while commercial sectors are falling behind. Even the ONS reported a year on year increase in housing of +9.4% for the quarter.

Take a look at the latest builders' merchant jobs >>

“I have visited over 20 BMF members in recent weeks and every one reported sales growth in the first half. While they have seen little evidence of a slow down in overall sales, they are reporting more price increases, an inevitable result of the falling exchange rate, and shortages in certain product areas. The merchant sector is showing resilience at the moment, but it would be foolish not to consider the possibility of tougher trading conditions as we move into 2018.”

Richard Frankcom of GfK adds: “Once again the builders merchants deliver great year-on-year sales value growth across the first six-months of 2017, coming from a variety of product categories. However, we cannot ignore the contribution that increased costs and price increases have had on this continued value growth.

“Going forward, we urge the industry to keep a close eye on trends impacting consumers’ ability to carry out renovations and improvements. Bank interest rates and real wage trends impact consumers’ ability to finance home improvements or house moves. We have just seen a significant drop in intentions to invest in home-related projects which could be felt by the merchants as early as the end of this year. However, home improvement projects could still be one of the best investments home owners and landlords can make right now. The encouragement and evidence for them to do so needs to come from somewhere during these uncertain economic times.”

Image: shutterstock_403530055

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Job in Focus: National Sales Manager for Fenestration Systems - £70k OTE

Our new Job in Focus is for a manufacturer of fenestration systems. As the new National Sales Manager you will be responsible for heading up the sales team on the trade division managing two external and five internal sales professionals across the UK.

You will be tasked with growing the revenue and sales team by targeting residential & commercial projects working with installers, contractors and merchants across the UK. 

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 Title: National Sales Manager
Job Ref: J9333
Product: Fenestration
Location: National
Salary: £60k

Manufacturer of fenestration systems. Managing 2 ASM's and 5 internal sales. 

Package: Up to £60K with £70K+ OTE. Company Car, Mobile, Laptop, Pension. 

Employer: Innovative manufacturer of fenestration systems with a fantastic name in the market due to consistently offering high levels of service and product quality. 

Job Description: You will be responsible for heading up the sales team on the trade division managing two external and five internal sales professionals across the UK. You will be tasked with growing the revenue and sales team by targeting residential & commercial projects working with installers, contractors and merchants across the UK. 

Area: Field based role covering nationally. The ideal candidate will live in and around the South East i.e. Hertford, London, Chelmsford, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Reading, Guildford etc. due to the location of some of the key account but this is not essential. 

Person: Due to the growth potential of this division we are seeking a proven sales management professional with experience of the fenestration industry. The ideal candidate will have experience working with merchants and contractors but other routes to market may be considered. 

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

Monday, 14 August 2017

UK construction industry growth slows to lowest in six years

Growth prospects for the construction industry in 2018 have been downgraded as the UK prepares to leave the EU, according to the latest forecasts by the Construction Products Association (CPA). Output is expected to soften as a slowing economy, falling real wages and rising costs adversely affect the industry, growth for 2018 is therefore only expected to rise by 0.7%, the slowest in six years, and a downward revision from 1.2% in previous forecasts.

View the Summer 2017 Construction Industry Forecast here.

For now, activity on site is high and output is expected to rise by 1.6% in 2017, a revision upwards from 1.3% in previous forecasts. This will be partly due to a sharp rise from new contracts and activity in the £6.9 billion public housing repair, maintenance and improvements to deal with short-term urgent measures that will need to be made in light of the Grenfell Tower fire.

An increase in infrastructure activity and private housebuilding are expected to be the primary drivers of growth over the next two years which will help offset a sharp fall in the commercial and industrial sectors. Growth in infrastructure will be due to major projects in rail and water & sewerage such as HS2 and the Thames Tideway Tunnel, with activity forecast to grow by 7.4% in 2017 and 6.4% in 2018. Growth will be reliant on delivery of these projects and the extent of the continued delays to main works at Hinkley Point C have resulted in it no longer included in the CPA forecasts.  

