RCI Article – Strong Start to 2017 for Builders Merchants

A drier climate and extra working day this year contributed to a strong start to 2017 for Builders’ Merchants

An additional trading day this January on January 2016 contributed to 7.2% year on year sales value growth, according to the latest Builders Merchant Building Index. Adjusted for trading days, growth was 2.1%.

Although a little cooler, January was much drier compared to 2016 benefitting external projects and contributing to stronger growth in Timber & Joinery (+8.2%) and Heavy Building Materials (+7.7%).

Month on previous month

Total sales value in January was 22.8% up on December 2016 but down 0.6% when adjusted for trading days (17 in December 2016, 21 in January 2017). Timber & Joinery did better (+30.2%).


January’s Builders Merchant Building Index was 94.7.

John Duffin, Managing Director Keylite Roof Windows and the BMBI Expert for Roof Windows, says:

“Strong Quarter 4 housing and Repair, Maintenance and Improvement (RMI) performances contributed to 2016 ending on a relative high compared to the gloom many predicted. House building registrations increased in most UK regions, apart from London.

“The roof window market grew by an estimated 8-11%, with merchants enjoying strong demand from the RMI market which accounts for the majority of roof window sales. Roof windows are the practical, cost effective daylight solution which small builders are confident installing. They are a strong driver of over-the-counter business.

“Raw material increases, rising fuel costs and the effects of a weaker pound introduce a cautious note for Q1. Building material shortages are becoming a concern to national house builders who already face extended lead times and price increases. This is manageable, but the biggest threat to the industry is anything that dents consumer confidence. Brexit negotiations start soon so we must rely on political management to keep demand afloat.

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Launched in 2015, the award winning monthly Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report is the only reliable measure of repair, maintenance & improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. Filling an important gap, it can be widely used in construction, and by economists, Government, national media, commentators and influencers outside the industry.