Industry News

Confor highlights benefits of sustainably managed forests in a short film

'Animating Forestry'

Confor has released a new short animated film demonstrating the link between tree planting and the wood products we take for granted in our lives.

The video underlines opportunities and benefits of sustainably-managed forests both for the economy and the environment.

"Next time you pick up a product made of wood, stop and consider where it comes from", that is Confor's key message to consumers.

Watch Confor's 'Our forests, our people' video here.

BMF claims victory on Government climbdown over reduced VAT for energy-saving materials

The Builders Merchants’ Federation (BMF) has welcomed the announcement that the Government will keep the current reduced rate of Value-Added Tax on the supply and professional installation of energy-saving materials despite losing a European court case last year.

On Monday the Prime Minister told the House of Commons that his Government will not oppose a move by Conservative MPs - acting with the Labour Party - to stop VAT on insulation, heating & hot water system controls, heat pumps, and solar panels being levied at the 20% standard rate.

Since June 2012, the BMF has been working with economists and Government representatives to keep 5% VAT on energy-saving materials defined in eleven product categories under EU law. In particular materials and products affected are: - insulation for walls, floors, ceilings, roofs or lofts, or water tanks, pipes or other plumbing fittings; - draught-stripping for windows & doors; - central heating system controls inc. thermostatic radiator valves;- hot water system controls;- solar panels;- wind and water turbines; - air-source and ground-source heat pumps; - micro-combined heat and power units; - boilers fuelled by wood, straw or similar plant matter.

Brett Amphlett, BMF Policy & Public Affairs’ Manager, commented: “We are very pleased the Government will keep the reduced rate on materials and products that BMF members distribute. This is a significant victory for the BMF and a good news for merchants, manufacturers, solar panel installers and insulation contractors".

“Now the legislation has been passed, improvements can continue to enjoy the 5% rate to make homes warmer, cut bills and save money. omorrow (Thursday) Energy and Climate Change ministers will be in the House for their monthly question time. I hope, by then, the Government will have clarified its position so we know how ministers intend to keep existing relief despite being at odds with EU law and the court ruling”, Mr Amphlett concluded.



ATIBT appoints new General Director

Benoît Jobbé-Duval has been appointed new General Director of the Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT).

Mr Jobbé-Duval is an agricultural engineer specialised in rural research, graduated from Bordeaux Agro Sciences and the School of Tropical Agronomy of Montpellier. He can also count on an extensive experience as entrepreneur within the wood processing industry.

During his 15 year career in research and development sector, he worked in Cambodia, Guatemala, Mexico, Gabon and Cote d 'Ivory. In Africa he collaborated with the French agricultural research and international cooperation organisation CIRAD.

Emmanuel Groutel, former Managing Director of ATIBT now on the Board of the organisation, welcomed Mr Jobbé-Duval saying: "All our knowledge, desires and skills are at his service to develop and improve the organisation."

[Photo courtesy of ATIBT]


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BMF launches free Branch Finder app

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has launched an new Branch locator app that will help customers and tradesmen find the nearest builders merchant outlet across the whole UK.

Available free of charge on Apple iOS and Android, the app enables to search by the merchant’s name, products sold or current location. It uses GPS tracking and geolocation functionality to display a list of the nearest outlets.

BMF MD, John Newcomb commented: “This is the only free app providing information and direct access to thousands of builders merchants throughout the country.  Many tradesmen rely on their smartphone to contact merchants and order materials. This will be a real help when they are working on site, particularly when they are away from their usual merchants. As there is no cost involved, I would urge everyone to download the app today, so it is ready on your smartphone when you need it.”

The BMF Branch Locator App can be freely downloaded at or via Apple and Android app stores.


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New awarding organisation ‘Occupational Awards Ltd’ issues first certificates

Occupational Awards Ltd (OAL), a new awarding organisation that develops and awards regulated qualifications across a range of sectors including timber and panel products, has issued the first batch of certificates for learners of its approved centre, Didac Limited.

Seven of Didac’s learners have achieved a number of qualifications and unit credits including: - Jack Stokes, an apprentice at East Brothers, Wiltshire, has achieved the Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Sawmilling and the Level 2 Award in Timber and Panel Products and their Uses qualifications; - Four learners have achieved the Level 2 Award in Health and Safety in the Workplace qualification from MWC Group, Wiltshire;- Two learners have achieved the Level 3 Award in ‘Health and Safety in the Workplace’ qualification from MWC Group, Wiltshire.

Since it’s set up in May 2015 OAL has been working closely with employers, colleges and training providers. The partnership with Didac - a specialist training provider to the Furniture, Wood and Merchanting sector - has allowed the newborn organisation to deliver well-recognised qualifications which are needed to support improved employee performance and business growth. 

Jon Gibson, Managing Director at Didac Limited said:“Didac are pleased that these are the first cohort of learners to achieve their qualifications with Occupational Awards Ltd.  As a specialist provider, it is important to offer employers and learners suitable and relevant qualifications to meet their individual and business needs.”

Lisa Williamson, Managing Director at Occupational Awards Ltd commented: “OAL is very pleased to award these qualifications to all learners, it is a great achievement for Didac as a centre and OAL as a new awarding organisation.”


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