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5th February 2016


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International News

Speedy Easi-Plan installation cuts costs

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Helping to achieve cost savings and creating a stylish, trouble-free bathroom, the Easi-Plan range of concealed sanitaryware installation frames from Abacus Manufacturing Group significantly speeds up the fitting of WCs, basins and bidets.

White is now the toast of the kitchen!

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White is the new black for kitchen worktops, according to home makeover specialist Granite Transformations, having reviewed its sales figures for 2015.

Indesit says its new MyTime dishwasher boasts fastest eco cycle on the market

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Indesit's new DFG 26B1UK MyTime freestanding dishwasher's eco cycle is 25% quicker than previous models, saving up to 52 minutes, and is said by the manufacturer to be the fastest on the market.

Harvey Maria shows how to use 2016's colour trends

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For 2016, Pantone has introduced two new shades as its colours of the year - 'Serenity' and 'Rose Quartz'.

Pantone believe that "Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times."

New adapter for waste disposal units from Rangemaster Sinks

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Rangemaster has launched a new waste disposal adapter for its growing range of sinks with square wastes. The new offering allows any of the company's high quality waste disposal units to be fitted to the entire range of sinks, whereas it was only previously possible on models with circular versions.

An industrial revolution in the bathroom...

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Inspired by industrial luxe trends, Frontline Bathrooms has launched two new freestanding statement baths as part of its 2016 aquabathe collection.

The new season's arrivals are the epitome of luxury and create an instant focal point for the bathroom.

Haier enters into global strategic partnership agreement with General Electric

Haier Group and General Electric have announced a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate globally and jointly pursue growth projects in focus areas where both companies can increase business competitiveness such as industrial Internet, healthcare and advanced manufacturing. This strategic cooperation framework agreement brings together two highly complementary world-class enterprises and establishes a model for cross-border investment and cooperation between China, the US and other regions.

Peka extends appeal of Fluid II corner system

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The popular Fluid II corner system from Peka is now also available in anthracite to complement the new Blum Legrabox drawer system.

Available exclusively in the UK from LDL, the Fluid II solution for corner spaces utilises Peka's clever swivelling carousel system to ensure perfectly balanced movement. What's more, the improved profile of the shelves enables the system to function fully even when the opening angle of the unit front is restricted to 85%.

Classy curves from new Citronella

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Moods' new Citronella bathroom suite blends minimalist lines with sumptuous curves and is the latest suite to join PJH's Bathrooms to Love Collection.

Shaws' sinks test as 99.99% antibacterial

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Shaws' sinks are not only for use in homes, but are commercially used in laboratories, hospitals, institutions, restaurants, hotels, schools, universities and many other applications.

Showers make a splash in bathroom industry

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Nowadays bathrooms have become spa-like havens offering an escape from the rest of the world. Close the bathroom door and hop into the bubbles of a roll-top tub or Jacuzzi bath, and for half an hour or so you can escape the screaming children or the piles of paperwork on the other side of the door and be transported to a luxurious sanctuary....

InSinkErator is steaming ahead with colour in 2016

As the New Year begins, and the home interiors world reflects on the shades Pantone announced as Colour of the Year, InSinkErator, a major player in steaming hot water taps and global leader and inventor of the food waste disposer, has been tapping into the latest colour trends with its striking range of 3N1 steaming hot water taps.

Blanco - German perfection at its best - appearing at KBB

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Pictured is Blanco UK's Subline 500-IF SteelFrame sink with a flat IF rim, which will be on display on Stand I100 at the KBB show, 6th - 9th March 2016. The Silgranit bowl has an extra-flat, modern stainless steel frame and showcases the innovative material mix of granite and stainless steel. Thanks to the IF rim, Subline SteelFrame can be installed from above the counter. However, flush-mounted installation in stone or glass is possible too.

V-Zug completes home steam cooking offering with its first built-in vacuum drawer

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V-Zug has launched its very first vacuum drawer, making it easy for budding home cooks to prepare, cook and store food like the professionals.

Many chefs use vacuum drawers to shrink-wrap food and liquid in air-tight bags. By stopping the food from being affected by ambient air or humidity, it helps to preserve its flavour, moisture, texture and nutrients.

Welcome to the


Living in a three-woman household as I do, stopped becoming easy once my daughters returned from university for good. I’d become used to having my own space, while my girls had been responsible for running their own homes and had thus developed their own ideas about the food they wished to eat.

Over the years, two of us had stopped eating meat and one had become gluten intolerant. Two prefer skimmed milk while one of us opts for semi-skimmed; the one ‘trying to give up dairy’ tends to buy soya milk – and as that’s expensive, when it’s on offer we end up with a fridge full of the stuff. Two of us prefer orange juice while the other likes apple juice. Then we have a selection of cheeses – two of us are quite adventurous, but when it comes to Cheddar, we have to have both full fat and the reduced fat version. Oh and the vegetables!

