Twenty twenty and January kicked off the New Year with an exciting new sponsor – online bathroom giant Victoria and their Trade programme. This wouldn’t be the only exciting collaboration with Victoria Plum for 2020, although of course none of us knew what the year would have in store for us all.

Following the announcement at The Houses of Parliament in 2019, we were thrilled to commence BETA testing of the new platform – a revolutionary new digital platform that connects consumers with professional installers. This potential industry game changer works with retailers to help them signpost their customers to a robust installation service.

The Installer Magazine (issue 20) was published and continues to grow in terms of readership. Over 12,000 subscribers internationally!

February saw two new sponsors join BiKBBI, the first was French CAD company, Dassault Systémes. Innovative and versatile bathroom company Showerwall, then joined the institute to back the objectives for the KBB industry. Damian Walters, CEO, penned a letter to the Prime Minister over his concerns following Brexit in 2021 regarding immigration and the effects on the KBB sector.

Forecasting severe social restriction measures as the news of a new global virus hit the media, BiKBBI took the decision to make preparations to mobilise its operational team. Desktop computers were replaced with laptop and new security features introduced to assist it people operate from outside the office.

BiKBBI hit the ground running in March, as the new online campus was launched in association with Cortexa, offering members training and development on products and services to up skill the workforce.

The institute also attended the KBB Birmingham programme driving an iconic double decker London bus into the middle of the NEC Birmingham. March also saw a partnership with Achieve+Partners who are an End-Point Assessment Organisation for the furniture, wood and trade supplier industries to help review and develop the current Level 2 apprenticeship in Fitted Furniture Installation.

This was all to change, as Coronavirus entered our lives. Along with the rest of the UK, BiKBBI Head Office closed, and staff begun to work from home. Our CEO Damian Walters spoke to the industry in what was an emotional address.

Despite the lockdown, productivity didn’t slow as the new BiKBBI Campus offered the entire industry FREE online training courses during lockdown. The CEO issued a statement in relation to COVID-19 to set out guidance for the British Institute of KBB installation’s members, stakeholders and the public.

BiKBBI welcomed an exciting partnership with the Armed Forces as it signed the Armed Forces Covenant in April, to offer ex-service personnel an opportunity within the KBB sector when returning to civilian life. This continued BiKBBI’s commitment to social responsibility with military organisations, to include the retraining of other industry’s to assist the filling of the UK skills gap.

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was launched by Rishi Sunak and CEO Damian Walters was invited to discuss on the first KBBReview podcast.

Victoria Plum entered into the installation market during lockdown to offer bathroom design and installation to their domestic customers.

The spring edition of the Installer Magazine was published focusing on the impacts of Coronavirus and the much-needed support available to BiKBBI members and the wider industry. This was a very special edition of the magazine as it celebrates is 5th birthday!

BiKBBI wrote to all members and launched its Together Stronger campaign, providing links to advice, guidance, support and welfare. The organisation stepped up to the challenge imposed by Coronavirus, which received universal support and praise.

CEO Damian Walters discussed the Protected initiative on KBBReview’s podcast, which received some of the highest viewer rates for the industry magazine.

In May, the Used Kitchen Exchange partnership was announced The environmentally friendly kitchen specialist were amongst the first to adopt the Protected installation initiative.

Following with more positive news, the mental wellbeing organisation, Stress Matters, joined the institute as a strategic partner during times of global crisis to offer support to companies and their employees within the KBB industry. It was clear to BiKBBI that the physical effects of Coronavirus would not be the only threat to people.

The government introduced the bounce back loan scheme in May for small and medium sized businesses to help those businesses impacted by the virus. BiKBBI hosted a webinar to an audience of over 3,000 people! Having worked with several agencies, the topic of the webinar was how tradespeople could return to work safely and in accordance with government guidance.

BiKBBI’s Head Office received a COVID makeover, with the installation of protective measures to expedite its staff’s much needed return. Despite the organisations capability to work from home, CEO Damian Walters knew his team works better when together, so the installation of sanitisation stations, thermal staff scanning, glass partitioning and the introduction of Safe Operating Procedures took precedence.

