For the first time ever over 60% of the kitchen industry including Magnet,
MFI, B&Q, MKD Holdings, KBSA and FIRA are in discussion to explore ways of
achieving industry standards for kitchen installers.
I'd be interested in any comments or opinions on this subject.
As things stand the second largest expenditure anyone makes after a house
and possibly a car is your kitchen and currently anyone can set up as an
installer regardless of their qualifications or ability to do the job.
In light of the horror stories relating to cowboy fitters do you think this
is a good initiative and how best can this be implemented ?
How have you chosen your fitter or was the fitting part of the package when
you bought the kitchen ?
Were you happy with the standard and what qualities do you look for when
choosing a person who will be part of your household for a week or more ?
All contributions will be most welcome.
I think that this is going to be quite difficult, depending on the
Perhaps for the mass market manufacturers such as those listed above
something fairly simple can be achieved, but it also depends on the
customer's expectation and/or what is reasonable for them to expect
according to the price paid.
When I had my kitchen refitted two years ago, I used a local firm. I
felt that this would provide better flexibility, quality and
accountability than the mass market firms and would also avoid the
sales dance practised by some of them. I was also able to take up
local references as well as see photographs of completed projects.
I made my selection based on these factors , the design and the
materials first before price.
The complete project required:
- A small amount of building work involving moving the water main
slightly, removing a door and forming an arch, fitting of a new oak
doors and frames and a new window
- Preparation of a plinth to take an Aga and subsequent installation
- Fitting of slate floor and marble wall tiles.
The above were done by specialised contractors selected and paid by
me but co-ordinated by the kitchen firm.
The remainder was carried out by the kitchen firm and several
subcontractors. Those marked with a (*) were by specialised
- Kitchen design, preparation of drawings and materials selection
- Stripping out of old kitchen
- Plasterwork to skim certain wall areas and the ceiling (*)
- First and second fit plumbing
- First and second fit electrical
- Fitting of kitchen furniture
- Substantial additional carpentry to complete the design
- Supply and fit granite worktops. (*)
Last, but not least, management of the entire project.
In terms of the overall project, the fitters were required to do
plumbing, electrical work, (potentially gas fitting, but they didn't
for me) and carpentry. In this case it was two brothers in business
together, with one having done the gas fitting training and CORGI
membership, while the other had done C&G electrical courses and was a
NICEIC member as I recall. Both had done plumbing qualifications (I
believe IoP) . Copies of their various certificates were included
in the design and quotation package from the kitchen firm - I didn't
even have to ask.
They were certainly broadly capable as well and did excellent
carpentry work and finishing. However, they knew their limitations
and there was never even any discussion on their doing any of the
specialised work I've mentioned.
Apart from the carpentry skills, the others required for this project
are quite well defined. In the case of gas, and possibly in the
future with electricity, training and membership of an approved body
The problem is that to complete the entire project took a range of
skills that it is probably beyond the ability of a one or two man team
If there were to be some kind of registration scheme, to be useful
it would need to have training and teeth. I wonder who would fund
kitchen fitters to do training and certification in at least 6
different skills. I doubt that the people themselves would find it
economic unless costs can be passed on in some way.
I feel that for customer satisfaction, what is ultimately important is
to have somebody to manage the project and to take overall
responsibility for the result.
It was part of the overall project , but I met and took references on
the fitters before the deal was finally agreed.
The standard was excellent, and the commercial arrangement of payment
of most of the balance on completion is an effective way of keeping
What are you kitchen fitters going to do about the proposal to bring
electrical work within the scope the building regulations? - This will mean
that unless you are "certified electricians" you will have to report the
work to the building inspector who will come to inspect - for a fee of
course!! - interesting eh? - would welcome more input / discussion on this,
cause it affects lots of trades who fiddle with electrics as an add on. See
web sites of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister, DTI, HSE & IEE to find
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