Growth for the industry in 2018 will also be heavily reliant on private housebuilding, however the sector is still reliant on Help to Buy equity loans to drive housebuilding numbers. The policy is in place until 2021, which is expected to support demand for new build and drive growth in private housing starts of 3.0% in 2017 and 2.0% in 2018. However, this is slower than in previous years given uncertainties over the strength of consumer confidence and falls in real earnings.

Looking further ahead, growth for 2019 is projected to be 1.8%, but given the unprecedented economic and political uncertainties following the lack of a significant majority for the UK government as the UK leaves the EU, the risks around this forecast are considerable.

Look at the latest construction sales jobs here>>

Noble Francis, Economics Director at the Construction Products Association said: "Construction firms are still reporting that activity remains high and there are still lots of cranes around. But there are clear signs that construction output is slowing and that next year, in particular, will be difficult for the industry. Prospects for construction have been adversely affected by slowing UK economic growth and falling real wages on one side and sharp rising costs on the other. A fall in new investment, especially where it is large international investment looking for a long-term rate of return, is forecast to lead to declines in the commercial and industrial sectors."

"Despite the slowdown in the general housing market, particularly in London, house builders continue to increase supply, albeit more slowly than in recent years. Currently, more than a third of new house building is being sustained by the government's Help to Buy and should continue to do so over the next 18 months if the wider economy and housing market don’t slow further. However, if economic conditions do deteriorate further, house builders can react quite quickly if necessary.

"Increases in infrastructure investment are also expected to offset these declines and be the key driver of any construction growth going forward. However, concerns regarding rising costs and delays to major projects continue to dog the sector so there remains a high degree of uncertainty around infrastructure growth in the next few years. And this infrastructure investment will be vital for the industry as a whole. Without it, total construction output would fall by 1.0% in 2018."

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Commercial Construction Activity has slowed for the first time in 5 months

The latest Construction Purchasing Manager's Index® (PMI®) has revealed that UK construction companies recorded another growth slowdown in July, reflecting lower volumes of commercial building and a softer expansion of housing activity.

The latest survey also revealed a reduction in new business volumes for the first time since August 2016, which acted as a headwind to job creation and input buying across the construction sector. 

At the same time, intense supply chain pressures continued in July and prices for construction materials increased at one of the sharpest rates since the first half of 2011.     
  • Weakest construction performance since August 2016 
  • Commercial work falls at fastest pace for 12 months   
  • New orders decline, leading to softer job creation in July
Adjusted for seasonal influences, the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) dropped from 54.8 in June to 51.9 in July, to signal the weakest construction performance since August 2016. The latest reading was below the long-run survey average (54.5) and pointed to only a moderate pace of business activity growth.     

Lower levels of commercial construction were a key factor holding back overall business activity growth in July. Although only modest, the reduction in commercial activity was the fastest for 12 months. A number of survey respondents cited delays in decision making by clients, linked to worries about the economic outlook and heightened political uncertainty. 

Residential building remained the strongest performing category of activity in July, although the latest rise was the slowest for three months. The only upturn in output growth was recorded in the civil engineering sector.

Construction firms commented on greater reluctance to commit to new projects among clients in July. Weaker demand led to an overall reduction in new business volumes for the first time since the post-referendum rebound began in September 2016. Deteriorating order books resulted in more cautious staff recruitment policies, as highlighted by a moderation in employment growth to its slowest for 11 months. Sub-contractor usage also decreased during the latest survey period.       

July data suggested that UK construction companies responded to lower sales by tightening up purchasing activity at their business units. The latest increase in input buying was only marginal and the weakest since March. Delivery times for construction materials continued to lengthen sharply, which survey respondents linked to low stocks and stretched capacity among suppliers. Meanwhile, input cost inflation remained elevated and close to the peaks seen at the start of 2017, which was partly linked to prices for imported items.

Construction firms remained upbeat about their growth prospects, but the degree of optimism was the lowest since July 2016. This was attributed to heightened economic uncertainty and subdued confidence among clients.

