Data collected by the BMF has found that builders merchants had a strong end to 2016 and anticipate increased growth this year, despite sector concerns about the impact of Brexit.

A majority of the BMF’s members, who supply materials to 80% of Britain’s builders, plumbers, joiners and decorators, achieved sales growth above 5% in the final quarter of 2016 compared the same period in 2015, generating revenues of £13bn. In total, 82% of builders merchants reported an increase in sales, with growth strongest among roofing and timber merchants.

Builders merchants are now calling on the Prime Minister to secure a new customs agreement based on low or zero tariffs. Otherwise, current trading benefits such as no need to pay duties at borders, provide rules of origin declarations, or declare VAT prior to sale, are at risk post Brexit.

Commenting on the findings, John Newcomb, Managing Director of the Builders Merchants Federation said:

“These results show that builders merchants are delivering for Britain and helping to drive growth across the country.

“We remain cautiously confident about the future and expect to see continued growth in the sector as 2017 progresses.

“However, the Government must work hard to ensure that there is a suitable customs agreement in place when Britain leaves the EU in order to maintain its commitments to housing and construction projects across the UK.”