KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
25th February 2011


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Please note that you are viewing an archived issue of The KBzine.

International News

Extraction on demand

Premium Italian cooker hood producer Falmec has introduced Plane On Demand, the new customisable extractor based on its popular Plane model.

The latest in steam cuisine

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Offering a healthy, convenient alternative to conventional cooking methods, appliance manufacturer Baumatic has launched a new compact steam combi oven into its popular Premium-Line collection.

Gorenje joins Hollywood star in raising money for charity

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Gorenje, the Slovenian manufacturer famed for its creative and innovative appliances, joined Hollywood star Kevin Costner in raising money for a good cause at a 'Diners Club of Slovenia' event.

Russia warms to steam free mirrors

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Claimed to be Russia's largest manufacturer of bathroom furniture, Aquaton, has warmed to demista heated mirror pads for its fitted vanity units. Ruth and David Perl of R & D Marketing (demista ) met the Aquaton management at the Mosbuild trade show in Moscow in 2008. "They showed tremendous interest in our products," reports David.

LDL expands nationwide presence with new Scottish office

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LDL, the nationwide distributor of quality furniture fittings, has joined forces with AH Distributors of Cumbernauld to form LDL (Scotland). Designed to consolidate and strengthen LDL's presence in Scotland, the office and showroom will be run by Lloyd Connachan, founding director of AH Distributors.

Maytag adds to iconic refrigeration range

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Top quality manufacturer Maytag has added to its iconic and highly distinctive range of refrigeration appliances with the launch of a new stainless steel MNN20FCSl7 side-by-side fridge freezer.

World Plumbing Day 2011 to see increased industry activity

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It looks likely that the second World Plumbing Day - on Friday 1th March 2011,will see even more industry activity than on the first Day in 2010.

Welcome to the

Having reviewed the latest CIPD/KPMG labour market survey that was issued this week, I'm disturbed by the news that demand for skilled migrant (non EU) workers has increased despite rising levels of unemployment, with more than a fifth of employers planning to recruit migrant workers in the first quarter of 2011.

I'm amazed that almost two thirds (63%) of UK employers report that non-EU workers have allowed them to increase productivity, with public sector employers more likely to report productivity improvements (66%) than private sector employers (50%).

"The introduction of the temporary cap on migration has had an impact on employers' ability to fill vacancies and improve productivity," says the report's author Gerwyn Davies. "It remains questionable whether the increase in the number of employer-related visas issued by the Government for the next year will be enough to address the projected increase in the demand for migrant workers.  

"We should not forget that the UK still has skills shortages in many key areas, nor should we forget that the number of non-EU workers amounts to the tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands.  So while it is right to highlight our concern about rising unemployment, we should not overlook the benefits and invaluable expertise and experience that a relatively small number of non-EU workers bring to the UK economy.

"Keeping out skilled non-EU workers won't help unemployed people in the UK in the near term, but could have real and negative consequences for business and the public sector."

Figures show that in the UK, around one fifth of 18 - 24 year olds are out of work - something that is reflected throughout much of the EU. As the mother of someone who graduated in July with an excellent First Class Honours Degree in Environmental Hazards (majoring in Flood Risk Assessment and Management - now surely that's a growth area!), who won the prize for producing the best final year project and who since her internship finished in December has been unable to find any work at all - despite having glowing references and all the necessary people skills. I have to ask the question "Why?"

Why are we not training all our own people in the required skills, so we don't have this massive unemployment problem whilst buying in workers from overseas - and why are migrant workers able to increase productivity so dramatically?

We know what skills are needed and we know the levels of expertise required. And at one stage we used to be able to instil in our young people the desire to do the very best that they could - all the time - and that hard work, loyalty and commitment are important in the workplace. My daughter certainly knows it, so why doesn't everyone else's?

We're clearly doing something very, very wrong and the issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.



Jan Hobbs


This Week's News

Wood you believe it?

* tile-trade-assoc-wood-tiles.jpgThe latest fashion in ceramic floor tiles is wood! Yes, wood effect tiles have been extremely popular in Europe for a few years and they are now finding their way onto the British market, says the Tile Trade Association. Why have wood effect tiles? Most of the wood effect tiles on the UK market are hard wearing porcelain; they have beauty of wood in a product that will last a lifetime in a domestic setting with little or no maintenance. No need to worry about imprints from chair legs or to ask your female visitors to remove their high heeled shoes.

