Monday, 30 May 2016

BMF report strong Builders Merchant Sales Growth for Q1 2016

Sales in the builders merchants industry for Q1 2016 have increased according to new figures with Landscaping Products, Heavy Building Materials, Timer and Joinery, Heating Electrical, KBB, and Decorating Products significantly helping to drive this growth.
The latest sales figures from GfK’s Builders Merchants Panel, released by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) in the Builders Merchants Building Index, show sales in Q1 2016 through the UK’s general builders’ merchants were up both on the last quarter and on the same quarter in 2015.
Sales in Q1 2016 were up by 5.4% on Q1 2015 with total ex VAT sales-out of £1.27bn compared to £1.20bn.  Q1 sales also rose by 4.6% on Q4 2015.

There was strong growth throughout each of the first three months of the year, with both January and March showing 2% growth year on year despite one less trading day in each month.

Year on year sales of Landscaping Products were particularly strong (+10.7%).  Other major product areas also delivered excellent growth with Heavy Building Materials up 5.2%, Timber & Joinery Products up 4% and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical up 7.3%.  Interior products also performed well with sales of Decorating & Renovation Products increasing by 5.1% and Kitchens & Bathrooms up by 3.9%.

The data shows year on year growth in all but one sales category, with Renewables & Water Saving Products down by 26.7%.  This is, however, a very small element of total merchant sales with any volatility likely to produce a wild swing.

If you are interested in a sales job in the builders merchant industry, find out more here...

The main drivers for growth are Heavy Building Materials and Timber & Joinery Products, with respectively 46.6% and 21% of total builders merchants’ sales during the last quarter. Both Landscaping Products (7.2%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (5.7%) marginally increased their share of total sales, up by 0.4% and 0.1% respectively, while Kitchens & Bathrooms maintained its 4.7% share.

BMF’s Managing Director, John Newcomb said: “The year on year and quarter on quarter growth evident in builders merchants sales is clearly encouraging.  It is also at odds with the recent ONS figures that reported construction output down by 1.9%, which have already been challenged by the Construction Products Association.  Our data is in line with the CPA’s Q1  survey. ONS figures have been revised in the past, so they may yet come back with a more positive picture that reflects what is actually happening in the market.”

Monday, 23 May 2016

BRE Academy launches new eLearning platform

BRE’s training and education arm, the BRE Academy, has launched a new eLearning platform ( designed to meet the changing needs of the construction operatives, professionals and leaders in the UK and around the world.

With an initial 25 digitally delivered courses ranging from BIM Essentials and BREEAM Associate to Manging Change - Risk in Construction, the aim of is to make and deliver quality education and training more accessible to time poor people and organisations needing to upskill. Courses carry recognised qualifications* and CPD certification** and are developed by leading global experts in the field.

At a time when the skills shortages and gaps are thought to be significantly hindering progress in the construction sector, 250 modules of the new platform's BIM Essentials course were sold during the live beta testing stage of the site with multiple sales for staff in world renowned design and engineering consultancy BDP.

‘BDP sees the BIM Essentials online training course as an important step along our BIM journey. By providing a flexible learning platform that addresses the UK BIM Level 2 mandate and associated processes we will raise awareness and knowledge across a wider staff base, moving past software training and ensure job runners have skills necessary to address BIM Level 2 and beyond’.  

BRE Academy Director Pauline Traetto said ’One of the key issues we identified in our recent skills gap survey was the need for accessible learning via the web and mobile that fits around the people rather than the training providers - represents the positive action we decided to take in response to this. The early indications from course sales data are most encouraging with several hundred people accessing learning in their workplace, while commuting on the train and in the comfort of their home. With the global online training market predicted to grow by 18% by 2020, for us this is the future of learning’

For further information please contact Linda McKeown, BRE, email or go to

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

CPA reports strong Q1 but 'uncertainty' is the theme for Q2

The Construction Product Association’s latest Construction Trade Survey shows that construction activity increased across the supply chain in Q1. This was the twelfth consecutive rise reported by construction product manufacturers representing the beginning of the supply chain, through to main contractors, specialist contractors, SME builders and civil engineers carrying out work on the ground.

