We’re incredibly proud of our history and the milestones we’ve reached in our relatively short life to date. Please enjoy a brief overview of some of the highlights since our launch in 2006.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING…
BiKBBI will be making an announcement in January relating to the industry recruitment challenge as well as unveiling a new corporate sponsor.
WATCH THIS SPACE!
In January, BiKBBI agree a Strategic Partnership with AgeUK – the charity working with the elderly in Great Britain. The partnership will see BiKBBI working with AgeUK’s partners, improving standards and protecting the best interests of those elderly consumers who are adapting their living conditions to meet their changing needs.
Also in January, industry work surface manufacturer Wilsonart become BiKBBI Corporate Sponsors.
On Valentines Day, BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters confirms their support of Apprenticeships, forming a working group made up from their retail partners. For the first time, these retailers assemble to work on a collaborative approach to training and development.
In April, CEO Damian Walters heads off to China in an attempt to raise funds for The Furniture Makers Company. Whilst his summit attempt is cut painfully short due to adverse weather, he deoes raise over £35,000 for charity and much needed awareness for the industry’s charity.
In July, British shower manufacturer Aqualisa become Corporate Sponsors, adding to an impressive line up of industry supporters. Also in July, BiKBBI confirm their support of The Ideal Home Show in 2018 – The premier consumer event being held at London Olympia.
In October, BiKBBI launch consumer and member financial protection in the form of a strategic partnership with Transpact.com and the provision of escrow payment services. This is a landmark moment as the organisation finds a solution for genuine problem faced by its members and consumers generally.
Later in October and as Armitage Shanks celebrates its 200th birthday, parent company Ideal Standard become the latest industry heavyweight to support BiKBBI’s objectives. Clear demonstration that the organisation is capturing the attention of the industry.
In what was a busy month for the organisation, October also saw the relaunch of bikbbi.org.uk – a modern and respopnsive website that represented the organisation internationally.
In November, Angela Smith is appointed as the first BiKBBI Brand Ambassador – responsible to engaging communities and introducing the organisation to potential stragegic partners. Angela brings a new dynamic to the senior team.
In partnership with The Chartered Trading Standards Institute and Virtual College, BiKBBI launched its CPD (Continual Professional Development) portal, for members and non-members. The portal is sponsored by industry giant Blum.
In March, BiKBBI became Corporate Members of The Furniture Makers Company – The industry charity that works on education and welfare. Also in March, the board of directors is strengthened as John Peerless and Vince Linnane join as non-executives.
In April, BiKBBI conducted a survey ahead of the BREXIT referendum with its members – members forecasted a BREXIT vote.
In June, BiKBBI agreed a long-term strategic safety partnership with NICEIC and ELECSA, working together on electrical safety messaging for both members and their customers.
In July, BiKBBI hosted its tenth anniversary reception at The Houses of Parliament – attended by Patron Stephen Metcalfe MP and a host of industry representatives. BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters warned the industry of a pending skills shortage following the government commissioned Farmer Report. Damian called for the industry to collaborate on finding a solution to the challenge.
The Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers (iKBBI) became The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) as it receives permission from the Secretary of State to use its new British status.
2015 was a monumental year for the iKBBI. It attracted new Installation Standards Partners Omega PLC and Symphony Group PLC and plans were made for the launch of an apprenticeship initiative targeting the next generation of kitchen, bedroom and bathroom installers.
The 3,800th member was welcomed in the summer of 2015 as well and an announcement was made for a new and innovative accreditation grading system, expanding membership from domestic installers to include contract site installers, appliance engineers, fabricators as well as allowing for recognition of more experienced members with the new ‘Master Member’ grading.
The iKBBI also announced strategic collaborations with some huge brands, including the consumer watchdog Which? and their Trusted Trader division. Collaborations with CAPITA (the business responsible for the Gas Safe Register) and The Furniture Ombudsman (TFO) were also announced in 2015. New sponsors Currys PC World and Trade-Up Kitchens committed to vital financial support.
The iKBBI also sponsored the inaugural Scottish Home Improvement Awards, reaching out to businesses and consumers north of the boarder.
The iKBBI Installer Magazine was re-launched in the spring of 2015, with a circulation to the KBB industry of circa 10,000+. The magazine forms part of a wider communication strategy, which included the appointment of a new head office Communications Manager role.
The iKBBI Inspection Network launched in November and will play an important role supporting the Furniture Ombudsman and the newly launched Consumer Rights Act (2015) and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
The year starts positively as the owner of websites kitchen-compare, bedroom-compare, bathroom- compare and trade-compare.com confirm their long-term support of the BiKBBI via sponsorship. The iKBBI again exhibited work at the national trade show in Birmingham and pledged to strengthen relationships with The KBB National Training Group on apprentice schemes for kitchen installers.
An appearance on The BBC in April sparked new interest in the iKBBI and the institute received invitations to act as industry representatives on several shows scheduled for 2014/15. Retired Metropolitan Police officer Geoffrey Jackson joined the iKBBI, heading the Dispute Resolution Service for consumers as we step up support to our members and the customers they serve.
