Now is the time to get Britain building, says FMB

TODAY’S historic result must draw a line under years of crippling uncertainty that has been so toxic for UK construction, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in response to the General Election result.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The new Conservative Government has a golden opportunity to sort out Brexit and set out its new vision for the UK. Building the homes and infrastructure that this country needs has to be a key priority to help drive the economy forward.

“The Government needs to back the nation’s army of small builders, by delivering on the promised £3bn National Skills Fund, investing in quality through a licensing scheme for the whole UK construction industry, and supporting local builders to retrofit the millions of homes that need to be upgraded to low carbon.”

Ensuring you have the right diamond blade for the job

NORTON Clipper’s diamond blades have been used by contractors across the globe since the 1980s. The brand’s extensive range of diamond blades are designed to tackle all kinds of applications and materials – each and every one tried, tested and trusted.

The wide variety of products within the range are each tailored to specific materials and applications in order to guarantee maximum performance. Ensuring users are getting the most out of their blades, Norton Clipper is helping its customers find the perfect diamond blade for them.

To help contractors quickly and easily choose the correct blade for their project, the packaging and blades of Norton Clipper blades are colour coded as follows:

  • Red – Concrete/Beton range, suitable for use on concrete and reinforced concrete
  • Blue – Universal range, suitable for use on a wide range of building materials including concrete, roof tiles, pipes, bricks, block paving and kerbs
  • Black – Asphalt and Green Concrete range, suitable for use on asphalt and abrasive materials including asphalt over concrete, green concrete, bitumen, cement joints, breeze blocks and lignacite blocks
  • Grey – Pro 4x4 Explorer, one blade to tackle all materials, the Pro 4x4 Explorer can tackle anything from reinforced concrete, to general building materials and even asphalt
  • Green – Ceramic range, suitable for use on ceramic and porcelain tiles
  • Turquoise – Granite and Pro Marmo range, suitable for use on granite, marble and stone
  • Orange – ZMD and RC range, designed to easily tackle refractory materials and refractory bricks

The diamond blade range also offers a clear choice of three product performance levels for every job requirement, helping contractors choose a product that suits their budget and matches the level of performance and longevity they require.

The first level is Classic, which signifies the strong ratio of good quality versus performance, an economical option for occasional use. Next is Pro, which represents professional quality for frequent use, high performance and productivity. And finally, Extreme, the most innovative of the Norton Clipper blades with the fastest and smoothest cutting speeds and extremely long life, suitable for the heaviest jobs.

To ensure a quick and easy product selection process, clear material colour coding and performance levels have been applied to both the packaging and blade, signifying performance level and use. With further details on the back of the packaging, the design aims to give users guidance at a glance, ensuring the correct blade is chosen for each job.

By choosing the diamond blade most appropriate for the material, cut and performance levels required, contractors can look to save both time and money, efficiently tackling projects with faster, safer and more accurate cutting.

Norton Clipper has now set up a webpage specifically to assist customers in matching a suitable diamond blade to a job, targeting a variety of applications from concrete and asphalt, to ceramics and refractory.

Built to last and outperform the rest, Norton Clipper Diamond Blades are the ultimate abrasive cutting solution in the construction and building industry. Used on a variety of different machinery such as angle grinders, petrol hand-held saws, floor saws, masonry saws, tile saws and wall saws, Norton Clipper Diamond Blades are not only used by professionals, but also by DIYers who are demanding better finishes and faster results.

Flex PD 2G 10.8-EC combi drill: The power of Flex

THE arrival of a couple of new Flex cordless tools caused me to catch myself and realise that I have been using them regularly for more than half a decade, writes Peter Brett.

In this time, I have not managed to break any of them, but also, none of the battery packs have given up the ghost either.

Some of the tools - like the sanders and the cordless angle grinder - have been subject to what I would call ‘demanding tasks’ and, despite their scruffy appearance, still work very hard. So, I can only conclude that the two words ‘reliable’ and ‘efficient’ apply to Flex tools and this probably puts them into the category of ‘under-rated tools’ that will definitely stand up to trade use. 

