Friday, 26 January 2018

New Home registrations highest since 2007 says NHBC

Good news from the Housebuilding industry as it was announced that annual registrations last year were the highest since 2007, according to NHBC’s latest figures.

The number of new homes registered to be built in 2017 increased 6% against 2016 to 160,606 homes, NHBC said. Of these, 118,825 were for private new homes, up 3%. Registrations for the affordable sector grew 14% to 41,781, the increase driven by a rise in registrations in the private rented sector. These figures are included in the affordable housing data, NHBC said.

Meanwhile, in 2017 new home completions lifted 4% to 147,278 homes against 2016.

Nine out of 12 UK regions saw increases in registrations, with the East Midlands (+19%; 14,481), Wales (+19%; 5,470) and the North West (+12%; 16,947) seeing some of the highest growth.

London, a region struggling in recent years, experienced a slight annual rise in registrations, up 1% to 17,850 on 2016.

Steve Wood, NHBC’s CEO, said: “2017 was an interesting year, politically, economically and socially.

“Our figures show the market has delivered strong growth resulting in the highest new home figures for a decade and growth across the majority of the UK, including London for the first time since 2014.

“Looking ahead, NHBC will continue to work with the industry to help raise the standards of new homes.  With 6% growth in the quantity of new home registrations, the focus on delivering quality for consumers remains critical.”

Photo via Shutterstock 

Monday, 22 January 2018

The Carillion debacle - BMF assesses its impact on materials supply chain

Oh, the irony! 'Making tomorrow a better place'. For whom exactly?

The warnings had been there for some time, but despite the inevitability, it was still a tragic day when Carillion went into liquidation, especially for the innocent people and companies caught in the aftermath. The building supply chain is one area which will be impacted, and the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has undertaken an initial survey of its members following the collapse of Carillion.

BMF Chief Executive Officer, John Newcomb said: “From our initial survey of members it seemed that very few traded with Carillion directly, and it was a very small part of business amongst those who did. However, a number believe they are likely to be indirectly exposed as their customers include Carillion sub-contractors.

“It is well-known that Carillion operated on 120-day payment terms and most of their sub-contractors are owed money for work carried out prior to the liquidation. At the moment it seems that most of our merchant members will be covered by credit insurance for any losses, but they would like to hear from customers who may be affected as soon as possible so they can find ways to move forward and support them.

“We would also call on the Government to learn lessons from this and take immediate steps to promote and enforce the Construction Supply Chain Payment Charter (CSCPC), which is designed to ensure that payments are made to the supply chain within 30 days.”

The BMF is also highlighting the employment opportunities offered by the building materials industry, and urging Carillion’s 1,400 apprentices as well as other staff, to consider entering the sector.

John Newcomb added: “There are opportunities within our sector in all parts of the country. Through our own Apprenticeships Training Agency and our dedicated recruitment portal we can offer recruitment options to former Carillion employees who would like to find out more about furthering their career in the materials supply sector.”

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Happy 110th Birthday to the BMF!

The BMF is set for a year of celebration with three major events taking place during 2018 to commemorate a trio of landmark anniversaries.  As well as the 40th anniversary of the Builders’ Merchants Federation itself, the BMF is marking 110 years as a Trade Body and 5 years since it relocated from London to its current HQ in Coventry.   

To celebrate these milestones in the BMF’s history, the Federation is holding its first Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commonsits first Young Merchants’ Conference and a special Anniversary Dinner for 200 members at the Belfry.  

The Parliamentary Reception, which takes place on 24 April, will be hosted by Jim Cunningham, MP for Coventry South where BMF head office is based.  The event will bring together an invited audience of BMF members, MPs and Peers to network, and to promote and explain the role, value and importance of merchants within the building supply chain.   

The Anniversary Dinner for BMF members, on 29 November, sees the BMF return to the award-winning Belfry Hotel in Warwickshire, where the BMF celebrated its Trade Body centenary in 2008. Known for its world class golf courses and state of the art leisure facilities, the Belfry was named as England’s Leading Resort and Leading Conference Hotel at the World Travel Awards 2017.   

Details of the first Young Merchants’ Conference, which takes place on 11 October, will be finalised later this month.
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John Newcomb, the BMF’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a very special year for the BMF and we have planned three very different events which both commemorate the merchant industry’s heritage and look forward to a vibrant future.  While much has changed over the years, the BMF’s support for the industry and our members remains as strong as ever. We look forward to working, and celebrating, with as many members as possible throughout this milestone year.”

