KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
16th May 2019
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I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been thinking more and more often over recent years that our successive governments have been working against us - and even logic itself - in many of the decisions being made. Some beggar belief to the extent that I wonder whether the decisions are designed to maximise damage and stress. Indeed, more than once I've questioned exactly where the decision-makers are keeping their brains!
HMRC's proposals to fundamentally change the way VAT reductions are applied to household renewable technologies is a case in point. Currently, the 5% reduced rate applies to installations of solar and combined installations of solar and storage, but if implemented, the complicated new proposals will lead to the cost of an installation being charged at 20% VAT if the cost of materials exceeds 60% of the total cost of the installation. Those amongst us who've had a new kitchen or bathroom fitted, will know that unless we're able to afford the very best products and equipment, installation itself is easily the most expensive part...
Currently, most solar-only schemes comfortably fall below the 60% threshold. However, the most cost-effective collective purchase schemes (as well as more premium schemes such as those combined with more complex 'smart' technologies) are at risk. There's also a significant risk to installations altogether as the material costs will likely often breach the 60% threshold.
I applaud associations representing the smart power industry, who've penned a joint letter to Government, calling for the proposals to be scrapped or for the threshold for material costs to be raised to 85%.
I've always believed that our Governments should be doing all they can to encourage us to become as energy-efficient as possible, and that any refurbishment which improves energy efficiency should not only enjoy a reduced rate of VAT but should actually be VAT exempt. Like those petitioning Government, I feel that these HMRC proposals are particularly perverse when the Government has declared a climate emergency and is backing a smart energy system, which would see homes with storage helping to support the grid.
Whether you believe in man-made climate change or not, the way we're living isn't sustainable and people want to take action. Don't you agree that Government should be tearing down any barriers to climate support, rather than putting more up? Where are the ministers hiding their brains, I wonder...
This Week's News
Kitchen, bathroom and bedroom design software specialist ArtiCAD, is to sponsor the 2019 Bathroom & Kitchen Business Conference, set to take place on 7tgh and 8th October at the Carden Park Resort, Chester.
As a premier sponsor, ArtiCAD will have the opportunity to exhibit its design, pricing and management software portfolio, together with online planning and styling tools, and the company's recently launched ArtiVR. Delegates will have the opportunity to experience how the products can help them sell more easily and quickly, as well as discussing their own particular requirements with a team from ArtiCAD.
"Companies in industry must use UK training providers or risk losing them." That was the warning Gary Baker, Furniture & Interiors Education, Skills & Training Alliance (FIESTA) chairman, issued to delegates at the Closing the Gap conference last month.
The event, which took place at Furniture Makers' Hall, London, was organised to inform companies of the looming employment crisis the furniture and interiors industry faces if the emerging skills gap isn't addressed.
Abacus Bathrooms has launched a new interior decorative wall and ceiling panelling system. The transformative M1 Series is a portfolio of fantastic panelling solutions to answer today's demand for design-led, innovative bathrooms and kitchens.
Launched as the perfect alternative to tiles, the inspirational home-improvement range is equally at ease in both modern and classic schemes and offers the retailer and designer the edge in a competitive world.
Good article, how about a lone worker app? A lone worker enters the address they are attending, a start and end time, and has a button to press every hour to show they are alive (working). If the button is not pressed, the address could be sent to a contact to do something.
I am sure there is a bright young thing out there who could create this.
Two Franke Sirius sinks and a Neptune tap have been chosen by a couple on the new BBC2 series, Your Home Made Perfect, in which homeowners can design their dream homes using innovative virtual reality technology.
Two single bowl Sirius SID 110-50 Tectonite sinks in carbon black and a complementary black Neptune swivel tap were selected by Bedfordshire couple Suzanne and Danny for their pared back, plywood kitchen after two architects presented competing interior design options in the show.
VitrA, one of Europe's leading bathroom companies, has expanded both its Designer Collection and the recently launched Signature Collection with a new range of brassware and accessories, available to retailers from the end of June.
Subtle elegant design is the key theme of the outstanding new Origin brassware and accessories range from VitrA. Origin presents retailers, designers and consumers with a complete and versatile collection that is the perfect partner for contemporary sanitaryware.
The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation has confirmed that the leading independent home department store Leekes Group has become its latest Retail Installation Standards Partner today. The Institute has also confirmed that Roman is to become a sponsor.
In a move that will see BiKBBI support Leekes as it works to meet its installation compliance requirement, Institute CEO Damian Walters commented on the announcement as being "significant". Leekes, with a rich history spanning over 120 years, operates from four showrooms: Cross Hands, Llantrisant, Bilston and Melksham - each with over 30 kitchen displays from suppliers including Omega, Symphony, Rotpunkt and designer Laura Ashley.
Ideal for the design conscious, the Svelte collection focuses on the key principles of practicality, simplicity and beauty to create stunning furniture for the bathroom. Specially manufactured using the highest quality materials, the collection is presented across four distinct sizes and finishes to suit all bathroom schemes.
Keller's Washed Oak Elba model is perfect for kitchens large or small. The rustic timber effect melamine-fronted cabinetry provides symmetrical patterns which can be combined with all sorts of worktops and appliances.
Whether it's a large open plan kitchen where units have been used to create an island, or a narrow kitchen where homeowners have opted for the galley-style design, they can add stylish components such as copper light fittings or an integrated extractor hood (as pictured).
As the trend for stunning interiors in restaurants, hotels, interior shops and dining facilities grows, there is a gap in the market in Scotland for specialist designers for this sector. Helen Taylor, one of KI's top designers, has been appointed to head up KI's new commercial interior division. With over 20 years' experience in the retail and contract interior design market, Helen is now focused on using her skills across a wide range of commercial projects.
LDL is consolidating its drive to reduce the company's environmental impact with the introduction of recyclable drink cans and a new cycle shelter. The move follows the recent announcement of LDL's zero-plastic packaging pledge by 2020 and the phasing in of eco-friendly recycled cardboard. According to managing director Simon Ogden, it's all about continually making little steps to pave the way for big change.
A keen cyclist, Simon has invested in a Trek Super Commuter electric bike, a high-performance e-bike specially designed to replace a car and ease daily congestion. In continuation of these principles, LDL has been very vocal in promoting the Cycle to Work Scheme and has recently erected a new bike shelter to encourage everyone to cycle in to work.
Hotpoint is aiming to encourage consumers to wash their clothes at a lower temperature with the company's innovative ActiveCare technology. Hotpoint ActiveCare washing machines can remove more than 100 stains, including coffee and ketchup, at just 20˚C.
Until 30th June 2019, consumers can enjoy the benefits of effective stain removal at a low temperature with the added bonus of £50 cashback when they purchase a selected Hotpoint washing machine. What's more, as a further incentive to choose Hotpoint's ActiveCare range, consumers can also receive a limited edition teddy bear with their purchase.
Joe Lyons, Director of Lyons NI, a Northern Ireland-based kitchen component distributor, braved altitude and rigorous terrain when he climbed the world's highest freestanding mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, in aid of the Irish Rugby Football Union Charitable Trust.
Blanco UK's sponsorship of the trek helped raise funds to support seriously injured rugby players in their everyday lives.
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Gary has worked for Blanco for seven years. His new role means he is responsible for developing effective sales strategies and focusing on customer satisfaction within the Kent and Essex areas.