Government delay to VAT change is a victory for common sense, says FMB

THE Government’s decision to delay by one year the implementation of potentially damaging VAT changes for construction companies is a victory for common sense, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Reverse charge VAT was due to come into force from 1 October 2019 but the Government today announced its decision to delay implementation until 1 October 2020 after a coalition of construction organisations, led by the FMB, wrote to the Government to point out the damaging impact this badly-timed policy would have on the sector. 

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “I’m pleased that the Government has made this sensible and pragmatic decision to delay reverse charge VAT until a time when it will have less of a negative impact on the tens of thousands of construction companies across the UK. To plough on with the October 2019 implementation could have been disastrous given that the changes were due to be made just before the UK is expected to leave the EU, quite possibly on ‘no-deal’ terms.

"The situation hasn’t been helped by the poor communication and guidance produced by HMRC. Despite the best efforts of construction trade associations to communicate the changes to their members, it’s concerning that so few employers have even heard of reverse charge VAT. Indeed, according to research by the FMB published in July, more than two-thirds had not heard of the VAT changes and of those who had, around the same number hadn’t prepared.”

Berry concluded: “It is reassuring that the Government has listened to the construction industry, which has come together to make clear to the Government that sticking to the October 2019 timetable could lead to a loss of productivity, reduced cashflow and in the worst cases, lead to a hit on jobs, tipping some companies over the edge. What’s required now is for the Government and industry to work together to deliver a sector-wide communications campaign, which must include plain English guidance on the changes.

"We also want to work with the Government to deliver workshops aimed at construction employers, held in locations across the country, to explain what’s happening and why.”

Norton Clipper launches mini masonry saw to boost summer sales

NORTON Clipper has introduced an all new masonry saw to its range, promoting safer and smarter working, in order to help distributors to boost sales throughout the summer months.

In 2016, over 30 million work days were lost in the UK due to musculoskeletal problems. With heavy and unequal lifting, incorrect posture stance, long hours, repetitive tasks and heavy tool belts affecting the health of builders and landscapers up and down the country, lower back pain is becoming a leading cause of lost workdays and disability in the UK.

Using a handheld saw for prolonged periods of time can quickly begin to take its toll on any tradesperson, and even a masonry saw can be problematic when lifting and transporting from one place to another. Plus, a handheld saw is often in use close to the body, in the direction of feet and legs, creating the very real possibility of serious injury if the user slips or accidently moves.

Norton Clipper’s CM35 mini masonry saw is ergonomically designed to be compact and lightweight, ideal for cutting at ground level, putting less pressure on the joints, muscles and back. This much needed solution is a must for merchants and stockists to promote in time for summer renovations.

Weighing in at just 40 kilograms and measuring around 30% smaller than other masonry saws in the Norton Clipper range, the CM35 is a modest, portable machine that performs just as well as its larger Norton Clipper counterparts.

With sleek dimensions of just 730mm x 286mm x 282mm, the CM35 Mini Clipper holds key advantages over more heavy-duty machines – allowing users to cut building materials closer to the point of installation, minimising any bending or lifting and therefore decreasing strain on the body, as well as improving efficiency and workloads on site.

The CM35 is electric and features a dust extraction port to minimise dust during use. Wet cutting is also an option with the Mini Clipper, as it is easily plugged into an external water supply.

As the machine has no legs – although wheels and legs can be added as additional accessories – the CM35 is an ideal choice for landscape gardeners and builders who prefer cutting at ground level.

Dave Thompson, National Sales Manager at Norton Clipper comments: “We saw a greatly successful debut at the Bauma 2019 exhibition where the CM35 mini masonry saw captured a lot of attention. We believe this excitement will continue throughout the year as merchants and retailers benefit from increased demand for the Mini Clipper.”

For further details and support, please contact Stacey Booth, Saint-Gobain Abrasives UK Marketing Manager on 07525 672 897 or email [email protected].

'EU deal is essential to boosting growth', says FMB

The Government must bring an end to the threat of ‘no deal’ and give clarity to UK businesses by securing a new deal with the EU, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), in response to the Construction PMI data released today.

The data shows construction output has contracted again in August for the fourth month in a row, and new orders fell at the fastest pace for over 10 years.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “A sustained decline in construction output risks small firms leaving construction altogether, as they struggle to absorb higher costs in an industry notorious for tight margins.

