Expert for Plumbing & Drainage

Charles Burns

Divisional Director


Charles Burns

Charles Burns is Divisional Director for Brett Martin Plumbing and Drainage, and with 25 year’s experience in the construction products industry, brings extensive insight to this category. Charles joined Brett Martin in 2018 and has led an aggressive expansion of the business with a focus on delivering leading levels of customer service to builders’ merchants.

Prior to joining Brett Martin, Charles trained as a Chartered Accountant, qualifying with PWC and worked for Kingspan for 19 years, leading a Global Business Unit in the Water and Energy Division.

Brett Martin Ltd

With more than 60 years’ manufacturing experience in the building materials market, Brett Martin remains family owned with a 1000 strong workforce, operating from multiple sites across the UK.

Known for reliable customer service, dependable product quality and a consistent partnership approach with merchants, Brett Martin is a preferred supplier across a number of sectors, and remains the UK’s largest independent supplier of plumbing and drainage products.

Continued investment in the business is driving product innovation and supporting carbon reduction initiatives including onsite solar and wind generated renewable energy, supporting a new generation of low carbon construction products.



Twitter: @BMDrainage

Brett Martin Comment: Q4 2023

Quarter 4 accurately reflected a year which has been preciously short of good economic news for the UK in general and for the construction sector in particular. The effect of ongoing inflation, interest rate rises and cost of living increases came home to roost.  It is at times like this, when we realise just how connected our industry is to the price of finance, public confidence, and inflation.

We know the underlaying demand still exists for both new housing and RMI projects of all sizes but the registration statistics did not lie and demand weakened further by the end of the quarter when even the typical rush to complete housing by year end did not materialise.

New mortgage approvals increased to 50,500 in December 2023, up from a 49,300 in November but falling short of the market expectation of 52,500. Although mortgage approvals reached a six-month high, the inevitable lag means this is not yet visible as an increase in activity levels on the ground.

Many producers will be hoping that 2024 will stabilise with the prospect of some electioneering interventions to boost confidence and drive demand. GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index, consumer confidence increased three points to -19 in January 2024, recovering ground lost in the last two years. There is a market expectation that interest rates will weaken as the year progresses to give the housing market a much-needed lift. However, with inflation staying stubbornly high, falls in interest rates may be further off than hoped.

At Brett Martin we remain confident that the current market weakness will cycle through and so our focus is firmly fixed on developing increasingly customer focused service initiatives along with investments in manufacturing efficiency in preparation for the next growth phase of our business. Every part of the supply chain is facing the same challenges and so the process of partnering our merchants to maximise every opportunity remains paramount.