KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
23rd November 2012
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A change in strategy can result in project success in tough economic times, as a conference on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the construction industry has shown. Twenty-two coordinators for Concerto projects subsidised by the EU went to the Brussels conference to share their experiences.
The Irish Republic has been one of the countries most hard-hit by the financial crisis; "This has been a success during the deepest crisis Ireland has ever experienced," said Seamus Hoyne from the Limerick Institute of Technology in summarising his project experiences, and the results do indeed speak for themselves - 400 buildings renovated and 50 energy-efficient buildings built from scratch.
The competitively priced range was designed after consultation with developers, architects and specifiers and can be installed directly over the bath or within a shower enclosure.
When I learned of the proposed changes to employment legislation, which will offer all employees the chance to work flexible hours, I shook my head in disbelief. Running a business is hard enough as it is and ensuring workplace continuity when employees are on holiday is tough at the best of times... attempting to cover for what may be longish-term, short-notice breaks is likely to induce a real headache and for some small businesses... well... it could actually break them. And what will happen to workplace camaraderie when several people want to be off at the same time?
I'm pleased that the Forum of Private Business is highlighting some of the potential pitfalls of this idea, (which I believe is actually another EU edict rather than Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's baby - despite him being blamed for it in the press) in its plea to the Chancellor to do more to support small businesses in his upcoming Autumn Statement (see more below).
The Forum is making some good suggestions, such as stabilising fuel duty and capping business rates. I know the Government needs to find some money from somewhere, but escalating costs are preventing people from driving and are sending businesses to the wall - and if we're not working, we're not helping to top up the coffers, so where's the sense in that?
Now something I do see a lot of sense in - particularly when looking to buy or specify a big ticket item such as a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or large appliance - is getting the advice of a real expert before making any decisions. The response I received from Philip Procter, of Clerkenwell-based West One Bathrooms, to my query in last week's leader about antimicrobial coatings, showed me that this is just the type of person I'd want to talk to before deciding how I'd part with my money. Not only did he give me the information I required, but he furnished me with links to the companies concerned so I could find out more (you can see his email, below). Well done Philip - you're doing the industry proud!
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This Week's News
The collapse of Comet is yet another stark reminder that the High Street remains a volatile place and that consumers should take all necessary precautions when making a major home purchase... so says the national trade association for the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom industry, the Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association.
The warning comes just a month after the bathroom brands, bathrooms4all and Victorian Bathrooms; part of bathroom retailer Traditional Contemporary Bathrooms, went into administration.
Offering a fast, simple way of converting floorstanding sanitaryware to the high end look of wall-hung, Geberit's Monolith module is now available in a new Umbra colourway. Perfect for adding a touch of warmth to any bathroom, the neutral, smokey brown hue of umbra ensures that the sanitary module will blend seamlessly into its environment.
The tall, square shaped contemporary range of Fervour taps with radiused edges are really unusual in design. New to the range is the deck mounted bath/shower mixer with lift up levers clearly marked with 'h and c'. The shower mixer has a pull up diverter to activate the shower head which is a separate entity which sits alongside the mixer.
Backing up the latest research on the purchasing power of consumers, Hoover Candy is reporting a surge in customers who say energy efficiency is crucial when it comes to buying kitchen appliances.
The Mintel Washers and Dryers Report 2012, published earlier this year, highlights an influx in the number of buyers concerned with the energy ratings of appliances, with 74% now saying an appliance with an energy rating of A+ is essential. This research strongly correlates with the experience Steve Macdonald, trade marketing director of Hoover Candy, has had of the market over the last 12 months.
Ellis Furniture is expanding its range of modular and fitted bathroom furniture this season with the addition of three new door colours across its entire range, including Cube, Cloakroom, Modular and Fitted furniture.
The modern Cube range has also now been married with the character and warmth of real timber in the form of Dominica American Walnut (pictured) featuring a solid timber frame and veneered centre panel. With a wide selection of unit sizes and combinations available - including base units, tall cabinets, countertop units and wall units - it is possible to create an individual look in any size and shape of bathroom.
Kitchen Magic, one of the UK's first kitchen refurbishment specialists, has announced the launch of its free fitting service. The new offer reinforces the company's commitment to providing a great selection of high quality finishes for built-in kitchens whilst saving customers' time, money and effort.
For 2013 kitchens are taking on a fresher look with accents of colour, textured surfaces and clever designs accommodating the kitchen as a major living area, according to Kitchens International. As one of the top independent kitchen designers and retailers in the UK and based across Scotland, Kitchens International is seeing customers becoming bolder in their choices yet retaining style and quality.
In response to your question in last week's leader about who does what for antibacterial problems – the bathroom industry has done coatings for years, Duravit do Wonderglis and Villeroy & Boch do Ceramic plus – Bette have always done an extra polymer glaze – all this is designed to fill in the micropores and allow water/dirt etc to run off its surface and make it less susceptible to holding the water and grime that bacteria lives in.
The Forum of Private Business has written to the Chancellor ahead of next month's Autumn Statement to outline a five-point plan to help deliver jobs and growth for the UK economy. The Forum is urging Mr Osborne to concentrate on measures that will help the small business sector flourish by reducing business costs, boosting employment in the private sector and laying the foundations for sustainable positive economic growth.
Recent press reports have suggested the European economy is plunging into a triple dip recessionary phase. But if we need to know how the economy is faring we should look more closely at the figures where some startling trends are evident, argues Robin Chater, the Secretary-General of the Federation of European Employers.
Northern European regions are in the lead when it comes to innovation in Europe, reports EurActiv. But there is a considerable diversity in regional innovation performance - not only across European countries, but also within the member states, according to the newly published European Commission's Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2012. Unsurprisingly, the most innovative regions come from the most innovative countries in Europe.
According to new research from Direct Line for Business (DL4B), seven in 10 British tradespeople work extra unpaid hours each week, which equates to around £4.8 billion in unpaid overtime every year.
Just one in four (26%) of workers claim they don't work any unpaid overtime in a typical week. On average, each tradesperson completes 5.29 hours of unpaid work a week, totalling 275 hours a year and equivalent to around £1,702 in wages (based on the minimum wage).
As the Skills Minister, Mathew Hancock, announces pledges a further £150m pot of funding to enable employers to create the training schemes they need to grow their companies, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's chief executive highlights the need for skills and training to form an integral part of discussions about long term business planning.
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The newly-formed, industry led, cross-sector taskforce has agreed to undertake a review of UK towns and cities to identify through empirical research the property-related barriers to the vitality and performance of town centres.