Builders' Merchants News
Why SME developers are key to resolving the UK housing crisis

Paresh Raja, CEO of Market Financial Solutions suggests the solution to the housing crisis could be down to SME developers.

Better education needed to avoid unnecessary deaths

Following the news last month that a 79-year-old man died after falling in a scalding hot bath at his Romford home, Stuart Gizzi of bathrooms product manufacturer Inta is calling for more to be done to avoid such tragic incidents.

Technology is the key to overcoming growing pains

Despite challenging times, business growth for merchant and construction supply chain manufacturers is on the rise, and technology can play its part, explains Nick Hull, BisTrack Customer Account Manager ‎at Epicor Software.

Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill 2017-19. Lessons from Carillion: reform of the use of retentions in the construction industry at last?

The construction sector has some of the highest new company insolvencies per year. The need for reform is significant - the report published by the Trade and Industry Committee in 2002 estimated that retentions account for some £3.25 billion per annum. Jonathan Hyndman, Partner at Rosling King, discusses the need for reform as demonstrated by the impact of Carillion’s insolvency earlier this year.

Building a positive mental health culture in your organisation

Every working day, two construction workers take their own life - and nearly 400,000 days are lost every year due to poor mental health. Every company has a moral obligation to embrace and develop a culture to improve the industry’s mental health, and our work is just beginning. Bill Hill, CEO of The Lighthouse Construction Charity, explains how you can build a positive mental health culture in your organisation.

Massive profits, huge efficiency and business made easy – be a part of business systems’ future

A successful business needs an efficient system behind it. If you are selling products online, it might be handy to have Enterprise Resource Planning software, which can help to manage stock control, order processing, Customer Relationship Management, and accounting.

Susanna Kemp, Marketing Manager at Khaos Cloud, explains the history and future of business systems, and how to make the most of the technology that is available to you and your company.

Is the construction sector in decline in the UK?

In the current climate, it's tempting to apportion blame for slow economic growth and depreciating market activity to Brexit. So, when the construction sector output plunged by 3% year-on-year in February, commentators were quick to highlight the growing lack of confidence in the market as a result of the UK's decision to leave the EU.

Missing a few million in sales?

"Are you leaving a lot of easy sales on the table for your competitors?" asks Steve Halford, Group Managing Director of the Crystal Group.

The ten characteristics of a growth getter

What goes into being a high growth company? ‎Nick Hull, BisTrack customer account manager ‎at Epicor Software, has the answer.

The rise of DIFM v DIY

Over the past five years, the number of homeowners opting for projects to be completed by trade professionals has increased considerably, with younger generations demonstrating a clear demand for DIFM rather than DIY projects.

Ten ways to improve van security

Van tool theft is still a problem for both merchants and tradespeople and here give some tips on how to improve van security.

Omnichannel is starting to bite

The impact of omnichannel is hurting retailers that have been slow to act on the accelerating convergence of ‘bricks and clicks’, and rewarding retailers that are on their omnichannel journey.

Supporting Women in the Industry

Epicor is sponsoring the very first Builders' Merchant Award for Excellence supporting outstanding women in the industry, explains Nick Hull, BisTrack customer account manager, ‎at Epicor Software.

Taking the Stress out of Growth

I regularly visit builders’ merchants and many are growing their businesses incredibly well.

Take hold of new sales opportunities

Over the years the traditional handrail has gradually transformed from a simple element designed to provide safety and protection, to a design feature that can help enhance the overall look and feel of a hallway.

2018: The Year of Omnichannel

Steve Halford, Group Managing Director of Crystal, looks at the disruptive effects online technology is having on traditional industries, and how merchants need to adapt to thrive in this new environment

Isover sounding-off at this year’s Jewson Live

Steve Taylor-Wilson, Marketing Communications Manager at Isover talks us through their recent attendance at Jewson Live 2017 at the NEC in Birmingham.

How to Leave Your Site over Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, building sites rush to complete projects before the holiday period, as employees take time off to be with loved ones. This rush however, means that preparing your site for the Christmas period can often be an afterthought.

Four ways to keep your account customers happy - a plumber's perspective

Account customers should be the bread and butter of your business. If treated well you can keep them spending consistently for years and years with minimal maintenance.

Stocking up to sell out in 2018

Making stocking decisions at the start of a new year is always a complicated task, and we’re sure 2018 will be no different.

When virtual reality meets reality!

Bespoke PVC-U windows and doors have opened up a big, new market for merchants, but those merchants who create a seamless customer experience between the ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ world will really scoop the benefits of sustainable growth.

Designing beyond the limits of mechanical fasteners

In today’s market, the demand for innovative products and advanced solutions has never been higher.

Five reasons to choose a resin surface over any other driveway surface

Thirty years ago, the decision to have a block paved drive was one of the most popular home-improvement choices made by homeowners. The main benefits was that it was natural and it helped to add value to the home. Concrete and tarmac drives came in close second because they were practical and long lasting, however, they lacked style and elegance.

A day in the life of Joanne Roberts

As Category Product Manager for Roof and Landscape at Wienerberger, no two days are the same and I could be anywhere in the country! One of the most important aspects of my job is product development, ensuring that we’re meeting customer and market demands, as well as giving the industry access to new tiles and pavers.