Maybe end users need to spread their nets a bit wider when it comes to looking at new tool purchases…?

The relentless march of brushless

Brushless, or ‘EC’ (electronically controlled), motors are really coming into their own for cordless tools because of the advantages they bring in terms of power, reliability and extra torque. It has almost got to the point where EC is a ‘must have’ rather than an option. 

EC motors also mean that 10.8 or 12v tools are nearly as powerful as their 18v siblings while being considerably smaller and are eminently suitable for tasks where small size matters. It is much easier to work up a ladder or overhead with a smaller driver that can fit easily into a tool pouch or even a work trouser pocket.

L-Boxx presentation

Flex has used the L-Boxx system for some years now so there was no surprise at lifting the lid of it to find a custom fitted insert with space for the driver, a spare battery and the charger. There was also a compact driver holder, with the option of having an angled driver too. Tucked away is a bright chrome belt hook that can be attached to either the left- or right-hand side of the base of the drill handle. There is also a space for a wrist loop to be attached, although it is not supplied as standard. 

It would be quite easy to think that the Flex PD 2G 10.8-EC Combi drill (to give its full title) looks like a ‘grown-up’ 18v tool, but a quick comparison with a couple of other 18v, 12v and 10.8 v drills proved that it is indeed compact enough to be in the ‘smaller’ category.

In design and operation, the Flex follows the regular and established pattern of controls etc that most modern cordless drills have. This means that using it soon becomes second nature.

Taking a quick look round the combi, it is clear that it is well made with precision moulded plastic parts well screwed together. There is no flexing of the parts when under load. The rubber ‘bumpers’ 
placed strategically around the body will ensure that it is protected when put down and the rubberised grippy stuff around the handle and rear of the motor casing is well placed and not overdone. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the designers have made a special effort to ensure that the main handle is comfortable and ergonomic with the trigger, reverse/lock/forward switch in prime position for operation with forefinger and thumb. This does not feel like a combi that has been designed by a committee with a close eye on a limited budget.

With the plastic-bodied keyless chuck in place, the length of the drill is 21cm, and will therefore fit inside a 30cm-wide kitchen cabinet, even with a driver bit fitted. However, if you remove the chuck by pulling back the red plastic collar, the length of it becomes a mere 16cm. A hex shaft will take a standard driver bit securely so working in small spaces becomes quite easy. 

As I know, due to my aged eyesight, working in cabinets can also be a dark business, so the bright trigger-activated LED light just below the chuck is perfectly placed to enable people like me to see well. 

There is also the option of fitting the ‘quick chuck’ (supplied) that will securely hold standard 6mm hex accessories like twist drills and spade bits.

I am happy to tell you that the 24-position torque collar works easily, as does the drill/screw/hammer selection collar – there is actually room for your hand to fit to make easy selections. Two speeds (0450 and 0-1700) are selected by the sliding switch on top of the housing and the stated drilling capacities prove that the Flex is no slouch – 25mm in wood,13mm in steel and 13mm in masonry. When I tried these they all performed as stated, but I will always dislike 'hammer’ mode because it is noisy and puts my teeth on edge. Masonry drilling is always done best with an SDS drill, in my opinion, and Flex makes a very good 18v SDS drill that I use regularly…

Torque and brake

As I have said, extra torque is one of the advantages of EC motors and this 10.8v motor manages a cool 58 Nm. This really is enough to easily drive 70mm screws into softwood quite easily. In fact, it is sometimes the screws that give up rather than the drill. It is also good to have a motor brake so that the drill stops within half a second of releasing the trigger. It may be a small point, but I like a motor brake, especially when drilling into delicate materials like plastics and thin sheet metals. 

Sound motor levels are well controlled, coming in at about 71dB(A) in normal drilling and screwdriving. As befits a compact tool, the weight is also well controlled – with a ‘standard’ 2.5 Ah battery pack the weight is about 1.5kgs, but not much more with the 4 or 6 Ah ones.

