Housing and Planning Minister, Alok Sharma has welcomed plans by Ibstock, to invest £50m in a new factory in Leicestershire. Speaking at BMF Members Day, he also emphasised the vital role builders’ merchants play in getting more homes built in this country.
He welcomed the success of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) as a major representative of the sector and commended the resilient performance of builders’ merchants throughout 2017, supporting housebuilding and building repair and refurbishment across the UK.
According to the latest figures released by the BMF through the Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI), builders’ merchants year-to-date sales are 3.8% higher compared to the same period in 2016.
The Housing and Planning Minister also highlighted the need for the Government and sector to work together to improve fairness across the housing market, bridging the skills gap and encouraging the development of well-designed and good quality homes.
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.”
Speaking at the Members Day, BMF CEO, John Newcomb confirmed that builders’ merchant order books are being sustained by private housing and RMI work. However, he warned that as Britain prepares to leave the EU, the industry is bracing to face upcoming challenges posed by increasing prices due to the falling value of sterling, and the potential of shortages in certain key products.
John 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.”
Wayne Sheppard, Chief Executive Officer of Ibstock, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be making such a significant investment in our Leicestershire site. Brick is the number one construction material of choice, and we are increasing our production capacity in order to meet growing demand from our customers that is being driven by growth in housebuilding.
“We welcome the Housing Minister’s positive comments about Ibstock’s investment, and we are pleased to see the Government recognise the important role that the building materials supply chain plays in providing essential materials to support housing growth and growing the economy across the country.”
The image shows Housing & Planning Minister Alok Sharma taking a question from PBM’s Editor, Paul Davies, watched on by BMF CEO John Newcomb.
For a perspective on the IT workshop seminar from BMF Members Day, please look at this blog from Intact Software.
At a Gala Dinner Event following on from Members Day, the BMF presented its annual Awards, focusing on the businesses and young individuals making an impact in terms of training and customer service. Selected Awards winners include:
Merchant Training Company of the Year: Haldane Fisher
Supplier Engagement Award: Crystal Direct
Supplier Honorary Achievement Award: Noel Shanahan of Fakro
Supplier Young Achiever Award: Amy Sellers, SCA Timber
Highly Commended: Reiss Digby, Digby Stone
Merchant Young Achiever: Greg Ace, LBS
1st Runner up: Katy March, City Plumbing Supplies
2nd Runner up: Kyle Lewis, Travis Perkins
A special presentation was also made to Pavestone’s Aaron Frogley for his efforts in organising this year’s Pavestone Rally. Some 39 teams participated in this year’s event, travelling through ten countries to the finish line in Monte Carlo. The Rally raised almost £160,000 and this amazing total is being shared by charities Teenage Cancer Trust and the Rainy Day Trust.
See more on the Pavestone Rally on the PBM website here
We will bring more information on BMF Members Day and the BMF Awards in due course.