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27th November 2015


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International News

New MGS Black Steel 3-hole basin mixer available from Grange Design

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Go against the grain with the new MGS Black Steel 3-hole basin mixer exclusively available from specialist distributor Grange Design! Grange believes that the new MB282 in matt black steel is a bathroom design first, being the only black tap collection to be designed and made from stainless steel.

Add some colour with multi-coloured grab rails

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Specialist manufacturer of bathroom products for the inclusive sector, Barwood Products, stocks a wide range of grab rails in popular, standard colours and sizes to satisfy quick delivery requirements.

Schmidt shows how a relaxed country casual style suits both modern and period homes

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When it comes to buying a new kitchen, it's just as easy for people to fall in love with a modern handless slab door as it is to hanker after a Shaker-style scheme.

Rhoper Rhodes launches beautiful Verse brassware range

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Characterised by elegant curves, the new Verse brassware range from Roper Rhodes has been designed to perfectly complement the company's contemporary furniture and sanitaryware and provide a real focal point in the bathroom.

Liebherr revolutionises refrigeration design with BluPerformance

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Unveiled at IFA 2015 and now to be launched into the UK market for Spring 2016, Liebherr has announced its most significant recent development in its refrigeration appliances with the introduction of its BluPerformance Premium models, which offer energy ratings of A+++, and even better A+++/-20% - thanks to a complete rethinking of the appliance's design and technology...

Fixol Universal Drawer Kit available exclusively from LDL

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LDL is adding another exclusive product to its portfolio - the Universal Drawer Kit from Fixol, a quick and easy solution for sink units in particular to avoid plumbing kits.

Arcelik Group gains AA sustainability rating

Arcelik Group, one of the leading players in the global home appliances industry and parent company of Beko, has been awarded an AA rating in the MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) Global Sustainability Index Series. This latest accolade reinforces the company's, 'Respects the Globe, Respected Globally' vision which focuses on delivering sustainable efficiency and excellence throughout all its business processes.

Bathing in design award glory

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When it comes to cork, few are as ingenious as Granorte and the manufacturer is continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible with this incredibly versatile and sustainable material.

HiB marks a new era of super stylish storage with Xenon

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HiB is continuing to add to its ever-expanding product portfolio with the launch of a brand new LED bathroom cabinet collection, Xenon.

Insinkerator heats things up with the new Anthracite 3N1 steaming hot water tap

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InSinkErator, a major player in the steaming hot water tap market, has unveiled a stylish new finish to add to its popular range of 3N1 kitchen taps with filtered steaming hot, hot and cold water.

Toto Washlet sales top 40 million units globally

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Toto, a plumbing industry leader with annual sales of some $5.1 billion, announced on Wednesday that it has achieved a major global milestone with its popular Washlet line of personal cleansing systems.

Linear kitchens become the design for 2016

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Trending in kitchen design for 2016 is a very sleek, linear look with handleless cabinetry and a few hi-tech appliances that make cooking, entertaining and living easier and more enjoyable, according to designers from independent kitchen retailer, Kitchens International.

Burbidge's commitment to craftsmanship is commended with Manufacturing Guild Mark

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Renowned kitchen manufacturer, Burbidge, has been awarded the prestigious Manufacturing Guild Mark (MGM) following over 40 years' work designing and developing truly innovative and exceptionally crafted premium kitchens.

Britannia breezes into retro refrigeration

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Britannia has announced the launch of a new retro-style cooling range, Breeze.

The collection - available now, features three A+ rated models in a variety of configurations: 70/30 fridge freezer split, top mount fridge freezer and standalone fridge, in up to three colours, including Gloss Black, Vanilla and Chilli Red.

Recycled leather creates warm effect

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EcoDomo recycled leathers can be used as leather veneers (for doors, cabinet inserts, table tops, counter tops, etc); tiles and planks (for floors and walls) and as wall panels to impart a feeling of warmth to your project.

LDL to stock Blum Servo-Drive flex

LDL Components is now offering the new Blum Servo-Drive flex intelligent, electrical opening system for handleless, integrated refrigerators, freezers and dishwashers from stock.

Roper Rhodes extends Hampton furniture range with two new units

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Roper Rhodes has taken its popular Hampton furniture range to greater heights with the addition of two new units. Joining the classically styled range, which comes in a variety of sizes and timeless finishes, is a statement 700mm basin unit and a neat and petite cloakroom unit.

Welcome to the


400,000 new houses mean plenty of new kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, so on the face of it, the Chancellor’s spending review bodes well for our industry… But it’s not going to be easy, is it?

