The return of large-scale ‘in person’ events

The return of large-scale ‘in person’ events

With the ending of Covid-19 restrictions in England and significant easing elsewhere around the UK, face to face and ‘in person’ meetings are slowly returning. PBM takes a look at some of the larger scale events coming up on the industry calendar.

Meetings with suppliers and customer events are beginning to accelerate once more at branch level, whilst September sees the return of a number of larger scale industry gatherings such as exhibitions and conferences — most notably, the NMBS Exhibition and BMF Members Day. 

NMBS Exhibition, 8-9 September

Merchant and supplier members are set to descend upon the Coventry Building Society Arena (the new name for the Ricoh Arena) in great numbers for this year’s NMBS Exhibition. Despite the easing of restrictions, extra steps have been taken to ensure it is as Covid safe as possible for everyone who attends, with social distancing and wider aisles in place.

Additionally, the event will be held over two days for the first time to allow as many people as possible to attend safely. Opening times will be 8:30am till 5pm on the first day, and 8:30am till 3:30pm on the second day.

A long established presence on the calendar, the NMBS Exhibition is the biggest trading event of its kind within the builders’ merchant industry, typically bringing together more than 1,000 members and suppliers to network and discuss stock and new product ranges. The facility’s 360 stands are now sold out, so members will be able to talk to more than 270 suppliers and benefit from the extra rebates — ranging from 1% to 15%, depending on the supplier — available on the day.

To minimise unnecessary paperwork and comply with Covid restrictions, this year all member orders will be handled through a new Exhibition App that has been developed for the show. Members will be able to upload their orders in advance, whilst the ever-popular Voucher Book returns as part of the app which can be redeemed at the show for exclusive discounts, free giveaways and to enter prize draws.

In addition, the vast majority of exhibitors will be staging promotions to encourage visitors onto their stands in the form of Spot Buy Offers.

Managing Director Chris Hayward commented: “We’re delighted that the NMBS Exhibition can return once again this year, and we will be taking every precaution to make sure the event is Covid-secure and complies with all the necessary regulations to keep everyone safe.

“We can’t wait to welcome all our Members and Suppliers back to Coventry as the industry begins to come back together after more than a year of remote working and virtual meetings. Ours is an industry that runs on relationships, and we look forward to being able to meet all our friends and colleagues face to face once again.”

NMBS Members can register for the exhibition by visiting where they can find lots more details about the event, including information on the special offers and spot buy deals that will be available to visitors.

BMF Members’ Day Annual Conference and Awards, 23 September 2021

Marking the BMF’s return to hosting large scale physical meetings, Members’ Day is back after its enforced two-year hiatus with a packed business and social programme — including the first-ever ‘Great BMF Boat Race’ alongside the perennially popular Golf Tournament.

Having been held in the north and midlands in recent years, the event heads south to the spectacular De Vere Beaumont Estate in Windsor with the programme culminating in a Black Tie Awards Dinner which recognises the achievements of the industry’s brightest and best individuals and businesses.

Under an apposite theme of ‘Reshape, Renew, Rebuild’, the c.300 delegates set to attend the conference programme will hear from a host of high-profile speakers, discussing the impact and disruption of the last eighteen months and the nation’s post-pandemic recovery.

For instance, providing insights into the state of the UK economy, Anna Leach, Deputy Chief Economist at the Confederation of British Industry, will address delegates in person following a video introduction by CBI Chief Economist, Rain Newton-Smith.

Anna heads the economic intelligence team which produces and analyses the CBI’s economic surveys and provides the CBI’s macroeconomic forecast. She joined the CBI in 2008 and moved on to head the economic analysis team in 2012 where she leads on the CBI’s assessment of near-term economic conditions.

John Newcomb, BMF Chief Executive, commented: “BMF members are always keen to hear expert analysis of the economy. The extraordinary times we have lived through recently makes this session even more pertinent than usual and I am delighted that the CBI has responded with a ‘two-for one’ speaker opportunity. I look forward to welcoming Anna in person and Rain via video link.”

Also addressing the event is Andrew Griffith MP, the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion, who will be the main speaker within a segment of the Conference dedicated to sustainable construction and the drive to net zero.

Appointed by the Prime Minister to support the country’s business community to make credible plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier, and to showcase the UK as a global leader in tackling climate change, Andrew was elected as MP for Arundel and South Downs at the 2019 election, prior to this he served on Sky Group plc’s Board of Directors.

In the lead up to the COP26 climate change summit, taking place in Glasgow in November 2021, he is working closely with COP26 President Alok Sharma to support as many UK businesses as possible to commit to net zero targets.

John Newcomb said: “The BMF is supporting Construct Zero, the Construction Leadership Council’s cross industry change programme to drive carbon out of all parts of the supply chain by 2050. We are, therefore, delighted that Andrew Griffith will join us as a headline speaker within a segment of our Conference programme that will also report on the progress being made by Business Champions in our sector in the CLC’s Race to Zero.”

For more information about the BMF Members’ Day Annual Conference and Awards, visit the events section at

Toolfair — Coventry, 16-17 September

Organised by PBM’s parent company Hamerville Media Group, the popular Toolfair series of exhibitions makes a welcome return this autumn with the first event taking place at the Coventry Building Society Arena (formerly the Ricoh Arena).

Whilst predominantly a show for trade professionals, many merchants find the event a useful showcase to attend and benefit from the opportunity to network with leading suppliers and get hands-on with the latest developments in hand and power tools, accessories, consumables, workwear and site equipment.

Following the first event in Coventry, a further three shows are scheduled to take place around the country before the end of the year with three more lined up in for early 2022:

  • ICC Wales — October 14-15
  • Sandown Park, Surrey — November 4-5
  • Westpoint Arena, Exeter — December 9-10
  • Alexandra Palace, London — January 26-27
  • Bolton Arena, Bolton — March 3-4
  • YEC, Harrogate — 28-29 April

Visit for more details.

Glee, 14-16 September 2021

The leading garden and outdoor living trade show is back at the NEC, presenting some of the sector’s most exciting brands, innovative products and inspiring insights for stockists. And with more people spending time at home and making the most of their outdoor space since March last year, merchants can maximise the potential of this growing category by keeping on top of the latest trends.

Covering aggregates, fencing, timber, decking, garden buildings, outdoor lighting and more besides, the Landscaping & Garden Decoration sector of the show will probably be the most relevant area for merchants.

Comprehensive details about the show can be found at

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