"If we want local builders to deliver the high-quality homes our country needs, to upgrade people’s homes to modern standards and to form the supply chain for key national infrastructure projects that are essential to helping our economy move forward, then we certainly can’t afford for building companies to go to the wall due to uncertainty. The Government must secure a new deal with the EU which Parliament can accept to deliver certainty, and give an injection of confidence to the sector.”

Berry concluded: “Research conducted by the FMB in July found that more than half of small construction companies believe that leaving the EU without a deal would cause material prices to sky-rocket, and just under a third believe it would lead to lower workloads. Construction is like a mirror for the wider economy, as it’s highly sensitive to market confidence. What we’re looking at currently is highly concerning. The Government must negotiate a deal that Parliament can pass in order to avoid a recession.”

MSM powers through the miles for Alzheimer’s Society

MORRIS Site Machinery CEO Chris Morris rose to the challenge when he cycled 150 miles on one of the hottest days of the year in aid of Alzheimer’s Society.

He joined his brother, Robin Morris, and an intrepid band in tackling a route from Holyhead to Shrewsbury to mark the 150th anniversary of parent company Morris & Company and support its charity of the year.

The efforts of the 36-strong group of colleagues and friends generated £8,000 in sponsorship – with donations still coming in.

After taking in dramatic valleys, Welsh coastline and winding country lanes, Chris finished the ride in under 12 hours and, along with Robin and fellow cyclists, was greeted by a welcome party and commemorative medals as they arrived back at Morris’s headquarters in Shrewsbury.

Chris said: “I’m an active sportsman but I don’t normally cycle so I trained hard to ensure I was ride-fit! With the distance involved, the terrain and the heat it felt tough at times and we had to dig deep, but there was great support along the way.

“The camaraderie and the inspirational cause kept me going on a memorable day. I think it will be a while before I get back on the bike again though!”

There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over one million by 2025. Some 225,000 will develop dementia this year; that’s one every three minutes. Staff at the Morris Site Machinery base at Four Ashes in Wolverhampton and its SMC production facility in Gosberton,

Lincolnshire, were among those who kindly donated to the ongoing fundraising effort.

Lisa Courtney, Alzheimer’s Society’s Community Fundraiser for Staffordshire & Shropshire, added: “Cycling 150 miles to raise funds is a fantastic achievement. We’re very grateful to the participants and supporters and appreciate their efforts to raise awareness and unite against dementia. With such public support we can fund research to improve care for people today and find a cure for tomorrow.”

Further donations can be made at:

HAE membership gives diamond blades business a cutting edge

THE UK construction industry brings in billions of pounds of new work every month. The sector relies on tool and equipment hire companies to deliver the kit needed to undertake these projects, so how can suppliers gain a competitive edge in such an important marketplace?

Established in 2003, Mexco has already grown from its Cornwall base to become one of the UK and Ireland’s largest privately-owned suppliers of diamond blades, core drills and tile drilling products to the construction industry. To help underpin its ongoing success story the company joined Hire Association Europe (HAE) in 2018 – and has never looked back.

Why join a trade organisation?

Mexco’s range of blades can cut through most construction materials, including asphalt, concrete and granite. Becoming a member of a trusted organisation like HAE helps boost brand awareness as well as reassuring those hiring the equipment for construction and demolition jobs that it is of a high quality, reliable and meets stringent industry standards.

HAE membership also gives access to products and services covering all aspects of hire, including terms and conditions, safety checks, publicity, equipment, responsibilities and general day-to-day requirements. It’s a one-stop shop for hire companies hoping to forge new business partnerships and for guidance on the issues and trends that impact on members.

How has HAE membership benefited Mexco?

As well as providing operational resources and business opportunities with other members, HAE membership offers hire firms the opportunity to gain recognised accreditations such as SafeHire Certification and Hire Industry Trusted Suppliers (HITS) status.

SafeHire Certification proves competence in safety, health, environment and quality and meets client demands for high standards of service, but it also demonstrates having a well-trained workforce to support customers as fully as possible. The HITS scheme is designed to help hire and rental organisations gain access to reliable, due diligence information secured by HAE and EHA from supply chain members and seeks to provide an industry standard to prove competence.

Accreditations a hit with Mexco

Achieving HITS status was the highlight of Mexco’s first year of membership, according to sales manager, Dean Hussey, who said: “HITS accreditation emphasises that our diamond tools are performing well and meeting the stringent requirements of the tool hire industry, which means you can be assured of quality and product longevity.”