The reason I’m talking about the contents of my fridge (and yes – the same principles can apply to my freezer contents too) is that both have become full to bursting point. Yesterday I almost opened a carton of orange juice that appeared to be about to explode; it had been pushed behind a myriad of other items and had probably been open for over a week and was going off. I can remember considering myself lucky that I’d found it in time.

I’m considering this all now, because I’ve just read that someone's fridge freezer has exploded. Apparently the door blew off with such force that it ripped out three internal doors, lifted the kitchen roof, forced open the loft latch and smashed chunks out of the wall. The householder sustained ‘serious’ cuts and bruises and a fire officer said that there was ‘food everywhere’. I can imagine…

While I’m not suggesting that the appliance exploded because it was bursting with fermenting perishables, I wouldn’t mind betting that the manufacturer wishes that this could be the case. Exploding fridge freezers aren’t common, so this story will be big. Consumers will of course end up blaming the brand – however innocently the appliance may have behaved – and the manufacturer will have its work cut out, rekindling confidence and winning over the consumers once more.

I wish them luck... And perhaps they could start by designing a fridge freezer that goes up to the ceiling, for families like mine?



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Jan Hobbs



This Week's News

Ministers call on construction industry to invest an build home-grown talent

Ministers called upon the construction industry this week, to remove barriers to get more young people to consider careers in construction and develop an ambitious action plan to address the skills pressures and other constraints that are limiting housebuilding and infrastructure development.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis and Skills Minister Nick Boles want the construction industry to look at whether current business models are holding back the industry from developing the skills it needs - and to consider new models of construction such as offsite manufacturing.

Judges announced for 2016 KBSA Designer Awards

The Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association has announced that Bruce Thomas, business development director at Mereway, is the newest member of the panel of judges for the 2016 KBSA Designer Awards. The Panel also includes:

- Renee Mascari, CEO KbbNTG and director of Mascari Studios (head judge)
- Martin Thomas, Denmore Interiors
- Richard Hibbert, KSL and KBSA Board Member

Leisure Sinks adds Aquaflow 35 to mixer tap portfolio

* Leisure-Aquaflow-35-tap.jpgLeisure Sinks has added the lightweight yet highly functional Aquaflow 35 (TAF35CM/) to its range of WRAS approved taps. Boasting a polished chrome finish, the competitively priced single lever tap is perfect for both the domestic and contract markets.

Designed for single tap-hole sinks, the new Aquaflow 35 allows for hot and cold water to be mixed - as well as turned on and off - in one simple action. Compared to similar kitchen mixer taps, this new model is considerably smaller, without impacting on functionality or durability.

We have Mail: Sale of Goods Act 1989

* mark-buchanan.jpgDear Jan,

Further to your comments in last week's leader, the Sale of Goods Act 1989 states (and is backed up by recent precedent) that a product must be 'fit for purpose' and more so in a specialised shower/bathroom environment... where the buyer - in law - has up to six years to reasonably reject the product as unfit. It is not reasonable to have any part rust inside a shower inside 15 years - let alone three years!

Solid brass chrome plated items cannot rust... but mild steel items - plated, can, if the plate is thin and fails or where corrosive cleaners have taken off the plating (as in the many law suits to 'Cillit Bang' before the manufacturer was forced to put on its bottles: "Do not use on chrome taps").

27th September: save the date!

* RUTH_WARD.jpgThe Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association has announced the date of the 2016 KBSA AGM & National Meeting. The event will take place on 27th September at the Welcombe Hotel, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire.

"We are busy planning the content of this year's national meeting," says the KBSA's sales & marketing director Ruth Ward, "This is an exciting time for the KBSA as we develop our new strategy for moving the association forward."

AEG enters water softener market in the UK... creating a new market opportunity for kitchen retailers

* AEG-INSTALLED.jpgPremium appliance brand AEG has entered the UK water softener market, with a range of products to be sold exclusively through kitchen retailers.

Giving retailers the opportunity to capture the sale of these high-end products during the initial kitchen design phase, the AEG launch enables kitchen showrooms to generate additional margin and offer customers a comprehensive solution to protect their home and appliances from the damaging effects of lime scale.

New phone system, new number!

* ikbbi-phone.jpgAs part of its ongoing commitment to communications improvement, the Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers has introduced a new telephone system at its Essex offices.

The new BT cloud communications equipment includes a queuing system to better manage calls at peak times, as well as call recording for training and monitoring purposes.

