Counter talk – Professional Builder

Counter talk – Professional Builder

For over 40 years, Professional Builder magazine has been the favoured publication of the building trade. The mag is a vital link between the sector’s manufacturers, merchants and the trade itself.

Readers can check out all the latest industry news, feature articles and product tests in addition to a host of giveaways and competitions.

With its unique distribution method of being picked up from the trade counters of the nation’s leading builders’ merchants, PB readers are all actively looking for info on the latest product innovations to help them complete the job at hand — purchasing the materials from their favourite stockist.

Beyond this, the link between PBM and its sister publication means that, each month, we can tap into this relationship to bring merchants real-world insight into the buying habits of your trade customers along with the sales messages and current campaigns of trade suppliers.

Here, we take a closer look at some of the stand-out features from the latest issue.

One of the key feature articles in the June issue of Professional Builder was a ‘Made in Great Britain’ profile of the Bristol-based wood care and surface protection specialist, Barrettine. The mag’s Lee Jones charted the company’s 140-year history, starting out in 1879 in the heart of the Bristol docks as an importer of raw materials such as whale oil, shellac and bitumens.

Today, the firm has an extensive range of over 250 products for the home and garden market including decking oils, wood preservers, the Peelaway and Paint Panther portfolios of paint stripping solutions, PVAs, cleaners and a host of other building chemicals.

The company provides an array of support services for stockists. Click here for more info.


With 44% of occupational melanoma deaths attributed to construction workers, Swarfega provides an important article on ensuring the trade stay safe when working in the summer sun. The skin care expert surveyed a number of outdoor workers and found that only 1 in 4 used sun cream regularly last summer, further revealing an alarming lack of awareness of the damage that UV rays can cause.

Providing a great ‘add on’ sales opportunity for merchants, its ‘TOUGH by Swarfega’ range features a no-nonsense, SPF30 high performance Sun Protection Cream. The water-resistant formula is fast-absorbing and is designed to offer protection by withstanding perspiration and its non-slip properties mean use won’t affect dexterity with hand held tools.

A Q&A with Mediate Smartply Product Manager Colin Wheatley tells PB readers all they need to know about the key requirements for effective site hoardings, going on to highlight the company’s latest solution — Smartply SiteProtect.

Colin explains that the primary responsibility of site hoarding should always be to keep those inside and outside of the building site safe. This requires the material used to be strong enough to withstand natural forces, such as wind and rain, as well as put off people that are trying to access the site for their own safety.

SiteProtect is a highly engineered, moisture resistant, pre-primed OSB3 panel specifically designed to save time and money in the most demanding hoarding applications. The FSC-certified panels are structurally sound and can be manufactured in sizes of up to three metres high, ensuring maximum security.

The manufacturer tells us that the merchant sector is a key sales channel for site hoarding, so if you’re not involved, you could be missing out…

Product Tests are a staple of Professional Builder, and the June edition features reviews of Sievi footwear, the latest woodworking tools and accessories from Triton Tools and the lowdown on GMC power tools. Here, though, PB’s erstwhile products editor Roger Bisby gives his legs an airing as he tries out Snickers latest AllRoundWork stretch shorts.

Roger describes them as “the lightest and most comfortable by far” of all the work shorts he owns, and added: “I have said before that a lot of manufacturers get it wrong in their stretch workwear because they use Elastane for the whole garment, which makes them far too clingy and sweaty. These shorts have front panels with a high cotton content which really helps them feel comfortable in the heat.”

Digital digest

The Professional Builder team has invested significantly in its digital offering over the past year, creating some impressive results across its website and social media channels. The link with merchants remains, however, as a stockist locator feature ensures that builders will head to their local merchant to pick up the products they read about online.

On the Professional Builder website last month, readers particularly enjoyed the story about new product Holdalot and also a news story about the amount of dangerous germs harboured by dirty vans. Over on Facebook, a story about HiKOKI Power Tools working with the Rainy Day Trust to support victims of tool theft has been viewed the most. The PB team also ran a poll about answering work phone calls while on holiday — and a surprising 41% said they do!


A popular part of PB’s digital offering is the weekly TradesTalk chat each Tuesday on Twitter. A discussion about waste and recycling was a big hit this month, with lots of tradespeople calling for manufacturers to deal with excessive packaging on products.

Many merchants already join in the conversation every week with their prospective customers. Follow @TradesTalk on Twitter.

Related posts