Tim Moore, Associate Director at IHS Markit and author of the IHS Markit/CIPS Construction PMI®, said:

“July data reveals a growth slowdown in the UK construction sector, mainly driven by lower volumes of commercial development and a loss of momentum for house building. Weaker contributions from the cyclically sensitive areas of construction activity more than offset resilience in the civil engineering sector.

“Worries about the economic outlook and heightened political uncertainty were key factors contributing to subdued demand.

Construction firms reported that clients were more reluctant to spend and had opted to take longer in committing to new projects.“There was a knock-on impact for job creation and input buying following the largest downturn in order books since August 2016. However, supply chain pressures remained intense, reflecting low stocks among vendors, and materials prices continued to rise at one of the fastest rates seen for six years.

“The combination of weaker order books and sharply rising construction costs gives concern that an extended soft patch for the construction sector may be on the horizon.”

Duncan Brock, Director of Customer Relationships at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said:

“The number of new orders dropped significantly this month and at the fastest rate since August 2016, as commitment-averse clients contributed to the sector’s weak trajectory.

“Commercial building activity slowed for the first time in five months and was the main drag on the Index. Housing, the shining light of the sector eased marginally, but produced the slowest growth since April, as parallels with the darker days of Brexit, worries about the UK economy and post-election uncertainty can be seen across the construction sector.

“Continuing price pressures from the weak pound lingered, driving cost inflation near to a six-year peak, stifling purchasing activity and jobs growth. All in all, a challenging start to Q3 and there are possible roadblocks ahead for the sector in the rest of 2017, with longer lead times and suppliers struggling with stock levels, which adds insult to injury.”

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Job in Focus: Selling Civils Products for a Leading Contractor to Housebuilders - £60k

Our new Job in Focus for August is a Business Development role selling Civils Products for a Leading Contractor selling to Housebuilders. You would be required to develop sales and demand for major residential and commercial projects. We are looking for an ambitious and driven individual.

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. 



PACKAGE: Up to £60,000 with bonus plus company car, fuel card, pension, healthcare, mobile phone, laptop and holidays.

EMPLOYER: Well respected main contractor within the civil and groundworks market, specialising in quality service and meeting the customers expectations. They are a rapidly growing business with loads of opportunity for both personal and career development.

JOB DESCRIPTION: Business Development Manager - focusing on developing sales within the groundworks market place. The successful candidate will be selling the business on its USPs trying to create demand working on major projects such as large residential, commercial projects as well as within the rail market. Your main focus will be on targeting main contractors, house builders and civil contractors. There are already strong relationships with a number of loyal accounts but there will also be an element of creating new business within the area.

AREA: South - Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and South Wales

PERSON: The successful candidate will have experience within the construction market place, ideally with civil, groundworks or heavy side product knowledge but the client is open as long as the candidate has strong contacts with contractors or House builders. The successful candidate with be ambitious and very driven personality who wants to prove themselves within a growing business.

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

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A welcome Marketing first for the Construction Industry

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the world’s leading professional marketing body, champion of customer engagement and best practice in the industry, has announced the launch of its first sector-specific Marketing Programme for the construction industry.

This is an initiative which Pinnacle Consulting wholly supports, as our research has shown that once a marketeer starts a career in the construction industry, they stay in it for a long time. However, opportunities in those early stages can be rare and the chance for marketeers to have an enhanced understanding of our unique industry is very welcome. We will certainly be recommending to suitable candidates that that investigate this programme as a key part of their career development. It is something companies should also be looking to provide to some of their team members. 

This programme incorporates an internationally recognised CIM qualification, offers additional training opportunities and has been specifically designed to equip professionals with core marketing expertise combined with an understanding of the particular requirements of this complex and critical industry.

CIM and its Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG) have been working together to develop the programme and CIMCIG have been instrumental in providing industry insight and ensuring that the programme meets the needs of the industry.

The skills shortage is a widely recognised challenge for the construction industry in the UK; with one fifth of all vacancies persistently hard to fill because employers cannot recruit staff with the right skills, qualifications or experience and the demand is forecast to rise even further.  The marketing discipline is not immune.  The CIM programme has been developed based on research into the Industry carried out by CIMCIG, which highlighted the demand for relevant training and a general disquiet around the level of skills in many marketing teams.

