The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) has today announced the shortlist of finalists for the BiKBBI Installation Awards 2024 – the only awards programme dedicated to recognising and rewarding excellence in the KBB installation sector.
This year saw more than 170 nominations across twelve categories, with all entries scored by an independent panel of judges representing businesses from across the KBB industry, ultimately producing our shortlist of 48 finalists.
The BiKBBI Awards 2024 shortlisted finalists are:
APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Quooker
Aaron Machin, AT Installation Services Limited
Peter Salter, Lima Kitchens
Sienna Tomkins, System XL Limited
Jack Nicholls, Exon Building Services
COMMUNITY CHAMPION OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by InstallerSHOW
TK Kitchens & Bedrooms
AT Installation Services Limited
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHAMPION OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Qure Group
Lewis Home Renovations Limited
The Adroit Services Partnership
INDEPENDENT RETAILER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by MHK UK
JLC Interiors Limited
Bathrooms at Source
Christian Andrews Interiors
INSTALLATION BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Häfele
Simon Taylor Furniture Limited
The Kitchen & Bathroom Installer
Ace Electrical & Plumbing Limited
INSTALLATION MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by CT1
Emma Boreham, Wickes
Keir Butterwick, Wren Contracts
Warwick Hockley, Alexander Kitchens
Ian Cloggie, Christian Andrews Interiors
INSTALLER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Triton Showers
Graham Parnell, The Kitchen & Bathroom Installer
Ross Thompson, Hollands Heating
Michael Miles, Ace Electrical & Plumbing Limited
Leigh Haag, LH Installations
NATIONAL RETAILER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Anthill
YOUNG INSTALLER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Schlüter Systems
Owain Jarvis, AT Installation Services Limited
Callum Keating, AT Installation Services Limited
Aidan Parish, Lima Kitchens
Tom Wallace, Valley Kitchens & Bathrooms
ENVIRONMENTAL CHAMPION OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Trend Tool Technology
Sandy Armitage Designs
INDUSTRY NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Lecico
Reggy Burgees, Bettis Carpentry & Build Limited
Derek Craig, DGC Kitchen Fitters
Freddie Bowles, BESO Furniture
Alex Wickes, Tranquil Construction
A Special Recognition Award, sponsored by Sonas Bathrooms, will also be presented on the evening.
BiKBBI CEO, Damian Walters, commented ‘The BiKBBI Awards continues to grow year or year, both in terms of the number of entries we are seeing, but also in the support and involvement from the wider KBB sector. This year we have seen nominations rise by 30% across all categories and we have, once again, seen the quality of the submissions improve. This year’s finalists should be in no doubt that being shortlisted is a cause for celebration in itself and we look forward to celebrating with them in February at the BiKBBI Awards presentation. It is so important that the installation sector is recognised for the role that it plays in the industry, and therefore our thanks goes to those businesses that are sponsoring the 2024 Awards - their commitment and support is what makes both the Awards programme and the presentation event possible.’
The winners of all eleven categories, along with the winner of the BiKBBI Special Recognition Award will be announced at an Awards ceremony at the prestigious QEII Centre in London’s Westminster on the evening of Tuesday 6 February 2024. Tickets for the 2024 BiKBBI Awards are now on sale now and can be purchased here.
More information on the event and the awards programme can be found at here.
If you are interested in finding out more about the remaining sponsorship opportunities available for the BiKBBI Awards 2023, please contact Leon Rowland on email@example.com or call 01375 213 199, option 4.
BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters responds to today's Autumn Statement delivered by The Chancellor of the Exchequer, following some good news for the self-employed and further commitment to apprenticeships.
"There is a lot that installers and the wider industry will like in the Autumn Statement - not least the cuts in national Insurance for the self employed as well as to the basic rate for people in employment. This will put more money into the pockets of installers, incentivising them to take on more work and reducing customer waiting times.
Making full expensing a permanent will also mean that installers and manufacturers can invest in new equipment with confidence. It was also good to see the Government's further commitment to apprenticeships and we look forward to engaging with them on how to support installation businesses to take on apprentices. We have a meeting with government in a fortnight to discuss this point in particular.
