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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
30th September 2011


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

International News

Solo style for the cloakroom from HiB

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Exclusive to popular bathroom products supplier HiB, two new Solo floor standing furniture units have been designed to advance both contemporary style and quality in the cloakroom of the modern home.

When a Little John makes a big difference...

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2011 is a landmark year for LittleJohn, the Hampshire-based bathroom retailer, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. Founded by Bill Gosney and his wife Pearl in 1991, the family-run business has flourished over the years. Today it employs 18 people and has designed and installed around 2,500 quality bathrooms across Hampshire, West Sussex and Surrey.

Bushboard's premium Omega laminate worktop range now even better!

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Hot on the heels of the August Encore solid surface relaunch, Bushboard is continuing its proactive product drive with a newly unveiled upgraded Omega laminate worksurface range.

Carron Phoenix's new Bali tap complements best-selling Bali sink range

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Designed with its popular Bali sink range in mind, Carron Phoenix has developed a dedicated tap range to ensure the perfect design complement responding to both retailer and consumer demand for a matching tap.

Mereway joins the Articad supplier partnership

CAD specialist for the KBB sector, ArtiCAD, has announced that Mereway has joined the company's thriving Supplier Partnership Programme. The full range of Mereway's kitchen cabinets, encompassing over 70 different finishes, including MFC, foil-wrapped, veneer, solid wood and painted finishes in slab, shaker and curved door styles, are now available as a comprehensive and easy to search graphics catalogue within ArtiCAD-Pro.

Exquisite Elba from Franke

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The Elba ELK sink from Franke is stylish, practical and great value for money. To cater for all requirements, two models are available.

The heavy duty Elba ELK has an attractive drainer design and is finished in gloss white for a fashionable look that is equally at home in either a modern or traditional kitchen.

Designs for all seasons

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Renolit Cramlington has announced four new designs recently launched into the UK & Ireland's regional 3D stock range.

International Water Education Conference now underway

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Nearly 200 people from almost 40 countries are gatheredin Bozeman, Montana this week to discuss how education can lead to sustainable solutions for global water issues. The Sustaining the Blue Planet: Global Water Education Conference kicked off with a Sponsors' Reception on Tuesday evening and will continue through Friday. General sessions and interactive workshops will explore innovations in water education; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); technology and water education; water education in corporate sustainability; and more.

Elegant Glassline from Hafele

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Hafele offer a broad range of storage solutions to suit all kitchens and together with their partner Vauth Sagel have launched Premea Glassline, an innovative collection of interior cabinet storage systems that can be tailored to meet design demands.

Perfect portfolio of traditional taps

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Introduced earlier this year, the new Portfolio 55 collection from Franke is an exclusive range of taps designed for the style conscious consumer who demands quality products for the kitchen. There is a total of 14 taps in the Portfolio 55 range, four of which are traditional timeless designs - the Verona, Venician, Vecchio and Rialto.

Welcome to the

Since being caught out some years ago, I have believed strongly in the need to employ a trained and qualified professional to do any work for me. Anyone I call in also has to come high on the Checkatrade listings AND be a member of a reputable trade organisation.

The Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers' 'Installation Standards Pledge' (see this week's news for our report) really hit home when I learned about it, as I am as aware as anyone that more needs to be done to change consumers' often poor perception of kitchen and bathroom installation standards and force out the rogue traders.

I realise it wasn't a full installation but I had a taste of the rogue trader recently when I sliced my fridge/freezer cable in two. My first visit was to www.checkatrade.com to see which fridge/freezer specialist or manufacturer's repairer I should contact. There were several candidates, but all suggested that rather than pay their rates (a £65 minimum call out charge for a simple 10 minute job) I should save myself some money by calling an electrician who would do it on a job price.

None of the local electricians were free that day but the Thomson Local had just been delivered and although I don't normally use it I thought I'd see what it had to offer.

One advertiser had a double page spread and was plastered with the logo of a reputable builders' trade association. It claimed to be able to look after its customers' needs immediately and that all its technicians were experienced and fully qualified. The representative told me there was a flat rate charge of £49 per half hour plus materials and knowing it would only be a 10 minute job I booked to have my lead replaced.

