Kitchen Fitter Standards

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.
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I think that this is going to be quite difficult, depending on the scope.
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 subcontractors
- 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 are statutory.
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 to achieve.
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 control.

To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
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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 out more.

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