However, the overall economic outlook for the coming years continues to look bleak with forecasts downgraded since the Budget in March and inflation set to remain high. This will have a knock on effect for our industry as people are forced to make difficult choices about what they spend their money on. This has to change, so whichever party wins the election next year, they must deliver growth as an absolute priority."
Access the full statement here.
BiKBBI is delighted to announce Trend Tool Technology as the latest brand within the KBB sector to pledge its support by becoming a corporate sponsor of the institute.
Founded in 1955, Trend Tool Technology is a UK-based specialist in routing, sawblades, abrasives, dust management, and power tool accessories. They have a team of in-house design and technical experts who work closely with the fitted furniture industries, and have developed a range of worktop, cabinet, and door fitting systems that support trade professionals in completing installations with accuracy, speed, and ease.
BiKBBI, a government sanctioned organisation, is focused on driving positive change in the KBB industry through its work on education, standards, sustainability and compliance, ultimately uniting manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and retailers with the installation community. As a not-for-profit organisation, the institute, and its efforts to build a sustainable workforce for the future, is wholly funded by registration fees and corporate sponsorship.
Andrew Trainer, Product Director at Trend commented ‘We are incredibly proud and excited to be partnering with the BiKBBI. Their work in developing the KBB installation industry is invaluable to improving education, compliance, and standards. We have a well-established history of working with trade professionals in this space and feel well-placed to support the institute in achieving their vital goals’.
BiKBBI CEO, Damian Walters said ‘The skills shortage is really beginning to take hold as we continue to navigate through a period of unprecedented demand as a sector, and the work we are doing to bring the industry together to solve the challenges is more vital than ever before. Trend are switched on to what the future could bring and, more importantly, understand the role they can play as we work towards a solution. It is great to have Trend on board, they are a great addition to our line up corporate sponsors - we are both grateful for their support and looking forward to working with them.’
Issue 35 of The Installer Magazine is out now and packed with news, views and useful information for the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom installation community.
It's online, it's completely free and it's available on your laptop, desktop, tablet and smartphone.
In the Autumn 2023 issue:
68 pages await!
CLICK HERE to view online.
By Damian Walters, BiKBBI CEO
As I'm sat on a train heading into London for a day of meetings, I overheard a conversation between two young lads about Black History Month (October). It got me thinking about the most influential people in my life and it sent me on a journey of reflection.
Growing up in South London in the eighties was a multicultural introduction to life for me. A vibrant, colourful and cultural part of the world, I was thankfully surrounded by a rich, diverse community and I would say that this was the foundation of a life that embraces difference.
My late father Don was big into Sunday football, so every week we'd travel around London watching the beautiful game... when I say beautiful, it was far from beautiful most weeks, but it was the way many chose to release the pressure of life and was my first real experience of people of different colours and faiths working together as a unit. Unlike many teams in South London, who at the time were either black or white, every club my dad ever managed was a real mix of talent and colour, many of whom seemed to follow dad from club-to-club. I remember forming some great relationships back then and having a brilliant time following my dad and the sport - but whilst it was my first taste of real cultural togetherness, I did experience many, many instances of racism – which, in the main was shrugged off by the recipient, but was a clear indicator that division was present.
From primary school and early friendships with Arsenal supporting Jamal Evans, who inadvertently led me to women’s football and an early career with Arsenal Ladies, to Marlon Stirling, who shared a love of music and encouraged me into DJ’ing (not that either would know their influence on me), to my later school years, I found some lasting friendships with black lads that really has shaped me as a person.
Whether I was young, naïve, sheltered or all three, I never really experienced cultural divide – as far as I was concerned, there was no differences within our community. But that changed in April 1993 as my school friends and I prepared for our GCSE’s. One day life was fine, the next it wasn’t and that day my outlook on life skewed. Stephen Lawrence, the brother of my good friend and fellow classmate Stuart, was murdered by a group of racist animals on the streets of Eltham in South London and the sheltered life I had led to that point ended abruptly. Life got very real, and I witnessed, at close range, the effects of hate. Hate not caused by anything meaningful, but by a misguided ignorance and inability to look beyond the very, very thin layer of human exterior. The horrors of that day and the subsequent gross injustice led me to a voluntary policing career, because ultimately, I wasn’t prepared to accept what I was seeing and again, perhaps naively, I thought I could make a difference.