Wernerco urges businesses to ensure safe working at height practices

A third of all falls from height in the workplace occur when using a ladder according to the Health and Safety Executive and within the construction industry it accounts for 45% of fatalities each year.

How to improve the shelf-life of your wood-based products

Wood is a great building material that's always in demand, but to get the very best from your timber, it's important to store it properly.

Three reasons why your brand needs to be on Facebook

Facebook has on average 2.06 billion monthly active users and 1.15 billion daily active users. More than 50 million businesses use Facebook, with three million of these using Facebook adverts to market their businesses.

Don’t fall for bad stair safety; promote safer practices in branch

According to statistics, it’s estimated that there is a fall on the stairs every 90 seconds in the UK*, with children and the elderly being the most vulnerable to potential problems on this busy area of the home.

Quality and cost certainty with engineered off-site solutions

We are in the midst of uncertain times with construction experts citing increased costs for businesses over the coming years. Contractors have long been anticipating an impending rise in material costs following several years of relatively flat inflation. In this blog, I will consider how off-site technology can mitigate the impact of rising costs.

Joining up the touchpoints on the customer journey boosts sales

From static corporate brochure to always-on anytime anywhere sales supremo, websites have evolved massively over the last 15 years. They’ve become the linchpin to how we live and work. They’re the threads that string most customer journeys together, whether we realise it or not.

Catching the Boomerang

The way in which retailers now nurture online customers has transformed the buying experience. From reviews to social links, in depth information and product comparisons, online customers have access to information, expertise and validation at every step of the journey.

Training supercharges sales - because it’s easy when you know how!

The last 15 years has seen a revolution in the way we buy and sell. The evidence is on our high streets as a growing number of charity shops fill the gaps left by closed retail shops. At one time, pundits were predicting a mass migration to an online world, with ‘clicks’ leaving the ‘bricks’ behind, but instead it’s fast becoming an Omnichannel world, with online merging seamlessly with traditional branches and showrooms.

Lock in on awareness campaigns

The internet is filled with awareness campaigns but few merchants are utilising these opportunities successfully. Supporting awareness schemes is a smart and effective way to generate awareness of a particular issue and subsequently increase sales during key periods. With the huge increase in online media, sharing and creating these types of campaigns has become even easier.

Challenges ahead in the housebuilder sector?

It is perhaps not surprising that the positivity of purchasing managers has fallen since the election. We are in politically unchartered territory and uncertainty is highly contagious. However, at H+H, where our sales are very closely associated with the housebuilding sector, we remain confident of strong demand.

Have you changed how you sell to match how people buy windows?

Steve Halford, Group Managing Director of Crystal Direct, asks if merchants are keeping up with changing purchasing trends.

Be social media savvy

Harnessing the power of social media can make a huge difference for merchants looking to promote new stock, product offers and business services.

Put the pedal to the metal for the latest trend

While the ‘improve not move’ trend continues to increase in popularity this year, now’s the time to stock up on a range of home improvement products that can help to increase on sales over the summer period.

Sales success for merchants in fast-growing PVC-U windows market

Steve Halford, Group Managing Director of Crystal, looks at the changing PVC-U windows market and how it can bring sales success to merchants.

Eye protection in the industrial workplace

Anyone working around or passing through areas with industrial equipment should be wearing protective eyewear. When working within industrial equipment areas, wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is crucial for preventing injury.

The business of birthdays

Why should Grown in Britain’s fourth birthday bring you better business? It seems unlikely I know, but bear with me.

New Housing Minister must build on Housing White Paper

The new Housing and Planning Minister, Alok Sharma MP, must focus on implementing the many strong proposals in the Government’s Housing White Paper, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said in response to his appointment.

An enhanced apprentice strategy for growth in construction

Much focus from the media, business and government has been given to the skills shortage in the UK. In the heavy clay construction industry, a strong recruitment pool of skilled workers is crucial given the mounting scrutiny facing the sector with regards to the availability and quality of housing in the UK.

Construction industry could suffer due to political uncertainty

Brian Berry predicts construction sector being vulnerable following the General Election results.

Workwear for warmer months ahead

The sun is out and people want to make the most out of the good weather. In terms of working during these warmer months, it is vitally important to ensure you are protected from what looks like a relatively safer season compared to the harsher winter.

Home improvements a priority for homeowners

According to recent research, 59% of UK homeowners are planning to carry out home improvements over the next six months, increasing by 12% from the same time last year*.

No one size fits all

Accurate sizing of replacement boilers is crucial to ensure higher levels of efficiency and lower energy bills for homeowners. Helen Andrews, head of key accounts at Baxi, offers sizing tips for merchants to pass on to their installer customers.

The importance of futureproofing

Futureproofing is essential for any company to ensure their investments remain healthy and that they remain ahead of the curve, believes Simon Midwood, managing director of TIMco.

How is the construction industry reacting to the upcoming UK general election?

The campaigns for all of the parties involved in the general election, which is taking place on 8th June, are now starting to gather steam, having had time to regroup following the surprise announcement that the election would be held now, rather than in 2020.

All hands on deck to ‘soak up’ summer sales

Spring has finally sprung, which means homeowners will be starting to make the most of the longer days and better weather, turning their attention to the garden.

10 benefits of using timber frame building

Alex Dalton, managing director of Daltons Wadkin, takes a look at the offsite construction of homes. Focusing specifically on timber, he discusses the importance and benefits of using timber in construction.