Mike Lomax, Chair of CIM’s Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG) and a seasoned construction sector marketer, observed: “Worth over £1 billion per year and responsible for 10% of the working population, the construction sector is both hugely significant and individual in character.  CIM’s new Marketing Programme will provide a solid foundation for junior marketers and individuals in a marketing support role within the construction industry. It will equip them with the practical skills and knowledge they can apply immediately to make a positive impact on their business and industry.”

The CIM Marketing Programme for the construction industry includes the CIM Level Three Foundation qualification and combines CIM course material with insight, case studies and practical knowledge provided by construction specialists.  Every individual enrolled will also be working under the guidance of their own mentor, whose role will be to support the student in learning about the wider industry, giving an insight that goes beyond both the classroom and the student’s own workplace.

For more information about CIM’s new Marketing Programme, please visit:

Chris Daly, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), adds: “A CIM qualification gives a solid grounding for a marketing career and professional marketing is a recognised driver of business growth.  I am delighted that CIM has partnered with the construction sector to address the marketing skills gap and enable new marketers to gain the right skills and behaviours needed to contribute to the growth of an absolutely vital industry.”

If you are interested in finding a job in construction marketing, please find our more here>>

The initiative is supported by the Builders Merchant Federation, Richard Ellithorne, BMF Membership services Director, said: “While the BMF offers a number of merchant specific qualifications designed to help junior and middle managers progress in their careers, until now we have not had a specific marketing qualification within our prospectus.  We are delighted to endorse the CIM Foundation Certificate in Marketing for Construction and believe it will be attractive to both our merchant and supplier members.”   

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Positive 5 year outlook for the UK ventilation and air conditioning market

Encouraging news for the UK ventilation and air conditioning market is significant and was estimated to be worth £1.17 billion in 2016. Growth has been steady since 2013, with the recovery in the UK economy stimulating construction activity, as well as consumer and business confidence levels. 

Although the market situation in early 2017 is more subdued, the current market forecast for remains moderately positive, with growth of around 3% per year from 2019 onwards.

The UK ventilation and air conditioning market exhibits the characteristics of an increasingly mature market. Positive influences on the ventilation and air conditioning market include increasing health, safety and energy efficiency legislation, revised Building Regulations and environmental legislation, and the generally increasing awareness about the importance of indoor air quality and energy use.

Considerable replacement and refurbishment opportunities are present in existing buildings;
there are still a large number of buildings with inadequate or inefficient VAC systems. In
addition, Government initiatives are also motivating the VAC market. For example, the
Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme which offers up to 100% first year tax relief on a
number of energy saving plant and machinery, including VAC equipment.

Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research, commented: “Following the UK Brexit vote in mid-
2016, the outlook for this market, like many others will depend on the path taken to exit the
EU and the type of trade and legislative deals formulated. By 2021 it is estimated that the UK ventilation and air conditioning market will have increased by 10 - 11% when compared to the estimated market size in 2017.”

Interested in a HVAC sales job? Find out more here>>

The future performance of the UK ventilation and air conditioning market is likely to be
influenced by overall trends in housebuilding and non-domestic construction, RMI activity,
fuel prices, energy efficiency legislation, renewable technologies, levels of personal
disposable income, plus climatic factors and air temperatures.

Enhanced levels of market penetration are also likely to arise from product innovation and
technological developments, for example variable speed drives, multiple scroll compressors,
EC motors, filter sensors and heat recovery systems. In recent years, there has been good
growth in VRF or VRV air conditioning systems, reflecting the fact that they offer more
efficient operation and can therefore save operational costs.

There is also increasing demand for intelligent ‘smart’ controls that can remotely manage
ventilation and air conditioning systems, as well as a greater emphasis on the integration of
VAC controls into the building management systems of commercial buildings.

The ‘Ventilation and Air Conditioning 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 or by calling 01242 235724.

Image: Shutterstock 305174123.jpg

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Builders Merchants rewarded at Master Builder Awards!

Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has partnered with the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) to reward some of the best merchants in the country alongside the UK’s best builders in the Master Builder Awards. It is really good to see the vital part the merchant sectors plays in the industry, slowly being more recognised.

The competition is judged in two stages, and the six Regional winners of the BMF Builders Merchant Award have just been announced. 

The Regional winners are:

  • Midlands: E H Smith
  • North: Milford Building Supplies
  • Northern Ireland: Haldane Fisher
  • South: Parker Building Supplies
  • Scotland: Beatsons Building Supplies
  • Wales: LBS Builders Merchants

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “The members of the BMF and the FMB are two halves of the same coin.  Both ultimately serve the communities in which they operate.  We were delighted to further cement our relationship with the FMB by adding to this year’s Master Builder Awards. The FMB Awards celebrate the work of small and medium sized builders who have demonstrated excellence both in their standard of work and their customer service.  Similarly, for the BMF Builders Merchant Award we were looking for local merchants – be they builders’, plumbing, heating, timber or decorating - who have focused on customer service to drive new business growth

 “We were delighted with the response and the quality of the entries and along with the FMB, we had a hard task selecting the six regional winners: We wish them all luck as they go forward to the national final.”

The national winner will be announced at the Master Builder Awards Ceremony presented by TV’s Nick Knowles and to be held at the Park Lane Hotel on 15 September 2017.

If you are interested in a builders merchant job, find out more here >>

Image: Shutterstock 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Job in Focus: Regional Sales Manager for Commercial Interior Products to Architects in South East - £55k + bonus

Our new Job in Focus is a senior management position. As Regional Sales Manager for the South East region you will be managing and leading a field sales team of 9 selling interior fit-out products via specification. You could earn £55k + 20% bonus and benefits.

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 Title: Regional Sales Manager
Job Ref: J9219
Product: Commercial Interiors
Location: London & South East
Salary: £55k

Manufacturer of interior fit out products targeting architects.

Basic salary of up to £55K with 20% bonus plus company car, mobile, laptop, pension and additional company benefits. 

EMPLOYER: Our client are a leading European manufacturer of interior fit out products with an excellent reputation for cutting edge technology and innovative new product development. 

JOB DESCRIPTION: Regional Sales Manager: The successful candidate will have 9 field sales reports. This is a senior level management position with the person responsible for ensuring that the team deliver on targets and providing guidance and direction. Covering the company's full range of high quality fit out products. Responsibilities including day-to-day leading and supporting of the team, budget negotiation, sales forecasting and key account management working with supply chain customers. 

LOCATION: Field based covering London, South East and East Anglia covering London, Middlesex, Greater London, Kent, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk 

CANDIDATE: We are seeking a highly motivated individual with experience managing a field sales team. This person should also have knowledge of specification sales and targeting architects. 

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

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Read the key facts of the 2017 Q2 State of Trade Survey for UK Construction from the CPA

The CPA’s State of Trade Survey for 2017 Q2 reveals that UK construction product manufacturers experienced growth in sales and activity for the 17th consecutive quarter, but higher input costs and rising uncertainty has dampened manufacturers’ views for the near-term future.

Results of the survey showed that among heavy side manufacturers, only 7% anticipated a rise in sales in the next quarter, a decline from the 68% who anticipated a rise when asked in 2017 Q1. A sharp rise in input costs was also reported in Q2, with 93% of heavy side manufacturers and all of those on the light side reporting an increase in costs compared with a year earlier.

The strongest inflationary pressures came from raw materials, fuel and energy, owing to depreciation in Sterling during 2016, alongside skills shortages pushing up wage bills.

The construction products manufacturing industry has an annual turnover of £55 billion, directly providing jobs for 300,000 people across 22,000 companies. Products range from ‘heavy side’ materials such as steel, bricks, timber and concrete to ‘light side’ products such as insulation, boilers, glass and lighting. On an annual basis, 47% of heavy side firms reported that sales had increased in Q2, whilst on the light side, 45% of firms reported that sales were higher than a year earlier.