Another school buddy, Calvin Bailey – now Wing Commander Calvin Bailey MBE of The Royal Air Force, piloted the last flight out of Kabul as allied forces retreated from Afghanistan. A hugely talented young man, who unbeknown to him, influenced my own son Alfie to join the RAF this month. My complete admiration of Calvin from a distance over the years has rubbed off on my own little family and opened up an exciting chapter for a young, eager 16-year-old Alfie.
As I moved into adult life and a career in the KBB industry, I began working for the furniture giant MFI. Those days were great fun and essentially where I learned my trade. Surrounded by an impressive pool of leadership, including Drew Carter, Billy Quinn and my then line manager Paul Smart, one of the people I gelled with was a lad on the south coast, Michael (Micky) Davis, pictured left. As a newbie to the industry, and not wanting to show my hand to my line manager, I’d often lean on Micky to guide me on all things installation – which he always did, with a huge smile, deep voiced chuckle and the words (which I now use today) “Good Skills”! He had a natural talent for supportive leadership and was a mentor that I can only be eternally grateful to. Sadly, Micky prematurely passed away in 2017, but his memory, teachings and catchphrase will live on forever… one of my sons, only last week, said “Good Skills” and it raised a smile. God bless you Micky.
More recently in life, I formed another lasting relationship with a fellow soldier when serving in the voluntary Armed Forces. I met Dwayne, affectionately known only by me as “Tiny” (pictured below), because, as you guessed, he is the opposite of Tiny (a HGV driving, part-time club bouncer, built like a Sherman Tank). Dug into a sleeping pit, in the middle of the night, in the middle of unfamiliar countryside, I volunteered for century duty just to get away from his giant-like snoring – a noise that would rattle the fillings out of your teeth! Not only a friend for life, but I have the honour of being his son’s godfather.
My life has been shaped by a diverse set of people and circumstances, each representing a stitch in my own tapestry. Like all good tapestries, it requires the coming together of beautiful colours and textures and I am truly blessed to have known and know some amazing, influential people – of all colours.
And 30 years later, I’m back with my old school pal Stuart Lawrence, who joined my business this year as our Diversity Ambassador. A true gent who, on the back of the most awful of circumstances, has dedicated his life to positive change. Together, we will make a difference in our amazing industry.
The British Institute of KBB Installation (BiKBBI) is delighted to announce the appointment of Leon Rowland as its new Commercial Relationships Manager. In this key role, Leon will play a pivotal part in fostering and strengthening the institute's relationships with industry stakeholders, manufacturers, and professionals within the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom (KBB) installation sector.
With a wealth of commercial relationship management experience, Leon is well-poised to drive forward the institute's mission of promoting excellence and best practices in the KBB installation sector. His exceptional networking skills, makes him an invaluable addition to the BiKBBI team.
Leon comes to BiKBBI, originally from the insurance sector, but more recently from the hospitality industry. During his career, he successfully developed and managed a diverse network of partners, ensuring the delivery of high-quality products and services to clients across the nation.
Commenting on his appointment, Leon Rowland expressed his enthusiasm for the role: "I'm truly excited to join the BiKBBI team and contribute to the growth and development of the KBB installation sector. This is an industry that I am deeply excited about, and I look forward to collaborating with professionals and businesses to elevate standards and drive innovation."
As Commercial Relationships Manager, Leon will be responsible for establishing and nurturing partnerships with manufacturers, suppliers, and professionals in the KBB field. His role will also involve supporting the organisation of industry events, seminars, and initiatives to facilitate knowledge sharing and networking opportunities within the sector.
CEO of The British Institute of KBB Installation, Damian Walters, welcomed Leon with great anticipation: "Leon's extensive experience make him the perfect fit for our team. We believe his leadership will be instrumental in furthering our commitment to advancing KBB installation practices across the country."
The British Institute of KBB Installation (BIKBB) is a leading authority in promoting professionalism, standards, and excellence in the Kitchen, Bedroom, and Bathroom installation sector. With Leon Rowland at the helm of commercial relationships, BiKBBI is poised to build stronger connections, enhance industry collaboration, and continue its mission to raise standards within the KBB installation sector.
