KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
28th January 2021
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I attended an interesting online press event last week, during which the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation announced Quooker as the latest brand to support the growing organisation, with a specific focus on accelerating plans for work on the KBB installation Apprenticeship initiative. Quooker's six-figure investment - the first instalment of a three-year package of support, will drive the Institute towards delivering the first phase of 'Operation Next-Gen' - the promotion of KBB Apprenticeship opportunities to the next generation - predominantly secondary school senior students. With the dearth of professional fitters the UK currently faces, it was just the news I wanted to hear.
Quooker (UK) managing director Stephen Johnson told us: "We've undergone some of the toughest trading conditions our industry has ever faced. We've seen first-hand how it's affected smaller independent retailers and how changing consumer habits have dramatically impacted sales. Brands are faced with two choices - shrivel up and remain inward focused, or work together, sharing expertise, resources and help the industry rebuild, recover and thrive." It's good to see that he's putting his resources into supporting the second choice...
In an emotional event that reviewed challenges faced by the industry and organisation over the last year, BiKBBI discussed its plans to open 10 new Centres of Excellence across England, ready for the delivery of KBB Fitted Interior Apprenticeships from September. The National rollout will follow the recent successful pilot in the South East. CEO Damian Walters gave a heartfelt thanks to his team, members, retail partners and corporate sponsors, saying: "Without them, we wouldn't be in a position to support the industry as we are. No one else will fix the issue of building a future workforce on this scale and I call upon other brands to follow Quooker's lead - we need more brands to get behind our efforts."
The momentum's growing - and as Chris Parry, director of operations at BiKBBI's 'Protected', confirmed, there has been "impressive and diverse retailer uptake" and the scheme's protection of "tens of thousands of pounds of consumer and installer money during BETA testing."
Exciting times at BiKBBI then... some much needed change now in full swing and the entire industry ready to benefit. With news that we've lost a multitude of fitters as a result of both Brexit and Covid - and knowing that without worthy replacements, our industry will struggle even more, this latest initiative hasn't come a moment too soon.
This Week's News
Roca Group has signed the acquisition of a 75% stake in Royo Group, a European leader in the field of bathroom furniture. Roca has purchased 62% of the company from the American fund HIG and the Royo family will continue to hold 25% of the firm’s capital.
The Bathroom Manufacturers Association chaired a roundtable discussion recently on the provision of public toilets and what needs to change across the UK.
VitrA Bathrooms has published its fourth Design Update magazine. Focusing on Wellness, VitrA invited a number of high-profile designers and architects to contribute to this increasingly influential design-led publication.
• Aspire Trade Kitchens, Glasgow
Yvonne Orgill, managing director at the The Unified Water Label Association (UWLA) is urging KBB retailers to realise the benefits of promoting to consumers, bathroom products that carry the Unified Water Label.
Showerwall, the bathroom wall panelling brand, has produced a new trade brochure and two online training videos to help installers understand the features and benefits of the company’s acrylic and HPL panels and how easy they are to fit.
Formica Group has joined the ArtiCAD Supplier Partnership Programme, which means that its worktop collections for the residential market - Formica Prima, Axiom by Formica Group and Aria - are now available as comprehensive graphics catalogues within the ArtiCAD-Pro software.
Rotpunkt, carbon-neutral manufacturer of quality German Kitchen furniture, allows you to elevate your design ideas in 2021 with a range of new ergonomic living solutions, which embody the latest trend for hybrid kitchen design where strong architectural detail and an urban colour palette set the tone.
Verona has relocated its distribution centre to Doncaster, creating a hub that will service the whole of the UK more efficiently. A renowned tile distributor that specialises in supplying market-leading ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tiles to national and independent customers from its head office in Leeds, Verona moved its distribution operation to a new state of the art warehouse facility in Thorne, to support the business in distributing stock to customers throughout the UK.
In 2016 Grohe’s Rapid SL flushing system became the first installation system in the bathroom industry to be awarded the sought-after Quiet Mark seal of approval. Now, the new and improved SLX system - designed to cater to the ever-increasing range of rimless toilets entering the market and the steady growth of shower toilets also infiltrating the sector - has been awarded the very same recognition.
A colour that will remind householders of the mist that settles across lush green meadows on fresh mornings, Green Mist revives kitchens, delivering a space perfect for cooking and dining.
Whirlpool UK Appliances, the home of Hotpoint, Indesit, Whirlpool and KitchenAid brands, (which has just received the Top Employer award for the fourth consecutive year in the UK in The Top Employers Institute programme) has donated appliances to a food bank in Wales to support the vital work done by its staff and volunteers.
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Buildbase and The Range have become the latest high profile retailers to adopt the ProtectMyInstall.co.uk platform for their retail kitchen and bathroom operations - an installation service with a number of unique features to protect both installers and their customers.
“Futurebuild 2022 will elevate innovation, showcasing the products, solutions and ideas that will deliver the transformational change needed to address climate change,” says Martin Hurn, event director.
This has led to consumers re-evaluating their homes to ensure they meet a wider range of needs, including enhancing the kitchen to support the increase in home cooking and being more hygienic. As a result, InSinkErator has witnessed a spike in sales of its range of food waste disposers.