The Federation of Master Builders has already seen the snag and is warning that the construction skills shortage will scupper the Chancellor’s plans. Its chief executive, Brian Berry, believes we need a new generation of ‘real’ builders to make this vision a reality. “We’re already seeing housing developments starting to stall because the cost of hiring skilled tradespeople is threatening to make some sites simply unviable,” he argues. “Unless we see a massive uplift in apprenticeship training in our industry, there won’t be enough pairs of hands to deliver housing on this scale.”

Mark Beatson, chief economist for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, is thinking along similar lines, saying:

“We need businesses to invest more broadly in skills development and we need more opportunities for people to learn or retrain at any point in their working life. The focus has to be on quality apprenticeships of level 3 and above to ensure that both people and employers get a quality outcome.”

While CIPD colleague, Labour Market Adviser Gerwyn Davies, agrees, he says migrants can prove invaluable in solving skills shortages issues. And with the latest Office for National Statistics figures showing that net migration for the year ending June 2015, at 336,000, is at an all-time high – and the reputation Polish builders have for getting the job done, he could be right…

“The growing proportion of migrants who have a definite job to go to illustrates the valuable role migrant workers are playing in minimising skills shortages,” he says, adding that policymakers must recognise the need to ensure British workers are equipped with the skills that will enable them to compete for jobs on a level playing field.

As someone who’s suffered what I feel is more than my fair share of tradespeople who can’t pass muster, I do hope that competition from migrant workers (of whom I have no personal experience) and the calls for better training, will lead to a building trade that inspires confidence once more, as well as the ready availability of skilled workers when we need them.



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Jan Hobbs



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This Week's News

A positive statement but still not enough support for KBB businesses, says KBSA

* tina-riley.jpgThe Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association has welcomed the emphasis on growth and investment in the chancellor's Spending Review and Autumn Statement but believes that more could still be done to support small businesses in the KBB sector.

"The chancellor has announced investment in many areas of the economy, such as housing and infrastructure, which is all good news," says KBSA chair Tina Riley. "The measures proposed and the predictions for growth have created a feeling of optimism about the overall economy. However, for many retailers, the burdens of running a small business have increased and nothing announced in Wednesday's statement will change this.

Holloways of Ludlow wins 'Ultimate Kitchen Design of the Year' award

* Holloways-award.jpgHolloways of Ludlow tells us it is delighted that its designer, Martin Smith has won the award for the 'Ultimate Kitchen Design of the Year' at the prestigious 2015 Designer Kitchen & Bathroom Awards.

Martin's winning luxury kitchen design forms part of a wider interior architectural renovation project designed and implemented by Holloways of Ludlow. The panel of industry judges was impressed by the originality of the design, the innovative use of materials, and the assimilation of the design into the contemporary open-plan living space.

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1500 retailers interviewed to identify range enhancements

* Amica-illuminated-handles.jpgOver 1500 retail contacts have been individually quizzed about how Amica might enhance the diverse built-in cooking line-up from the brand.

Built-in cooking products from Amica have included innovations like steam, pyrolytic and Aqualytic cleaning, multi-function, pre-set programmes and web compatibility for many years. But with kitchen retailers firmly in its sights the leading Polish producer sought a warts-and-all index of recommended improvements to the range.

Leicht Contracts opens new office in London's Blackfriars

leicht-london.jpgThe success of Leicht Contracts in being awarded over £8 million worth of kitchen contracts for new builds has allowed the company to expand with the opening of a new office in London's Blackfriars this week.

Located at Hatfield, SE1, this office has been deliberately sited in London's City area to help service the contracts around there. The new office will house the whole Contracts team, which numbers some 15 people, ranging from designers, project managers and installation and technical staff. Heading up the team is commercial manager Matt Duncan, along with managing director Liam Hopper.

Burbidge shows that the difference really is in the detail with landmark Langton

* Burbidge-Mink.jpgAward-winning kitchen manufacturer, Burbidge, is continuing to innovate and inspire with the launch of Langton; a truly luxurious new kitchen range designed to take the quintessential English shaker style into a new era of modernity.

Constructed from premium Ash wood, the beautifully crafted Langton door combines solid form with clean lines, resulting in a luxury yet contemporary appeal. The range is available in Burbidge's extensive painted palette including the new Mink, Putty, Old Navy, Gravel, Seal Grey and Soft Moss, alluding to the growing demand for soft, urban shades, as well as in bespoke colour options.

iKBBI & CAPITA join forces to raise gas safety awareness

* IKKBI.jpgThe Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers and Capita - which operates the Gas Safe Registration scheme - have announced that a strategic partnership has been agreed between the two organisations to promote gas safety awareness to consumers, installers and the wider KBB sector.

