Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Job in Focus: National Sales Job for Heating Products to M&E - £70k

Our latest Job in Focus is a National Field Sales Executive role for Heating Products with a £70k OTE.

You will be responsible for selling a range of heating systems dealing with a range of specifiers including M&E consultants, architects and main contractors.

Our Construction & Building Industry Job in Focus feature takes a detailed look at some of the fantastic sales & marketing construction and building materials job vacancies currently on our books. 

Job in Focus is also promoted on our website. 


Job Title: Field Sales Executive
Job Ref: J10401
Product: Heating & Plumbing
Location: National
Salary: £50k

Manufacturer of heating products. Selling to architects, M&E consultants and contractors

Package: Up to £50K with £70K OTE. Company Car, Mobile, Laptop, Pension. 

Employer: Innovative manufacturer of heating products. Leading brand name with an excellent culture and personal development opportunities. 

Job Description: You will be responsible for marketing the client's range of heating systems dealing with a range of specifiers including M&E consultants, architects and main contractors and following projects through to order. 

Area: National role with a London focus - Candidates will ideally live around the south-east i.e. Hertford, Dartford, Guildford, Reading etc. as you will spend the majority of your time in London. 

Person: We are seeking a proven specification professional with strong consultant and architects contacts. The ideal candidate will come from a heating product background but the client is open to any mechanical or electrical product background. 

For further information or to discuss your career options contact Luke Rootham on 01480 405225 or apply online.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

UK Construction growth rises at its fastest pace for five months!

Some great news! Growth in the UK construction sector rose at the fastest pace in five months in April as it rebounded from March’s snow disruptions.

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index climbed to 52.5 in April, up from March’s 20-month low of 47 and against the neutral reading of 50.

Residential work was by far the best-performing category, expanding at the fastest pace since May 2017, while commercial and civil engineering recorded modest returns to growth.

There was a renewed rise in new order volumes in April but the rate of new business expansion was only marginal, with anecdotal evidence of heightened economic uncertainty and subdued confidence.

Supply chain pressures remained marked with low stocks and shortages of transport capacity contributing to a further lengthening of delivery times for construction materials.

Input cost inflation was unchanged from March’s 20-month low, with reports that higher fuel and steel costs pushed up operating expenses.

Duncan Brock, group customer relationship director at CIPS, said: “The effects of the previous month’s bad weather were echoed in April as supply chains stayed under the cosh again. Besieged by raw material stock shortages and capacity difficulties, suppliers tried to catch up on their delivery commitments with limited success. Transportation times were still lengthy for construction materials for projects already in the pipeline.”

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Construction Output Fell by Over £1 Billion in Q1

ONS figures published last week show that construction output decreased 2.7% in the first quarter of 2018. The fall was broad-based but was led by an 8.8% decline in public house building activity and a 5.9% reduction in public non-housing work. Private housing output recorded a fall of 1.6% over the quarter. Compared to a year earlier, total output was 4.9% lower during Q1.

Rebecca Larkin, Senior Economist at the Construction Products Association, commented: “This release confirms what was reported in preliminary GDP data: construction had a poor opener to 2018. The 2.7% contraction in output was revised up from the initial estimate of a 3.3% decline, but this still represents the weakest outturn since August 2012 and a £1.04 billion loss in output in three months.

“Output declined in each month of the quarter, undoubtedly capturing the pauses in work relating to Carillion’s liquidation in January and the snow disruption in February and March. Notably, private housing lost its position as the industry’s star performer, with output falling from a record high, but activity is expected to accelerate as we enter the Spring selling season.”

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

UK market for bricks, blocks and precast concrete products at highest level since 2007

The market for bricks, blocks and precast concrete products was worth over £2.1bn in 2017 and has grown by around 10% in value terms since 2015, and by almost 50% since 2012. This is the highest value achieved since just prior to the recession in 2007, and market value is forecast to exceed this in 2018, according to a new report from AMA.

The products covered in this market are bricks, blocks, precast concrete and natural and cast stone products, with precast concrete products representing the single largest product sector.

“Growth in this market has been underpinned by recovery and rapid recent growth in the housebuilding sector in particular, as well as higher levels of output from key non-residential sectors including infrastructure, commercial offices, education and entertainment & leisure. Non-residential output remains somewhat volatile, particularly since the EU vote, which introduced a level of uncertainty affecting both business confidence and levels of investment” commented Keith Taylor, Director at AMA Research.

