Trends in the constructional fixings market

Timber frame construction has been used for centuries, although its popularity has grown recently due to the increased focus on embodied energy and off-site techniques. Open panel timber frame construction is the most common system used in the UK, accounting for around 80% of the market. More advanced closed panel systems that require hoisting into position have a smaller but growing share of the market. In addition to the structural elements, both floors and roofs are now being more frequently specified as timber cassettes, ready for rapid assembly on site.

BPC Fixings manufactures in Yorkshire and offers next day delivery with no minimum order quantity.

Although timber frame construction is growing, it is still a relatively small part of the market, but one that is beginning to drive our product development process. However, traditional construction techniques make up the vast majority of the fixings category, which comprises of angle brackets and plates for pitched roofs and joist hangers for floors. There are also a wide range or restraint straps, designed to securely connect timber to brick or block walls as well as wall ties, frame cramps and bead and mesh ranges.

Timber to timber and timber to masonry fixings are a critical part of the construction programme from both a specifiers and contractors point of view. For specifiers, they have a direct bearing on the long term performance of the building, which is reflected in the fact that fixings are manufactured from steel that complies with harmonised European standards. For example, all our timber to timber joist hangers are made from galvanised steel to BS EN 10346:2009 DX51D as standard, and stainless steel to BS EN 10088-2 Grade 1.4301 to order. They also need to comply with the Construction Product Regulations (CPR) and our range is CE marked where necessary in order to demonstrate compliance.

Contractors and roofers also need to be confident that the fixings they source are up to doing the job. That means being manufactured to the required standard as well as being easy to source and to fit on site.

Joist hangers represent one of the largest sectors in the fixings’ market, closely followed by items such as restraint straps and angle brackets, and the range we developed reflects this makeup. Both roofing and flooring works inevitably involve a need for a range of fixings, although there are a range of standardised designs that we develop that cover more jobs on site.

Mini hanger from BPC in situ.

Our fixings are available from stockists and we support customers with next day delivery, direct to site where necessary. These kinds of investments in service have been key to driving forward our business. We have also invested half a million pounds in new manufacturing equipment recently at our site in Wakefield in order to build on these commitments.


Investing in the future

The future for the fixings’ market looks strong with a move towards off-site and timber frame driving new product development, although traditional construction techniques will continue to account for the majority of the market for many years. Having been manufacturing in the UK for the last 40 years we firmly see ourselves as being on the side of roofers and contractors – as a company we continue to re-invest where it adds value to our customer proposition. It helps that we specialise in this area as that means we have a better understanding of what is required.

The market dynamics look set to continue improving and we are seeing signs of growing confidence in the sector; as house prices continue to rise and low interest rates encourage homeowners to spend on RMI, with loft conversion and extensions. On the new build side, too, a desire by the government to build more houses will ramp up demand in this area. All in all, the market for fixings looks very positive, which means the value of sourcing from a supplier that understands the market and can develop products that makes the job easier for contractors and roofers cannot be underestimated. As a company, we remain focussed on making traditional and hybrid construction techniques, such as timber frame, easier, whilst meeting the challenges of ever changing legislation.

Where do I source constructional fixings?

Timber to timber and timber to masonry fixings are by their very nature notoriously difficult to differentiate because they fulfil a very specific single purpose. This has lead many merchants to look to their supply partners for non-product based initiatives that give them an edge in the market.

Joist hangers from BPC Fixings are produced from galvanised steel to BS EN 10346:2009 DX51D + G275 as standard, or stainless steel available to order.

The challenge for manufacturers, therefore, is to develop service options that enable merchants to capitalise on current market opportunities, for example, continued strength of the timber frame and RMI (renovation, maintenance and improvement) sectors. When it comes to timber to timber and timber to masonry fixings merchants can differentiate themselves by offering customers ex-stock availability or next day delivery options.