Lakes Bathrooms launches pivot door with integrated in-line panel

* Lakes-Screenshot.jpgLakes Bathrooms has added a pivot door with integrated in-line panel to its Classic Collection. This semi-frameless design offers a seamless finish for a wider enclosure, by dispensing with the profile between the door and the adjacent in-line panel. Available in three sizes, it offers more choice for larger alcove spaces and can be teamed with a low profile tray for a clean, minimalist look.

Until now, the company's pivot doors have been extended with a separate in-line panel pack. This panel comes framed by anodised aluminium, which sits alongside the door profile and creates a significant feature. By contrast, the new door and panel combination does away with the visual interruption of additional framing, making for a cleaner and simpler appearance.

Recognising quality, excellence and innovation - Geberit Award winners 2015 revealed

* Geberit-Roots.jpgWhen a customer seeks your help with making the family bathroom in their 16th Century built property 'work better' what would you advise? For Roots Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms of Faversham the answer was clear: install Geberit pipework and sanitary systems behind the wall to ensure a comfortable fit for modern sanitaryware in front of it.

So successful was the finished design that it won retailer David Root the prestigious accolade of Best Domestic Installer at the Geberit Awards 2015.

Mixed material bathrooms, available from The Bathroom Shop

* Dansani-Curvo.jpg2016 is already seeing a new wave of intelligent materials being used across bathroom interiors, challenging our senses and bringing new innovation, in terms of material and design. Specialist retailer of quality bath and shower solutions, The Bathroom Shop, depicts one of the hottest trends for 2016 - mixed materials - with its inspired collection of tactile bathroom furniture by Dansani.

Curvo, a contemporary handleless bathroom furniture collection, guarantees to bring a new level of sophisticated tone and texture to the bathroom, showcasing exactly how an opaque colour palette, such as Graphite Grey, can be elevated through a simple change to its surface texture, just like rubber...

Introducing multifunctional living from Schmidt - the flexible way to cook, dine, relax and work

* schmidt.jpgWhatever size and shape the kitchen shell may be, whether it's in a compact city apartment, open-plan loft or spacious five-bed home, making the most of every inch of space is key to a clean, clutter-free look.

For everyday use - appliances, sink, tap, worksurface and that all-important storage, Schmidt has the ultimate solution to today's modern, multipurpose interiors - the Work 'N Hide kitchen, which can be completely concealed behind doors that fold away between the furniture when it's time to prepare a meal.

More than 8.1 million searches for accredited tradespeople during 2015

* Trustmark.jpgThe focus on home maintenance and improvement is continuing apace, according to TrustMark, the Government-endorsed scheme for tradespeople, which this week announced that it has recorded another bumper year of helping homeowners, with more than 8.1 million search results provided to those who used TrustMark's website and telephone helpline to find local firms and expert tradespeople to carry out their home improvements and repairs - an increase of 12% compared to the same period in 2014 and up 55% since 2013.

Grown in seconds: new website demonstrates sustainability of American timber

* AHEC.jpgTo illustrate the sustainability of American hardwoods, a new interactive platform: 'Grown in Seconds' ( www.growninseconds.org ) has been launched by the American Hardwood Export Council to show how swiftly wood used for a variety of projects regrows naturally in American forests.

Supported by environmental consultants ThinkStep, AHEC aims to promote a better understanding of the true environmental benefits of using American hardwoods in design and manufacture. Grown in Seconds uses the extensive data gathered by the US Forest Service to track the annual growth and harvest rates of every hardwood species to calculate how quickly wood used in projects can be regrown within the forests of the US.

BAL expands specification support team with two appointments

* Tracey-Hopkins.jpgBuilding Adhesives Ltd (BAL), which manufactures full tiling solutions including adhesives, grouts and ancillary products, has hired two new specification managers as part of its drive to expand its specification support team.

Alan Thurston and Tracey Hopkins will work with architects, designers and specifiers supporting them on M40/M20 specifications, providing project support and delivering RIBA-accredited CPDs.

Blanco develops sales team in preparation for an exciting 2016

* Blanco-new-staff.jpgBlanco UK has heralded the launch of a new chapter with a new look sales organisation designed to maintain and optimise the company's success under new managing director, Simon Hart.

John Seaman, who has been with Blanco for 16 years, is the new head of sales, while Craig Condie has been promoted and takes over as key account manager. Craig's regional sales manager position has been filled by newly-appointed Richard Brabyn, who takes responsibility for the Southern sales area.

Mereway launches £30,000 charity initiative to celebrate 30 years

* mereway.jpgKitchen, bathroom and bedroom manufacturer the Mereway Group has launched a major charity initiative to mark 30 successful years in business.

Staff at the Tyseley office and factory are aiming to raise at least £30,000 from a series of charity events throughout the year. The company is supporting four main charities that will receive the bulk of the funds raised, with another list of local charities selected by staff all to receive a donation.