Damian Walters, iKBBI CEO (pictured left), says of the initiative: "It's vital KBB installers are aware of their legal obligations when gas is concerned. As an institute, we have an obligation to educate our members as well as those customers they serve on the important subject of gas safety in the home.

Pland Stainless joins Made in Britain Campaign

* Pland.jpgUK Stainless Steel manufacturer Pland, established in Leeds in 1919, has joined the Made in Britain Campaign, an initiative started in 2011 to support and promote British manufacturing in the UK and overseas.

Steve Duree, managing director of Pland Stainless says of this new affiliation: "We are delighted to join a Government-endorsed campaign that truly identifies British-made products and gives buyers the knowledge and therefore an educated choice on the goods they buy."

Euroline from Leisure Sinks remains in high demand

* Leisure_Euroline.jpgDemand for Leisure Sinks' Euroline has increased significantly over the last 12 months, with models such as the EL860 enjoying a surge in popularity in comparison to 2014. The sink's lightweight and versatile construction appeals to housebuilders and developers alike, while its continental design has also attracted interest from the kitchen specialist sector.

Commenting on the surge in the sink's popularity, John Peter, trade sales director at Leisure Sinks, enthuses: "The Euroline range as a whole is one of the highest volume families within the Leisure Sinks portfolio, especially among housebuilders specifying products for the higher end of the spectrum." 

Britannia marks Queen's milestone moment with exclusive range cooker

* Britannia-Delphi-Royal.jpgBritannia Living has revealed an exclusive range cooker to commemorate the Queen becoming Britain's longest reigning monarch. For a limited time, the company's Delphi 100cm twin range cooker will be available to buy exclusively via John Lewis in the Royal Burgundy.

Vic Sinclair, buyer for Large Electrical, John Lewis says: "There is a growing trend for statement appliances, so we are sure the Royal range cooker will be popular, especially with fans of the Royal family - we are delighted to be the exclusive supplier of this model, marking this momentous occasion."

New in: Maison Valentina's Luxury Symphony washbasin

* symphony.jpgIf you're looking to create an impact in either your showroom or a client's home, the new Luxury Symphony washbasin from Italian manufacturer Maison Valentina will do the trick, as our picture shows.

A cluster of polished brass tubes enveloping an 'exotic' structure, the Symphony is said to be one of the most exquisite pieces of Maison Valentina's Luxury Collection and one that is handcrafted using the finest materials.

Landau invests in new dovetail machine to ensure it can manufacture orders even faster

* Landau-drawer-box.jpgHull-based kitchen manufacturer Landau Holdings has invested in new machinery to cater for the increasing demand for its dovetail drawer boxes.

Landau drawer boxes are manufactured using the finest quality oak and traditional dovetail joints to guarantee a long-lasting and robust product.

Uform strengthens senior management team with two new recruits

* Uform_Lavery_Duffy.jpgKitchen door and component supplier Uform has announced the appointment of two new senior managers in the areas of operations and procurement.

Michael Duffy joins the company as procurement manager with responsibility for the supply chain and production planning functions, ensuring optimal performance in the areas of value, quality, cost and on-time delivery. He will work closely with key stakeholders to help drive Uform's five year strategic plan, whilst enhancing customer order fill rates.

BAL strengthens unique support network

* BAL_Alan-Collins.jpgTiling solutions specialist BAL has appointed Rushden-based Alan Collins as its product support technician (PST) for East Anglia, strengthening its nationwide technical support and training capability. The PST concept is thought to be unique to BAL, which has placed strong emphasis on support throughout its history.

Alan's role focuses on practical training and advice for products and service tools, advising on specification, helping to resolve project issues as well as providing advice on all aspects of professional tiling to fixers, contractors and distributors.

British Ceramic Tile evolves its marketing team

* BCT3.jpgBritish Ceramic Tile has announced three new internal promotions within its marketing team, including two senior positions, following a restructure of its marketing team to reflect the importance of the brand and expansion of its product portfolio in key markets.

Jayne Adamson(pictured left), who has been with the company for the past 12 years, has been promoted from senior product manager to marketing manager and will lead on the company's product portfolio and new product development. Jayne will have responsibility for ensuring all communications are on brand and will head up the sales and marketing strategy for British Ceramic Tile's branded and licensed products via the independents sales channel.

