The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) now has more companies in its membership than at any time in the last 20 years.

The number of merchants and suppliers who form the BMF membership now stands at 560, with overall membership growing by more than 75% in the last four years.

Speaking at BMF Members Day, managing director John Newcomb confirmed this latest achievement, announcing that the BMF is adding members at the rate of one per week.

BMF chairman Peter Hindle MBE said: "The BMF is now, to the best of my knowledge, the fourth largest construction trade organisation in the UK. In terms of the builders merchants sector our members account for £11.5bn of the sector's overall turnover of £14.5bn. This undoubtedly helps us to effectively represent the interests of the industry, particularly as we engage with government. Strategically and practically, it's much more effective to address government with a united and cohesive message. Through the BMF our members can speak with a stronger collective voice."

Mr Newcomb also highlighted the diversity of the BMF's membership, which embraces general building, timber, plumbing and heating and roofing merchants of all sizes and in all parts of the UK, as well as the wide range of manufacturing companies that supply their building materials and systems.

Mr Newcomb concluded: "Our members include 305 builders' merchants and 190 supplier members, as well as a number of trade associations and other businesses linked to the industry. Together, our merchant and supplier members have combined sales of over £22bn and employ over 109,000 people in the building materials industry. They play a crucial role in the building supply chain. Similarly, the BMF has a vital role to play by providing training and support services as well as representing members interests both at national and local level."