The importance of builders’ merchants

Nick Cowley

From DIY bathroom renovations and garden makeovers to large-scale commercial construction, builders’ merchants offer the supplies needed to bring projects to life. Keeping stock of essential supplies wouldn’t be as convenient without the 10,000 individual outlets situated across the UK. Here, Nick Cowley, managing director at window and door manufacturer Euramax, explores the importance of builders’ merchants.

AFTER the government announced the temporary nationwide closure of many commercial outlets in March 2020, the Builders Merchant Federation (BMF) received clarification that builders’ merchants are a vital part of the construction supply chain and they must continue to support the industry. Both during and after times of crisis, builders’ merchants provide essential support to the construction industry.

A one stop shop service
Builders’ merchants are not just a place for homeowners to buy decorating products and sawn timber, or for builders to buy bricks and landscaping materials. Merchants provide easy access to a range of different building supplies, all in one place — taking the hassle out of sourcing supplies.

This makes construction and independent contracting easier to undertake as products can be bought in hand, so customers do not need to rely on online deliveries from multiple outlets. In addition, products are offered at competitive trade prices, allowing builders to research and shop around for the best price and quality.

A helping hand
Like many industries in the UK, the building and construction industry faced an indefinite pause for several weeks of 2020. A survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that, between May 4 and May 17, 2020, 67 per cent of construction businesses saw a decline in turnover of at least 20 per cent. Despite the wind down, merchants have helped the industry get back on track.

In March, builders’ merchants Travis Perkins and Grafton, alongside building product producer Saint-Gobain, wrote a letter to the secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Alok Sharma, offering support to keep supply chains running.

The merchants hoped to facilitate the repair of hospitals, prisons, public buildings and social housing properties by delivering the necessary materials and supplies. The letter also pledged to provide materials to well over one million tenanted social housing properties in the UK and support the growing demand for heating and water in homes as more people stayed indoors.

Opening up
The builders’ merchant industry hasn’t only offered a lifeline during times of uncertainty. After a period that restricted 450,000 people from moving home, the housing market reopened on May 13, 2020. This meant that estate agents and conveyancers resumed business, properties could be viewed in person and people could recommence moving to a new house. Along with permission to continue and start work on site, builders’ merchants offer the service and essential supplies to help resume the housing market.

Regardless of the industry, using a merchant that offers a variety of high-quality products, for a range of applications at affordable prices will ensure you deliver the best service to your customer. Euramax supplies a range of PVCu windows, doors and composite doors to merchants including Wickes, Travis Perkins and Selco. Euramax’s products are made to suit a range of requirements from DIY projects to easy installation into modular builds and are available to buy instore and online.

Without the accessibility of builders’ merchants, contractors would have to find different suppliers to supply them with the products and materials they need. This costs time, money and can delay project completion times. Whether it’s helping homeowners to revamp their homes or assisting the construction industry to proceed with building homes, builders’ merchants are more than just suppliers. For many people, they are the heart and source a project’s beginning and are essential to keep the construction supply chain running.