Builder's Merchant Federation: Forecasting the future

Having a clear understanding of the future developments in your sector is a key advantage for any business, which is why the Builder’s Merchants Federation (BMF) wanted to empower its members with quarterly forecasts. Supporting industry leaders such as Travis Perkins and Jewson, the BMF reached out to Birmingham City University (BCU) to develop a model that would forecast the economic condition of their sector.

Workers on scaffolding

BMF LogoResearchers and contributors

Project details:

Project Duration: February 2018 – October 2018

Research objectives

Erez trained and supervised an economist within the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) to develop a forecast model of sales for the Builders and Merchants industry, and produce the first industry report, which will become a quarterly BMF publication.

Research methods

For the duration of the project, the BCU-KEEN project will fund a junior economist to work in BMF. The BMF/BCU team will select the best candidate for this role. Dr Erez Yerushalmi will provide the technical supervision necessary to deliver an industry forecast model and the first quarterly report.

The forecast model will use econometric techniques (i.e., mainly an Auto Regressive Integrated Moving Average – ARIMA - model), which is ideal for analysing time series data. The model will be programmed in R and updated regularly thereafter.


Knowledge Exchange & Enterprise Network (KEEN).


The report allows BMF members to plan for changes in their sector and also for the uncertain future of Brexit. The model is also entirely focused on proven indicators that effect builders merchant sales, making the data incredibly relevant and useful for those in the sector. 

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said, “Our new Builders Merchants Industry Forecast will help BMF members and others involved in building materials supply to plan for the future. The model incorporates a number of lead indicators to signal future events that will impact our markets and makes it possible for merchants and their suppliers to forecast their customers’ requirements more accurately.” 

News and Updates

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) launches their first industry forecast with a special look at BREXIT (1 April 2019). The report and the forecast model was part of a 10 months BCU KEEN-BMF project, led by Dr Erez  Yerushalmi (Senior Lecturer in Economics at BCU) and Nyssa Patel (BMF Economist). 

Click here to view the report cover & content (PDF).