There are negative factors currently impacting growth in the market. Lower levels of consumer confidence and downward pressure on household incomes have impacted private RMI activity and are likely to constrain spending going forward with little signs of the squeeze on household disposable incomes being relieved. Additionally, both the bricks and blocks sectors have experienced recent supply issues as suppliers have struggled to cope with the significant rise in demand.

Demand for bricks has accelerated since the housebuilding sector returned to growth in 2014 and entered a period of sustained recovery after several years of volatility. In March and May 2017 brick sales in the UK rose to their highest levels for a decade and builders’ merchants and other distributors were reported to be replenishing stock levels after an industry-wide destocking in early 2016.

The precast concrete blocks market is also performing well, and in 2017 sales reached their highest levels in a decade in value terms following 14% growth over the period 2015-2017.

One of the most important drivers of this growth has been the significant and sustained rise in housebuilding activity, with the residential sector a heavy user of a wide range of precast concrete products, including blocks. Demand is also underpinned by positive trends in nonresidential construction where the main drivers for growth are the infrastructure, education and commercial office sectors.

Precast concrete structural products comprise of precast flooring, precast panels, panelised building systems and miscellaneous precast products such as structural frames and columns. Demand for precast concrete structural products has continued to rise, with the market worth 25% more in 2017 than in 2013. Output is strongly linked to the performance of sectors such as infrastructure, education, commercial offices, industrial, and entertainment & leisure – all strong users of precast concrete structural products.

Going forward, the individual product categories covered in the report are all expected to continue growing. However, the annual rates of growth are likely to be lower than those experienced 2013-16, at around 2-3%, but expected to rise more strongly 2021-22, once the Brexit-related uncertainties have been resolved and the market begins to regain some stability. Future demand will be underpinned by sustained growth in residential output, although the rate of growth, in terms of both newbuild and RMI, is expected to be slower than that experienced 2013-16.

The ‘Bricks, Blocks and Precast Concrete Products Market Report – UK 2018-2022’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at or by calling 01242 235724.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Job in Focus: National Sales role for Power Tools to Amazon - £60k OTE

Our latest Job in Focus is a National Account Manager role where you would be responsible for maximising sales and introducing new products via Amazon for a wide range of power tools and accessories. The package has a £60k OTE with additional benefits.

Our Construction & Building Industry Job in Focus feature takes a detailed look at some of the fantastic sales & marketing construction and building materials job vacancies currently on our books. 

Job in Focus is also promoted on our website. 


Job Title: National Account Manager
Job Ref: J10310
Product: Tools
Location: South West
Salary: £50k + 10k OTE

Manufacturer of tools managing one of our client key accounts in the form of Amazon. 

Package: Basic salary up to £50k plus £10k OTE as well as car allowance, mobile phone, laptop and additional company benefits. 

Company: A fantastic chance to join a growing manufacturer in the power tool and accessory sector offering a great opportunity to help shape the business moving forward after promising growth figures over the past number of years. 

Role: The position is for a National Account Manager with a focus on selling a range of power tool lines to Amazon as an account. Tasked with bringing on maximising sales and introducing new product ranges where necessary. A number of product ranges from low cost to high end premium power tools are offered across the product range allowing the company to compete at all levels in the market. 

Area: The position would be communicating at all levels of the customer base Nationally however you will be required to attend regular meetings and sales conferences at the companies head office in Somerset. Candidates should ideally be located within two hours commute - Ideally based in Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Wales, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, West Midlands, Hampshire, West Sussex, Surrey. 

Candidates: We are looking for a highly motivated and professional individual with experience dealing with Amazon at a Key Account level. A proven track record of managing major accounts on a national basis is key to the position with a strong sales ability and high level of commercial acumen highly valued. Product knowledge of tools and accessories would be beneficial but not required however candidates must have an exposure to managing accounts in the retail, DIY or national merchant sectors. 

For further information on this exciting opportunity contact Ben Mckinnell on 01480 405225 or apply online.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

BMJ Awards Finalists Announced!

The Builders Merchants sector is one of the areas of the building industry which has been doing very well in the last year or so. 

