KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
18th January 2019
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Bathroom & Kitchen Business Conference: Who said you can't mix business with pleasure?
Business Networking, Compliant Product, Modular Building and Demographics were just a few of the topics discussed at this year's Bathroom & Kitchen Business Conference.
The annual event has been designed to expand the minds of its delegates and this year the organiser exceeded expectations.
The event, designed with 'Creating Opportunities out of Change' as its focus, lived up to its promises with speakers carefully selected to inform, provoke reaction and inspire the audience.
The conference, hosted by renowned BBC News presenter Nick Owen, kicked off with motivational speaker Rob Brown, the author of Build Your Reputation and the world's "most recommended networking expert". Rob discussed how a person's network is 'who knows them', and emphasised the need and benefit, of building a network that endorses your reputation that ultimately creates opportunities.
Following Rob, the event saw its first industry panel, discussing the importance of compliant product that is available, sold and installed in the market place. Panelists included WRAS chairman and chartered civil engineer Stephen Kay, and solicitor and regulatory service director at Emms Gilmore Liberson Solicitors, Peter Adkins. Each giving an introductory presentation ahead of the discussion, Stephen noted that activity in the market is seeing more bodies giving attention to raising awareness of this important issue in addition to the under resourced trading standards.
Joining the panel via video, Dr Peter Bonfield stressed the importance and relevance of compliance, which besides being the law, is also a consumer expectation.
BMA president Paul Massey said that manufacturers need to work "a lot closer" with trade associations and bodies, as well as end-consumers, to correct the issue of non-compliance, adding that it had to be "very much a team approach".
Peter Adkins highlighted the legal consequences of getting it wrong that will attract severe penalties and prison sentences.
The afternoon session got underway with Modular Building expert Paul Bonaccorsi discussing the future of the construction industry with a shift from traditional construction towards offsite construction, including bathroom pods. This change will provide consumers with choice and flexibility for their homes.
Paul explained to delegates that the skills shortage in the construction industry requires reform in the way the industry works to attract the next generation of workers. He noted that the majority of people with construction skills across the world are in the 45 - 49 year age bracket and around 19% of the UK workforce in the industry are above 55. The time is right for change!
According to Paul, the offsite industry in 2017 is approaching £10bn, making up 10% of the total UK construction market and growing at 25% a year. The offsite construction industry will completely revolutionise the traditional supply chain flow, and attract a new skill set and desperately needed new blood.
Jane Blakeborough brought new perspective on future trends. Jane, the founder and research director of specialist trend monitoring company Trend Monitor, talked about cultural, demographics and consumer trends that will affect the future of the industry.
She says that around 30% of households are non-family households, people who live alone or with unrelated individuals, with this sector being one of the fastest growing. There are currently 1.8 million multi-generational homes which are the households installing additional bathrooms and 7.7 million single-person households across the UK.
Jane also talked about the 'silver pound', our aging population who want to stay at home and are therefore spending money on bathrooms that enable them to 'age in place' and in style.
When it comes to making their bathroom purchases Jane said that most consumers rely on word of mouth but that individualism is on the rise, seeing more consumer 'actively participating' in the choice of their products.
Motivational speaker Casper Berry closed this year's event with a themed talk on risk-taking and the decision-making process to help embrace uncertainty.
Casper talked about the butterfly effect which he explained, discussing how the smallest of incidents can spark the biggest of reactions. Discussing his past life as a world class poker player, he talked about risk-taking and how it is a key part of our everyday life to understand and embrace "undeniable uncertainty".
He emphasised that to be outstanding you need to understand 'negative metrics' and highlighted the message that taking more risks could achieve greater rewards in the long run.
Theday's events concluded with the annual Gala Dinner and Media Awards. Paul Massey took to the stage to announce the winners of this year's awards which had been democratically selected by the BMA membership.
10th November 2017