I look upon this Flex PD 2G 10.8-EC as a site or workshop workhorse. It is powerful and capable enough for a wide range of tasks, it is well built and comfortable in the hand and looks like it could take a knock or two. The battery charger is a good one – using a system of lights to inform the user about state of charge and it is relatively quick too, – a full charge on a 10.8 pack takes only about 40 minutes. 

Lots to like indeed.

Festool AGC 18 cordless angle grinder: Compact, tough, durable?

ANGLE grinders are essential tools – they do what they do very well and are used in almost all trades, writes Peter Brett.

I have heard stories of industrial applications, like boiler making, where angle grinders are bought by the pallet load and have a working life expectancy of anything from a few days to a week. I dread to think how hard they must be worked and what sort of jobs they must be doing.

They also come in an amazing array of sizes, motor power and (surprise, surprise) in various levels of quality. A cheap £15 angle grinder would do for occasional use but the general rule of thumb for tools applies: you get what you pay for.

Cordless angle grinders are the latest innovation, and for many users increased battery capacity and EC (brushless) motors have made them ideal site tools. I can’t remember the last time I used a corded angle grinder, whereas my couple of cordless ones get regular usage, usually cutting bolts, brackets and the occasional bits of sheet metal.

However, a couple of metal fabricators I spoke to told me that they always had corded and cordless grinders available. 

For sheer convenience of wattage and not having to worry about battery life, a corded grinder was needed for cutting heavy steel tubing, while deburring, polishing and occasional weld grinding were best achieved using a cordless machine.

Against this background, the launch of the new Festool AGC 18 angle grinder should be noted because it promises durability, robustness, cordless flexibility and safety via the various features built into the machine. Ideally, I should get six months to test all of these, but deadlines being what they are, I had only a couple of weeks to use the grinder as hard as I could in as many applications as I could find.

I received the ‘full monty’ AGC 18 packed into its custom Systainer with auxiliary handle, wrench, cutter guard, two 5.2 Ah battery packs and latest Festool smart charger. It’s a lot cheaper to buy the ‘naked’ version without the batteries and charger, and most Festool fans will opt for that I am sure.

On a side note, I now have a case for almost every power tool I own and although they take up far too much space, they also make packing up at the end of the day much easier, and Systainers make it even easier than most because there is a place for all the bits, (even charger cords) so you can spot anything missing.

First impressions - Up to the job?

This grinder is not a delicate flower – it has a robust weight and size – 2.7 kgs and 355mm long – that felt to me a bit of a handful when I first picked it up. But the handle is not short of grip, with some strategically placed and vibrationabsorbing rubber. Unlike old brush motor tool bodies, the AGC 18’s feels smooth and with only a few places where dust might collect.

Picked out in Festool green as usual, there are two main controls – the variable speed selection dial selection and the sliding on/off switch. These are within reach and are easy to use with gloved hands. The on/off switch gets my vote because it has an easy two-stage motion of push forward and then push down to start and then just push down on the back of the switch to turn off. My guess is that the switch will stay that easy to operate as long as the user keeps it relatively free of the inevitable dust and filings associated with angle grinding.

Other important considerations are the ‘cast electronics’ and the encased and sealed EC motor. EC motors are maintenance-free and long-lasting, so will be well protected from the dust that would usually destroy the commutator and bearings of a brushed motor. Ironically, brushed motors have fans that pull in cooling air – and the grinding dust – at the same time.

I have not heard about ‘cast electronics’ in power tools before, but it seems like a great idea for protecting potentially delicate items from damage and dust. 

Safety features

The modern electronics that the Festool engineers have applied via the EC motor gives the opportunity for several sophisticated safety features like soft start, a motor brake, constant speed maintenance when working and restart protection. It is great to have a whirling cutting disc stop in a second or two. It beats having to wait for it to stop before you can put the machine down. 

We are sort of used to constant speed controls in many power tools these days but restart protection is another great safety feature. Motor electronics will cut the motor after a cutter jam, but the user will have to consciously restart the motor via the switch to get it going again. 