We are delighted to help promote the inaugural BMJ Industry Awards next month, especially with the final, shortlist for the ceremony just being announced. The actual winners will be revealed at the Awards Lunch on Friday, May 18th at the Brewery in Chiswell Street, London.

The companies and brands on the final list are:

Best Bathroom Brand
Methven, Lakes Bathrooms, Roca, Bristan

Best Distributor
Ideal Bathrooms, Encon, Everbuild, Claygate

Best Heating Brand
Amber Underfloor Heating , Worcester Bosch, Baxi,  Stelrad Radiators

Best Heavy side Brand
ACO Technologies, Ibstock,  Imperial Bricks ,   Isover

Best Kitchen Brand
Rixonway , Moores, Blanco, BA Clic

Best Landscaping Brand
Brett Paving , Azpects Ltd,   Stonemarket , Digby Stone

Best Plumbing Brand
Baxi , John Guest,  Wavin

Best Roofing Brand
IKO, Keylite Roof Windows,, Norbord   Marley Eternit

Best Timber Brand
Norbord, Covers Timber, Arbor Forest Products,   SCA Merchant Services

Best Customer Service
Amy Sellers – SCA Timber, Cassey Behm – Methven,
Martin Walker – Chandler Material Supplies,  Nora Conlan – Jaga Heating Products

Best Sales Rep
Lyndsey Makin – Methven, John Gaunt – Knauf Insulation,
Becky Brian – Howarth Timber & Builder Supplies, Roy Selby – Azpects Ltd

Industry Personality of the year
Stuart Mason-Elliott – Elliotts, Andy Williamson- IKO,  Paul Bence – Bence Builders Merchants,  Tim Pollard – Pollard2Pollard

National Rising Star of the year
Alex Bagnall – Keyline Peterborough, Dionne Allard – City Plumbing Supplies, Katy Monk – City
Plumbing Supplies

Independent Rising Star of the year
Jessica Kelsey – Alsford Timber, Karli Mallard – Ridgeons , James Tristram – EH Smith,  Lee Davies – LBS Builders Merchants

Online Merchant of the year
My Paint Brush, Parker Building Supplies,  Chandler Material Supplies

New Merchant of the year
Bence Roofing, London Lintels, MGN Builbers Merchants

Multiple Merchant of the year (10-100 branches)
Ridgeons, RGB, Elliotts Builders Merchants,  EH Smith, Bradfords Building Supplies

Independent Merchant of the year (1-10 branches)
George Bence Group, GPH Builders Merchants, Coomers Timber Building Supplies Chandler
Material Supplies

Best Merchant Showroom
Elliotts Living Spaces – Romsey,
EH Smith Builders Merchants – New Brick Showroom, Shirley
Ridgeons – Nuffield Road Cambridge,
George Bence Group t/a Obsidian Kitchens & Bathrooms,
Nicholls Bicester Kitchen and Bathroom Solutions

Best Merchant Marketing Campaign of the year
Elliotts – 175 campaign,
EH Smith Builders Merchants – New branch launch, EH Smith Castle Bromwich,
Wolseley – Zombie Boilers,
George Bence Group – Bence Rewards

To book your place at the event, go to:

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Construction Products Manufacturing freezes in Q1 2018

The CPA’s State of Trade Survey for 2018 Q1 shows that the £56 billion UK construction products manufacturing industry suffered a weak start to 2018, in a quarter that combined the liquidation of Carillion and several days of disrupted activity due to snow and freezing temperatures.

Heavy side manufacturers recorded the lowest balance in five years with 15% of firms reporting a decline in sales in Q1, following a previous quarter of falling sales in 2017 Q4. For light side manufacturers, no firms on balance reported either an increase or a decrease, which was the weakest performance since 2013 Q2. Construction product sales act as an early indicator of wider construction activity and these results signal a noticeable dip in total industry output for Q1.

Manufacturers anticipate a return to growth in the coming quarters, but rising costs continue to act as a headwind. 90% of heavy side manufacturers and 84% of those on the light side reported a rise in raw materials costs in Q1, whilst the same proportions reported an increase in wages and salaries. In addition, fuel costs rose for 90% of heavy side manufacturers.

