Industry News

BMF seeks Ambassadors for youth recruitment campaign across UK

The Builders Merchant Federation (BMF) will recruit at least 20 Ambassadors within its members to support the national youth recruitment campaign 'Builders Merchants Careers'.

Ambassadors will help to promote the opportunities offered by the industry to students and young job-seekers throughout the country. They will support BMF campaign with visits to local schools, colleges and Jobcentres, presentations at local careers fairs; they will also give interviews to local media and rule targeted social media campaigns.

John Newcomb, BMF MD said: “The Builders Merchants Careers campaign is the industry’s driving force to attract more young people into the sector and help builders merchants and suppliers to continue to invest in the next generation.  The new Ambassadors have a key role to play to promote the range of opportunities the industry offers, from first job roles all the way to the board room, to meet young peoples’ aspirations at every level.”

"Ideally we would like to begin the Campaign with at least 20 Ambassadors, with two coming from each of the ten BMF regions", Mr Newcomb added.

For more information about supporting the campaign as a BMF Ambassador, please contact June Upton at [email protected].

BMF joins with WWF to promote responsible timber trade across merchant supply chain

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) will work with WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Network in the UK (GFTN-UK) to promote responsible forest trade throughout the merchant supply chain.

Julia Young and John Newcomb at the Living Planet CentreGFTN-UK will share its expertise with BMF members, helping them to exercise due diligence on their supply chains for forest goods. The conservation organisation provides a framework that enables companies to identify and move away from materials coming from unknown or unacceptable sources, towards products from credibly certified forests or recycled sources.

BMF MD, John Newcomb said: “Timber is a core product category for general builders merchants, second only in importance to heavyside materials such as bricks and blocks, and we will be working with GFTN-UK to encourage merchants to consider environmental and sustainability issues as part of their purchasing policy.”

"Responsible purchasing is one of the BMF’s key goals for the industry.  Many merchants already consider sustainability as a matter of course, but we have a responsibility to encourage every one of them to do so.  GFTN-UK can help them ask the right questions to find out where their products are coming from, so they will know if they are sourcing from sustainable forests", Mr Newcomb added.

Julia Young, Manager at GFTN-UK, commented: “We’re excited to be collaborating with the BMF to create a thriving, mainstream market for environmentally and responsible forest products within the building industry. It’s great to see their appetite to get involved and, with the BMF working as an Associate within our programme, we’ll have a new platform to assist their member companies to get to grips with this important issue.”

Remarkably, GFTN-UK will also host the next BMF Timber Forum to take place on Tuesday 10th May at its HQ and visitor centre, the Living Planet building in Woking, Surrey.

[In the picture: Julia Young and John Newcomb at the Living Planet Centre]

Construction of Vienna 24-storey wood building to start this Spring

Image courtesy of of the world's tallest wood building will start this spring in Vienna, Austria. 

When completed in 2017, the 'HoHo building' will have 24 storeys, surpassing by far 'The Tree', a 14-storey residential building under construction in Bergen, Norway

The wood high-rise is located in Seestadt Aspern northeast of Vienna by the Seepark park. With a height of roughly 84 metres and an estimated cost of £50 million, roughly 75 percent of the building will be made of wood. The service core will be constructed of solid reinforced concrete to which the timber supporting structure is secured.

 "Wood is a natural choice in Austria, because more of it grows than is used. Wood is cost-effective, it saves resources, it has high acceptability and wood surfaces create a natural atmosphere in indoor spaces. We have developed a technical wood construction system that enables construction of tall buildings", architect and planner Rudiger Lainer said.

"The starting point is to realise the building as efficiently as possible. We combine wood construction with concrete construction and with this synergy we strive for the best possible solution from the standpoint of building regulations, quality, cost-efficiency, fire safety and flexibility," Lainer added.

To read the complete interview with Mr Laner click here.

Visit the project website at

[Image courtesy of]

National Trust plants hundreds of trees to celebrate gardens designer 'Capability' Brown

The National Trust has launched a year of celebrations for the 300th anniversary of the birth of 'Capability' Brown, one of the UK's greatest landscape gardeners.

The event will being marked with hundreds of trees planted in gardens he designed, starting from Croome in Worcestershire

Other massive plantings will be carried out this spring in famous Capability Brown gardens at Sheffield Park, East Sussex; Stowe, Buckinghamshire; Wimpole, Cambridgeshire; Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire; and Wallington, Northumberland.

500 trees have already been planted this year respecting Brown's original design through the use of GPS technology to match up planting sites to the 18th century plans.

National Trust director-general Dame Helen Ghosh said: "Capability Brown was one of this country's greatest landscape gardeners. Not only did he design or advise on over 250 landscapes in this country over four decades, but his influence spread throughout Europe. He created works of art in nature and we are proud to look after some of his most complete landscapes for the public to enjoy."

UK Papermakers Confederation joins anti-Brexit coalition

In the debate on the future of the European Union, the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) sets out the case for the UK remaining within a reformed EU.

According to the Confederation, withdrawing from the EU would be detrimental to the UK casting doubts over free movement and regulatory frameworks. Exporters to the EU would still have to comply with a host of EU regulations and standards, and UK’s Papermakers, Converters and Recyclers would be projected into a period of uncertainty. That blurry business environment could jeopardise the 25,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs in the paper supply chain in the UK.

This being said, the CPI encourages a deep reform process of the European Union. "EU officials legislate in isolation regardless of the consequences to European industry, placing burdens and restrictions on industries such as Paper, particularly in relation to environmental, energy and climate change measures", the Confederation claims. 

In the MPs Briefing held last week, the CPI addressed again the UK Government asking to adapt the regulatory regime for Energy Intensive Industries to the other EU countries. "Failure to act will result in the loss of even more capacity. The UK’s Paper Industry lost a massive 20% of its capacity in 2015 and our country is now the largest importer of paper anywhere in the world."

David Workman, CPI Chief Executive, added: “The debate on our membership of the EU will undoubtedly intensify over the coming months but we would urge Members of Parliament to recognise that the challenges for Energy Intensive Industries in the 21st century will be enormous and that we genuinely believe that we are in a better position to face them from within a reformed EU.”

The MPs Briefing can be downloaded in full from the CPI website here.