These non- product differentiators create a very powerful selling proposition. For instance, fixings’ suppliers that provide merchants with a next day delivery, direct to site where necessary, will find it a highly effective way of earning loyalty from customers. We’ve also found that competitions that we run on behalf of merchants helps generate interest and footfall, with the latest giving end customers the chance to win official Euro2016 merchandise.


Strict merchant supply policy

Our approach on all our ranges, including our entire timber to timber and timber to masonry fixings is that we have a merchant only policy. This means merchants have the confidence that their prices won’t be undermined by us offering similar trade prices to builders and roofers. This has been an important factor in the success of our business over the last 35-plus years and many merchants that have adopted the range have performed particularly well in this market.

Of course, in a competitive market such as constructional fixings, where often there is limited opportunity for product differentiation, adopting a rigid supply policy is only the start point. Many merchants are looking for differentiation in terms of the service package, too, which means having a supply partner that they can rely on. That partner has to be willing to hold high levels of stock to ensure they avoid stock out situations, a sure fire way to lose customers and also to offer next day delivery anywhere in the UK, ideally with no minimum order quantity.

Both of these are crucial to a successful merchant operation and is one of the reasons why we have invested so much in our warehouse and distribution over the last few years.

BPC Fixings manufactures in Yorkshire and offers next day delivery with no minimum order quantity.

Our approach is that a good supplier makes sure that merchants are free to concentrate on what they are good at – selling products to trade and DIY’ers. Next day delivery and holding over a million products in stock means that we can be responsive to merchants’ needs. It helps that we manufacture in the UK, which keeps us leaner, a crucial factor in maintaining merchant margin.

In an effort to convey this potential we encourage all our customers to visit our manufacturing facility in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Our 50,000 sq ft of warehousing and distribution capacity gives us the ability to hold most of our products in stock, which incidentally increases to 100% on our fixings ranges.


Understanding the trade

The timber to timber and timber to masonry category is an important part of the construction sector. They are critical to the long term performance of the building, which is reflected in the fact that most fixings now have to be manufactured to British Standard. For example, all our timber to timber joist hangers are made from galvanised steel to BS EN 10346:2009 DX51D as standard, and stainless steel to BS EN 10088-2 Grade 1.4301 to order.

Joist hangers represent one of the largest sectors in the connectors’ market, closely followed by items such as restraint straps and angle brackets, and the range we developed reflects this makeup. Both roofing and flooring works inevitably involve the need for timber to timber or timber to masonry fixings, and having a suitable range available, with the necessary service backup, is essential to pick up sales. We usually work with merchants to identify a core range to hold in the branch if they wish, which will allow them to pick up trade counter sales. For other items, used for planned works, we deliver to an agreed schedule, including next day direct to site in many cases. Our merchant customers find that offering a very tight range of known volume sellers is the best way to grow sales without complicating their systems by holding unnecessary stock of slow moving but essential products.

Helping merchants grow their business

The future for the fixings’ market looks good for merchants. Our advances in EDI and email ordering has definitely made things easier for customers and our recent half a million pound investment in new manufacturing equipment will help us push more value through to merchants.

The market dynamics also look set to improve; as house prices continue to rise and low interest rates encourage homeowners to spend on RMI, for example, with loft conversion and extensions, it will create more opportunities for merchants. On the new build side of the equation too, a desire by the government to build more houses, will ramp up demand in this area. All in all, the market for fixings looks very positive, which means the value of working with a supplier that understands the market and can offer clear elements of difference cannot be underestimated.

How do I choose angle brackets?

Angle brackets are used for many applications on construction sites and because of that they are available in a multitude of different sizes and designs. In addition, they are used for DIY, gardening, home repairs and renovation projects. In fact, angle brackets are an essential piece of kit to have with you on any kind of construction or gardening project!

Here, we look at some of the factors that you need to considered when choosing where to source your Angle Brackets.

What quality standards apply to Angle Brackets?

