Industry News

Construction buoyant despite Brexit fears and ONS stats, show BMF Statistics

There are few signs that Brexit has negatively impacted the construction industry according to the latest figures from the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI). 

As shown by the BMF Statistics, timber and joinery products are among the best performing products, reporting a 11.8% sales increase. 

Overall like-for-like sales (allowing for two extra trading days) were up 2.8%. Year to date sales grew 5.4%.

ONS statistics, released today, suggest construction output decreased by 1.5% in August.  Whilst these are a different and broader measure of the construction sector, the contrast with BMBI figures, which relate to building materials, is startling.  

BMF Managing Director, John Newcomb, commented: "We are surprised by the ONS figures as they do not reflect what we see happening in the building materials industry.  We believe that the BMBI figures more accurately show the strength of the sector as they correlate to future output.  Put simply, for a brick to be laid, it first has to be supplied and purchased."

“There is lots of speculation on the impact of Brexit on the economy as a whole and on construction, so we are very encouraged to see sales growth of over 13% in August, which shows that our industry is still strong and in robust health”.

Below you can find a summary table of BMBI statistics for August 2016 and year to date.  


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Building materials market growing strongly, BMF KPI Report shows

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has issued its 2016 Key Performance Indicators Report.

The publication gives a picture of how builders merchants’ businesses fared during the twelve months ending April 2016.

According to the report, the building materials market during the period of this report has experienced strong growth. The BMF Sales Indicators reported that for the 12 months ended April 2016 compared with the previous 12 month period, total sales by merchants had increased by 6.2%.

Compared to April 2015, output in the construction industry decreased by 3.7% in April 2016. The underlying pattern as suggested by the 3 month on 3 month movement in output in the construction industry decreased by 2.1%. There was a decrease of 3.3% in all repair and maintenance compared with the same period last year; housing and non-housing repair and maintenance reported decreases of 4.2% and 2.5% respectively.

However on the year, total housing increased by 0.9% compared with April 2015. The main contributor was private new housing which increased by 5.8%, offset by public new housing which decreased by 20.7%. This was the 12th consecutive period of year-on-year decreases in public new housing. 

John Newcomb, Managing Director of the BMF, commented: “Economic and political uncertainty in the run-up to the EU referendum was expected to cause a slow-down in the construction sector. However, sales data from our builders’ merchant members is telling a very different story. 2015/16 sales were up on last year and the merchant market experienced an 8.4% increase between April 2016 and April 2015. We are confident that our members will continue to perform strongly, and the BMF will work with the Government to ensure the best outcomes for our members as the Brexit deal is negotiated.”

To request a copy of the report, contact Richard Ellithorne, BMF Membership Services Director, at [email protected].


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BSRIA launches online survey on Brexit effects on Construction Industry

The Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) has launched an online survey - accessible here - on Brexit and the opportunities for the Industry.

"Following the outcome of the EU referendum, Brexit has been described as 'the biggest administrative and legislative challenge since 1945'", said BSRIA Chief Executive Julia Evans.

"As we move towards the invoking of Article 50 it is important that as an industry we are deeply engaged in the debate and are proactively advising Government on what is required from the negotiations to guarantee an industry that can deliver sustainable growth."

The outcome of the survey will contribute to a BSRIA white paper that will be discussed with Government outlining Construction Industry needs and expectations.


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The Circular Building opens its doors to the public

On the occasion of the London Design Festival 2016, The Building Centre, Arup, The Built Environment Trust, Frener & Reifer and BAM have teamed up to create The Circular Building.

The installation - raised in front of The Building Centre in London and open to the public Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm - intends to explore how we might apply circular economy principles to the design and construction of buildings.

The Circular Building offers a solid example of how we might:

- Lease rather than purchase materials and products

- Maximise off-site fabrication

- Select materials that can be re-used, remanufactured or recycled at end of life

- Choose mechanical and push-fit connections rather than adhesives to allow deconstruction

- Avoid wet trades

- Design fit-out to comprise interchangeable panels leased from suppliers

- Ventilation provided by prototype equipment made from recycled plastic, cardboard and re-manufactured drinks cans

- Electrical system is low voltage and off-grid, facilitating future flexibility and ease-of-maintenance

The installation is also accompanied by Circular Living - an exhibition exploring the impact of the circular economy in a range of industries, from fashion to product design- and by the conference 'Circular economy in the built environment' to take place on 21 September 2016.

Further information is available here.


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CYT launches Campaign to boost work placements across Construction Industry

The Construction Youth Trust (CYT) has recently launched the campaign #ExperienceConstruction in partnership with the Building Magazine.

The initiative aims to encourage young people, parents and teachers, and the industry to consider work experience placements in construction.

Along with the #ExperienceConstruction campaign page, the activity is supported by a brand new careers hub – a growing resource for teachers, parents and young people.

"We believe that to encourage young people to enter the industry and help fill the skills gap, they need to understand the sector and get a taste of the wide range roles which are available to them – particularly those which they may not have been aware of",  said the Construction Youth Trust in a note.

"Work experience placements are vital to this – 1-2 weeks where a young person can shadow employees in multiple roles and really understand the opportunities on offer. All too often, work experience placements are undertaken by those who have friends or family in the industry – but the Trust want to challenge this and broaden the reach to those who might not otherwise get a foot in the door."

"The construction industry suffers from negative perceptions, and opening its doors to welcome students is a crucial step towards challenging these misconceptions. As the current workforce ages and retires, it is their responsibility to pass on their knowledge and experience."

Sarah Richardson, editor of the Building, added: “Construction offers a hugely varied range of career opportunities for young people, but many are simply not aware of the roles on offer as they have no contact with those working in the industry."

To get involved in the #ExperienceConstruction Campaign, you can pledge a placement, or share a story of how a work experience placement has had a positive impact on your career.


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