Buildbase launch regional services

Buildbase launch regional services

Builders’ Merchant Buildbase has recently launched a new range of services for the Regional housebuilding market. PHPD spoke exclusively to Rob Cherryholme, Trade Sales Director at the company to find out more.

Buildbase is the third largest Builders’ Merchant in the UK. Part of the Grafton Group – which includes the likes of Plumbase, Hirebase and Electricbase – the merchant is a major supplier of products to builders of all sizes. Currently looking to increase its presence in the regional housebuilding sector, it has just launched a new approach for customers in this market.

buildbase-1-yard“The regional housebuilder audience for us is a very important one,” Rob Cherryholme, Trade Sales Director at Buildbase told us. He believes that while national housebuilders have the resources to be continually focussed on the supply of materials, procurement, services and specification for regional housebuilders this can be a hugely time consuming area of business, inhibiting their ability to deliver quality new homes to the market.


To help these firms Buildbase have introduced a new approach to the Regional housebuilder which is focussed on alleviating these key issues for this market. The approach will be outlined in a new brochure available later in the year.


Due to the size of their businesses regional housebuilders tend to do everything themselves – ordering, procurement, specification, services and much more besides. Whilst this is an admirable trait housebuilders only have a finite amount of time, and the new offering from Buildbase is designed to allow these housebuilders to focus on their priorities, by relying on their merchant to do more.

“We can take away some of the workload that housebuilders have like scheduling and ordering, so the housebuilder can focus on what is important to them – which is making sure the property is built on time and to the right specifications – and not getting drawn away from concentrating on just that,” Rob explained.

To achieve this outcome Buildbase wants to be involved right from the early buildbase-3-truck-loadingstagesof a new-build project. “This is not just about us providing a product to the end user, this is about us trying to establish a working relationship, an understanding of their business,” said Rob.


Research program

In order to pull together the strands of its new approach Rob and his colleagues went to see several very different SME/Regional housebuilders over the past few months. The specific feedback from all was centred around service. “The service and availability of product in full on time is what matters most with the housebuilders we have surveyed,” Rob said.

“They need to know that they have a reliable merchant that is backing them, from a reliable supplier chain with products coming in on-time. The last thing they want is a plasterer or a brickie on site costing them £200 per day and their products don’t turn up.”

From their research Buildbase established the three key areas around which their new approach is based: Good service, Reliable products, Credit availability.

Financial assistance

To be able to bring in all the materials that are needed for a build many regional housebuilders will have lines of credit at a number of merchants. Rob believes that this duplication introduces complexity and with a need to deal with four merchants it also increases the amount of time smaller housebuilders take placing orders, coordinating schedules, organising deliveries and checking paperwork.

buildbase-9-kitchen-showroomSo, part of the new approach from Buildbase will consider extended or additional credit facilities for customers. Rob noted: “Rather than dealing with a lot of different merchants – which is a real problem for a lot of housebuilders at the moment – with increased and flexible credit we can reduce the number of merchants they have to deal with, therefore they get one delivery with all their products from one merchant, rather than four different merchants turning up.”


“Roughly speaking it is half an hour for a delivery. The truck turning up on site, securing its feet, making sure the unload is safe, unloading and loading up again is all time spent on site,” said Rob. If that is all done from one merchant, rather than four times, he believes that there is a substantial time saving.

Stock holding

Another element in the new approach is an offer of stock holding. In return for being involved with the build program from the outset Buildbase believes it can ensure there are no shortages of materials on-site.

Rob noted:  “The earlier a housebuilder lets us into the supplier chain solution the sooner we can consider bringing the stock in and holding it for them, or ring-fencing it for the customer to ensure they receive the products they need, when they need them.”

Reflecting on the fact that the company has 180 branches across the country Rob noted: “we have acres and acres of land for storing products.”

Customer focussed

The creation of a strong relationship with customers is another key tenant of the new approach. The company is looking to tailor its approach to each customer, “so we can give them a level of support and contact that suits them,” explained Rob.

The research Buildbase has undertaken demonstrated that many regional housebuilders would like more regular contact with their merchant. “As a result, we have increased the number of sales colleagues and developed them in the right way, so they are able to see customers more frequently,” explained Rob.

Wider portfolio

Once it is more closely attuned to the housebuilder’s requirements Rob hopes that housebuilders will also begin to use Buildbase for other elements of the build. He explained: “Under the Grafton banner we have Civils and Lintels as wells as Plumbase and other areas like bathroom showrooms, Electricbase, Hirebase, Paintbase … so everything can come under one roof. We are keen to let the client know that throughout the building we can offer everything that is needed – even to kitchen and bathroom design.”buildbase-10-bathroom-showroom

As many regionalusebuilders offer an increasing range of specification choices to customers – especially over the design of the kitchen and bathroom or in finishes – Buildbase believes it has a strong opportunity to supply products for all areas of the new build project.

Rob noted, “To compete in the market regionals have to differentiate their houses, they have got to offer something different. We can help them to do that.”

Scalable model

The new model is designed for all regional housebuilders. “We don’t want to exclude anybody from this,” Rob noted. “We started off from a figure of five homes, but we can add value to all – it could go right up to large regional businesses.

Rob’s vision for Buildbase is to get the company into a position with regional housebuilders where, “we make their lives so easy that they would not want to build a house without Buildbase.”

Rob Concluded , “In the current market I believe our service offering is better than anything.”

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