While the bathroom wall panels category has seen the emergence of more contemporary materials over recent years, there’s one material that installers keep coming back to time and time again: plywood. Keeley Greenhalgh, National Sales Manager at Mermaid, explains how plywood shower panels have been a firm favourite for the trade for the last decade, thanks to their durability, cost-effectiveness and aesthetic appeal.
So, if you’re an installer taken by the benefits plywood can offer, take a closer look at these dos and don’ts to make sure you deliver outstanding results for your customer.
Consider sustainable sourcing
As with all materials derived from the natural environment, sustainable sourcing is key. Ensure the plywood bathroom panel has been manufactured using Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified plywood, to give you and your customer peace of mind that the raw material has been sourced sustainably. Mermaid Timeless panels for example have been ethically sourced from PEFC sources in France and Spain.
Don’t assume plywood limits décor choice
Plywood shower panels may not be the most innovative panelling concept, but that’s not to say it lacks design flexibility. Mermaid’s Timeless plywood collection boasts 30 different designs ranging from Cream Stone to Dark Wood, Graphite Sparkle and even a Welsh Slate, meaning whatever look or trend you’re going for, there’s a panel to suit. Its high-pressure laminate (HPL) also comes in an array of textures, from stone, woodgrain and high gloss finishes, all handpicked to suit the design.
Prepare the surface
Before installing the plywood shower panels, it is essential to prepare the wall surface properly. Ensure the walls are clean, dry, and free from any debris. Smooth out any irregularities or imperfections on the surface, as these can affect the panel's adherence and overall finish.
Don’t overlook structural support
Plywood panels should be installed on a solid and structurally sound framework. Avoid attaching the panels directly to drywall or flimsy substrates, as this may compromise the stability of the installation. Instead, use a sturdy backing material, such as studs or solid wood, to provide adequate support and prevent sagging or warping.
Use waterproof sealant
Apply a high-quality waterproof sealant to all edges, corners, and joints of the plywood shower panels. This step is crucial in preventing moisture penetration and increasing the longevity of the installation, not least by making the panels much easier to clean. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding application and drying time to ensure optimal results.
Don’t neglect moisture protection
Plywood panels are vulnerable to moisture damage if not adequately protected. Avoid installing plywood panels directly in contact with water sources or near open showers without proper waterproofing measures such as manufacturer recommended trims and sealants. Failing to implement adequate moisture protection can lead to the growth of mould and compromise the integrity of the panel.
Prioritise proper ventilation
Good ventilation is essential in any bathroom installation, particularly when working with plywood shower panels. Insufficient airflow can result in excessive moisture build-up, increasing the risk of damage to the panels over time. Ensure the bathroom has proper ventilation, such as exhaust fans or windows, to maintain a dry and healthy environment.
Don’t ignore manufacturer guidelines
Each plywood shower panel may have specific installation instructions and recommendations provided by the manufacturer. It is essential to read and follow these guidelines carefully. Manufacturers are likely to have specific requirements regarding adhesives, fasteners, and other installation methods to ensure optimal performance and durability, so it is important that these are adhered to for a seamless installation.
Choosing a plywood shower panel such as one from Mermaid’s Timeless range doesn’t just mean supporting a product with a raft of unbeatable credentials – it means joining a network of installers who have impressed customers and grown businesses thanks to the power of plywood for over a decade.
If you’re keen to stay up to date with the latest developments in bathroom wall panels from new product launches to the latest design inspiration, sign up to the Mermaid newsletter.
World famous retailer Clive Christian Furniture publish an opinion piece on the subject of the skills gap and what they're doing to address it.
Speaking to the premier furniture brand in October, CEO Damian Walters speaks about the need for the industry to collaborate and how businesses can join forces to overcome the challenge.
You can read the article on the Clive Christian Furniture website here.
Sky News has tonight reported that AHK Designs, which is connected to the owner of several other e-commerce retailers, has bought Victoria Plum in a pre pack deal which salvages the jobs of all 300 staff, although reports suggest that unfulfilled customer orders may not be delivered and customers may lose out if product was not ordered through credit.