Rebecca Larkin, CPA Senior Economist said: “It was always unlikely that heavy side manufacturers would avoid the snow disruption, with aggregates quarries unable to operate and pauses in activities such as groundworks and bricklaying affecting demand for products and materials from construction sites. In addition, manufacturing capacity in this energy-intensive sector of the industry is likely to have been temporarily reduced by the National Grid’s gas deficit warning at the beginning of March.

“It appears from the forward-looking indicators that Q1 was just a weather-related blip, as 42% of heavy side manufacturers anticipate sales rising in Q2 and 37% see sales rising over the next 12 months. However, no light side manufacturers expect sales to increase in the next quarter and only 16% anticipate a rise over the course of the year, likely to reflect the lagged impact of any pauses in activity in Q1 on demand for these non-structural and finishing products that tend to be used nearer the end of the building process.”

Key survey findings include:
  • A balance of 15% of heavy side firms reported that construction product sales fell in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the fourth quarter of 2017. No light side firms, on balance, reported a rise in sales in Q1
  • On an annual basis, sales decreased for 5% of heavy side firms but rose for 10% of firms on the light side, on balance
  • On balance, 37% of heavy side manufacturers anticipated a rise in sales in the next year, increasing from a zero balance in the previous quarter
  • On the light side, 16% of firms expected an increase in product sales in the next year, compared to a balance of 10% in 2017 Q4
  • Annual cost increases were reported by 90% of manufacturers on the heavy side and 79% on the light side
  • Raw materials costs rose according to 90% of heavy side manufacturers and 84% of those on the light side
  • 68% of heavy side manufacturers and 67% of light side manufacturers anticipate a rise in costs over the next 12 months.
Image: Shutterstock

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Snow stops play for the Construction sector

For the Australian cricket team, ball-tampering stopped play and halted their success, but in the construction sector snow stopped play during March! The weather in March caused the fastest drop in activity since 2016 according to the latest PMI. Hopefully, as construction workers come back to play with the improving weather output will hit the weather back over the boundary for six!

Supply chains were “woefully unprepared” for the unusually bad weather, which was the key factor behind the drop in construction output. Snow-related disruptions had a particularly bad impact on civil engineering projects, the report said.

The CIPS/IHS Markit UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 47.0 in March, down from 51.4 in February. It is the first time in six months that the index has fallen below the no-change score of 50. The index is compiled through a monthly survey of buyers – a score above 50 represents growth, while a score below indicates contraction.

Duncan Brock, group director of CIPS, said: “Snow stopped play in March, as the unseasonal weather restricted overall activity, lengthened delivery times and triggered the fastest drop in new orders since July 2016.

“It’s a few years since the UK experienced such bad weather in March, and it’s obvious that supply chains were woefully unprepared to deal with the disruptions.”

Brock added that while the March figures could be seen as a “temporary blip”, without a strong pipeline of work or strong risk strategies, the sector’s health remains in question.

While civil engineering and commercial activity were worst hit, housing became the best performer of the month. But growth here was still softer than most of 2017, likely caused by more systemic problems than the weather. Brock said: “Respondents also cited continuing Brexit-related uncertainty and disappointment over performance of the UK economy.”

There was some good news in the sector. Price inflation was the lowest since June 2016 as the impact of the weak pound has largely dissipated, and job creation was the strongest so far this year indicating optimism for the months ahead.

Manufacturing PMI figures for March were also released this week and indicated a steady rate of growth in the sector. The CIPS/IHS Markit Manufacturing PMI increased slightly to 55.1 in March, up from 55.0 in February. Brock said this was “a steady if unremarkable performance”.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Are you going to the NMBS Exhibition?

This Wednesday (11th April) sees one of the most important and popular events of the merchants' sectors calendar - The NMBS 2018 Exhibition. It will again be held at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.

Over 280 supplier and manufacturers are exhibiting at this years show, making it the biggest buying and selling event for Independent Builders, Hardware, Timber, Roofing, Plumbing and Heating Merchants.

This year there are many Exhibition Rebates on offer and to qualify you must ensure that you follow the simple steps correctly. The Promotional Voucher Book and Spot Buy Offers will again have many exciting offers and giveaways available at selected stands along with your free lunch and drink vouchers. To help with the planning of your visit, do take some time to look through the Show Guide at the Exhibitor list and Stand Plan as this will help you get the most out of your day.

If you are an independent merchant, make sure you attend and don't miss out. More information >>

If you are looking for a job in the builders' merchants sector, find out more here.