The KBzine Archive Search

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How to contact us at The KBzine:
Jan Hobbs
Publishing Editor
Tel: +44 (0)1372 811 307 
Mobile: 07980 288 373






John Austen
Publishing Director
Tel: +44 (0)1580 755 863
Fax: +44 (0)1580 754 669
Mobile: 07766 707 888
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Recent News

Bathroom market to outperform UK economy in 2016

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A new report from MTW Research on the UK bathroom market suggests that bathroom retailers' sales will outperform the UK economy in 2016, with sustainable growth forecast throughout the year as consumer spending continues to remain high.

Bathroom Academy upgrade launches at KBB

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The popular Bathroom Academy, managed for the industry by the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, has received a major upgrade and will be relaunched at KBB Birmingham in March 2016.

Fall in workloads for small builders, warns FMB

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Workloads for small builders across the country took a downward turn towards the end of last year, the Federation of Master Builders' latest State of Trade Survey has revealed, amid worries over wider economic uncertainty.

John Lewis signs exclusivity deal for Gorenje by Starck

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The stylish new 'Gorenje by Starck' collection is now available exclusively through John Lewis. Developed with internationally acclaimed designer Philippe Starck, the collection boasts a selection of ovens, microwaves, hobs, hoods, refrigerators and warming drawers - all of which boast 100% matching design and feature Gorenje's most advanced technology.

InSinkErator unveils new showroom at Watford HQ

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To coincide with an increasing product portfolio, InSinkErator has moved to new offices with a new showroom and demonstration area that proudly showcases the wide range of InSinkErator products, increasing the opportunities for retailers to experience demonstrations and product specific events.

Double digit growth forecast in the UK Kitchen & Bathroom PODs market

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AMA Research has published the fourth edition of the 'Bathroom & Kitchen PODs Market Report - UK 2015-2019 Analysis', which provides comprehensive and detailed coverage of the growing market for bathrooms or kitchens that are constructed off-site with all the fittings included, ready to slot into place on site.

Making bathrooms beautiful - HiB unveils new identity, new website, new brochure and new range!

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Having recently turned a quarter of a century, HiB is preparing for a new era of even greater success with the reveal of a new brand identity and strap line - 'making bathrooms beautiful', along with a new website, a new brochure and a new range - and we're told there's more to come!

BSC says sharing good health & safety practices can empower construction sector employers

The construction sector is rightly proud of its improving safety record that has been achieved in collaboration and through investment. However, those involved in construction, including clients, contractors and service providers, are challenged by the impact of drivers such as changes in regulations and guidance as well as by other factors such as new and emerging technologies and operating conditions.


Abacus Manufacturing Group helps raise money for Saint Michael's Hospice

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Abacus Manufacturing Group, the bathroom products manufacturer and specialist distributor, will be supporting Saint Michael's Hospice in Harrogate with two skydives during 2016.

Garry Smith appointed as Hoover product manager

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Hoover has added to its freestanding division, with the appointment of Garry Smith as laundry product manager. Having spent his 27 year career working as a buyer at a leading retail partner, Garry joins Hoover to assist with the company's ambitious growth plans.

Utopia appoints marketing director to strengthen brand position

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Utopia Furniture Group has appointed Beth Boulton as marketing director to strengthen its brand position in the increasingly competitive bathroom market.

Wilsonart appoints new national accounts manager for distribution

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American owned Wilsonart, one of the UK's largest producers of worktops, has appointed a highly experienced national accounts manager to develop the company's sales strategy within the distribution channel, from its head office in County Durham.

Christian Smith takes on national account controller role at Whirlpool UK Appliances

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Whirlpool UK Appliances has promoted Christian Smith to national account controller, responsible for AO.com. Christian joined the appliance giant almost seven years ago and has held various sales roles there, initially being responsible for the laundry category.

Granite Transformations COO Danny and pal Bernie attempt Cook Strait world record

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Danny Hanlon, chief operating officer of the Trend Group's international Granite Transformations home improvements franchise, will celebrate his new year relocation from the UK headquarters in Tunbridge Wells, Kent to the corporate head office in Miami, Florida, in an unusual - not to say hazardous, fashion.


Sing to the sound of SysRock for a chance to win £5,000 of Festool Tools!

Festool is giving customers the chance to win £5,000 of Festool tools... This fun competition is to celebrate the launch of the new SysRock BR10 Site Radio by asking tradespeople to submit a video of them singing along to one of the SysRock songs, as chosen by tradespeople at the end of last year.


Hafele launches new kitchen accessories directory

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Hafele UK has launched a new Kitchen Accessories directory, which showcases the latest innovations in kitchen storage, stylish waste management and ventilation, boasts over 1000 kitchen fixtures and fittings - providing everything trade professionals and kitchen studios need to make high-end kitchen designs, including flexible systems for accessible kitchens.

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