No tools needed –  Well, maybe a pin wrench

Toolless operation is a must-have these days so the AGC 18 has a spring-loaded lever for adjusting the cutter guard and a quick action clamping nut that enables tool-free disc changes. Should you need extra tightening on a disc a pin wrench is supplied…

Great to use

I was worried that my small hands might make for uncomfortable use of the grinder, but somehow, when the motor starts and the grinding disc is whirling about, the mind is concentrated and handling becomes instinctive. The battery and the gear head balance each other out so, in use, it feels neutral – not tipping to the front or back. I found that the addition of the vibration-resistant auxiliary handle helped the handling of the grinder a great deal, providing balance and security that one-handed use couldn’t give me. There is also no reason why two hands couldn’t be used on the main body – there is enough room.

Setting the correct speed for the work to be done is a necessity, as is choosing the right disc for the right job. I did cutting, grinding and polishing with a mix of generally high-quality discs and the AGC 18 felt like the thoroughbred that its designers no doubt intended. Festool fans 
will take the purchase of the AGC 18 as a natural step, but I think there are enough reasons to have a hands-on with it at a tool show near you to see what you think.

Morris Site Machinery’s new man in the North

AN experienced sales executive with an engineering background has joined leading manufacturer and distributor Morris Site Machinery.

Adrian Poole has been appointed Sales Executive for the North to sell its range of quality equipment from lighting towers to generators, welders, pumps and pressure washers, to hire companies and end users.

Based at his home in Littleborough, near Rochdale, Adrian will cover a patch from Cheshire to the Scottish borders. He said: “I started out as an engineer and have spent 25 years in sales. I wanted a new challenge where I would feel at home and could use all my experience. Joining this long-established family company is a really good fit and everything I thought it would be.”

Formerly Regional Sales Manager for Kidde Fire Systems, Adrian has sold fire protection systems for high value assets and has also worked with UK fire and rescue services, training firefighters in the use of fire pumps.

Adrian added: "I’m looking forward to renewing relationships with former contacts, meeting existing customers and building new business with the great products we have to offer.”

Morris Site Machinery is part of a fifth-generation family business group. It manufactures and supplies world leading site machinery brands and products to serve a range of sectors.

European cities commit to net zero buildings

YESTERDAY (Wednesday 4 December) leading European cities and companies pledged to slash carbon emissions from their buildings to net zero.

Helsinki, Finland and Valladolid, Spain have signed the World Green Building Council’s (WorldGBC) Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, alongside property sector leaders BuroHappold, Carbon Credentials, Deerns, Grimshaw Architects, Grosvenor Group, Newsec Finland and Ylva.

By signing the Commitment, the cities and companies pledge to reach net zero emissions for their own buildings by 2030, and cities pledge that all buildings in their cities will meet the target by 2050. Several signatories including Helsinki have announced their intention to get there even faster, with buildings playing a central role in the city’s goal to be entirely carbon-neutral by 2035, one of the world’s most ambitious city climate targets.

Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki, said: “Climate change is the most crucial challenge of our time and buildings are at the heart of the fight against it. The City of Helsinki is committed to taking very ambitious measures in its building stock to reduce heat consumption and increase the use of renewable energy. About 45 percent of Helsinki's emission reduction potential is related to buildings, so for us it’s the natural place to take climate action.”

Óscar Puente Santiago, Mayor of Valladolid, said: “The climate challenge is huge and Valladolid has demonstrated its ambition to improve citizens’ lives by improving our buildings. We are working on innovative energy efficiency projects in public and private buildings, retrofitting our buildings and using solar energy. Becoming the first city in Spain to sign the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment is a great opportunity to demonstrate what must be done.”

Valladolid has committed to releasing an ambitious new law next year to drive district heating and renewable energy in new buildings, and energy improvements in some 3,000 homes per year between 2020 and 2050. Net zero carbon will also become a precondition for buildings rented by the City Council from 2030.

Helsinki and Valladolid join 26 other leading cities across the world that have already signed the Commitment. This signal of increasing ambition from European cities gives an early boost to the ‘European Green Deal’; the upcoming European Union’s flagship strategy to establish the first-climate-neutral continent.