Commenting on the survey, Rebecca Larkin, Senior Economist at the CPA, said, “After a slowdown at the end of last year, firms throughout the construction industry experienced a stronger opening quarter in 2016. In spite of this, the clear theme for Q2 is uncertainty, with main contractors reporting lower orders in all sectors as projects are paused or postponed ahead of the EU referendum in June.

“Beyond that, firms continued to indicate that a shortage of skilled workers is the largest threat to construction activity over the rest of the year. Main contractors reported difficulties in recruiting bricklayers, carpenters and plasterers in Q1, whilst low availability of labour was also reflected in upward pressure on wage bills among product manufacturers and civil engineers.”

Take a look at the latest Construction Sales Jobs >>

Suzannah Nichol, Chief Executive of Build UK said, “There continue to be mixed messages in terms of growth; however, industry intelligence shows increasing levels of activity over the last quarter. Employers are experiencing both rising material and labour costs as they head towards maximum capacity and this continues to highlight difficulties in recruiting appropriate skills at all levels. Build UK is leading the way on the war for talent with its members opening their projects up to the public during Open Doors week in June to attract the brightest talent to projects at a both local and national level.”

Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders, said, “Uncertainty over the outcome of the EU referendum and over the nation’s defining issue – housing – is reflected in slowing industry performance. While homes will continue to be built, as long as there is uncertainty over government policy, we will not be able to provide anywhere near the number of homes people need.”

Key survey findings include:

  • 19% of main building contractors, on balance, reported that construction output rose in the first quarter of 2016 compared with a year ago
  • A balance of 38% of specialist contractors reported a rise in output during Q1
  • On balance, 13% of SME contractors reported increased workloads in Q1 compared to three months earlier
  • A balance of 13% of main contractors reported a decrease in orders in private housing and 42% reported a decrease in public new housing orders
  • 25% of SMEs and 21% of specialist contractors reported an increase in enquiries in Q1, on balance
  • 13% of civil engineering firms reported an increase in new orders in Q1, on balance
  • 50% of main contractors reported difficulties recruiting carpenters, 40% for bricklayers and 36% for plasterers in Q1
  • Overall costs increased for 74% of civil engineers contractors, whilst 42% of main contractors reported labour costs rose in Q1 compared with the previous quarter
  • 100% of heavy side product manufacturers reported that wages and salaries increased from a year earlier

Monday, 16 May 2016

Job in Focus: Product and Marketing Director for Bathroom Products - £80k + benefits

Our latest Job in Focus is a fantastic executive role, you would become the Product and Marketing Director for a leading supplier of high end bathroom products.This strategic position will see the successful candidate take ownership of the marketing function as well as product management and development. You would be responsible for a team of 10 people.

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: Product & Marketing Director
Job Ref: J7552
Product: Bathroom Products
Location: South West
Package: Up to £80k plus other excellent company benefits. 

A higher regarded and well established supplier of luxury bathroom products boasting an excellent reputation for customer service and product innovation within Europe and across the World 

JOB DESCRIPTION: Due to continuing success and growth, the company are recruiting for a Head of Product Development and Marketing role reporting to the Managing Director. This position will see the successful candidate take ownership of the marketing function as well as product management and development. The successful person will manage 2 Product Development Engineers and a Quality Manager via a Product Manager and 2 Graphic Designers, a Communications Manager, a Displays Manager and a Marketing Coordinator via a Marketing Manager. Additional responsibilities will be to ensure the company has an aggressive and outward strategy and direction for bringing new products to market and driving the products into key retail, merchant, specification and export channels. 

AREA: Office based in the South West so applicants could live in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, North Somerset, Dorset or Devon 

PERSON: The ideal candidate will come from a senior strategic position with experience influencing at board level. Other key attributes include someone who is capable of holding strategic responsibility, budgetary responsibility as well being an excellent project manager in terms of product launch / category management / NPD and a senior level marketer. Product knowledge is not important and the client would welcome exception level applications from those within the construction market or FMCG sectors. 

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

Monday, 9 May 2016

Growth momentum of the UK Construction sector slows in April

April data signalled a further loss of momentum across the UK construction sector, with new order volumes stagnating and overall business activity expanding at its slowest pace since June 2013.

