The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is working with the Construction Products Association (CPA) to monitor the manufacturing and distribution of their respective members in order to meet the needs of housebuilders, contractors and small and medium-sized (SME) builders as sites re-open.
They are heading up the Product Availability Group, set-up by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), which is co-ordinating the industry’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The BMF is gaining information from across its membership to identify items likely to be in short supply. Early shortfalls in plaster and plasterboard supply were the first to be flagged up under the monitoring system, and steps are being taken to resolve that shortfall.
John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF, said: “The Product Availability Group, which includes Tier 1 contractors, large and SME housebuilders, along with merchants and manufacturers, is meeting every two weeks to keep a watching brief on the situation across the entire construction industry supply chain.
“Nothing like this has happened before and the work we are doing is unprecedented. The spirit of collaboration forged within the CLC makes it possible for the whole materials chain to work together to resolve any challenges in a proactive way and ensure demand is met across the construction sector.”
Peter Caplehorn, chief executive of the CPA, added: “The CPA has been closely monitoring the operational status of its members, who are looking for sustainable demand for their products before starting to phase in more factory production, whilst at the same time ensuring the health and well-being of their workforce.
“With the BMF, we are discussing with government and the wider industry, the need to encourage builders and merchants to safely re-open more sites and branches, in addition to continuing support for ‘essential’ activity such as key NHS and infrastructure projects, repair and maintenance.”
The BMF’s five largest merchant members, along with five of the CPA’s largest manufacturing members are part of the Product Availability Group.