The ethos at Mexco is to exceed customer expectations by providing diamond cutting and drilling tools that give the best possible performance at the right price. Displaying the HITS logo is a hallmark of quality in training, safety, environmental, R&D, production processes, data security and other related areas.


Mexco is going from strength to strength and is exploring new routes to market, confident that the benefits, customer confidence and practical assistance provided by its association with HAE will help the company’s expansion plans.

Ecoline+ hits the mark at Watford FC

PITCHMARK'S Ecoline+ has become the line marking paint of choice for FA Premier League club Watford FC.

The demand for using a premium paint at the Vicarage Road stadium led to trials last season, since when Pitchmark have been further developing Ecoline+. Watford FC became the first to use the improved formula at the opening game of the season against Brighton and Hove Albion in August this year.

In 2018 Scott Tingley, Head Groundsman at Watford FC, set out on what was originally a cost exercise and to see if they could establish the use of one paint for all marking.

“We were using top end paint for the stadium and bottom end for the other pitches,” he says, “we wanted to make it one paint but of course the cost had to be taken into account. We looked at Pitchmark and what we found different was their specialisation solely in line marking products.”

The club had been using Pitchmark’s Direct at the Watford FC training ground and academy, located at the University College London Union Shenley Sports grounds in St Albans. Home to five full-size and two goalkeeping/warmup natural grass training pitches as well as a full-size artificial turf training pitch and fourteen college/academy natural grass pitches, there’s a sizeable amount of line marking required. In the stadium only premium quality is acceptable. Ecoline+ offered the ideal all-round solution.  Ecoline+ is one of the most advanced, low volume, ready-to-use line marking paints available, especially when used in combination with Pitchmark’s Eco and Hybrid markers and special nozzles.

Scott says: “we trialled Ecoline+ and we had no issues, only benefits. We use a Pitchmark Hybrid marker which gives us the quality of a spray marker, without compromising the precision and quality of a transfer marker. Fixture dependent, we can mark up to three times a week and with the traditional wheel to wheel and four-wheel spray markers you lose ground cover and it’s too easy to transfer paint.”

The Pitchmark Hybrid overcomes these problems with a three-wheeled spray design, which is easily manoeuvred over wet lines. The cone nozzles give perfect deep leaf coverage, so you only need one pass.

“It’s easy to use, it feels like a normal wheel marker and you get premium quality.” Scott adds, “it’s quite complex though and needs looking after but if we have any issues Olly Boys, the Turfix rep, gives us second to none service and back-up.” (Turfix is Pitchmark’s recently formed sole UK distribution arm). Using advanced Ecoline+ Watford FC join the many examples of Ecoline+ premium line marking seen every week on TV from the best leagues in the world, including the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League.

MSM's lighting tour hits the road with eco emphasis

LOOK-ahead hirers and buyers preparing for the lighting season can see the latest in reliable eco-friendly equipment as Morris Site Machinery’s ‘Towers on Tour’ hits the road.

The annual roadshow travels all over the country to showcase its growing SMC lighting tower range giving practical demonstrations during personalised visits to customers.

Morris Site Machinery’s knowledgeable sales team will spotlight the latest innovations to help fleets meet environmental concerns on energy use, emissions and noise.

This year’s line-up includes the next generation SMC TL90 Evolve – with its easy serviceable, ergonomic design and fuel-efficient running. It can be fitted with the standard four LED head, the ground-breaking Halo lamp head or a six LED head, making it the brightest mobile lighting tower created by SMC.

UK Sales Director Richard Denholm said: “We’re looking forward to meeting customers to show what our lighting towers can do and how they can benefit their business. We’re happy to answer technical questions and share our advice and experience. 

“We’re committed to delivering first-class customer service and our roadshows deliver evidence of this to current and potential customers.”

To book a Towers on Tour experience please contact the sales team on 01902 790824 or visit

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 the hire industry across a range of sectors.

Master Lock launches the ultimate corrosion and cut resistant brass padlock

MASTER Lock has launched a robust new combination padlock, perfect for high security day-to-day use.

Generally used for storage units, sheds, gates or vans, the Master Lock M1177EURD is made of a durable solid brass body for superior corrosion resistance, whilst the octagonal boron-carbide shackle with shrouded cover makes it highly resilient from attack. This high-performance padlock adds to the existing Master Lock Excell® range offering a high level of weatherability and security for applications in outdoor, corrosive and caustic environments.