Subdued demand conditions contributed to one of the weakest rises in employment numbers recorded over the past three years. At the same time, construction firms indicted a softer increase in input buying and noted a renewed fall in optimism regarding the year-ahead business outlook. 

Key points:
  • Business activity expands at weakest pace since June 2013 
  • New work stagnates in April, contrasting with solid growth in March 
  • Construction firms indicate reduced confidence about the business outlook
At 52.0 in April, the seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI® ) registered above the critical 50.0 no-change threshold, which marked three years of sustained output growth across the construction sector. However, the latest reading was down from 54.2 in March and pointed to the slowest expansion of business activity since mid-2013. 

Commercial building was the strongest performing broad category of activity in April, although the latest upturn was the slowest since July 2013. Residential construction growth rebounded only slightly from March’s 38-month low, while civil engineering activity expanded at the weakest pace so far in 2016. 

The overall slowdown in construction output growth largely reflected stagnating new business volumes in April. Moreover, the latest survey signalled the weakest momentum for exactly three years. Construction companies cited a number of factors weighing on client spending, including heightened uncertainty about the economic outlook and a general unwillingness to commit to new projects. 

Latest construction industry sales jobs>>

Construction firms signalled a renewed decline in confidence about the year-ahead business outlook in April, thereby resuming the general downward trend seen since June 2015. The latest reading pointed to the weakest degree of positive sentiment for almost three years, which survey respondents mainly linked to stagnating new business volumes and a lack of new invitations to tender. 

Staffing levels continued to increase across the construction sector during April. Job creation has been recorded in each month since June 2013, which represents the longest period of sustained employment for around a decade. However, the latest increase in payroll numbers was only modest and some firms commented on more cautious hiring policies in response to softer demand patterns. This contributed to a rise in sub-contractor usage for the first time in three months during April. 

Supply chain pressures eased again in April, as highlighted by the least marked lengthening of vendor delivery times since November 2010. Some firms commented on softer demand for raw materials. Reflecting this, latest data pointed to the weakest increase in input buying for almost three years. However, cost inflation picked up sharply and was the fastest recorded since July 2015.

Tim Moore, Senior Economist at Markit and author of the Markit/CIPS Construction PMI® , said: “UK construction firms reported their worst month for almost three years in April, meaning that the first quarter slowdown is unlikely to prove temporary. 

“Stalling new order volumes not only set the scene for further weakness ahead, but are already weighing on staff hiring and input buying across the construction sector. 

“Softer growth forecasts for the UK economy alongside uncertainty ahead of the EU referendum appear to have provided reasons for clients to delay major spending decisions until the fog has lifted. 

“An additional factor dragging on construction sector performance is the lack of momentum in residential building. April’s survey highlighted one of the weakest rises in housing activity since early-2013, suggesting that greater caution in this sub-sector is adding to the sluggish growth conditions seen across the wider construction industry.” 

David Noble, Group Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said: 

“Although UK construction grew marginally in April, clouds of uncertainty are hovering overhead, depressing the industry’s outlook. Business activity expanded at its weakest pace since June 2013, clearly pointing to a loss of momentum in the sector. 

“Fears over weaker UK and global economic growth dealt a blow to confidence in the construction sector, leading to delays in new spending commitments. The prospect of the EU referendum and its outcome in June are likely to add to uncertainty too, with many construction firms preferring to wait and see what happens before making any decisions. 

“Construction companies adopted a more cautious approach to purchasing and hiring, leading to a rise in sub-contractor usage to tide them over until the outlook becomes clearer. The slowdown in new order growth in April suggests that though spring may be in the air, sunnier times may still be a way off for the construction sector, at least for the time being.” 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Job in Focus for May: Sales Director for Roofing and Building Products - £95k OTE

Our new Job in Focus for May is a superb opportunity to be the National Sales Director for an innovative supplier of building and roofing product solutions.

You would be responsible for a  sales team of 12 and would the company into further growth with Merchants, Housebuilders and Developers.

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: Sales Director
Job Ref: J7517
Product: Building Products
Location: National
Salary: £80k (95k OTE)

Manufacturer of innovative Roofing and Building Products, Managing a national sales team supplying Builders Merchants and Housebuilders. 