The BMF is also gathering historic photographs and memorabilia from the industry’s 110 year history.  Companies that wish to contribute, or that are celebrating their own landmark anniversary in 2018, should email to share in the BMF’s anniversary celebrations.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Construction Products Sales expected to slow during 2018

The UK’s £56.5 billion construction product manufacturing industry is expected to slow this year as the sector lost its pace at the end of 2017, according to the CPA's State of Trade Survey for 2017 Q4.

The survey results showed activity is expected to weaken this year as inflation continues to rise, economic growth slows, and the UK’s post-Brexit deal still remains unclear. It is likely the first half of 2017 was a peak for the industry, with the survey reporting early signs of slowing activity in the final three months of 2017, and construction product manufacturers envisaging a broader softening in market conditions during 2018.

The survey results showed that 6% of heavy side manufacturers, such as steel, bricks, timber and concrete, reported a decrease in product sales in Q4, compared to 10% reporting a rise in Q3. This was the first negative balance since 2013 Q1. In contrast, sales on the light side, which includes non-structural and finishing products such as insulation, boilers, glass and lighting, were still reported higher by half of manufacturing firms.

Whilst a modest pickup in sales is anticipated in the first quarter of 2018, the survey showed a weakness in sales expectations extending across the next 12 months, for both heavy side and light side firms. No heavy side firms and only 10% of those on the light side expected an increase in product sales during 2018.

Rebecca Larkin, CPA Senior Economist said: “The survey echoes other industry data that has shown the prolonged period of growth in construction activity since 2013 started to lose pace in the closing months of 2017. Of note are the signals of a leaner 2018 with heavy side expectations for sales growth at their lowest in five years, reflecting a backdrop of a slower economy, Brexit uncertainty and falling new orders in key sectors such as commercial offices.

“As well as weaker market conditions, it appears as though a further rise in costs will strengthen the headwinds facing industry. In Q4, 87% of heavy side firms and 91% of light side firms reported a rise in raw materials costs, whilst on the energy-intensive heavy side, fuel and energy costs were reported higher for 93% of firms. This illustrates the lagged pass-through of the 2016 Sterling depreciation and rising global commodity prices into input cost inflation that is still to filter down the construction supply chain. Three-quarters of product manufacturers expect inflationary pressures to linger into 2018.

Key survey findings include:

  • A balance of 6% of heavyside firms reported that construction product sales fell in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with the third quarter. 50% of lightside firms reported a rise in sales in Q4
  • On an annual basis, sales rose for 13% of heavy side firms and half of firms on the lightside, on balance
  • On balance, no heavyside manufacturers anticipated a rise in sales in the next year, decreasing from a balance of +28% in the previous quarter
  • On the light side, 10% of firms expected an increase in product sales in the next year, compared to a balance of 33% in Q3
  • Annual cost increases were reported by 87% of manufacturers on the heavy side and 80% on the lightside
  • Raw materials costs rose according to 87% of heavyside manufacturers and 91% of those on the lightside
  • 73% of heavyside manufacturers and 80% of lightside manufacturers anticipate a rise in costs over the next year.

Image from Shutterstock

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Job in Focus: Regional Sales Manager for Hot Water Heating Products in East Anglia - £80k OTE

Our new Job in Focus for the start of 2018 is a fantastic Sales Management role, with four reports, selling hot water heating products to the commercial sector via specification and to M&E contractors. The OTE is £80k. You would cover the South but with a focus on East Anglia.

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: J9856
Product: Heating & Plumbing
Location: East Anglia
Salary: £50k
Sector: Management


PACKAGE: Up to £50K plus a realistic bonus of up to £30K and company car, mobile phone, laptop, healthcare, pension and 25 days holiday + bank holidays. 

EMPLOYER: An established company with a great reputation in the heating market for innovation and branding. 

JOB DESCRIPTION: We are working on an excellent opportunity to for a Regional Sales Manager to join the largest gas appliance company in the World. With an excellent brand presence, this company specialise in both domestic and commercial hot water solutions. 
Due to success and growth, a new role of Southern Regional Sales Manager has been created to lead and motivate a team of 4 field sales representatives. You will report to a National Sales Manager and additional responsibilities include: 

- Developing specifications of hot water heating products including controls, hot water storage and flues through M&E consultants & contractors 
- Projects are focused on the commercial sector including education, healthcare, retail and leisure centres 
- A small amount of time invested in distribution sales 
- Providing 1-1 meetings, support and KPI's for the team 

LOCATION: Field based covering the South with a focus on Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, North London, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. However, the following areas will also be covered: Kent, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Devon, Dorset, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire 

CANDIDATE: You will have experience managing a field sales team within the heating or plumbing market and understand the specification process. Additionally, you will need to have drive, enthusiasm and be highly self-motivated so that you can put your stamp on the role and bring ideas to drive the business forward. 

