Industry News

BMF MD John Newcomb elected to CPA Executive Committee

John Newcomb, Managing Director of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), has been elected Officer of the Construction Products Association (CPA).

He will hold the non-executive position of Vice-Chairman on the CPA’s Executive Committee. Mr Newcomb will also continue to sit on the CPA’s Trade Association Council, formed of senior personnel from member trade associations.

CPA CEO Diana Montgomery said: "The BMF and its members play a valuable role in the construction materials supply chain. I have no doubt that John will be a valuable asset on the CPA Executive Committee, and look forward to working with him.”

Commenting on his appointment, John Newcomb underlined: “I am a great supporter of the CPA which plays an essential role supporting the interests of UK construction product manufacturers and suppliers, many of whom are BMF members. I am looking forward to playing a full role on the Executive Committee.”


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New Green Building’s LEED Credit promotes sustainable forestry, PEFC claims

As reported by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the range of responsibly-sourced timber and forest products eligible for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has been expanded.

Indeed, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has recently issued an Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) that rewards building projects using wood products from certified sources such as PEFC’s.

The ACP will apply to all LEED v4 rating systems including Homes v4 and to all LEED 2009 rating systems.

With LEED now including PEFC-certified timber, construction projects can in the future obtain both LEED and PEFC Project Chain of Custody certification. This will substantially help the Green Building movement - from architects and builders to specifiers and planners - develop innovative and environmentally friendly design.

Using timber from certified sources helps achieve Excellent and Outstanding BREEAM ratings and helps meet Passivhaus performance levels. It also plays a pivotal role in satisfying the requirements of Part L and Part E of the Building Regulations. 

“Sustainable, PEFC-certified timber provides architects and the construction industry with great opportunities,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International. “The possibilities are rather exciting in helping to address challenges such as climate change, growing populations and urbanisation, especially as wood offers innovative building solutions with a minimal environmental footprint.”

“The construction industry is one of the largest buyers of timber products – this means the sector is very influential in determining which type of timber is in demand,” added Mr Gunneberg. “With PEFC-certified timber offering the widest choice of sustainable timber available to architects, specifiers and designers, we are poised to see an increase of wood used in construction globally.”

Find out more here.

Read the LEED factsheet here.


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Scotland Secretary of State David Mundell MP strengthens links with builders merchants

On 6 April 2016 the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, visited Dumfries Timber Company Group to discuss the role of builders merchants in the construction supply chain and the wider economy.  

Mr Mundell heard how builders, plumbers and timber merchants supply everyday trade essentials and value-added products to both trade and retail customers.

The visit was facilitated by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), which represents 510 companies with 4500 outlets, employing over 95,000 people across the UK, 

Dumfries Timber Company Group is an independently owned group of businesses selling a full range of building materials. Later this year they will be opening a brand new home improvement centre in the town which includes a 3,000 square foot kitchens and fitted bedroom showroom.

During the visit Mr Mundell met with staff and discussed careers in construction generally, and merchanting in particular.  He heard about recent initiatives to take on more apprenticeships and attract young people into the industry.  

The Secretary of State, the Rt. Hon David Mundell MP said:“Builders merchants are the lifeblood of the building industry. I am always pleased to celebrate business success in my part of the world, and I am delighted to support Dumfries Timber Company Group who play a key role in the construction supply chain across South West Scotland”.

Donald Young, Managing Director of Dumfries Timber Company Group commented: “Just 9 years ago, Dumfries Timber Company Group was a fledgling business with just 6 employees. We now employ 42 people at 3 sites, and have a turnover of £8 million.  Dumfries is our home town, and we will continue to invest in the area. We look forward to welcoming new customers to our new showroom in the coming months.”

Brett Amphlett, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the BMF added: “Builders merchants represent 10% of the total construction output in the UK, and local merchants such as Dumfries Timber Company Group play a huge part in local economies, for example by providing employment and offering credit to local builders. The BMF is delighted that the Minister has recognised the importance of our sector in his visit today.”


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Barratt Homes plans to expand timber frame houses offer

Barratt Homes, one of Britain’s leading house builders, is seeking to increase efficiency of housing delivery through greater use of timber frame.

In the announcement of half-yearly results for the six months ended 31st December 2015, Chief Executive David Thomas said: “Whilst we have seen an increase in the supply of skilled subcontractors over the past year, there remains an industry shortage in the UK, with increases in labour costs remaining the largest driver of overall build cost inflation. We are well placed with the necessary labour to meet our operational and quality requirements. We are also seeking to increase efficiency through the use of timber frame on around 6% of our plots during FY16 and through the use of alternative off-site manufacturing options, including closed panel roof solutions.”

For more information click here [see page 6 of the financial results].


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Scottish Government allocates £50M fund to build thousands of affordable homes

The Scottish Government has announced a new £50 million infrastructure fund aimed to speed up construction of thousands of new affordable and private homes.

The flexible grant and loan fund is designed to unlock strategic housing sites of importance to local authorities boosting the scale of housing delivery in Scotland.

In this framework, the Scottish Government’s has also committed to a five-year plan to delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes, 70 per cent for social rent, backed by investment of over £3 billion. New financing mechanisms are also being explored to expand mid-market rent developments.

During a visit to Clyde Valley Housing Association’s new development in Kilsyth, Scottish Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said: “Today's announcement underlines this Government’s determination to increase the pace and scale of development to deliver more homes across all tenures. The £50 million infrastructure fund will help unblock sites that are strategically important to councils and that have the potential to accelerate the delivery of thousands of new homes across the country."

“To make that happen we will team up with public and private sector bodies to tackle complex development, financing, infrastructure and planning issues impeding housing supply. We are puttng in place measures to support the increase in the supply of homes across all tenures, support jobs in the construction industry, and encourage inclusive growth in the wider economy", Mr. Neil added.