Heavy duty general purpose angle brackets should be manufactured from 2.5mm thick galvanised steel to BS EN 10346:2009 +G275. If you choose Angle Brackets made to this specification you can be sure they are durable, low maintenance and will do the job they are intended to do.

All our general purpose heavy duty angle brackets are made to this standard.

Our range of AB40 Heavy Duty Angle Brackets are manufactured from 3mm thick galvanised steel. The 40mm wide brackets and plates provide a strong connection, allowing for the use of bolts, nails, screws and coach screws. They are suitable for timber to timber, timber to masonry and timber to steel applications.

We also offer a number of light duty Angle Brackets and connectors, and these ranges are complemented with flat connector plates, ‘T’ and ‘L’ shaped brackets and corner plates – ensuring you always have the right connector to hand.

What angle brackets should I use in harsh environments?

Our AB40 Heavy Duty Angle Bracket range is manufactured in stainless steel grade 304 austenitic to BS EN 10088-2 Grade 1.4301.

It is available from stock in all sizes, giving you a versatile reinforced bracket for 90 degree connections in harsh environments. The AB40 Angle Bracket is suitable for connected to timber or masonry, or combination of both, using nails, screws and / or bolts and coach screws.

What other factors should I consider when choosing an Angle bracket supplier?

There are many factors to consider when choosing an angle bracket supplier. Cost is usually high on the list although it is important to balance this against quality and look for a range that offers all round value for money. Call backs to site because an angle bracket is rusting prematurely or failing in some other way is usually the consequence of choosing the wrong supplier!

Other important consideration when choosing angle brackets include material, finish, strength, constructability, availability and service. It is always better to take these into account before making a final decision. Most construction projects need hundreds of angle brackets, even thousands on larger developments, so it is important to evaluate what each range has to offer. Get it wrong and the cost of replacing them doesn’t bear thinking about!

What type of Angle bracket?

There are a huge range of angle brackets, many of which are designed for a specific group of tasks, and include:

  • HDA Holding Down Angle
  • AB Angle Bracket
  • FCP Flat Connector Plate
  • AP Angle Plate
  • AB40 Heavy Duty Angle Brackets
  • CB Light Duty Corner Bracket
  • AAB Adjustable Angle Bracket
  • ‘T’ and ‘L’ Brackets
  • Light Duty Angle Braces
  • Corner Stretcher Plate
  • Corner Plate
  • Mending Plates
  • Dual Coat Angle Bracket

What is the best finish?

Most Angle Brackets are supplied with a galvanised finish. The principal benefit is that the galvanised coating can have a life expectancy far in excess of 50 years. The galvanised coating we use on our angle bracket ranges has a tough metallurgical structure that gives outstanding resistance to mechanical damage in transport, fitting on site and service.

Our galvanising process also ensures that every part of the angle bracket is protected, even recesses, corners and inaccessible areas. This isn’t possible with other, non-galvanised coatings.

Are there other coating choices?

Where an angle bracket is visible you may wish to choose our Dual Coat Angle Bracket range, which includes angle brackets, joist hangers and universal connector plates.

The range is suitable for a wide range of garden, DIY and landscaping applications as well as furniture upcycling and re-painting projects. It is manufactured from galvanised mild steel and then powder coated after fabrication for superior dual coated corrosion protection – providing both superior performance and a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Angle Brackets can accommodate most situations that require connectors and that makes them an essential item in any builders’ metalwork toolkit. They complement our range of joist hangers, wall brackets, restraint straps, floor joists and other timber to timber and timber to masonry connectors.

RawlPlug Exclusive offer

BPC Building Products has partnered with RawlPlug to offer an exclusive deal on the GMC38 gas powered positive placement nailer.

The GMC38 is an extremely efficient and durable gas powered metal connector nailer, backed up by a 2 year manufacturers guarantee.

Available with any order for BPC fixings on Next Day Delivery it’s an excellent business opportunity for merchants.