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

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Residential housing work shows robust rise in latest Construction Purchasing Manager's Index

UK construction companies indicated an uneven recovery in business activity at the end of 2017. A robust rise in residential building contrasted with falling work on commercial projects and stagnating civil engineering output.

The report indicates some positive signs for the coming months. We'd like to wish all involved in the building and construction industry a very successful 2018 and beyond on both a personal and professional level.
  • Housing remains by far the best performing area of activity 
  • New orders rise at fastest pace since May  
  • Sharp rate of input price inflation continues in December
There were positive signals for the near-term business outlook, with new order growth reaching a seven-month high and job creation the strongest since June. However, intense supply chain pressures continued across the construction sector, while input cost inflation picked up from November’s 14-month low. 

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) posted 52.2 in December, down from 53.1 in November but above the 50.0 no-change threshold for the third month running. As a result, the latest reading signalled a moderate expansion of overall construction output at the end of 2017. 

Survey respondents indicated that house building remained a key engine of growth, with residential work expanding for the sixteenth consecutive month in December. In contrast, latest data indicated a moderate fall in commercial construction, thereby continuing the downward trend seen since July. Civil engineering work stabilised during the latest survey period, which ended a three-month period of decline.  

December data pointed to resilient demand for new construction projects, as highlighted by the fastest upturn in new order volumes since May. Anecdotal evidence cited an improved flow of enquires in recent months, alongside a gradual upturn in clients’ willingness to commit to new work.

The prospect of greater workloads ahead resulted in stronger rises in employment and purchasing activity during December.  In fact, the latest upturn in input buying was the steepest for two years, which survey respondents widely linked to increased business requirements. Robust demand for construction products and materials contributed to another sharp lengthening of suppliers’ delivery times at the end of 2017. 

Strong cost pressures persisted across the construction sector, driven by rising prices for a range of inputs. In particular, survey respondents noted higher prices for blocks, bricks, insulation and roof tiles, alongside continued rises in the cost of imported products. Although the rate of input cost inflation picked up since November, it remained softer than February’s peak.  

Despite a rebound in new order volumes during December, construction firms indicated a subdued degree of optimism regarding the business outlook for the next 12 months. The balance of companies expecting a rise in output levels remained among the weakest recorded since mid-2013, which survey respondents mainly linked to worries about the wider UK economic outlook.

Tim Moore, Associate Director at IHS Markit and author of the IHS Markit/CIPS Construction PMI® said:“The UK construction sector achieved a moderate expansion of business activity at the end of 2017, although the recovery remained uneven and slowed overall since November. Construction companies indicated that another strong contribution from house building helped to offset subdued civil engineering activity and reduced volumes of commercial work.

“Total new orders picked up at the fastest pace for seven months in December, which provides a positive signal for construction workloads in the short-term. Resilient demand and forthcoming project starts also led to greater job creation and the strongest increase in input buying for two years.

“However, construction firms indicated that longer-term business confidence is still relatively subdued, largely reflecting concerns about the domestic economic outlook. Exactly 37% of the survey panel forecast a rise in construction activity over the course of 2018, while around 11% anticipate a reduction. As a result, the balance of UK construction companies expecting growth in the year ahead remains among the weakest recorded by the survey since mid-2013.” 

Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute ofProcurement & Supply, said:“The sector offered little in terms of comfort at the end of 2017, though the pace of new business picked up to its strongest level since May, and purchasing activity rose to its fastest rate in two years, supply chains were under increasing pressure from all sides.

“The housing sector was the strongest performer again and materials for residential building were in greater demand fuelling longer delivery times, shortages of key materials and sharper input cost rises.

“It appears that the continued fall in commercial activity was testament to Brexit-related uncertainty on the horizon and the sector’s fear about the direction of the UK economy as clients still hesitated to spend on bigger projects.

“Business optimism was subdued at levels not seen since 2013, but the improvement in new order growth in December contributed to the biggest surge in job creation since June. Construction firms still anticipated future new work, in spite of the climate of continued uncertainty and wanted to ensure that skilled talented people were in place should the New Year offer more success than expected.”

Image from Shutterstock re. 163820348.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year 2018! Is this the year for you?

We hope everyone had a great Christmas and a fun New Year! 

Everyone at Pinnacle Consulting would like to wish you all the best during 2018 - we hope it brings you success in your work life and in your personal life.

2018 could be THE year for the next important step in your sales career in the building products sector.

If you are ready to look for a new role, please call us on 01480 405225 or email us on 

To start the ball rolling, please take a look at our latest jobs >>

Photo from Shutterstock