Counter talk – December 2020

Counter talk – December 2020

Throughout the lockdowns and COVID restrictions, Professional Builder magazine has continued to communicate with trade professionals across the nation, increasing its digital reach when the trade counters were closed.

In this most difficult of years, PBM considers the results of its sister publication’s ‘Top Products’ awards, based on direct feedback from the trade, along with looking at some of the advertising campaigns to feature in the latest issue as active suppliers seek to influence the buying decisions of more than 100,000 trade professionals at merchant branches each month.

The centrepiece of Professional Builder’s December edition is its annual round-up of some of the most popular and innovative new products with these “much coveted industry accolades… bequeathed by the best judges in the business — the builders with the breadth of knowledge and hands-on experience that will ultimately determine the success of a manufacturer’s solution.”

Each year, the highest honour — named in memory of the publication’s former Products Editor, Charles Godfrey — is handed to a product that breaks away from the norm and provides a unique solution to a particular on site problem, with the potential to make the job easier for the UK’s legion of tradespeople.

And sometimes, it is the seemingly simple that can make such a big difference with the Charles Godfrey Award for 2020 going to bricklayer-turned-inventor Mar Foley for the Flexi Block Spot — an alternative to the humble spot board.

As much a fixture of a building site as a mixer and a trowel, more often than not a spot board is nothing more complicated than an off cut of ply. The trouble is, they’re normally heavy to lift onto scaffolds, absorb the water from the mortar — drying it out in the process — and are rarely quite the right size.

Providing the answer is the Flexi Block Spot, a high-quality rubber cover which sites over a standard pile of bricks or blocks and provides a perfect, clean non-absorbent surface for the mortar. They are extremely pliable and light — a labourer can easily carry up to ten in a bag onto the scaffold — whilst at the end of the day, they can be washed down and left in place for the next day’s building.

“After working through a number of designs and approaching some potential manufacturers, we came up with prototypes which I used on my own sites and put out some to other builders I know in the area,” enthuses inventor, Mar Foley.

“The feedback was tremendous, with the usual stuff of being so simple why didn’t we think of it ourselves! Of course, I am under no illusions that we can change so many years of practice overnight. Bricklayers are a conservative bunch, and with good reason, but I really think we have something which will improve their ability to lay more bricks per day, which in turn means greater productivity and profitability on the job.”

For further information on the Flexi Block Spot, including a demo video, head to


Pocket doors

With a 100% galvanised steel frame and runners that have been tested to 100,000 cycles, Eclisse uses this ad in PB to outline the strength and durability of its ‘made to last’ pocket doors. With a wide range of systems available — from singles and doubles (standard and wiring-ready) in addition to a fire-rated FD 30 version — increasing numbers of merchants are seeing the benefits of offering the products.

Further details await via



Power-Fast II

Billed as the only performance woodscrew your customers ‘will ever need’, the Power-Fast II is said to combine technological know-how with high design quality to work in a number of demanding applications.

Plenty of information, including an informative video, can be found at

Dulux Trade

Scuffshield Matt

Said to offer the ultimate scuff resistance, the unique formulation of Dulux Trade’s Scuffshield Matt will offer maximum protection for walls in high-traffic spaces. The cleanable matt finish is also scrub and stain resistant, whilst the advert also highlights the Dulux Trade Promise — if the product doesn’t deliver “the perfect colour with a uniform finish and the coverage stated” the company will replace it.

Enter for more.


Cordless plunge saw

For powerful plunge cutting and precise cuts up to a depth of 66mm, your customers will need to look no further than this latest bit of kit from Metabo. The unit is said to offer versatile application thanks to variable speed settings for different materials whilst the LIHD high-performance battery packs and the Metabo brushless motor are designed to guarantee maximum power and enduring sawing.

Comprehensive details including a demo video can be found via


The complete flooring system

For a highly durable, waterproof top surface that can withstand high site traffic, Norbord says it is a simple equation — match up its CaberDek P5 board with its CaberFix D4 solvent-free, one-component polyurethane adhesive which is BBA-approved for up to 42 days exposure. The board also comes complete with a slip-resistant film which protects against all sorts of on-site occurrences and will peel off to leave a clean surface at the end of the job.

Visit for the full specifications.

A version of this article originally appeared in PBM’s December edition. Please click here to read the full issue online.

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