Click here to find out more

BPC Building Products creates jobs with £500k investment

BPC has announced a £500k investment project to upgrade and expand its Wakefield warehouse and manufacturing facility, creating up to 10 jobs in the process.

The project is part funded by a Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) grant of £80,000, and is due to be completed by 1st February 2017.

BPC Building Products will start work in December 2016 on Flanshaw Way, Wakefield, with the installation of a new high speed production line. This will be followed by upgrading two of the company’s five existing lines in early 2017, increasing output to 130 components per minute on each line, complete with automated barcode application equipment.

It is expected that the investment will create up to 10 jobs within the production and warehousing areas of the company.

The support from Wakefield Growth Manager, Pat Coffey, and the funding the LEP has provided to BPC Building Products will mean the creation of more new jobs in the region, enabling them to further develop and grow their business,” said LEP chair, Roger Marsh OBE. “It is important that Leeds City Region manufacturing grows and our grants can help firms make their investment go further by up to 20 per cent.

The Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and Wakefield Council Leader, Cllr Peter Box, said: “I’m delighted BPC Building Products are investing in Wakefield and creating new jobs. I encourage other Wakefield SMEs who have growth plans to get in touch with the LEP to find out if there is support they could be tapping into.

The investment follows on from significant growth at BPC Building Products, with 170 per cent increase in turnover over the last 5 years. Once complete, the investment project will enable the company to further increase its market share in both the UK and European construction markets.

BPC Building Products’ existing merchant customer base across the UK will benefit from the investment through continuation of market leading service, excellent value and highest quality products.

Gareth Simister, Managing Director of BPC Building Products, said; “We have grown as a business by focusing on what we do best – manufacturing high quality builders’ metalwork for customers looking for unbeatable value and service. The funding will allow us to support our ongoing growth as we look to strengthen our presence in existing markets and push ahead into new areas.

BPC Building Products, which celebrates its 40th Anniversary next year, holds over one-million components in stock at its Wakefield warehouse, backed up by outstanding technical expertise. The company offers a wide range of timber-to-timber and timber-to-masonry connectors, through to fence post anchors and other essential trade and DIY fixings.

The company’s advanced, high-speed production lines ensure optimum efficiency and consistent high levels of quality. The majority of BPC’s products are manufactured in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and have the back up of an ISO 9001 approved quality control system.

The LEP provides a range of support to growing businesses including grants of up to £250,000, help to recruit apprentices, advice and up to 50 per cent funding to train their workforce and assistance to improve their use of technology.

To find out more about how the LEP can help growing SMEs, visit: or call 0113 348 1818.

BPC is Exhibiting at the Build Show, October 18-20th 2016, at the NEC Birmingham

There’s no better way to make purchasing decisions for your company than to see the product first-hand and talk face-to-face with a knowledgeable supplier.

Visit us at the Build Show 2016, stand number B4/109

Build Show offers:

  • High-level education designed specifically for professionals who work in construction. Join a raft of Developers, Contractors, Tradesman, Architects and Specifiers at the go-to industry event
  • Networking opportunities with colleagues involved in design, manufacturing, application engineering, and gear buying and manufacturing.
  • The largest collection of build products on one floor where you can visit us at stand number B4/109

We look forward to seeing you and your industry colleagues at the NEC, Birmingham. To learn more, visit

How do I fix a masonry crack?

Here Gareth Simister, Managing Director at BPC Building Products, looks at how mechanical stitching systems provide a cost effective and permanent method of repairing cracked masonry walls, avoiding the expense of a complete rebuild.

Until relatively recently a commonly used method to repair masonry cracks was to place mortar or grout without any other support directly into the fissure. Sealant was sometimes used as well and again injected into the crack before sand was applied on to the top of the uncured sealant to give it the appearance of mortar. Typically, these methods proved unreliable over the long term as the mortar, grout or sealant didn’t accommodate for any further movement across the crack – principally because it was not mechanically supported.