The American security brand has provided customers with tried and tested robust protection against theft using a deadlocking mechanism, essentially a deadbolt cannot be moved to the open position except by rotating the key which secures against prying, shimming and rap attacks.

In addition, you can set your own four-digit combination for convenience and security with an impressive 10,000 options available whilst the large dials make operation wearing gloves, in low light or complete darkness easy.

This lock is rated nine out of 10 on Master Lock’s security level meter, meaning it is recommended for all uses including industrial applications.

Master Lock’s 90-plus years of security expertise means users can rely on a product that has been perfected and designed from the ground up by a team of dedicated security professionals at the brand’s headquarters in Wisconsin, USA.

Electric JCB digger in full production

JCB has made manufacturing history by going into full production with the construction industry’s first fully electric mini excavator – with more than 50 machines already delivered.

The 19C-1E models - JCB’s first-ever electric diggers - are now coming off the assembly line at JCB Compact Products in Cheadle, Staffordshire, with orders rolling in from customers from across Europe and North America.

The machine is a staggering five times quieter than its diesel counterpart and can be fully charged in under two hours. The model is expected to be a big hit with companies working inside buildings and in emissions and noise-sensitive inner-city areas. Fully charged, the 19C-1E can put in a typical full day’s shift for a mini excavator.

The 19C-1E will also offer customers great cost-of-ownership benefits, with research highlighting that over the first five years, charging costs will be 50 per cent cheaper for customers who would otherwise be using red diesel. Servicing costs are also expected to be up to 70% lower compared to the diesel model.

JCB Chief Innovation Officer Tim Burnhope said: “In urban environments in particular, contractors are understandably very keen to operate zero emissions equipment whenever possible, including outdoors. I’m delighted that the model is now in full production after successful feedback from customers in many key markets during the evaluation stage.”

JCB Compact Products’ MD Robert Winter said: “This is a historic moment for JCB and for JCB Compact Products. We are delighted to go into full production with the industry’s first fully electric mini excavator. The machine has a very promising future ahead of it.”

Using leading automotive battery technology, the zero emissions and low noise 19C-1E delivers all of the performance of a conventional diesel-powered 1.9-tonne mini excavator. The machine comes with JCB’s LiveLink telematics as standard.

The machine is perfect for working indoors or outdoors, in factories, tunnels or basements, for digging foundations, or on utility projects.

Anglia Access adds Genie platforms to expanding hire fleet

EAST of England powered access hire specialist Anglia Access Platforms has added two new Genie platforms to its expanding hire fleet.

Authorised Genie distributor Access Platform Sales (APS) has delivered a Genie Z62/40 articulating diesel boom lift and a Genie GS-5390 RT scissor lift.

Anglia Access Platforms, based at Barford, near Norwich, in Norfolk, has a ready supply of hire customers for both machines, especially in the construction sector. The company, in business since 2003, is a firmly established powered access hire specialist in East Anglia and has firm plans to expand its fleet.

Anglia Access Director Mark Pratt said: "We work with a lot of cladding installers and the Genie GS-5390 scissor is very much one of their go-to platforms. It's very stable, has a good platform size and can sit right up against a building so installation operatives can work safely and quickly."

Fast service from APS is also a big plus when it comes to being able to select the best platforms, as well. Mark said: "With APS, you get quick delivery, so you receive the access platform when you need it. That's important when new business can come onstream quickly and a customer needs support straight away."

APS Major Accounts Manager Linda Betts said: "We're delighted Mark and the team at Anglia Access Platforms are so pleased with our Genie access platforms. A major benefit of Genie platforms is their residual value. After 10 years or so of excellent service, hire companies like Mark's can get good prices for their Genie scissors and booms."

The diesel-powered Genie GS-5390 scissor lift has a maximum working height of 18.87m, a double extension deck providing 7m of working space and a lifting capacity of 680kg.

During cladding operations, for example, that allows up to three operatives plus tools and fittings to work comfortably around most cladding panels. With up to 50% gradeability, rough terrain tyres and proportional lift and drive, the scissor lift is also designed to cope well with uneven ground. The diesel-powered Genie Z-62/40 boom lift has a maximum working height of 20.87m and a very impressive horizontal outreach of 12.42m.

This makes them ideal for a wide range of uses, including structural surveys, digital communication mast installation and maintenance, and construction, including cladding and glass installation.


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