Rebecca Larkin, CPA Senior Economist said: “It was an eventful quarter on the political front, with the announcement of a snap general election and the resulting hung parliament adding to existing uncertainty over the path for Brexit negotiations. Despite healthy growth in the second quarter, construction product manufacturers have turned more pessimistic over performance for the rest of the year, reigniting concern that the triple hit of imported inflation in raw materials, higher fuel and energy prices and the persistent pressure on labour costs will have a negative impact on demand and construction activity over the next 12 months.

 "An increase in overall costs was reported by 93% of heavy side manufacturers and all of those on the light side. Inflation is expected to endure as similar proportions anticipate that costs will continue to climb over the next year. Government’s ability to progress the pipeline for large public sector and infrastructure projects is now more important than ever as a means of sustaining activity when private sector decision-making may be stalling.”

 Key survey findings include:

  • A balance of 40% of heavy side firms and 55% of light side firms reported that construction product sales rose in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the first quarter
  • On an annual basis, sales rose for 47% of heavy side firms and 45% of firms on the light side, on balance
  • On balance, 7% of heavy side manufacturers anticipated a rise in sales in Q3, decreasing from a balance of 68% in the previous quarter
  • On the light side, 20% of firms expected an increase in product sales in the next quarter, compared to a balance of 47% in Q1
  • Annual cost increases were reported by 93% of heavy side manufacturers and 100% of those on the light side
  • Raw materials costs rose according to 87% of heavy side manufacturers and 100% of those on the light side
  • 93% of heavy side manufacturers and 90% of light side manufacturers anticipate a rise in costs over the next year.

The Construction Products Association represents the UK’s manufacturers and distributors of construction products and materials.  We are committed to raising the profile of our industry and members’ businesses, helping grow the market and reducing regulatory risk.  The sector directly provides jobs for 300,000 people across 22,000 companies and has an annual turnover of more than £55 billion.  The CPA is the leading voice to promote and campaign for this vital UK industry.

The CPA produces a range of economic reports including the quarterly Construction Industry Forecasts, Construction Trade Surveys and the State of Trade Surveys.  All are available to members or subscribers via our website.

Monday, 10 July 2017

BMF membership hits new high at 600 (six hundred!)

Membership of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) continues to rise, with the Federation welcoming Cardiff-based FW Morgan as its 600th member on 1 July.

Over the last five years, the BMF has developed and implemented a strategy that has seen positive benefits for every sector of the building materials supply industry. The result has been a surge in membership among merchants and their suppliers of every size and in every part of the country. FW Morgan, for example, is the 46th member of the nationwide h&b buying group to join the BMF.

John Newcomb, managing director of the BMF, said: “The BMF plays an extremely important role in representing the interests of our industry and has become the sector’s must-join body, with member numbers at their highest since 1995. We are the fourth largest construction trade organisation in the UK and our views are increasingly sought by policy makers at every level of government. Our voice is also receiving greater exposure in both mainstream and digital media, helping to build wider understanding of the merchant industry.”

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

UK construction sector recovery loses momentum in June

June data revealed weaker growth momentum across the UK construction sector, with business activity, new work and employment all expanding at slower rates than in May. Survey respondents commented on signs of renewed risk aversion among clients, reflecting concerns about the economic outlook and heightened political uncertainty.

The latest survey also indicated that construction companies were the least optimistic about their near-term growth prospects since December 2016.

At 54.8 in June, down from 56.0 in May, the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) registered above the 50.0 no-change mark for the tenth month running. Although signalling a solid upturn in overall business activity, the rate of expansion eased from May’s 17-month peak.

Key findings:

  • Business activity growth slows from May’s 17- month high
  • Weaker rises in new orders and employment
  • Business optimism eases to its lowest so far in 2017

Softer growth momentum was recorded across all three broad categories of construction activity. Residential building continued to outperform commercial work and civil engineering in June.

Moreover, the latest rise in housing activity was still the second-fastest since December 2015. Reports from survey respondents suggested that a lack of new work to replace completed projects had weighed on construction growth in June. Latest data indicated that new order growth eased to its weakest since March. A number of firms cited delays in decision making among clients, partly linked to heightened economic uncertainty.