Before making any crack repair it’s important to identify the cause of the crack as this can influence any further repair action you take. Failure to do this may cause more cracks to develop in the future. A study recently carried out by BRE (Building Research Establishment), highlighted a way of categorising different masonry cracks. Six different categories were identified with all but one category requiring some form of remedial action. The categories are:

  1. Hairline cracks
  2. Fine cracks
  3. Cracks easily filled
  4. Cracks that require some opening up and can be patched.
  5. Extensive damage which requires replacing sections of walls.
  6. Structural damage that requires partial or complete rebuilding.

All these masonry cracks can occur for a number of reasons. One of the most common causes is ground movement, due to settlement of new foundations. Changes beneath the foundations of any building can cause it to move slightly which can result in cracks developing. Other common causes include temperature influence, damp, wind loads, fractured masonry, lack of foundation, lowering of ground water, imbalanced building grounds, road traffic vibration, air traffic, damaged drains and proximity of trees to the building.

Latest methods of remediating masonry cracks involve mechanically stitching the area, combined with a special grout that locks everything in place. A great example of this is PowaTwist™, which consists of stainless steel bars and a special grout. The stainless steel helical-design of the bars used with these kinds of systems provides greater effectiveness in tackling cracks because it distributes the load over the entire length, avoiding load and tension concentrations. When choosing a stitching system like this it’s always worth making sure that the bars are made from stainless steel as that means they are suitable for aggressive environments. The grout can be injected with an applicator gun and completely fills all voids before rapidly developing its compressive strength.

The best way of stabilising cracked masonry is to use a mechanical stitching system because it redistributes tensile loads along the masonry. This eliminates further development of the crack which may occur if a simple injection system is used. So, if you want to get on top of masonry cracks and avoid a complete rebuild, it’s worth looking at crack stitching systems.

New Masonry Crack Repair System

BPC has launched a new range of remedial masonry repair products. The PowaTwist™ helical product range is now in stock, including stainless steel repair bars, grout and boxed repair kits.

PowaTwist™ is a cost effective system designed to provide excellent bonding characteristics when reconnecting cracked masonry. A fast, economical method of permanent repair, minimising the likelihood of further cracking and eliminating the need to rebuild.

PowaTwist™ is available from builders’ merchants nationwide. Click here for further details…

How to create the perfect garden fence

How to create the perfect garden fence pic 1

There is nothing more satisfying than creating a garden fence that is strong, sturdy and which looks good. So, if your existing fence is looking a bit worse for wear, held up by bits of string or propped with timber, or you simply need a new fence, then here’s how to sort it out once and for all.

Before beginning your fencing project it is always best to plan in advance and source from a supplier that is going to make the job easier for you. A good starting point, and one that avoids the expense and hassle of a concrete base, is using Drive-in Post Spikes. Aside from avoiding the cost and hard work of creating a concrete base, they make the erection of fencing as well as gazebos, pergolas and other garden structures quick and easy.

There is a great range of post spikes called PowaPost® – they give you a really strong anchorage for timber posts. When it comes to post spikes it’s definitely worth choosing quality because if you don’t they soon start to rust and look unsightly. A sure sign that it is a good quality drive-in fence post spike is when it’s manufactured from heavy duty mild steel with dual coated corrosion protection. A good quality steel post spike should be electro zinc plated and then have a moisture resistant powder coating, which results in a superior protection against rust. Hot Dipped Galvanised post supports are also available for an extra durable finish.

The great thing about drive-in post spikes is that they can be used in a wide variety of ground types. For instance, if you have stony ground, such as old, broken foundations, a steel fence spike is a really effective way of establishing a strong support for timber posts. Try and drive a timber stake through this kind of ground with a large hammer and you’ll soon splinter it beyond use. Digging a hole isn’t really an option, either, as it can be hard work and you end up with a large hole requiring lots of concrete!

Once in the ground, metal post spikes protect the timber from water, fungal attack and insect damage. That means your fence will last longer. Where post spikes aren’t used, the timber section of the post below ground level tends to rot quickly, especially if the soil is wet, causing them to break off eventually.