The iKBBI recruited its 2,500th member in April as renew rates hit an
European home improvement giants B&Q join the Installation Standards Partnership as hundreds of their installers become supported and accredited by the iKBBI. This was a significant milestone for the iKBBI. B&Q making the decision to fund the accreditation of their installers was a first for the initiative and demonstrated their support to their installers. The restructured Bathstore joined the iKBBI and accreditation of their installation population commenced.
The international brand of Laura Ashley and UK department store Debenhams joined the iSP initiative this year as they developed a new bathroom product for their customers. National waste solutions giant HIPPO became sponsors and the iKBBI worked with them and their members to provide robust and environmentally sound solutions to the KBB industry.
As part of the May Design Series, we exhibited our work at The London ExCeL, attracting many consumer and trade visitors including celebrity designer Linda Barker. We met our latest sponsor FESTOOL (the German tool manufacturing giant) and our relationship grew later this year. iKBBI co-founder Andrew Carter stepped down as Director. Member of Parliament Stephen Metcalfe pledges support of the iKBBI as our second Patron, joining the Right-Honourable MP. Stephen is an SME activist and local MP for the area in which the iKBBI head office is based (Thurrock, Essex).
Our sponsorship programme continues to grow as founding sponsors at Classic Marble renew their support of the institute and our objectives. Industry insurance specialist UK Special Risks sponsor the iKBBI and provide essential support and guidance to members on all things insurance related. The iKBBI attend the industry’s largest trade exhibition with a modest stand at KBB Birmingham – a
Mark Two Home (acting for Tesco Kitchens & Bathrooms) becomes the first national brand to join the Installation Standards Partnership initiative, although their installers had been accredited members of the iKBBI for some time already. The reputable brand of John Lewis becomes official Installation Standards Partners and our support of their growing KBB operation commence with the accreditation of their kitchen installers nationally. We undertake a holistic review of their operation and provide consultation on future development opportunities.
Our big push for 2011 was the development of the iKBBI Installation Standards Partnership initiative. For the first
New sponsors joined the iKBBI including AnyJunk and Autonet Van Rental. The re-vamped Find-a- Member website was unveiled, helping consumers find and choose the right installer for their kitchen, bedroom or bathroom home project. Our work with The BMA (Bathroom Manufacturers Association) continued this year and we became associate members to help strengthen this key relationship.
We worked with both Channel 4 and Sky TV this year as representatives of the KBB installation industry, appearing numerous times to give advice and guidance for UK consumers. For the first time in modern history, the UK had a coalition government as we bedded into the global economic crisis. Working with our MP patron, we developed a number of marketing and cost-saving initiatives to assist members
Our website statistics reached a high, receiving over 1,000 unique visitors each week. The iKBBI joined the National Home Improvement Council this year, working on several topics including the government Green Deal and the Get Britain Building Campaign
Our Find-A- Member website was launched – www.professionalfitters.org in a bid to help members connect with consumers. For the first time in UK history, consumers could find local installers who
The iKBBI launched marketing material for members to help them connect with new customers. The “Why Choose a Member” leaflet was born! The iKBBI welcomed its 500th member this year as
We engaged over 1,500 installation businesses across the UK on a national road show, visiting towns and cities from Plymouth to Dundee. We gained lots of feedback and subsequently attracted new members.
A new SMS text service was launched later this year, helping us to communicate more efficiently to our members… a simple breakthrough that allows us to get instant messaging to our members. We were proud to announce our first patron of the iKBBI – the Right Honourable Brian Binley MP (Conservative) – a staunch supporter of the UK SME population, Brian was our link into central government for the first time.
Founding sponsors financially committed to the initiative included the international brands of Blum and Franke, together with BUPA, RAC and Classic Marble. The iKBBI launched its first generation website and commenced the process of accreditation for installers, accrediting its first member in January of that year. John Lewis of Hungerford PLC was the first ever retailer to insist all of its installers become accredited members of the iKBBI.
The iKBBI Consultation Panel was formed; a group of industry professionals whose views would help structure the institute over coming years. The KBB Installer Magazine was developed with DMG World Media (now owned by Taylist Media) and the UK’s first-ever glossy magazine was launched for KBB installers exclusively. The iKBBI also launched an industry training questionnaire that year, for the first time asking the time served professional’s opinion of training.
The collapse of MFI that year was a blow for hundreds of installers across the UK and iKBBI helped many by proving independent advice and support for those members affected.
Following an application to government in April 2007, the iKBBI was granted official institute status from the Secretary of State (Sir John Hutton), with support from industry organisations including the National Training Group (NTG), Construction Skills, CITB and ProSkills. The process to become an institute was a six-month period of due diligence by the government, as institute status is only granted to those organisations of the highest standing. Failure to seek approval from the Secretary of State for use of the word ‘institute’ is a criminal offence.
Founded by three industry experts, Damian Walters, Andrew Carter and Gordon Smith, the formerly named Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers (iKBBI) was