The latest figures from the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI), published in September, reveal builders’ merchants’ value sales were down -0.4% in July, in comparison to the same month in 2022, with volume falling -7.9% and prices up +8.1%. However, value sales in the last three months, May to July, were +8.5% higher than in February to April 2023.
Year-on-year, nine of the twelve categories sold more in July 2023 than in July 2022. Renewables & Water Saving (+51.2%) continues its strong form, leading the field by a significant margin. Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+14.0%), Decorating (+13.6%), Tools (+11.1%) and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+10.1%) all achieved double digit growth. Heavy Building Materials (+2.6%) grew more slowly while Landscaping (-7.2%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-12.1%) were the weakest categories.
Total merchant sales were down -5.5% in July, in comparison to June. Volume sales were down -7.5% while prices increased slightly (+2.2%). With one less trading day in July, like-for-like value sales were -1.0% lower. Only three of the twelve categories sold more, led by Renewables & Water Saving (+15.5%). Heavy Building Materials (-6.2%) sold less, and Landscaping (-15.6%) was the weakest.
Total merchant sales in the twelve months from August 2022 to July 2023 were flat (+0.0%) compared to the same period a year ago, with volumes down -12.2% and prices up by +13.9%. Nine of the twelve categories sold more with Renewables & Water Saving (+45.4%) doing best. Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+13.8%), Decorating (+13.5%) Workwear & Safetywear (+12.9%), and Kitchens & Bathrooms (+10.8%) also hit double-digit increases. Heavy Building Materials (+5.4%) grew more slowly. Landscaping (-9.9%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-13.3%) were the weakest categories.
“Recent Part L building regulations updates are the stepping stone to the Future Homes Standard in 2025, and heating homes has become possibly the single biggest challenge facing UK housing developers and housing providers.
“The next few years will see the most fundamental change in heating domestic properties since gas boilers and steel radiators in the late 1970’s and 80’s. Gas is being phased out and heat pumps promoted by the government as a more sustainable electric heat source. This presents opportunities for new and different heating solutions such as Underfloor Heating.
“The focus on decarbonisation is leading to a much higher level of insulation in new build homes. But this challenge to heat homes quickly is also a challenge to keep homes cool, particularly with record summer temperatures being broken regularly and expectations that it will get hotter. For this reason, heating and cooling must be considered together to provide truly better homes for the future.
“Polypipe Building Products, part of Genuit Group, is one of Europe’s largest, most innovative manufacturers of plastic piping systems and low-carbon heating solutions for the residential market. Genuit sees itself as a thought leader in the future sustainable built environment, and provides construction solutions way beyond plastic pipes and fittings, ranging from MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery) and SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) systems to magnetic filters and anti-corrosion chemicals. Our goal is to innovate and improve our products and services to help the UK reach net zero and influence the market to drive towards future best practices and systems.”
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