The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has set up a specialist plumbing and heating sector under the chairmanship of Ron Walker.

Mr Walker, currently managing director of Heating Plumbing Supplies, has spent over 40 years in the industry in a career spanning both independent and national merchants. After an early career with Sankey’s, where he rose to regional operations director, he joined PTS in 1986 and opened its fifth and sixth branches. By the time the company was sold to BSS in 1999, PTS had grown to over 80 branches, and Ron was the main board director in charge of purchasing.

After a brief spell at Travis Perkins, setting up TP Plumbing and Heating, in 2001 Mr Walker founded Heating Plumbing Supplies with three former PTS colleagues.

The BMF’s specialist plumbing and heating numbers were boosted by the group membership scheme agreed with the PHG buying group, which came into effect on 1 January.

BMF managing director John Newcomb said: “While many BMF initiatives are relevant across the spectrum of our members, we recognise that plumbing and heating is a definable sector with specific issues. We have a responsibility to facilitate sector debates and to proactively represent plumbing and heating interests beyond our industry, which is why this new group is an important addition and I am certain that it will flourish under Ron’s chairmanship.”

Mr Walker said: “I was pleased to be asked, and delighted to accept the position as first chairman of the BMF plumbing and heating sector. This is an exciting new section within the BMF and I am looking forward to putting my experience and enthusiasm for the good of the industry to the benefit of all involved.”

The first meeting of the plumbing and heating group will be on 6 March at BMF’s HQ in Coventry. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Peter Matthews at