Mirroring the trend for new business, construction companies reported the slowest rise in employment numbers for three months in June. Some survey respondents noted that concerns about the business outlook had led to the non-replacement of voluntary leavers. Reflecting this, the index measuring construction firms’ expectations for growth over the next 12 months was the lowest so far in 2017.

Meanwhile, demand for construction materials continued to rise at a solid pace in June, with the rate of expansion holding close to May’s 16-month peak. A sustained upturn in input buying placed pressure on stocks held by vendors and resulted in longer delivery times for construction materials. 

The latest deterioration in supplier performance was the second-sharpest since March 2015.

UK construction companies reported another steep increase in their average cost burdens in June. The overall rate of inflation rebounded since May and was the strongest for three months. Reports from survey respondents mainly commented on the weaker sterling exchange rate feeding through from manufacturers. Some firms also noted that a combination of resilient demand for construction materials and stretched supply had underpinned the latest round of price rises by vendors.

Tim Moore, Senior Economist at IHS Markit and author of the Markit/CIPS Construction PMI®, said:

“The construction sector experienced a growth slowdown in June, largely reflecting weaker rises in commercial building and civil engineering activity. Residential construction work continued to increase at one of the fastest rates since the end of 2015.

“Survey respondents commented on renewed caution among clients, in response to heightened political and economic uncertainty. Fragile business sentiment led to delayed decision-making on large projects and greater concern about the outlook for workloads during the next 12 months. While construction firms remain upbeat overall about their near-term growth prospects, the degree of confidence fell to its lowest so far this year.

“Despite a softer rise in construction output, the latest survey revealed that supply chain pressures were among the most intense since early-2015. June data also pointed to strong input price inflation, driven by resilient demand and upward pressure on costs imported construction materials.” 

Duncan Brock, Director of Customer Relationships at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said:

“The construction sector’s confidence took a knock this month as optimism fell to its lowest reading in 2017 and clients became more restrained in placing new orders. Respondents cited continuing uncertainty in the run up to the election and Brexit negotiations for the hesitancy. But, the housing sector continued to have the most get-up-and-go with the second fastest rise since December 2015, leaving the other sectors lagging behind.

“While new business wins were less in evidence, demand for materials remained high as suppliers scrabbled to meet the need for a number of materials in short supply and their performance worsened as their delivery times lengthened. The availability of skilled workers still remained an issue, with the slowest rise in employment levels for three months as a lack of new orders translated into restricted levels of hiring.

“With some doubt edging into the psyche of the construction industry about positive trading
conditions, the sector will be guarding against continuing higher input prices with another eye on the possibility of rising interest rates as well.”

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Job in Focus for July: National KBB Sales Director for House Builders - £80k OTE

Our new Job in Focus is for a Sales Director heading up a team of 6 targeting the house builder and main contractor market for KBB products. You will be tasked with growing turnover and managing senior level negotiations at head office level. The position is worth a potential £80k plus benefits.

You will be tasked with growing both the turn over of the division as well as the size of the team. It is a national role.

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 Title: Sales Director - House builders
Job Ref: J9146
Product: KBB
Location: National
Salary: £60k + 20k bonus.


Package: Basic salary of up to £60,000 plus up to £20,000 bonus, company car, pension, mobile, laptop and 25 days holiday. 

Role: Business Development Director - Our client is looking for an experienced sales manager to head up a team of 6 targeting the house builder and main contractor market marketing a fantastic range of kitchens and bathrooms. You will be tasked with growing both the turnover of the division as well as managing senior level negotiations at head office level. This is largely a strategic role with the person being heavily involved in developing and implementing sales strategies, competitor analysis and forecasting. 

Location: National coverage but ideally living with good motorway access in the Midlands ideally in West Midlands, Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire but candidates will also be considered living at other central location elsewhere in the UK 

Candidate: We need someone who can represent a brand at top level with key decision makers in the boardroom. The client is open on product and customer base experience but they must have managed a field based sales team in the construction market. and be used to targeting house builders or main contractors. 

To apply for this role or discuss your career opportunities further please contact Natalie Matthews on 01480 405225 or apply online.