Brandon Lewis MP, Minister for Housing and Planning, visited the Lincoln branch of builders merchant Buildbase on Thursday (March 12), in a visit organised by the Builders Merchants Federation as part of its industry and parliamentary programme.
The branch – the former Jackson Building Centres headquarters prior to its acquisition by Buildbase in 2003 – occupies an 11-acre site, employs 85 people, and serves the local and regional housebuilding, maintenance, repairs and improvements market.
Buildbase – whose managing director, Kate Tinsley, was among the senior team to meet the Minister – was keen to discuss a number of construction-related issues including housing demand and supply, planning and development, self and custom building, environmental performance in homes, finance for building companies, and future skills development, including apprenticeships.
Lyndon Johnson, divisional director for the eastern division at Buildbase, also briefed the Minister on the company’s trading performance in the region and planned investment.
He said: “Along with growing our business in Lincoln to support the changing needs of the building, plumbing and electrical trades, we are working hard to show that merchanting offers a raft of long-term career opportunities. Therefore, we are investing in apprentices – six in Lincolnshire and 30 across Buildbase nationally – and in developing our team’s skills and expertise through training.
“We are responding to a shortage in professional delivery drivers by training our existing staff in Lincoln, many of whom have been with us for at least 10 years and some who have reached a quarter century or more with the business.”
Lewis said: “I was delighted to visit Buildbase and see for myself how it is playing a critical role in helping deliver new homes, and making improvements to existing properties.
“Housebuilding is a key part of our long-term economic plan, with schemes like Help to Buy supporting people who want to get on the property ladder, and creating jobs across the country. It means since 2010 nearly 204,000 households have been able to buy or reserve a home through government-backed schemes.
“I was pleased to see how Buildbase is taking on apprentices in Lincoln, helping young people to take their first steps in a new career in construction.”