UK building sector trade body sets out value of European relations for future success



One of the UK’s most influential trade associations has set out a blueprint to support industry connections with Europe over the next 12 months.

The move comes as John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), completes one year in the elected role as President of UFEMAT, the European Association of National Builders’ Merchants Associations and Manufacturers.

As he enters his second year of office in 2020, John has pledged to strengthen links with industry across the EU, to ensure the UK’s multi-billion pound merchant and building materials industry, represented by the BMF, retains its trading position.

The BMF values the UK’s builders’ merchant and building material supply sector at £56 billion – approximately one third of the nation’s total construction industry – with more than 330,000 jobs held across 23,000 companies nationwide.

Within the BMF’s membership alone, 80 per cent of all building products used in the construction of homes and buildings are manufactured in the UK.

John Newcomb said: “Ours is a sector often under the radar as an industry when compared with others such as aerospace and automotive, but our members play an important and significant role in the UK economy.

“It’s a sector that focuses on its people, and innovation, and we need to maintain links with our partners in Europe to continue our work.

“Key to our industry’s success in the UK will be a narrowing of the gap between housing demand and supply, together with decarbonising heating and electrifying homes.

“That means collaboration with manufacturers and merchants across Europe to support the industry overall.”

Initiatives proposed by John over the next 12 months include fact-finding tours to key construction events in the UK by European visitors.

John is also looking to roll out the BMF’s successful UK ‘Young Merchants’ initiative – where best practice and fresh ideas are shared by ambitious younger representatives in the industry – across Europe.

And the annual UFEMAT Conference, which brings together representatives from 19 countries across Europe, is being held next year in London.

John added: “The BMF has developed a range of initiatives to make ours an attractive industry to work and develop.

“That includes a clear training and opportunities programme for members, giving staff in the building materials industry a defined career route, from apprenticeships through to foundation degrees.

“Our members are also taking the lead in providing innovative solutions to help de-carbonise homes, including energy-efficient, low emission and water-saving measures, to support the achievement of sustainability goals nationwide.

“We bring real value to the UK’s economy and through our involvement with UFEMAT we will continue to uphold relations across Europe to support our work.”

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