Quooker thanks dealers with Torode masterclass

* Quooker-masterclass.jpgDelighted Quooker dealers from across the UK, Northern Ireland and Eire were treated to an exclusive masterclass with celebrity chef John Torode at the Good Housekeeping Institute Cookery School in London's Soho, as a thank you from the inventor of the original 100C boiling water tap.

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Jan Hobbs
Publishing Editor
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Publishing Director
Tel: +44 (0)1580 755 863
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Mobile: 07766 707 888
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Recent News

Whirlpool awarded consumer Superbrands status

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Whirlpool has been awarded the honour of consumer Superbrands status for 2016, confirming its position as one of Britain's most iconic household names.

Industry stalwart, Ron Blount of Blanco, reflects on his career as he bows out

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"The decision to step down in January 2016 was taken three years ago; three years to plan and implement succession... Not only my own successor but also other key roles within the company with a view to evolution, not revolution.

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The changing face of surfaces in 2015

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With 2015 coming to a close, Stephen Moss, managing director of worktop specialist Max-Top, shares the top five changes he has noticed in the surface industry over the last 12 months.

Kitchen makeover franchise Dream Doors launches new recruitment and training programme for franchisees

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Dream Doors, the UK's largest kitchen makeover franchise, has launched a comprehensive new recruitment and training programme for franchisees, supported by more in-territory support and a new bespoke training centre that replicates an actual Dream Doors showroom.

Buff builders bin the booze for burly biceps

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Forget the pub - white van men are more likely to be found in the gym working out than drinking pints, according to a new survey.

'Manual Handling for Assessors': HSL training course taking place in London next month

Taking place near Marble Arch, London, on 2nd December, the Government-run 'Manual Handling for Assessors' course will equip you with the knowledge to recognise, assess and reduce manual handling risks in your organisation.

Construction staff remain in high demand

The latest 'Report on Jobs', published today by KPMG and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, highlighted slower, but still robust, growth of demand for permanent and temporary staff in the construction sector during October.

Season: the Exclusive Cookery School

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Hobsons|choice has completed a unique kitchen project at historic Lainston House, Winchester. Working with Exclusive Hotels&Venues, the talented design and installation team created the kitchen area of the new Season, Exclusive Cookery School - the brainchild of Exclusive Hotels & Venues managing director, Danny Pecorelli, who says:

Campaign raises awareness of the dangers of scalding and makes over £5000 for charity as it does so

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In just 12 months, the Bathroom Manufacturers Association has raised over £5,000 for its favourite charity, the Children's Burns Trust.


Steven Jaques joins board of directors at Utopia

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Utopia Furniture Group Ltd promoted Steven Jaques to the position of sales director with immediate effect.

Ian Hall, joint managing director, comments: "Steve has in effect been fulfilling this role at Utopia since 2013 and we are now very pleased to recognise this formally.

Uform announces appointment of new managing director

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Uform has announced the appointment of Simon Oliphant as its new managing director. Simon will be responsible for providing leadership of the company's fast growing operations and delivery of the company's five-year strategic plan and will report to the newly appointed chairman Eamon Donnelly.

New appointment at KBBG to support KBBG independent kitchen specialists

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The Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group (KBBG), part of the Der Kreis, dedicated to supporting independent kitchen specialists, has appointed Louisa Cole to the newly created position of office support executive.

British Ceramic Tile expands its marketing team with four new appointments

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British Ceramic Tile has expanded its marketing team with the appointment of four new positions all based at the Northern Sales & Marketing Hub.

Haier appoints Vincent Rotger as general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe

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Appliance manufacturer Haier, has strengthened the organisational structure of Haier Europe with the appointment of Vincent Rotger (pictured) as general manager for the Northern and Eastern Europe regions.


It's panto time at Utopia!

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Oh, yes, it is! Once again, Utopia is preparing to launch its popular pre-Christmas promotion and this year it will have a fabulous pantomime-based theme.

SmegZones enhance immersive shopping experience

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Smeg is rolling out its own 'shop in a shop' dedicated displays with the aim of supporting independent electrical retailers. SmegZones are the Italian brand's bespoke package of products and displays tailored to fit a specific store's demographic and catchment.


Caple's new sinks and taps brochure now available

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Caple's new sinks and taps brochure is packed full of inspirational ideas. Whether for a contemporary or traditional kitchen, there are sinks and taps to suit all tastes and budgets.

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