KBzine: your kitchen and bathroom industry news - first
17th May 2013
Made from 100% natural stone resin and finished with a gel coat surface, the Slab tray is super strong and elegant, creating the perfect and much desired minimalist look. The tray can simply be installed onto a hard or wooden floor or easily as a level access tray.
The Building Research Establishment is working with Franshion Properties (China), one of China's leading state owned developers, to give businesses an opportunity to showcase their most innovative and sustainable technologies in a new eco-city in China.
Suppliers and partners from the UK and elsewhere in the world could have their technologies featured in Franshion's Sustainable Building Exhibition Centre in the Meixi Lake Eco-City, a new community in Changsha, Hunan Province.
Launched in 2010 and significantly extended at kbb2012, the current range comprises 17 effects, all combining the popular look of natural quartz and stone with the practicality and unlimited creative potential of an acrylic-based material. The worktops are completely non-porous so perfect for kitchen and bathroom environments and, because there is no substrate, there are no internal joints to compromise structural integrity or hinder imaginative design.
The basin/bidet taps range is wide and varied - four styles of basin monobloc mixers, mini for cloakrooms and compact basin sizes, standard, tall for larger and free-standing basins plus a wall-mounted model with backplate with softened corners. The bidet mixer is supplied complete with a slotted pop-up waste, flexi tails and metal meshed aerator.
The European Commission has proposed EU-wide methods for companies to measure and communicate their 'greenness' and the environmental footprint of their products. The voluntary scheme, called Building the Single Market for Green Products, will make use of the EU Joint Research Centre's controversial 'lifecycle assessment' method (LCA) for calculating the environmental performance of a product.
Barry Ashmore, construction industry veteran and founder of StreetwiseSubbie.com, was invited to an evidence session in Parliament this week to speak to a cross party group of MPs regarding the state of the construction industry owing to late payments and unfair payment terms.
I can remember my mother being quite put out a few years back when I refused to shop at the new Homebase superstore that had ousted the local independent garden centre, so you can perhaps imagine that she would have become quite cross with me when the new Sainsbury's superstore opened up on the outskirts of town and I refused to take her there too. I said she'd rue the day she supported such outlets; that they would put the smaller independents out of business, subsequently take away our choice and make life difficult for those that had to rely on public transport.
Before long our town centre Sainsbury's closed down (it had probably been planned that way from the beginning despite assurances that it would remain open) and we had to get used to the superstore as it was the only proper store within easy driving distance. Then someone decided it was too small, it was almost doubled in size and try as she might my mother can't shop there as she can't stay on her feet for the three-plus hours it takes to get around and locate what she needs. Most other shoppers look thoroughly tired and miserable too, they can be quite grumpy and the place certainly seems a lot emptier than it used to be.
And if I want to buy a nail or cuphook of a particular size I can no longer visit the local hardware shop as it's not there anymore; I have to go to Homebase and buy a packet - most of the contents of which will be wasted. But at least I have a car and can get there; many others don't and the buses don't stop nearby either.
Talk to the independent kitchen, bathroom and bedroom retailers and they'll tell you business is suffering because consumers feel more comfortable visiting the big DIY stores to choose their new wares and that one of the reasons for this is that they feel they'll need to spend less. That's not always the case though, is it? But how do we let them know that?
Two companies I've spoken with this week are tackling the problem head on with a view to enticing consumers back into the smaller, independent shops. You can read all about their initiatives - one aimed at the bathroom market and the other at kitchens, below.
Another - independent retailer Heart of the Home - is taking its business to the consumers in the form of a small lorry kitted out with some fabulous cabinetry, which I've seen at my local market a couple of times on a Saturday... I'll be talking to the company soon to see whether this exercise is proving worthwhile.
I don't know who said, "Use them or lose them" but I couldn't agree more...
This Week's News
Why are consumers staying away from bathroom showrooms in favour of the Internet, the chains and DIY multiples? According to Roger Cooper, director at UK Bathroom Brands, one of the main reasons is that the big names are not doing enough to drive customers into showrooms.