On Friday evening former owner Endless LLP appointed administrators Ernst & Young, who promptly sold the business to AHK.
Whilst the pre pack administration will most likely allow the business to trade in some form, businesses including manufacturers such as Bristan, Mira, Grohe, Ideal Standard, Rak Ceramics, VitrA, and Aqualisa, will now become unsecured creditors as will its national network of sub-contracted installers according to kbbreview.
Unsecured creditors, including installers, are urged to email VPAdministration@uk.ey.com detailing outstanding monies owed, with us much detail as possible.
BiKBBI have committed to support installers involved and will communicate to both the new owners and those concerned installers.
What is an unsecured creditor?
An unsecured creditor is a creditor that does not have any form of security (excluding personal guarantees) over a liability owed to it/them - in this case, installers and other suppliers to the business.
What is pre pack administration?
Pre pack administration is a formal procedure that enables an insolvent company to sell its assets to the existing directors, a trade buyer or another third party. The transaction is performed by the administrator almost immediately following their appointment, as it has in the case.
The steps involved in a pre-pack administration
1. A company is under pressure from creditors and is threatened with receivership or liquidation.
2. A firm of licensed insolvency practitioners is contacted to discuss the situation. They perform a business assessment and provide a range of possible options.
3. If pre-pack administration is decided upon, the insolvency practitioner values the company's assets and prepares a Statement of Affairs.
4. If business assets are to be sold to an existing company, steps will be taken to ensure the buyer has the necessary funds. This includes the provision of management accounts and other information to the insolvency practitioner.
5. If the intention is to sell the assets to a new company, or ‘newco,’ cash flow, profit and loss, and balance sheet forecasts should be provided to demonstrate the viability of the new company, and their ability to purchase the assets. Assistance to buy in the form of asset-based lending may be available.
6. The company is placed into administration, suspending all legal actions against them, and assets are sold immediately.
7. The administrator organises a creditors’ meeting during which an explanation and justification for going down the route of pre pack administration is provided.
8. The IP repays creditors pro-rata, with funds received from the liquidated assets.
In an article published earlier this month by Mark Kleinman, City Editor at Sky News, it is reported that Victoria Plum is in the process of being sold by its owners Endless.
Endless, who also own brands including American Golf and Hovis, is believed to be in the process of formulating an auction for the business, with a number of interested parties prepared to bid for the online bathroom giant. It is speculated that a sale will be agreed in the coming weeks, according to Sky.
The British Institute of KBB Installation has been made aware of growing concerns from a number of Victoria Plum's network of independent bathroom installers, many of whom are anxious about outstanding financial liabilities owed by business for installation work completed.
BiKBBI Chief Executive Damian Walters has today requested a formal update from the senior leadership team at Victoria Plum, with a view to support the communication process with the network of self-employed sub-contrated installers.
In a statement today, Damian said: "It would be wrong, and no doubt unhelpful, for us as an organisation to speculate about the sale rumours. However, I have spoken to a number of concerned installers this morning who fear being left high and dry."
Damian added: "Whilst we have not received any official update from Victoria Plum to date, we have been made aware that senior management have cascaded a 'business as usual' message to its team. We understand that Victoria Plum have not yet made any formal communication to its sub-contracted installers at this stage."
BiKBBI are committed in the support of transparent communication between Victoria Plum and its installers and will update on this situation where appropriate.
Industry newshouse kbbreview reported on the sale following the Sky News story.
In its article published on the 19th September, it reported that in its latest financial results to the end of February 2022, Victoria Plum increased turnover by 46% to £113 million, but pre-tax profits fell to £736,000 from £1.5m the year before. That followed record sales in the 2020 financial year.
It also reported that the Victoria Plum website was ranked as the best performing online bathroom retail site according to the UK 2022 Digital Retail Index and was ranked the eighth best performing retail website out of the top 500.
Victoria Plum says it has more than 30 million users a year, generating more than 62m sessions.
Headquartered in Doncaster, the company employs around 400 people and sub-contracts to circa 200 installation businesses nationally.
EDUCATION | STANDARDS | SUSTAINABILITY | COMPLIANCE |