Builders' Merchants News
How small businesses can build their online presence

It can be a challenge to make sure your voice is heard, particularly when you’re a small business. It’s essential to make sure your customers know that their voice counts in order to stand out from the crowd.

Why investing in external training can help fill the skills gap

As the UK looks to move into the next stage of post-recession recovery, it is unfortunately becoming apparent that a skills gap across a number of industries, including construction, could hold negative implications on future business growth and development.

Jack of all trades…master of all, too

Having supplied builders’ merchants across the country for more than 40 years, we’ve noticed a phenomenal change in the products sold, as well as an evolving pattern of industry trends.

Tapping into timber – what merchants should consider

Timber windows and doors continue to enjoy a major resurgence in the UK building market, driven by consumer demand.

Multiple sales opportunities with Multipoint locks

Many multipoint locks are reaching the end of their life cycle. Over the coming months and years, these older locks are expected to fail, creating opportunities for tradespeople in the security sector and helping to generate replacement sales for merchants.

Grout: the discolouration debate

As colour variations of grout continue to grow, and darker grouts become more popular, the discussion around grout discolouration is a growing issue for many merchants and their customers.

Protecting your workforce

With the upturn in the UK’s construction sector showing no sign of abating, it is little wonder that so many builders are rushing to fill their order books and reap the rewards of the recovering economy.

Protecting your customers against theft

Any good tradesperson will understand the importance of keeping their tools safe and secure. After all, these items are their livelihoods because without them they will be unable to work.

Another blow for the zero-carbon agenda

Considering the tempestuous journey the UK’s green agenda and zero carbon policies have had over the last few years, it perhaps should come as no surprise that there are yet more complications and a scaling back of ambition.

How to wow with technical know how!

Keeping abreast of industry innovations can be a daunting task for merchants, not least in peak periods when finding the time to brush up on the latest trends can be a tricky task indeed. But there’s no need to feel out of depth; plenty of suppliers now use social media, apps and other software to share knowledge - meaning merchants can use these easy to access tools to keep up-to-date with the latest industry innovations.

Why the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund is good for the boiler market

Things are looking up. In the same week we learned that UK boiler sales are on the rise, with an increase of just over 18% in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013 – according to figures from the Heating & Hotwater Council – we were also greeted with the new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF).

Staying secure this May

Despite the fact that crime figures are down in the UK, there is a growing interest in home security among householders looking to protect their valuables and treasured possessions, leading to rising sales of products such as alarms.

Ready-mixed versus powdered – the big debate

It’s no secret that knowing when to opt for a powdered adhesive over a ready-mixed is confusing – and, if the customer is questioning the product, the pressure is placed on the merchant to rise to the challenge and share their product knowledge. With this simple guide, I’m hoping merchants across the UK can feel a little more confident when it comes to advising on this age-old predicament.

How to accept deliveries safely

Southall Associates discusses how to safely accept deliveries as a merchant.

Choosing the right insurance company

Whether you are a new business just starting out or an established firm thinking of changing insurance companies, we have some advice for you.

A face fit for construction workers

With recent alerts about air pollution in the UK, and with the latest Purchasing Managers Index for the construction sector highlighting an optimistic outlook for the year ahead, it’s a great time to consider the potential implications of construction dust – both on the local environment and employees.

The gravity of the ECO cuts

Knauf Insulation's Steven Heath asks, by cutting ECO, what risks has the government exposed us to?

How and why is the gypsum industry becoming more sustainable?

Smithers Apex examines how the gypsum industry is being made to become more sustainable throughout the supply chain to remain profitable.

Dunlop’s tiling trend prediction

Dunlop’s Debi Boulton reveals her prediction for 2014’s tiling trend.

Flooding and ECO: two sides of the same coin?

So, why am I writing about flooding?

Working at height: a life-saving checklist

The majority of workplace accidents can be attributed to human error. Aiming to achieve zero breaches of safety, Roger Hastie of Deborah Services shares lessons on how best to work at height.

Lock snapping – what’s the crack?

Burglar methods of attack increase in sophistication and severity year-on-year, so in order to counter these advances security products need to meet and surpass these threats.

How will the UK building industry respond to record-breaking flood levels?

Severe flooding has been present in many areas of the UK for months, with England experiencing the wettest January since records began. Large parts of southern England felt the force of heavy rain and a handful of areas remain on high alert.

Dunlop keeps merchants hot on their toes

Debi Boulton, brand manager of Dunlop, discusses how under tile floor heating isn’t just a job for the professionals anymore and explains how advising professional builders can give builders’ merchants the upper hand and gain repeat business.