Speaking at an event held at the new Crosswater showroom on Wednesday, he said that today's consumer is far more discerning and draws on information that is readily available from many different sources.
Franke has updated its popular 'Franke Experience' App for iPad users as part of its major 2013 product update which boasts a range of new products. The App was first released in early 2012 and is a tool for retailers and consumers, enabling them to browse the full Franke portfolio of products in sinks, taps, hoods and waste management products.
The App has been updated with all the very latest products launched in April and was released to retailers at the beginning of May.
Dave Button has joined the Board of Crosswater Holdings as Sales Director. Dave, who was with Ideal Standard for 25 years until 2011, joins Crosswater at an exciting time for the company. In his new position, he will take responsibility for the company's retail team and also spearhead the overall market development of Crosswater's value brand, Adora.
For the past two years, Dave has worked outside of the industry and successfully established a new UK business for a Scandinavian based organisation.
According to the Health & Safety Executive's 'Driving at Work' publication, the biggest cause of occupational fatality is driving on business. There are more than 20 people killed and a further 250 seriously injured every week.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents states that: "Drivers who were using a mobile phone were nine times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident," while the National Safety Council in the US notes that: "Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted" (US Government Distraction).
The activity, which forms part of a wider campaign by Geberit to promote the concept of shower toilets with UK consumers and create a category for WCs that clean you with water, is designed to help drive traffic through the doors of Geberit AquaClean's retail partners.
Gorenje has received The Reader's Digest Trusted Brand award in the category of home appliances in Slovenia for the seventh year in a row.
The Trusted Brand survey measured the confidence of European consumers in marketed products, national policy, occupations, and personalities. It compiled responses from 18,314 European consumers, of which 961 were from Slovenia. Alongside Slovenia, the survey included Germany, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Finland, Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal and Russia.
Vado's recently introduced Vertix collection includes stylish vertical thermostatic shower valves specifically designed to give a sleeker profile than equivalent horizontal exposed shower valves. A compact, easy to fit shower valve, its distinctive vertical fitting creates a streamlined, minimalist effect on the wall.
The collection consists of round and square vertical shower valves along with a chic rigid riser shower kit option that offers versatility and value for money.
The first is an animated video that demonstrates the many benefits to consumers of buying a kitchen from their local independent specialist. Following extensive and ongoing focus group research, the findings have revealed that many consumers do not understand what an independent kitchen retailer stands for. Many think independents only offer bespoke kitchens and therefore perceive them to be out of their price range.
Gas hobs add drama and flair to cooking, which is ideal for when entertaining at home, and is the fuel of choice for the hobby chef. Steel's new Genesi collection of built-in gas hobs is available in three sizes to suit a range of kitchen styles, with both four and five burner models on offer.
The smallest hob in the range at 60cm wide is the GP6B-4, which features three gas burners and a wok burner. The GP7B-5 is the next size up in the range and is 75cm wide with four gas burners and a powerful wok burner. The largest hob in the range, the GP9B-5, is sized at a statement-making 90cm wide, with four gas burners offering different leels of power and a 3.8kW wok burner.
Dimplex has introduced a new electric Compact Corner towel rail, perfect for utilising the corner space in a bathroom or wet room. The CPTC Compact Corner towel rail can be mounted at any height to suit other fittings and adds a touch of luxury to any bathroom.
Finished in high quality chrome, it not only rapidly dries and warms towels, but it is also an excellent storage solution as towels can be neatly folded and placed in the individual sections.
For its 2013 product update, Carron Phoenix has revamped its brochure format. In place of one single brochure, now there are two which segment the company's product offer into the Essential and Elite ranges.
The Essential range centres on the value-led products aimed at the mid-lower end of the market, while the Elite range focuses on Carron's design proposition for the mainstream mid-market consumer. The brochures are now available to retailers.
Holloways of Ludlow allocates a Project Manager to oversee every bespoke kitchen installation, and to ensure that cabinets, worktops, appliances and accessories are delivered and installed in an organised and professional manner. Emma is moving from her previous role as a kitchen designer at Holloways of Ludlow, where she demonstrated excellent communication skills, an aptitude for organisation, and a passion for good customer service.