The commitments were unveiled today at a Brussels summit hosted by the BUILD UPON2 project. Bruno Sauer, CEO of GBC España the project coordinator, said: “As the COP25 climate negotiations open in Madrid this week, the partners of the BUILD UPON2 project are calling on public and private sector leaders to commit to decarbonising their building stock, and work with us to develop ambitious strategies to renovate and regenerate our buildings.”

Private sector leaders are also stepping up to the challenge. Ylva, a major property owner in the Helsinki area is committing to net zero carbon in operations across all its buildings by 2025. Like the City of Helsinki, the company is also starting to tackle embodied carbon, a climate issue for construction that is on the rise.

Antti Kerppola, CEO, Ylva  said: “It’s our role to support Helsinki’s climate neutral city goals, and by joining the commitment we want to demonstrate that you can change the game if you set out an ambitious target and plan. Through this action we hope to inspire the 30,000 strong student community owners that our business interacts with every day.”

They are joined by Newsec Finland, a full service real estate business solutions provider for investors and building owners managing €15 billion in assets in Finland. Under the Commitment, all their occupied offices will be net zero carbon by 2030.

Grosvenor Group, one of the world's largest privately owned international property companies, has also signed the commitment. On top of taking property it directly manages - including some historic listed buildings - to net zero by 2030, the company is committed to work towards all buildings across its portfolio, directly and indirectly-managed, to be embodied and operational net zero carbon by 2050.

Grimshaw Architects is an architectural firm based in London, will achieve net zero carbon in their studios across the UK, Australia, Dubai and North America before 2030. They are also committed to designing net zero carbon buildings by 2030, and will work with the construction value chain to support this objective.

Headquartered in the Netherlands, Deerns is an independent engineering firm which operates worldwide, committed to achieving zero operational carbon emissions in its own offices by 2025, and educating and influencing industry to make net zero carbon mainstream by delivering future-ready, carbon neutral designs.

BuroHappold Engineering, a UK based integrated engineering consultancy operating in 23 locations worldwide, is committing to net zero carbon in their own business operations by 2021, along with a pioneering target related to their design projects: all new build projects will be net zero carbon in operation by 2030, and all projects by 2050. Buro Happold also spearhead the recently launched ‘Engineers Declare’, a campaign calling on UK industry collaboration to drive rapidly towards zero carbon buildings.

Carbon Credentials is a professional services organisation that works with major corporations and real estate owners to reduce energy usage and manage sustainability impacts. In addition to reducing their own impacts, Carbon Credentials commits to enabling the transition to a zero carbon economy, and in 2019 impacted emissions reductions in excess of 40,000 tCO2e through work with clients.

For Ylva, Newsec, Grosvenor, Grimshaw Architects, Deerns and BuroHappold, joining the Commitment is a pathway to becoming members of EP100 – a global corporate leadership initiative for energy-smart companies, delivered by The Climate Group in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy. It brings together energy-smart companies committed to using energy more productively, to lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and accelerate a clean economy. The Commitment’s inclusion of energy efficiency as an essential component to a net zero carbon strategy supports the improvement of energy productivity.


'Cut the VAT to unleash green housing revolution', party leaders urged

A COALITION of business groups and organisations from across the property and construction sectors have joined forces to urge the next UK government to cut VAT on maintenance and improvement works to people’s homes.

Reducing VAT from 20% to 5% on home improvement works would unleash investment in housing, stimulate the economy and enable the UK’s transition to net zero carbon, groups including the Federation of Master Builders and the British Property Federation said today.

The coalition has today written to each of the leaders of Westminster’s four largest parties, asking them to speak for the Cut the VAT campaign during the remainder of the general election campaign and to meet with the coalition early in the next Parliament. 

This is vital, the coalition of built environment groups said, in order to green the nation’s homes, with domestic buildings responsible for around 20% of the UK’s carbon emissions.

In addition to improving the standards of older homes, and those in rural areas, this measure would also help unleash investment in new housing. Build-to-rent (BTR) is a relatively new asset class in the UK that provides high quality, purpose-built and professionally managed homes. 