Top reasons to keep security sales front of mind in 2014

With so many different product categories, it can be difficult for merchants to know what to focus on. Here are our top reasons why the home security sector should be a key priority for branches looking to maximise sales opportunities throughout the year:

What to do during the floods

With shocking scenes of flooding throughout the UK, boilers and central heating systems may not be front of mind for homeowners, yet when the floods subside there are some important things to consider.

Enforcing current legislation is critical to driving the adoption of SuDS

As communities across the UK continue to be devastated by floods, Marshalls asks why local authorities are not enforcing existing Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) legislation, and questions what is really causing the delays to the release of the National SuDS standards.

Flexible adhesive is the industry's number-one choice

According to a number of building experts, single-part flexible adhesive is now the industry's preferred type of adhesive.

How ‘bring your own device to work’ can be capitalised upon in the building industry

‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) is a term that is being bandied around more frequently. It means that organisations allow employees to bring their own mobile devices such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets into the office. The company then uses its own network to connect them to the infrastructure required to do their job. Therefore, with increased focus on the growth of the construction industry, can the building industry capitalise on this trend?

Tile trends that are paving the way

As any business will tell you, keeping up with - and being able to identify - new industry trends is absolutely key to the success of a business. Trends have a habit of creeping up and then running right past you unless you keep your eyes peeled and your ear firmly to the ground! The tiling industry is no different, and the last few years have seen the styles and materials within the trade evolve significantly.

10 tips for working safely in winter

For those working outdoors, the winter months bring additional challenges, making on-site work even more testing. Here are 10 simple tips for staying safe in poor weather conditions:

Tips for the storage of aggregates

According to a 2011 Office of Fair Trading report, aggregates are a vital part of the construction industry with a turnover of £1.4bn on an annual basis. Most new building sites require a constant supply of aggregates for a number of different purposes, ranging from pipe bedding through to creating level surfaces for driveways and roads.

The supply chain secrets of customer loyalty

The questions that any business should always be asking itself are:

Call on suppliers to support your compliance

This year legislation in the timber industry has wielded more than a passing pressure on suppliers and merchants alike. On 3 March 2013 we had the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), followed by the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) with its pertaining CE marking and obligatory Declaration of Performance certificates to contend with later in the summer.

BIM – collaboration is the key

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is changing the way the industry views the construction process.

Small displays can still mean big sales

With many UK bathrooms on the small side, showing what can be done in a tiny area may actually work in the merchant’s favour. But what are the tricks to transforming a few square metres of floor space into bathroom displays to die for?

Saving water is good for business

Water saving is often more in mind during summer months, but really it’s something we should always be concerned about, and something merchants can capitalise on as end users become increasingly aware of its importance.

Innovate to accumulate

Some products sell themselves but the best products are those that consistently meet shifting changes in legislation, trends and end user demands.

Green Deal; Black holes and how to avoid our low energy retrofit ambitions being stretched

How the Green Deal and UK energy policy needs to change if the market is going to succeed.

How to ensure your business maximises the potential of the domestic RHI

The domestic RHI tariffs, which will come into effect in spring 2014, will have a huge impact on the business opportunities available to installers of renewable heating systems.

A response to rising fuel bills

Energy is becoming more expensive. It’s time for people to pay more attention to their heating system, and look at ways to use less energy and save their hard-earned cash.

Prevention is better than cure

Now autumn is in full swing, it’s time for merchants to prepare themselves – and their shelves – for what winter has in store.

Don’t let materials shortages become a housebuilding blockage

A surprising new threat appears to be casting its shadow over the housebuilding market. For the first time ever, a ‘materials shortage’ has reared its head as a top threat in a SWOT analysis of the housebuilding market.

Making light of heavy-side products

Many heavy-side, bulk, product manufacturers have tried in recent years to crack the merchant market with small-scale versions of their existing offer but not all succeed.

Wood – a green choice

Most of us want to make choices that reduce our impact on the environment, or at least avoid making ones that are overtly detrimental. When it comes to choosing building materials, it can seem like every choice is a bad one.

E-asy does it

Did you know that 95% of business documents are computer generated? It’s a staggering statistic when you think about it, and also an exciting one, because it demonstrates the dramatic effect that electronic documents have had on the business landscape.

Merseyside merchant roadshow

This autumn we are taking i-fix on the road and giving it a tour of Beesley and Fildes’ Merseyside merchants.

Response to rising water prices

With the economy the way it is today, it’s not good to hear about rising bills – but the recent plans aren’t a surprise.

How to motivate external sales people for best results

Sales is one of those unusual occupations where formal qualifications are not a requirement in most companies, but remuneration can be high.

Always check the label

How many labels do you think we read every week? They’re on the back of the food we eat, on the appliances we buy and on the medicine we take. We get a lot of our information from these labels because they contain advice and guidance from the experts, which is very important.