The Cannes Film Festival opening gala dinner was held within the Electrolux Agora Pavilion for the third consecutive year. Guests, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman were treated to a five course meal all cooked on Electrolux professional appliances.
"We are bringing nearly 100 years of expertise and relationships with 50% of Europe's Michelin starred restaurants to support the Cannes Film Festival," says Olivia Kaye, Experiential Manager, Electrolux. "In order to cater for 648 guests Electrolux partner chefs Anne Sophie Pic and Bruno Oger are relying on the same Electrolux appliances installed within the Electrolux Agora Kitchen as those present within their own restaurant kitchens to gurantee Michelin star results."
The InSinkErator Under-Sink Chiller is ideal for those warmer days when only a cool, refreshing soft drink will do. This sleek unit is one of the most compact in the world, and fits neatly under the sink to provide delicious chilled water quickly and easily.
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A package of measures put in place by the logistics sector for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games that includes more night-time deliveries could, if adopted permanently, improve some of our traffic issues and bring environmental benefits too, while helping to make roads safer for cyclists and other vulnerable users. It includes:
- More night-time deliveries
- Consolidation of loads onto fewer vehicles, and;
- Much improved levels of communications between local authorities, operators, customers and employees
Gerald Ratner was the businessman who did just that. He fell from grace after an unfortunate gaffe. He has since struggled to climb back to the top and now knows a lot more about customers from the valuable lessons he learnt on the day he described one of the products he sold as 'total crap'.
Leading experts in Environment from EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, and manufacturing companies across the UK met this week to make key recommendations to the revision of guidance to ISO14001, the widely used standard for Environmental Management Systems that customers use to differentiate between suppliers.
The hunt is on once again for Britain's most efficient and sustainable manufacturers. EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, and ENER-G have launched the Environment award category as part of the fifth annual Future Manufacturing Awards with companies eligible to win two prestigious awards at regional and national level.
Consumer champion Which? has included AEG in the shortlist for the 'Best Home Appliance Brand' category for this year's awards.
The annual Which? Awards publicly recognise businesses that have achieved positive change and deliver excellent products and services that score highly in Which? testing.
An unregistered gas fitter has received a suspended prison sentence for illegally carrying out sub-standard gas work at a property in Essex. Steven Arnold, 51, trading as Thermostat Plumbing & Heating Services of Hackney, north east London, installed a boiler, pipework and a new cooker fitting at a property in Leigh on Sea. However, neither he nor the person he paid to help him carry out the work were registered with Gas Safe Register as qualified and competent to carry out gas work.
July sees the beginning once more of Independent Retailer Month - a campaign that has been supported since its launch by The Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association.
The aim of the campaign is to highlight the benefits of using independent retailers and their role in their communities, in addition to their contribution to the retail sector and their own local economies.
Van users have been reminded by The Fuelcard People of ever-tighter emissions controls. Steve Clarke, group marketing manager, said: "Life is already tough for anyone running vans or other LCVs, but those who fail to address emissions reduction will find it getting harder. As restrictions spread, the worst polluters will soon find themselves running out of road.
Electrolux says it is delighted to be hosting the fabulous CookIt! competition for children in its fully kitted training kitchens at the company's Luton Head Office.
Cook It!, the Guild of Food Writers' children's cookery competition, is part of a national children's food and cookery education campaign launched by the Guild of Food Writers in 2003.
Darren Colvin, who has been working for the Furniture Industry Research Associationas a technician since 1996, started his new role as one of three Technician Supervisors last week. As a Supervisor, he will be responsible for the recruitment, training and monitoring of the technicians to ensure the delivery of a high-quality service to meet demand. He will be responsible for organising up to 80 technicians that handle over 3,000 referrals per month.
Utopia's Visualise is an interior design function, available on the company's website, which visually demonstrates thousands of combinations available to choose from Utopia's luxurious range.