A shortage of skilled fitters is hampering the industry’s ability to respond to continuing high demand for home improvements. Bohle’s Dave Broxton tells Total Installer how the right products can offer a cost-effective solution.
“The demand for home improvements, fuelled by an extended period of lockdown and a surplus of savings, is still going strong,” says Dave Broxton, managing director, Bohle. “That’s being felt across the whole industry. Homeowners have taken the opportunity to extend, to replace old windows and doors, and one area that they have really been investing in is the bathroom.
“The volume of work is putting a huge amount of pressure on businesses. On the one hand, they are facing a shortage of raw materials which is pushing out lead times and increasing prices,” continues Dave. “And on the other, those issues are being compounded by a shortage of skilled fitters.
“It’s a big problem, and it’s not one that can be fixed overnight.”
A recent CBI Economic Forecast has predicted that the UK economy will bounce back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021, with an improved GDP growth of 8.2% this year, followed by 6.1% in 2022.
However, The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI), has warned that the labour shortage is so severe, it not only has the potential to prevent the industry from taking full advantage of the UK’s economic recovery post Covid, but is likely to hinder the ability to realise the full potential of demand into the long term as well.
Dave argues that this provides a powerful incentive for companies operating in the home improvement sector to alleviate pressure on demand, by using products that are specifically designed to deliver a high-quality, and cost-effective solution.
“Struggling to complete installations because the products you’re fitting are below standard is frustrating at the best of times,” he says. “In the current situation, companies need to ensure that their fitting teams can operate as efficiently as possible. Our products are designed to help them do just that.”
For Bohle customer, Stowmarket Glass, Bohle products form an integral part of the company’s product range and service offer.
This is illustrated in a recent, bespoke shower installation at a residential property in Diss, Norfolk, that used a combination of Bohle’s Bilbao Premium HD shower fittings and Duplocoll adhesive tape – a specially formulated adhesive that chemically bonds to a surface, offering substantial time and cost savings for fitters compared to a traditional silicone.
Suitable for a range of materials, including glass, ceramic and aluminium, Duplocoll offers a near invisible finish and is particularly suited for frameless applications.
After designing a solution for the shower and processing the required 8mm toughened glass in house, Stowmarket was then able complete the project, with a single fitter, in just 1.5 hours.
“It’s the perfect example of how our products can help companies respond to demand for home improvement projects, even for more complex installations, and when bespoke solutions are required,” says Dave.
“That includes our market leading adhesive and fittings, but also extends to other products such as our MasterTrack ST shower system and our Briteguard Pro glass protection coating.”
Bohle’s MasterTrack ST shower system has been designed to simplify installation by eliminating the requirement to process glass on site. Featuring the same carriage and unique hydraulic damper system as the MasterTrack Internal Sliding Door system, it can be used as a barrier-free or low threshold system and can also be configured to suit two-sided corner applications, recess applications, u-showers and one-sided corners.
Capable of delivering various configurations, and with minimal amounts of stock, it is designed to be installed in minutes.
Bohle’s Briteguard Pro glass surface protection coating, which offers powerful protection against grime and dirt, replaces a traditional three-stage coating process with just a single application.
Instead of having to apply a surface activator, sealer and finisher, uses can apply a single application that reduces coating times by as much as 30-minutes.
“Our customers rely on us because they know how important it is to be able to deliver projects simply and easily,” continues Dave. “That helps them to be more profitable and gives them the potential to manage their fitting teams more effectively – that’s a big advantage under normal conditions but especially so when skilled labour is in such short supply.”