The BTR sector has grown from fewer than 30,000 homes to 148,000 homes in the last five years – and delivered a quarter of London’s housing output last year. By reducing the irrecoverable VAT associated with maintenance and management of BTR, the sector can deliver even more, the letter said.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “Reducing the rate of VAT on all repairs, maintenance and management of residential property would support the greening and improvement of our housing stock, and help the build to rent sector deliver more homes. We therefore urge the next Government to support the Cut the VAT campaign.”

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “There are an amazing 20 million floors, 8 million lofts and 5 million cavity walls all in need of insulation across the UK, according to the Government’s own figures. The four main parties must go further in their policy pledges to promote and incentivise energy efficiency works. Given that homeowners tend to complete these tasks as a consequence of larger home improvement works the rate of VAT on repair and maintenance work needs to be reduced from the current 20% to 5%.”

Executive Hire Show 2020 is over 90% sold

OVER 150 exhibitors, including 15 new companies, have committed to the 2020 Executive Hire Show, which is taking place at the Ricoh Arena Coventry from 5-6 February. This will be the 14th annual EHS and to date the event is over 90% sold, with only a handful of stands remaining for sale.

This year’s event attracted 1,872 relevant hire industry visitors, which was up on last year’s figures - more importantly for exhibitors, 86% of the hire industry visitors were from independent operations, re-confirming the pivotal role of local and regional hirers in the on-going success of the show. This also demonstrates the show’s continued ability to attract relevant, quality hire executives.

There also looks set to be plenty of new machines and products on display for visitors. Early indications of the product launches planned for the show suggest that suppliers are working to help improve efficiency, safety, and productivity for hirers. With Brexit still looming the 2020 event will enable hirers to explore new revenue opportunities, do deals and build a positive future.

Newcomers making their show débuts

This year the show is set to welcome 15 new exhibitors, which include Pop Up Products, Northwest Radio Communications, Globestock Safety Equipment, AJ Power and Milwaukee. The Executive Hire Show organisers spoke to a few of the new exhibitors and asked why they have chosen to exhibit at the show for the first time in its 14-year history.

Pop Up Products is an independent British company providing low-level access equipment. Ben Sly, national account manager at Pop Up Products said: “The Hire Show is a fantastic platform for us to be able to showcase our brand and range of products to engage with new and existing customers to improve their access product offering.

“Over the last few years it has been a tough industry and we believe that the corner has been turned. With this in mind, we are looking to invest in new innovative products along with improving our current range, so customer input is essential for this. Along with customers ‘hopefully’ placing orders during the event!”

Access platform specialist, Cumberland Platforms is also new to the event. Anna Ramsden frmo Cumberland Platforms Ltd said: “We have chosen to exhibit at The Executive Hire Show as we are looking to target the Hire and rental market with a full range of innovations. These include very compact, fully electric access equipment up to 7t van mounted equipment. CPL feels that The Hire Show is a great place to not only meet potential new customers but to also demonstrate some of the range we can offer.”

Rouse Services LLC is a leader in market intelligence for construction equipment. Rouse says that it delivers the most accurate information in the rental, construction, transportation, and material handling industries, enabling its customers to make better-informed business decisions.

To book last-minute stand at the show, contact sales manager Lee Westney at [email protected] or Tierney Elliot at [email protected]

The Executive Hire Show 2020 is taking place at its established home at the Ricoh Arena Coventry on 5th and 6th February.

Snap election a 'major setback' for tool theft petition

AFTER attracting 32,000 signatures in just four weeks, the government has shut down an official petition to combat the shocking rise in tool theft.

The petition launched by Simply Business, the UK’s leading provider of small business insurance to over half a million SMEs, called for greater fines for those convicted of tool theft and tighter regulations on the selling of second-hand tools. 

Now, the digital broker has expressed its disappointment that the snap election is obstructing efforts to review and tackle the staggering increase in tool theft. 

It was growing at an average of 1,000 signatures a day and at one stage was the fastest growing Government petition in the whole UK, at a time when British politics has been dominated by the Brexit debate.