Brussels plans asset freeze for bad payers

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding says we need to do more to support small companies that engage in cross-border trade by introducing a European order to freeze the bank accounts of bad payers across borders.

Wake up to Kate & Will's commemorative sliding doors

* titan-KATEWILL-pink.jpgForget commemorative tea towels, mugs, plates and coins - they're so Charles and Di. For this year's Royal Wedding, die-hard memorabilia collectors can have Kate and William on their sliding wardrobe doors!

A composite range with some added sparkle!

* Gemini-from-Leisure-Sinks.jpgThe stylish and highly durable composite range from Leisure Sinks now offers homeowners and specifiers greater choice and flexibility in kitchen design.

Environmental support for food waste disposers

The Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management (CIWEM) has issued a Policy Position Statement supporting the use of food waste disposers in the management of food waste from kitchens.

In an update to its policy position, the CIWEM has highlighted the fact that in-sink FWDs are an environmentally acceptable option for separating food waste at source and conveying it to treatment and use via existing infrastructures.

New black look for Maytag's Trilogy

* Maytag-Trilogy.jpgMaytag's three-door Trilogy fridge freezer, one of the most distinctive models in the company's premium range of refrigeration, is now available in a classic black glass and stainless steel finish.

Vac from the Sea competition winner joins expedition

* Brit-in-Life-Jacket.jpgElectrolux Vac from the Sea project: blogger Brit Liggett wins the 5 Gyres competition

Brit Liggett, a 26 year old blogger from Brooklyn, New York, wins the Electrolux and 5 Gyres competition, where first prize is becoming a crew member on the forthcoming 5 Gyres research expedition through the Beagle Channel in March.

Within the framework of the Vac from the Sea-project, Electrolux and renowned research organisation 5 Gyres have invited one person to join the 5 Gyres research expedition through the Beagle Channel, Chile. Devotees from around the world competed to become the crew member by submitting a short film explaining why they deserved the placement.

Methven launches Vision and Values

* Methven-UK-long-servers.jpgMethven UK ended 2010 on a high with a special event on 10th December for more than 100 members of staff to celebrate the launch of the company's Vision and Values and the transfer of the Deva business to Methven UK.

Record-breaking year for KBB Review Industry Awards

Organisers of the kbbreview Industry Awards 2011 are celebrating another record-breaking year for entries.

Judges including Johnny Grey, Andrew Randall from Tsunami, Cheryl Gurner from Bathrooms International, Matt Thomas from John Lewis, Paul Rowland from CP Hart and Simon Taylor have completed the first stage of judging, going through hundreds of entries to draw up a shortlist for each of the 14 categories, including kitchen and bathroom designs for residential projects as well as Awards for Master Retailer and Showroom of the Year.

Ellis Furniture welcomes new marketing manager

* Richard-Fitzmaurice_Ellis-Furniture.jpgEllis Furniture has welcomed Richard Fitzmaurice to the team as marketing manager. Taking responsibility for the marketing of the brand across domestic and commercial markets, Richard started his new position January 2011.

Get your business on track with help from new tools

Around 40% of SMEs in the UK - two million businesses - do not keep adequate records, even though they are legally bound to keep them, to make sure they make a correct income tax or corporation tax self assessment return. Failure to take reasonable care in record-keeping leads to a loss of around £6.5billion in tax every year.

Free tools to help SMEs get their business records ship shape were launched this week by HM Revenue & Customs.

Atag joins EQ Software

Atag, the Dutch company famous for its technologically advanced built-in kitchen appliances exclusively available to the kitchen specialist, has signed up with EQ Software, the dedicated business management software solution for the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom market.

Using EQ Software allows kitchen specialists to access brochures, images, product information and prices for Atag's extensive range of professional-quality appliances quickly and easily. With the assurance of up to date information, kitchen specialists can sustain a high level of efficiency and accuracy, producing expert plans and quotes for the consumer.

