Sales to builders and contractors by Britain’s builders’ merchants surged in September, with sales up 8.3% compared with September 2019, according to the latest Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) report. Landscaping was the strongest category over the period (+31.2%), albeit with one extra trading day.
Total Builders Merchants value sales in Q3 2020 increased by 1% compared to Q3 2019. Landscaping sales were up 24.2% – the highest level since the index was set up in 2015. Workwear & Safetywear (+8%), benefited from a continued focus on PPE, while Timber & Joinery sales increased 3.5% over the same period. Heavy Building Materials saw a decrease of -1.0%.
Total value sales in Q3 2020 were significantly up on the previous quarter (+63.2%) when many merchants were closed. All product categories reported growth.
Sales across all product categories were up in September compared to August, with Total Builders Merchants up 13.7%. The two largest categories – Heavy Building Materials and Timber & Joinery Products – were up 15.4% an 15.6% respectively.
August’s BMBI index was 124.6. Landscaping (175.5) was strongest, followed by Timber & Joinery Products (133.4).
Derrick McFarland, Managing Director Keystone Lintels and BMBI’s Expert for Steel Lintels comments: “The rollercoaster of 2020 continues. Q3 2020 rises back to similar levels seen in Q3 2019 and demand into Q4 2020 remains strong. Weather permitting, construction should finish strongly in 2020 and we wait patiently on what is around the corner in 2021. The newly-announced ‘social’ lockdown, will hopefully reduce the risk in infections, and allow construction to continue in a safer environment.
“NHBC reports Q3 2020 completions are just 4% behind Q3 2019, although new home registrations are behind by 25% over the same period. This would suggest we are in a programme of catch up with an end date dictated by the end of the stamp duty holiday and help to buy scheme. Hopefully, Rishi will reconsider options to continue to stimulate construction sooner, rather than later.
“Is working from home here to stay? Developers say it has created a trend towards more housing demand in the suburbs and out of town developments. Keystone’s recent competition with RIBA on designing a house/development in the suburbs now seems well timed as we encourage architects to add space which meets the modern family requirements, and of course includes a few special lintel designs. Working from home also reduces our Carbon footprint, and at Keystone the climate change topic is high on our agenda, acknowledged through our Gold Standard from the School of Sustainability.”
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