PACKAGE: £80,000 + £95,000 OTE - Excellent package and secondary benefits scheme 

EMPLOYER: A rapidly growing and dynamic business boasting a reputation for exceptional quality innovative products for Roofing and Building applications. With an already established presence the company are looking for a strategic Sales Director who will provde instrumental in the further growth and development of a key division of their business 

JOB DESCRIPTION: Sales Director - You will be tasked with full strategic and commercial responsibility, managing a high volume sales division supplying products to national and independent builders merchants as well as housebuilders and regional developers. Inheriting a team of 12, your primary responsibility will be in the effective coaching, leadership and management of the sales team ensuring area, customer and national budgets and targets are met and exceeded. 

AREA:- National - You will ideally be based in the Midlands 

PERSON: The successful candidate will be a proven manager, demonstrating success in managing a major field based sales team supplying the Builders Merchant channel. In terms of experience you will have previously held a senior position with strategic and P&L input. Product background is not critical, however an advanced understanding of the Construction supply chain, particular Housebuilding and Merchants is key.

Call Steve Brennan on 01480 405225 or apply online here.

Monday, 2 May 2016

New research shows UK Underfloor Heating Market is growing steadily

According to a new report from AMA Research, after recovering well from the recession and the challenging economic conditions, the UK underfloor heating market has continued to grow steadily, with growth of 9% in 2014 and a further 4% in 2015, and now accounts for around 6.5% of the total UK heating market. Environmental concerns and rising energy bills have been partly responsible for driving demand, as well as wider acceptance of these more aspirational products.

Prospects for continued growth in the UK underfloor heating market remain positive, given optimism and recovery in the housing market, coupled with rising levels of consumer confidence and spending. 

Whilst the private non-residential sector is also showing signs of recovery, with potential for further business investment, the public sector remains severely constrained given reductions in public sector spending. 

Underfloor heating products are now widely marketed alongside renewable technologies and there is likely to be continued growth in this sector. Ease of installation continues to be an important issue in the construction sector, given a skills shortage and a need to reduce both build time and cost, and UFH systems can be installed in bathroom/kitchen PODS, as well as precast concrete flooring. By 2020 the market value for the underfloor heating market (UFH) is forecast to have increased by around 15% compared to the market size in 2015.

The underfloor heating (UFH) market is broadly classified into two product types; water-based, or hydronic UFH systems and electric UFH systems. Some projects may involve a mix of both types of systems, often known as a hybrid solution.

The domestic UFH sector, including new build activity by housebuilders, the self-build market and RMI / DIY retrofit projects in residential homes, accounts for the largest share of the market at manufacturers, though the use of UFH also remains strong in the non-domestic sector. Whilst large-scale health and education projects have declined, there are still opportunities in the care home, industrial, warehousing, leisure and entertainment, office and retail sectors. In terms of value, wet underfloor heating accounts for the largest share with electric UFH a relatively small market by value.

The distribution channel continues to be dominated by direct supply, with some manufacturers and other specialists offering a ‘supply and fit’ service. However, there has been growth in online sales of UFH in the domestic sector, as consumer awareness of the benefits has increased and products are becoming easier to install. UFH systems now form a staple part of the product portfolios of tile manufacturers, floor, kitchen and bathroom specialists, for example. However, as with other heating products, merchants and DIY multiples continue to play a significant role. In addition, many manufacturers continue to supply direct, through approved installers or contractors.

If you are interested in purchasing the full report and gaining detailed information on the following areas, please contact AMA Tel: +44 (0)1242 235724 or

Key content covered:

  • Underfloor heating market - size, structure, key trends and future prospects.
  • Product sector review - market value, product mix, UFH controls etc. for;
  • Water based UFH systems
  • Electric UFH systems
  • End use applications - self build/custom build housing, health & education, new housebuilding, public sector, domestic RMI and conservatories.
  • Supply and distribution - main suppliers and key distribution channels.

Key areas of insight include:

  • Market size and trend analysis for electric and water-based systems.
  • Analysis of new build housing, refurbishment activity and non-domestic applications.
  • Influence of the non-domestic sector, in particular the health and education sectors.
  • Key supplier analysis and market shares.
  • Analysis of distribution structure and channels, key trends and prospects.
  • Review of influential standards and regulatory requirements.