However, Parliament’s decision to call a General Election on Thursday, 12 December has seen purdah swing into action, thus pausing Simply Business’ efforts to reach the goal of 100,000 signatures which would see the issue debated in the House of Commons. The sudden dissolution of Parliament meant that all live petitions were suspended not to be reopened so a number of burgeoning campaigns had their growing momentum immediately stopped.

Simply Business’ campaign aimed to highlight the growing tool theft epidemic, which is destroying the livelihoods of tradespeople up and down the country. One in three (37%) tradespeople have had their tools stolen, costing victims over £3,000 on average, and leaving the vast majority unable to work. A staggering 84% of tradespeople also don’t believe the government is doing enough to prevent tool theft.

With all of the data suggesting the problem’s only getting worse – tool theft related insurance claims have increased 54% in the last two years alone – there’s little sign of the issue going away. 

Just seven days prior to the petition being taken down, the Government’s formal response to the petition reaching 10,000 signatures was to state it “has no plans to amend existing legislation” and “The Theft Act 1968 includes robust measures for dealing with crimes of theft and handling stolen goods, including tool theft.” 

Numerous petitions have been launched to combat tool theft in the last 10 years, each ending with close to 30,000 signatures and marked by a political response which wouldn’t commit to any action. Simply Business’ petition was designed to build a coalition of stakeholders who would come together to try and end the scourge of tool theft that blights British tradespeople once and fall.

An alarming 84% of tradespeople also don’t believe the government is doing enough to prevent tool theft. Just under two thirds (60%) surveyed believe there needs to be greater sentences for thieves, while more than half (55%) believe there should be greater fines for those convicted and half of tradespeople believe there should be greater funding for police.  

Bea Montoya, chief operating officer at Simply Business, commented: “The success of the stamp out tool theft petition within its first month reflects the significance of this widespread issue. With the frequency and cost of the crime on a continual rise, clearly there is a need to act. 84% of tradespeople feel the Government isn’t doing enough on this issue and at Simply Business we empathise with tradespeople.

“We’ve reached a stage in 2019 where a van is broken into every 23 minutes in the UK, with 1 in 3 tradespeople having had their tools stolen. For our customers in the trade, it’s far more than an inconvenience, the effects are devastating. Stolen tools removes their ability to earn a living.

“For the Government to state it has no plans to amend, or even review, 50-year-old legislation is a missed opportunity to find a solution to this growing crisis. How bad will things have to get before the Government acts?

“As we enter winter - the worst times of the year for tool theft - and with the upcoming general election, tradespeople simply cannot afford for this issue to once again slip down the political agenda. In the meantime, we will keep highlighting the facts related to this crime and continue sharing tips to prevent becoming a victim of tool theft, which is the least that our nation’s tradespeople deserve.”

Suppliers enjoy Meet the Buyer Day with Wilko

THE British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) held another of its Meet The Buyer retail networking days with home and hardware retailer, Wilko and welcomed 55 suppliers to West Retford Hall in Nottinghamshire for over 100 appointments with members of the buying team.

Categories represented on the day included home living, kitchen and dining, decorating and DIY, storage, garden and outdoor, cleaning and household, seasonal and craft. The event focussed on potential suppliers who could offer a wide variety of products as well as drop ship capabilities in the garden sector. 

Wilko, which now has over 400, mostly high street stores in the UK, positions itself as providing simple solutions to help families get their day-to-day lives sorted as quickly, easily and affordably as possible. 

Commenting on the day, BHETA’s chief operating officer, Will Jones said, “The event was a great success with the Wilko team kept busy all day. We also had very good feedback from both BHETA members and non-members who reported on some very positive meetings.”

Neil Fairhurst of Wilko added, “This was a very productive format from our point of view, enabling us to engage with a large quantity of potential suppliers in a short space of time.”

Supplier companies participating in the event were allocated a 20-minute appointment time to present credentials and cover the features and benefits of the products they were offering, including cost price proposals.

More details of BHETA’s events programme, including other retailer networking opportunities can be found on the BHETA website


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