What Impact Has Covid-19 had on the Builders’ Merchant Sector?

None of us has been able to escape the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. In some capacity, it has affected both our personal and professional lives to varying degrees.

The builders’ merchant industry is no different and while they have seen more activity than most throughout the pandemic, they have not escaped its impact.

Let’s take a closer look at how the industry has coped.

They’ve been granted essential status

Throughout the numerous UK lockdowns, there has continued to be a need for builders’ merchants, and they have been granted essential status at every stage. This is because they supply construction companies and tradespeople including builders, plumbers, and even homeowners looking to do some DIY.

Many have used the lockdowns as an opportunity to undertake DIY projects at home while they have more spare time. Builders too, in many instances, have continued to work around the lockdown measures. Despite examples like these helping to keep things moving, the industry has not been thriving.

The first lockdown was the biggest point of uncertainty as, despite government instructions to continue, some construction sites shut down as they felt the guidance was unclear. Confusing and unclear government guidance has continuously come under fire from the public throughout the pandemic.

They’ve experienced difficult setbacks

Despite being given essential status, builders’ merchants have not escaped the suffering that has befallen many industries during this time. This includes having to make significant job cuts.

Travis Perkins, dubbed the UK’s biggest builders’ merchant, reported last June that they were having to cut 2,500 jobs which amounts to nine per cent of their entire workforce. That’s a staggering figure for a dominant force in the industry and they cited an inability to trade under pre-Covid conditions playing a major factor, alongside the predictions of a forthcoming recession.

It seems that there are limitations looming over builders’ merchants and making them unable to operate at peak efficiency. Only time will tell how and when they will be able to bounce back.

There is hope

Despite the pandemic taking its toll on builders’ merchants, there is still hope and opportunities to be had. Planning permissions for construction and development work across Britain are going ahead and will help the industry to continue ticking along.

The pandemic has made it clear that this is an essential industry and while it won’t be business as usual for some time yet, builders’ merchants continue to have an important role to play.

About Bridgewater Professionals

Bridgewater Professionals specialise in recruitment for jobs within the wholesale, distribution and manufacturing industries, recruiting highly skilled individuals at all levels across the UK and Ireland.

If you’re a wholesale, distribution or manufacturing professional interested in developing your career, get in touch with us today.

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