* dodgy-wiring.jpgThe engineer arrived on time but didn't know quite what job he was supposed to be doing and didn't have a replacement lead. He didn't even know how to remove the old lead from the appliance and said he had never done it before. Nor did he have a plug on him - I had to go and select another not-so-crucial appliance so he could remove the plug from that and use it in the Heath Robinson-effect repair he carried out on the old lead. To cap it all he did not have any electrical tape with which to bind the join and suggested I buy some and finish the repair myself!

To cap it all, he then tried to charge me double for the work as he'd been at my house for 40 minutes - he even threatened to remove his piece of cable if I did not pay up! After a long conversation with head office I was allowed to keep the cable and warned that the tape of my booking would be played back and if it was found that I hadn't misheard the quote I would have to pay the remainder.

The company emailed me the recording and I felt that rather than quibble over the quote regarding the time, my argument should hinge on the fact that I had specifically asked for a cable replacement and that the company had broken its contract. My refund came a week later and I put this down to my threat to inform the trade association and the company's knowledge that I wasn't going to let it get away with this shoddy work. I wonder how another woman with less confidence and knowledge would have fared.

I welcome the iKBBI pledge with open arms and hope the rest of the industry embraces it too.



Jan Hobbs


This Week's News

More UK retailers could collapse ahead of rent quarter due

* Manches-Siobhan-Jones.jpgRetailers woes likely to mean more firms going under this week rather than pay their next quarter's rent, a property specialist warns.


iKBBI Launch Installation Standards Pledge

* kbbi-Brian-Binley-MP.jpgThe iKBBI is excited to announce the introduction of its innovative Installation Standards Pledge.

Steel adds Mega Wok burner to hob options

* Steel-Ascot-A12FF-6M.jpgSteel, renowned throughout Europe for its quality and beautifully designed professional range cookers and kitchen appliances, is adding a Mega Wok burner to its extensive range of hob options.

As eating in becomes the new eating out, homeowners are reaching to different continents to create a variety of dishes for their guests. Steel's new powerful 4.6kWh Mega Wok burner makes it easy for consumers to create an Asian inspired meal. The powerful flame also creates a dramatic atmosphere for an evening in.

Issue 7 of AMA's Quarterly Housebuilding Bulletin just published

The 7th issue of the 'Housebuilding and RMI Forecasts Bulletin Great Britain' is now available, providing a quarterly review of the domestic construction sector including new housebuild and RMI.

Imperial Bathrooms unveils luxurious marble & granite consoles

* Imperial-Bathrooms-granite-worktops.jpgImperial Bathrooms - the renowned British manufacturer of luxury bathroom products for the discerning - has further extended its collection of free-standing basin stands with a range of marble and granite consoles that boast 'his and hers' options.

Comprising five models - Oban, Adare, Hardwick, Nevis and Troon - these latest consoles not only provide a lavish alternative to the plethora of modular vanity units currently available in the marketplace, they appeal to those with epicurean tastes in exceptional quality and timeless design.

Harry Wins Gold at Skillbuild Final

* Harry_Coyle,_Leeds_College_of_Building.jpgThe Skillbuild 2011 National Final took place from 14th to 16th September at Leeds College of Building, with the College's own Harry Coyle taking 1st place in the Wall & Floor Tiling category.

Product launch success

* Utopia-Master-Bathrooms.jpgThe recent success of Utopia's Spring Product Launch has surpassed the company's expectations, with significant numbers of new displays featuring i-line, Symmetry and Encurva, appearing in retailer showrooms.

According to the company, the benefit of this major product launch is gathering real pace, despite the difficult market conditions. Stunning new displays are appearing nationwide as many retailers respond to both the products and Utopia's new showroom display concept.

Ellis Furniture unveils impressive bathroom and kitchen brochures

* Ellis-Furniture-2011brochures.jpgEllis Furniture - a leading manufacturer of kitchen, bathroom and bedroom furniture - has launched two impressive brochures to tempt consumers. The new bathroom range brochure and kitchen supplement present the high quality, beautifully designed furniture, and support the introduction of 18 new product ranges.

New industry training course a real success

* training-courses-Whirlpool.jpgThe first Level 2 Sales & Customer Care course for the KBB industry was run by Graham Hayden at the Whirlpool Training centre in Croydon on 14th September.

Stuart Turner launches Wasteflo range

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Stuart Turner remains at the forefront of design technology and product innovation and while this has traditionally enabled the company to engineer solutions to boost clean water, this October will see its product portfolio strengthened further with the introduction of the all new 'wasteflo' brand!

