Overcoming obstacles with builders merchants

Overcoming obstacles with builders merchants

Keith Bunn, Senior Sales at builders merchant Ridgeons outlines how housebuilders can use merchants to help overcome any hurdles faced during a project.  

Ridgeons Professional Housebuilder and Property Developer article docxThe National House Building Council’s latest registration statistics revealed that more than 12,000 new homes were registered to be built in the UK in February. According to NHBC Chief Executive Mike Quinton, housebuilders are currently, “extremely active with ambitious build programs underway and optimistic about future growth.”  It is therefore vital that housebuilders have the necessary support in place, which is where builders merchants are able to help.

No two building projects are ever quite the same but having worked alongside housebuilders for 42 years on numerous projects, I have come to understand some of the similar challenges that they face. These can vary from not getting the right materials on site at the right time, either because someone in the supply chain has overpromised or not planned effectively, to facing delivery issues because the site has limited access. These are unnecessary hurdles that have the potential to throw a project off schedule and can be overcome by establishing a good relationship with a builders’ merchant.

Early involvement

By involving your merchant early in the planning process, they will be able to get an understanding of the project. It is always helpful when housebuilders bring in a set of their drawings for us to work from too. By seeing the whole picture, we are best placed to offer support and guidance when needed. Engaging early with your builders merchant also helps to predict any problems you are likely to encounter, such as an extension on manufacturer’s lead time. By working together, this information will allow you to ensure you can keep to your schedule.


It’s good to talkRidgeons Professional Housebuilder and Property Developer article docx (2)

Communication is the key to a successful partnership between housebuilder and merchant, with no detail too small to mention. For example, if you’re concerned that there may be an issue with a delivery vehicle having access to the site, tell your merchant. Many will have a fleet of vehicles of varying sizes to be able to support housebuilders situated at a variety of sites. By keeping in contact, your merchant will be able to plot where you are with your project and ensure that any required materials are available immediately when you require them.


Utilising your merchant’s experience is always useful. Many have a team that will include specialists in specific areas who are a great resource to pull in at different stages of your project. They should be able to offer you advice on product selections and help you find solutions to any problems that arise throughout the project.

It is inevitable that throughout a housebuilding project there will be challenges that you face, however many of these can be avoided or a solution found quickly if you engage with your merchant early in the process.

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