The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has agreed terms for a group membership scheme with Fortis, which will see all Fortis members joining the BMF from 1 April 2014.

Fortis is a mixed timber, building and lightside merchant purchasing group, representing 39 member companies with a combined annual turnover of £1bn. While 16 Fortis companies are currently BMF members, the collective agreement will bring a further 23 merchants into BMF membership. These include Covers, MP Moran and Haldane Fisher, as well as C&W Berry, George Bence, John Nicholls and Carvers.

The Fortis members also include nine specialist plumbing merchants which will benefit from the BMF’s new plumbing and heating sector, which meets for the first time this month. Under the agreement, any new Fortis member that joins in the future will be auto-enrolled into BMF membership.

BMF managing director John Newcomb said: “I’m delighted to welcome all Fortis members to the BMF. With their support, we will have 18 of the UK’s top 20 merchants by turnover in membership, and a total membership in excess of 450 companies for the first time since 2007. It’s an achievement we take pride in, as every additional member strengthens the merchants’ voice both within the construction industry and beyond.”

Fortis joint-chairman Stuart Mason-Elliot added: “Fortis members voted overwhelmingly for the BMF group membership scheme, and we are looking forward to working with the BMF to help develop its role as the voice of our industry.”

The group scheme means that all Fortis merchants will benefit from subsidised industry-specific training and education, parliamentary lobbying of legislation, and access to the BMF’s Trade Credit Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme. Fortis members will also have full access to the BMF’s new office and conference facilities in Coventry.