Good quality steel knock-in fence post spikes are suitable for most ground conditions. All you have to do is drive them into the ground, which is even easier if you choose a range like PowaPost®, which has a special driving tool. Once you’ve driven-in the metal spikes, the timber posts can be fixed by either twin bolts or EasyGrip design for a strong connection. The EasyGrip design holds the timber post in a tight wedge without the need for fixings, whereas the Twin Bolt arrangement mechanically tightens around the post allowing easy removal of damaged or rotten posts.

How to create the perfect garden fence pic 2If your fence crosses over an existing hard surface such as a concrete, paving stones or tarmac, there are steel post anchors available with a flat base that can be bolted securely, creating the same effect as driving the post spike into the ground. Take a look at PowaPost® Bolt Down Shoe, which is designed for use when posts are required to be installed on these kinds of hard surfaces.

Most drive-in post spikes are available with a range of accessories. So, if you need a repair spike (where an existing timber post has broken) or post extender (allows you to easily add decorative panels and trellis), check that your supplier offers it as part of the range before ordering.

Before beginning any work on boundary fences, it’s worth checking who owns it (if there is an existing dilapidated fence, the general rule is if the posts are on your side of the boundary, the fence is yours). However, it is best to check your deeds first or have a friendly chat with your neighbours before you start any work!

When it comes to choosing the fencing material there are a number of different types. The most readily available are larch shiplap panels, which are available (along with the Powapost® range) from your local builders merchants and many online tool and fixings retailers. Other types of fence materials include hazel or willow hurdles, shiplap cedar and trellising.

The golden rule is; Fences can take up a lot of space in the garden and block our light, so it is worth spending time planning exactly what you want from it – before you begin!

BPC Fixings announces competition to win Euro 2016 merchandise

BPC Fixings, manufacturer of high quality building, fencing and DIY components, has announced that it is offering entrants an opportunity to win official merchandise for Euro 2016*.

Beginning today, contestants can enter simply by liking BPC’s Facebook page, or by visiting this link.

Winners are then selected in a weekly prize draw. The official merchandise up for grabs includes Euro 2016 footballs, mugs, LED lights and baseball caps.

In the run up to the Euro 2016, which starts on 10thJune with France v Romania, BPC will also be giving away a large sweepstake poster that lists group A – F matches, round of 16, quarter and semi-finals, through to the final.

BPC will be offering five each of the official merchandise, meaning entrants have more chances to win. The draw will run up to the finals of Euro 2016, which are being held on 10th July at Stade de France, Saint-Denis.

All winners will be selected through a random prize drawing process and notified by email on that day. Winners will also be announced on BPCs social media channels.

BPC Fixings is the leading choice of professional tradespeople looking for high quality metalwork components for timber and masonry construction,” said Gareth Simister, Managing Director at BPC Building Products Limited. “This prize draw provides us with the opportunity to give something back to all those customers that have played such an important role in helping BPC grow over the years.

Gareth added: “We plan to stage more competitions over the next few months as we run up to our 40th anniversary in 2017, so it’s definitely worth checking out our website regularly.

The lucky participants of the prize draw aren’t the only BPC winners this summer. All customers that source from BPC will, as they always have done since the company was formed nearly 40 years ago, receive some extra ordinary deals on quality, value and service.

BPC Fixings and Powapost® hold over one-million components in stock, backed up by unbeatable technical expertise. From a huge range of timber-to-timber and timber-to-masonry applications, through to fence post anchors and other essential garden ranges, BPC has a product that does the job.

The company’s advanced, high-speed production lines ensure optimum efficiency and consistent high levels of quality. Many of the products are manufactured in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and have the back up of an ISO 9001 approved quality control system.

BPC Building Products Limited is a UK manufacturer of high quality galvanised and stainless steel building, fencing and DIY components.

Click here to enter the Euro 2016 competition