BiKBBI reopened its doors on the 1st June after a long few months of its team working from home and was introduced as the latest member of FIESTA, to further support the objectives for education and training in the installation sector.

An exciting sponsorship from BA was unveiled as the organisations latest Corporate Member.

The summer edition of the Installer Magazine was published in July, with hot topics including the need for change within the KBB industry, new corporate sponsors, the launch of the protected platform and more support to members on all things COVID.

Luxury vinyl flooring provider, Malmo was confirmed as the latest sponsor of the BiKBBI in August, adding to an impressive list of corporate sponsors for 2020.

A very exciting collaboration was announced with the National Kitchen & Bathroom Association (NKBA), the North American authority on all thing’s kitchen and bathrooms, and its Global Connect Alliance Programme. This international collaboration connects organisations and associations within the KBB sectors to encourage a global exchange of information and insight.

Damian Walters, CEO, called for action from the entire industry in September to support the much-needed apprenticeships within the KBB sector. The shortage of professional installers calls for the industry to unite now or “risk future catastrophe”. The cry for help has received a great response from the industry as 600 businesses had registered their support for Apprenticeships via the support change website.

In more positive news, the British institute of KBB confirmed their sponsorship of Charlton Athletic Women FC for the third year for the 2020/21 season. This strategy in particular is part of BiKBBI’s ambition to create the UK’s first female only KBB Apprenticeship.

In October the three-tier social restriction system was introduced by UK Government to suppress the spread of Coronavirus and to clarify procedures and rules for each local area if implementation of restrictions were necessary; However, this announcement did not affect the advice previously given to people working in other peoples’ homes, meaning installation businesses could continue to deliver their service.

BiKBBI CEO was invited to join the BBC One Wales X-Ray team in Cardiff on 19th October to discuss consumer rights and how people should approach dispute with tradespeople.

The Autumn Edition of The Installer Magazine was published, despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic of 2020.

BiKBBI confirmed its support of the development of the Level Two Fitted Interiors Apprenticeship, working with strategic partner Achieve & Partners to future proof this crucial educational strategy.

CEO Damian Walters joined KBBReviews Andrew Davies on their podcast with advice for tradespeople.

November saw BiKBBI CEO, Damian Walters, comment on the current demand for kitchen and bathroom installations at the end of what has been a very unusual year. Referring back to the shortage of installers discussed back in September, Brexit is now looming and installer availability is few and far between. Tradesmen are quoting jobs for as far away as April 2021… and when there is opportunity, opportunists arrive, which could result in reputation damage for the KBB sector.

There was no slowing down BiKBBI in December, with plenty more to do before the end of the year.

BiKBBI assembled a Trailblazer Group, a collaboration of businesses including B&Q, Moores, John Lewis, Sharpes as well as number of independent businesses to develop the Fitted Interior Apprenticeship.

CRM Software specialist Anthill, the tech team behind the Protected platform, join BiKBBI as a Corporate Sponsor. Massive news was announced as the UK’s fastest growing homeware specialist The Range became a BiKBBI Retail Installation Standards Partner, adopting the Protected initiative for their customers.

Following months of development, BiKBBI launched its latest update to CAMS (Compliance & Administrative Management System). The update provided a greater user experience and allowed members to nominate multiple gas and electrical engineers with a focus on health & safety.

To protect the health of its staff in the lead up to Christmas, BiKBBI confirmed that its head office team would return to working from home.

In what was a BIG NEWS week at BiKBBI, the first announcement confirmed that AO joined as a Corporate Sponsor, adding to an impressive lineup of national and international brands who support the institute and its objectives.

BiKBBI was delighted to announce a new relationship with homeware giant The Range as they become a Retail Installation Standards Partner, adopting the platform for its retail customers.

Grafton Groups’ Buildbase join many businesses in the adoption of the Protected platform and become the last business of 2020 to become a BiKBBI Retail Installation Standards Partner. A huge milestone for the initiative, opening a plethora of opportunities for members.

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