Builders merchants trade association, the Builders Merchants Federation has increased its support services to help its members meet the challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
These new services include regular updates from the BMF’s daily briefings with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, specialist Forums in the form of interactive webinars and practical support such as template letter to support rate relief applications and new Covid-19 Branch Operating Procedures.
A template letter to assist members who wish to apply for the 12 months business rates holiday in England can now be downloaded from the BMF website. Eligibility for the scheme will be a decision made by local authorities on a case by case basis, taking Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government guidance int consideration, and there is likely to be some local interpretation.
The BMF has also started work on a recommended Branch Operating Procedures document, which will also be available to download from its website. Covering logistics, collection and delivery services and branch best practice, the document will draw on lessons learned from members who have remained open since the lockdown began as well as the latest Public Health England guidelines.
The BMF has also scheduled two Covid-19-related Forums to be held on a digital platform. These will cover Finance on 23 April and HR on 24 April. These are in addition to the Plumbing & Heating digital Forum to be held on 13 May. All three can be booked on the BMF website.
BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “These are extremely testing times for the building supply industry and the BMF’s role in support of our members has never been more important. As part of the Construction Leadership Council, the BMF has daily briefings with BEIS and takes members’ concerns straight to the heart of UK Government. We are also making representations to the Scottish Government as a member of the Construction Industry Coronavirus Forum.
“All the information we receive is passed on to our members the same day. I am also writing to them personally with a weekly update. The two virtual Forums we are running later this month will give more detailed advice in the critical areas of finance and HR and will provide more member feedback that we can incorporate in our requests to government.
“In addition to work on immediate issues we are also looking ahead and co-ordinating a product availability group, reporting back to the CLC and BEIS, to consider the availability of key products to manage the return to normal supply levels as construction activity increases.
“Our website is updated daily with the latest information contained within a dedicated Covid19 area. We are also seeking to maintain a list showing the operational status of both merchant and supplier members during the crisis – which is proving extremely useful to contractors, builders, plumbers, heating engineers and roofers. I would encourage any business that is not yet included to send their current status to firstname.lastname@example.org.”