The Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) held this year’s annual Bathroom and Kitchen Conference at the Belfry Hotel and Resort in Sutton Coldfield with the theme of ‘Creating Opportunity out of Change’.
Hosted by BBC news presenter Nick Owen (pictured) the conference looked at the ever-changing kitchen and bathroom industry and how embracing change can provide opportunities.
As part of the morning session, Taylist Media managing editor Andrew Davies conducted a panel discussion on the importance of compliant products that are available, sold and installed in the market. Panellists included WRAS chairman and chartered civil engineer, Stephen Kay; solicitor and regulatory service director at Emms Gilmore Liberson solicitors, Peter Adkins; and BMA president Paul Massey.
During the debate, Adkins warned that the legal consequences of getting compliance wrong included heavy fines and prison sentences. Meanwhile, BMA president Massey urged manufacturers to work more closely with trade associations and end-consumers, to correct the issue of non-compliance.
Modular building expert Paul Bonaccorsi kicked off the afternoon session with his presentation on the future of the construction industry. His report highlighted the fact that the majority of people with construction skills across the world are in the 45 to 49 age bracket and around 19% of the UK workforce in the industry are over 55. He explained that, in order to grow, the construction industry needed to reform the way it operates to attract the next generation of workers.
One notable change is the increase in off-site construction, including bathroom pods. According to Bonaccorsi, the off-site industry is currently worth around £10 billion – that’s 10% of the total UK construction market – and growing at 25% a year. He said that a construction industry like this would “completely revolutionise the traditional supply chain flow, attract a new skill set and desperately-needed new blood”.
Following a presentation from Trend Monitor’s Jane Blakeborough outlining the consumer trends currently driving change, motivational speaker Casper Berry closed this year’s event with a talk on risk-taking and the decision-making process to help embrace uncertainty.
Discussing his previous career as a world-class poker player, Berry talked about risk-taking and change. He told delegates that “to be outstanding, you need to understand negative metrics” and emphasised that taking more risks could achieve greater rewards in the long run.
The event concluded with the BMA’s annual gala dinner and Media Awards in the evening. The black-tie event, which was hosted by BMA president Paul Massey, rewards the media for its contributions to the KBB industry. The awards, which are voted for by BMA members saw kbbreview receive the award for Best Bathroom Article. Kbbreview’s sister titles, Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms and Studio won the Best Consumer Magazine and Best Media Innovation awards respectively.