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
Portuguese sanitaryware manufacturer Sanindusa has opened its first UK base and employed a sales team. The Dartford, Kent office, houses sales, administration and warehouse/logistics. E: [email protected]

Philippe Starck
has introduced some striking new geometric variations to his classic bathroom collections for Duravit. E: [email protected]

Ideal Standard
, has appointed Alex de Courcy as UK Sales Director. He was previously Sales & Marketing Director UK & Ireland at 3M Consumer & Retail. T: 0 1482 346461

, has revised the design of its high gloss, ceramic Lincoln single bowl and drainer to be compatible with both laminate and solid worktops. E: [email protected] 
How to contact us at The KBzine:
Jan Hobbs
Publishing Editor
Email:[email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)1372 811 307 
Mobile: 07980 288 373





John Austen
Publishing Director
Email:[email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)1580 755 863
Mobile: 07766 707 888
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Recent News

Smart Systems partners with Miele on innovative online contract quoting service

Smart Systems, a pioneer in business solutions for the kitchen and bathroom industry, and Miele, a world leader in the production of high quality domestic appliances, have announced the launch of an online contract quoting facility, which aims to provide Miele's Project Partners with the highest level of service in the industry. The system, which utilises Cloud computing, is open to all Miele Project Partners and promises to instantly deliver increased efficiency.

Cut the Vat, says the BMA!

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association has been a long supporter of the campaign for a reduced rate of VAT on home repair and improvement work.

Are you attending InstallerLive this year?

From 16th -19th October at the NEC Birmingham, InstallerLive will provide you with new skills and knowledge to take advantage of the vast business opportunities open to you as you transition towards low carbon ways of working.

Refurbishment project suffers severe setbacks following electrical explosion

A worker on a refurbishment project sustained serious burns in an electrical explosion after a North London company failed to carry out basic Health & Safety checks. The injured man was working on a construction site at Leonard Street, Islington, when the blast occurred. City of London Magistrates' Court heard that the explosion was caused when a main electrical supply cable to the site was cut during its removal.

Caesarstone serves an ace at Wimbledon

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The luxurious competitors lounge at the Wimbledon Tennis Club required a surface for the dining area, which complemented its style and heritage while providing a high level of functionality. The solution was the beautiful Caesarstone Titanium quartz surface in a 30mm thickness with a 50mm formed edge which was installed by Cheshire Marble (Fabricator and Installer).

Employers and interns get clarity on minimum wage

Guidance providing greater clarity for businesses that offer work experience, placements and internships was published yesterday, as announced in the Social Mobility Strategy in April.

De Dietrich awards service contract to Assurant Solutions

De Dietrich Kitchen Appliances has appointed Assurant Solutions as the provider and administrator of all service repair contracts for both De Dietrich and Fagor brands in the UK*.

AGA Rangemaster says streamlined processes improve profit performance

The AGA Rangemaster Group has released the results of its first half year trading statement for the 2011 financial year... and the Midlands-based specialist in range cooking and kitchen living has announced an improved profit performance, with a marked rise in operating profit to £2.9 million from £0.8 million.

Zanussi fridge freezer one of Which? magazine's Top 10 Space Savers

Which? has named the 'Best Buy' Zanussi ZRT318W fridge freezer as one of its 'Top 10 space-saving kitchen gadgets'.

The 50cm wide ZRT318W was also awarded 5 stars for both fridge and freezer temperature stability.

Just Add Water - Ellis Furniture joins forces with Fayers

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Ellis Furniture is delighted to announce its partnership with Fayers independent plumbing, heating and builders' merchant group, which sees Ellis Furniture bathrooms displayed in all three smart London-based bathroom showrooms under the Just Add Water brand.

20-20 Technologies strikes the right chord for Symphony

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Fusion, by 20-20 Technologies, has been working with the UK's largest privately owned manufacturer of fitted kitchen, bedroom and bathroom furniture, the Symphony Group, for around 20 years to deliver advanced design software.


Kitchens International strengthens its team

Scottish kitchen designer and retailer Kitchens International has made several new appointments and promotions as the company expands in Scotland.


EQ expanding businesses online

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KBB retailers and manufacturers wishing to expand their businesses selling products online and has caused some controversy in recent months. EQ Software, a facilitator for this increased activity through its popular eStore web solution, has proved with many customer sites now developed and live, that kbb business on the web is growing at a rapid pace and is here to stay.

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