A Parliamentary reception hosted by the BMF showcased innovation within the UK building materials manufacturing sector, with Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP addressing assembled guests to acknowledge the industry’s key role in a net zero carbon future.
Held in the Members’ Dining Room in the House of Commons, the Builders Merchants Federation’s Parliamentary Innovation Reception on 29 October showcased some of the latest products developed by BMF’s supplier members with 13 companies were on hand to show how they use materials science and process technology to develop low-carbon solutions, increase resource efficiency and improve product performance.
Addressing a packed room of industry stakeholders – including merchants, suppliers, buying groups and other industry representatives – Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Minister for Business and Industry, acknowledged the vital role the building materials industry will play in the development and delivery of new technologies that will significantly reduce carbon emissions, to help deliver the Government’s net zero target by 2050.
As events leading to a December election unfolded in the chamber nearby, Mr Zahawi paid tribute to the innovations that BMF members have developed. Referencing the Government’s key housebuilding targets and its sustainability commitments, he said: “Whether it is to improve insulation, to develop new applications for traditional products, reduce the environmental impact of buildings or products and processes, or bringing to market emerging technologies such as heat pumps, BMF members are playing a leading role in improving the productivity and international competitiveness of the sector in the UK.”
The BMF’s industry and parliamentary programme actively engages with politicians from all parties throughout the year, representing members’ interests on relevant issues of the day and demonstrating the role they play in the construction supply chain.
Taking to the podium at the Parliamentary Innovation Reception, BMF CEO John Newcomb stressed the need for the building materials sector to shine a spotlight on its investment in innovation and the contribution this makes to the country’s economy.
He urged: “We are aware that construction and, in particular, the building materials sector has for far too long flown under the radar. Despite the importance of a sector that is overwhelmingly based in the United Kingdom, directly provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of people and is critical to the future economic success of the country, our industry is often overlooked by Government, perceived as “old fashioned” and lacking innovation. Collectively we need to address this error and this event is part of that process of change.
“It is, therefore, extremely gratifying to hear Mr Zahawi praise the innovation he has seen today. There is a concern that current Government Policy directly promotes a move away from UK manufactured materials to offsite and modular homes where the raw materials are almost all imported. If not managed carefully this could result in the long-term demise of a very important UK based industry and the loss of the multiplier effect to the circular economy.
“Our desire is to work with Government to harness the current investment in innovation within the building materials sector, to help to deliver the jobs and growth that we will need in a post-Brexit economy.”
UK Construction Week was the Headline sponsor of the Parliamentary Innovation Reception whilst ACO, Aliaxis, BSW Group, Crystal Direct, Fernox, Grundfos, Ibstock, JCB, Marsh Industries, Rockwool, Talasey, Velux and Worcester Bosch all featured in the room as supplier sponsors.
There are now more than 700 merchant, supplier and service members of the BMF which together have combined sales of £31.7bn and employ over 130,300 people in the building materials industry. 360 merchant companies are members of the BMF, operating from over 5,057 branches across the UK and Ireland.