Industry News

Positive Q4 for builders merchants sales: timber products up by 3.1%

According to the latest figures from GfK's Builders Merchants Panel, released by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), sector sales in Q4 2015 were 3% ahead of the same period last year, with sales ex-VAT of £1.21bn. 

Remarkably, heavy Building Materials (which account for 46% of sales through general builders merchants annually) were up by 2.9%, while Timber and Joinery Products (which account for 21% of annual sales) were up by 3.1%.  

Commenting on the figures, BMF MD John Newcomb said: “We have reached another landmark. GfK’s Builders Merchants Panel started in July 2014 and we now have 18 months of data. The Q4 2015 results complete our first full calendar year. We can clearly see an upward sales trend emerging year on year. Although the seasonality of the building year is reflected in the latest figures, Q4 continued the trend of growing faster year on year than the UK average level of 2.4% and also out performed retail volume growth of 2.6%.”

Mr. Newcomb added: “2016 has started well and, despite concerns over the global economy and the prospects of an in-or-out EU referendum, the CPA is forecasting growth driven by housebuilding and infrastructure. On balance, builders merchants are likely to be as busy in 2016 as they were in 2015.”

BMF to have exhibition Pavilion at UK Construction Week 2016

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) will have its own branded Pavilion at the UK Construction Week 2016, to take place at the NEC Birmingham from 18-23 October  2016.

The BMF Pavilion will be sited across the Build Show and HVAC areas of the exhibition, which features nine separate shows in total, including Grand Designs Live.

John Newcomb, BMF Managing Director, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to bring merchants and suppliers together to find out more about the latest products and new technology and building techniques coming on stream. When I joined the industry I was surprised that it had not had a major exhibition to showcase the latest trends for a number of years. Now UK Construction Week has filled that gap. By working with a broad range of industry associations, like the BMF, the organisers are making the event relevant to as many people as possible, giving them multiple reasons to attend.”

Nathan Garnett, Event Director, UK Construction Week commented: “We are delighted to be working with the BMF. The first edition of UK Construction Week in 2015 attracted 500 merchants. With the help of the BMF we believe we can multiply this number greatly. We are committed to making UK Construction Week the largest collection of innovative exhibitors, products, new buildings, materials and techniques. Working with industry experts, associations and thought leaders, including the BMF, is a crucial element of that intent.”

BMF members taking exhibition space within the BMF Pavilion will benefit from a substantial 25% discount.

For further information, or to reserve a place in the BMF area, it is possible to contact [email protected] or [email protected].

European Commission report: "More efforts needed for EUTR implementation"

Yesterday the European Commission released a report on the effectiveness of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) during its first two years of implementation.

The report finds that the EU is on track to achieve its objectives to combat illegal logging and associated trade in illegal timber, but challenges remain.

Some positive trends are visible, namely that EU operators are gradually taking steps to ensure the legality of their suppliers and that there is more awareness of the problem of illegal logging amongst EU consumers.  

The Regulation has also encouraged producer countries to develop systems assessing compliance with the requirements of the legislation. However, more effort is needed from both the Member States and the private sector to ensure its effective and efficient application. Since 2014 there has been significant progress in the implementation of timber regulation across the EU.

While in July 2014 there were 18 non-compliant Member States, in June 2015 the number was reduced to 4 (Greece, Hungary, Romania and Spain). The Commission launched infringement procedures against these Member States in 2015. It was also widely recognised that the Regulation adds significant value to the international efforts to halt deforestation and forest degradation, conserve biodiversity and address climate change.

The results of evaluation will be used to further improve the implementation and application of the Timber Regulation.

"Although the evaluation of the Regulation comes after only two years of application, evidence shows that the Regulation has encouraged more responsible sourcing policies where they already exist and for engaging in new ones. In addition, it has demonstrated its potential to change operators' market behaviour", the report says. "Moreover, the Regulation has created an incentive for suppliers in third countries to demonstrate the legality of their timber products and has the power to establish supply chains free of illegally harvested timber, thus contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the FLEGT Action Plan."

The European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) was adopted in March 2013 aiming to tackle the placing of illegally harvested timber on the European market. It sets out requirements that companies within the European Union (EU) must meet to minimize the risk of illegal timber being traded. The EUTR requires companies placing timber products on the European market (both imported and domestic) to implement a Due Diligence System (DDS), keeping records of their suppliers and customers to allow for traceability.

Find out more here.

Fira Digest 2015: UK furniture manufacturers turnover on the rise but trade deficit widens

According to the latest statistics released by the Furniture Industry Research Association (Fira), the UK's furniture manifacturing sector has been growing sensibly since 2011.

The report - Fira Statistic Digest 2015 - underlines that the provisional turnover of UK furniture manufacturers in 2014 was £7.4bn - 6% higher than 2013 and over 14% more than 2011.

Provisional figures for 2015 will not be released by the Government until the latter half of 2016, but the positive trend is expected to be confirmed.

"The turnover for furniture manufacturing in 2014 was 1.4% of the total for UK manufacturing and the furniture sector employed 2.9% of all UK manufacturing personnel (71,000 e.d.)", said Dr Peter Beele, author of the Statistics Digest.

In particular kitchen manufacturing turnover improved to a greater extent than any other subsector in 2014.

Nonetheless, it's not all peace and light: import and export data highlight a worrying widening trade gap, while the number of UK furniture manufacturers keeps on decline.

The Fira Digest 2015 can be purchased here.

Indonesia FSC certified forests reach 1.6 million ha

Indonesia's sustainably managed forests have increased considerably, reaching nowadays a coverage of 1.6 million - FSC certified - hectares.

The latest company to be awarded FSC certificate for responsible forest management is PT. Gunung Gajah Abadi, a forest concession managing 75,009 ha in East-Kalimantan province.

Other 14 companies are still implementing the required steps to gain the FSC certification with support from a panel of organisations including The Borneo Initiative, Indonesian Association of Forest Concessionaires (APHI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and The Forest Trust (TF). Overall, there are 19 forest companies with FSC certification in Indonesia, managing 2.0 million ha of rainforest.

The challenging target is now to extend the total certified forest area to 3 million ha by the end of 2016.