KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
27th November 2015
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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.
Signalling the next generation of sophisticated bathroom storage, Xenon comprises a sleek double-sided mirrored cabinet finished off with a luxury LED lighting trim. The result is an uber modern feel, guaranteed to make a boldly contemporary style statement in even the simplest of bathroom designs.
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.
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.
This Week's News
The 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 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.
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.
The 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.
Award-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.
The 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.
UK 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."
Demand 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 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."
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 drawer boxes are manufactured using the finest quality oak and traditional dovetail joints to guarantee a long-lasting and robust product.
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.
Tiling 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 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.
Delighted 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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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.
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.