The KBzine Archive Search

We keep an extensive archive of news stories and product information that have featured in past issues of The KBzine. If you would like to run a search of the The KBzine web site using the search tool below please just go ahead by entering in the name of the person, product or company or any other key words that you are looking for.

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News in Brief


Boasting 1300 exhibitors, Ecobuild is the world's biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment. As well as 100s of interesting new products to discover, there will be a free conference and more than 130 free seminars. The show moves this year to the ExCel centre in London's Docklands. It starts next Tuesday and runs until 3rd March, opening at 10.00 each morning and finishing at 17.00, 18.00, 16.00 respectively. You'll need more than a full day to take it all in... Hope to see you there! www.ecobuild.co.uk

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

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John Austen
Publishing Director
Tel: +44 (0)1580 755 863
Mobile: 07766 707 888
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 KBzine founded by Richard & Debbie Schwarz


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Recent News

Forging ahead: London's future

London's status as a leading global capital - financially, socially and culturally - has been the subject of much debate in the wake of the worst recession on record. A modern, commercially effective and sustainable built environment is paramount to the successful development of 21st century London as the city rises to the challenges of economic recovery and growth, climate change or realizing the 'Big Society' vision.

Totally successful shows!

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As the Totally Shows (Totally DIY, Totally Tools and Totally Secure) came to a close last week, organiser Brintex confirmed that the events' second year at the NEC had been another successful one.

Ellis Furniture achieves OHSAS 18001

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Ellis Furniture has achieved the Occupational Health & Safety Assurance System (OHSAS) 18001:2007, adding to its ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004 accreditations and thereby fully integrating its quality, environmental and occupational health & safety management systems.

Retail not the source of inflationary pressure, argues BRC

Tuesday's official inflation figures are evidence that little inflationary pressure is coming from the retail sector. The latest numbers from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show Shop Price Inflation running behind both CPI and RPI. The main factors driving inflation are high fuel and transport costs - the result of soaring global commodity prices, not shop prices.

Smart Systems is latest KBSA corporate member

The Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialist Association has announced that Smart Systems is the latest industry supplier to become a corporate member.

Chalon awarded furniture Manufacturing Guild Mark for excellence

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Chalon UK has been awarded the prestigious Manufacturing Guild Mark, awarded by the City livery company, the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, to only to the very best of British furniture manufacturers.

VADO donates £1000 to BIBIC

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Brassware manufacturer Vado has just donated £1000 to the British Institute for Brain Injured Children. For the last few years VADO, like many other companies, has decided against sending Christmas cards to customers, staff and suppliers and instead donated the equivalent cost of the cards and postage to a worthwhile cause.

UK construction sector returned to growth in January

January data signalled a solid expansion of activity in the UK construction sector, with the seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers' Index posting 53.7, up from 49.1 in December. An improvement in weather conditions at the start of the year helped to boost construction work, while there were also gains in new business. Despite rises in both new orders and activity, employment nonetheless fell again.

TTA Lobbies Chancellor on Fuel Price Increases

In common with many other associations, The Tile Association has written to The Right Honourable George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, regarding the fuel price increases. It said:

Quality of management "crucial" to lift employee morale and engagement

This quarter's Employee Outlook Survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development illustrates the extent to which employees are concerned about their standard of living, as inflation continues to erode the real value of wages. The survey of 2,000 employees finds almost a third of staff say their standard of living has worsened over the last six months compared to 10% who say that it has improved.

DEFRA Minister supports BMA's WEPLS

Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, has thrown his weight behind the BMA's Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme.

EDF Energy teams up with Wickes to provide low-cost insulation for millions

EDF Energy, the UK's largest producer of low carbon electricity, has teamed up with Home Improvement retailer Wickes to provide low-cost DIY insulation for domestic households.


Season's greetings from Croydex turn into hard cash for hospice

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The Christmas spirit may have been alive and well at Croydex, yet not a single Christmas card was sent during the recent festive season. Instead, the bathroom accessories company, based in Hampshire, chose to donate the money it would have normally spent on cards, to charity.

A new place of Abode for Michelle

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Michelle Gorst has joined the ever-expanding and successful, Barnsley based, Abode Home Products.

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