Launched in 2006, The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) has been busy working towards it’s objective of defining standards, supporting professionals and providing consumers with an informed choice.
2016 will mark it's 10th Anniversary...
Founded by three industry experts, Damian Walters, Andrew Carter and Gordon Smith, The formerly named Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers (iKBBI) was soft launched in 2006 with an objective to support installation businesses with their commercial aspirations, whilst defining installation standards and providing UK consumers with an informed choice.
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-long 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.
Founding sponsors financially committed to the initiative included the international brands of Blum and Franke, together with BUPA, RAC and Classic Marble.
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 were 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 who’s 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 specifically.
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.
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 specialised in KBB installations… a real milestone for the iKBBI.
As a direct result of MFI’s collapse in 2008, iKBBI started working with retailers to help members find new work streams. The Big Bathroom Shop and Tesco were the first to support our initiative and we were proud to have helped hundreds of members with new and exciting opportunities.
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 real time national coverage was had for the first time.
The iKBBI Dispute Resolution Service was launched for consumers, providing FREE and independent advice to those consumers who needed a helping hand with their home improvement projects.
We engaged over 1,500 installation businesses across the UK on a national roadshow, 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 Honorable Brian Binley MP (Conservative) – a staunch supporter of the UK SME population, Brian was our link into central government for the first time.
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 this year providing 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 ride the financial storm.
Website stats reached a high as our websites received 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 big push for 2011 was the development of the iKBBI Installation Standards Partnership initiative. For the first time we began work on an initiative that brings leading retailers together to work on the task of defining installation standards within the KBB industry.
We gained in-principle support from several retailers including the team at Mark Two who we’d supported in 2009.
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 long standing relationship begins as we share our vision and ethos with global trade vistors.
CDUK, exclusive UK distributors of DuPont Corian pledge sponsorship support of the iKBBI as our association with leading global brands continues.
Mark Two Home (acting for Tesco Kitchens & Bathrooms) become 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 become 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.
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 demonstrable milestone for the iKBBI.
B&Q also taking the decision to fund the accreditation of their installers was a first for the initiative and demonstration of their support to their installers.The restructured Bathstore join the iKBBI and accreditation of their installation population commenced.
The international brand of Laura Ashley and UK department store Debenhams join the iSP initiative this year as they develop a new bathroom product offering to their customers.
National waste solutions giant HIPPO become sponsors and the iKBBI work with them and members to provide robust and environmentally sound solutions to the KBB industry.
We exhibit at The London ExCeL, at The May Design Series, attracting many consumer and trade visitors including celebrity designer Linda Barker. We meet our latest sponsor FESTOOL (the German tool manufacturing giant) here and the relationship commenced later this year.
iKBBI co-founder Andrew Carter steps down as Director.
Member of Parliament Stephen Metcalfe commits support of the iKBBI as our second Patron, joining The Rt.Hon.Brian Binley MP. Stephen is an SME activist and local MP for the area in which the iKBBI head office is based (Thurrock, Essex).
The iKBBI’s relationship with the BMA strengthens as the institute promotes the association's diploma in bathroom studies.
iKBBI members receive access to specific asbestos awareness training via a new partnership with a UKATA approved provider.
The year starts positively as the owner of consumer websites kitchen-compare, bedroom-compare, bathroom-compare and trade-compare.com confirm their long-term support of the BiKBBI via sponsorship.
The iKBBI again exhibit at the national trade show in Birmingham and pledge to strengthen relationships with The KBB National Training Group on apprentice schemes for kitchen installers.
An appearance on The BBC in April sparks new interest in the iKBBI and the institute receives invitations to act as industry representatives on several shows scheduled for 2014/15.
Retired Metropolitan Police officer Geoffrey Jackson joins the iKBBI, heading the Dispute Resolution Service for consumers as we step up support to our members and the customers they serve.
The iKBBI recruits its 2,500th member in April as renew rates hit an all time high of 90%.
Work on a new find-a-member search tool commences, with launch planned for the summer.
2015 was a monumental year for the iKBBI. It attracted new Installation Standards Partners Omega PLC and Symphony Group PLC as well as launching an apprenticeship initiative targeting the next generation of kitchen, bedroom and bathroom installers.
It welcomed its 3,800th member in the summer of 2015 as well as announcing an new and innovatve accreditation tiering system, expanding membership from Domestic installers to include contract site installers, appliance engineers, fabricators as well as recognition for experienced members with its 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 were also sponsors of the inaugural Scottish Home Improvement Awards, reaching out to businesses and consumers north of the boarder. Commitment was also made to support KBB Birmingham 2016, as well as Installer Live and UK Construction Week 2016.
The iKBBI Installer Magazine was relaunched 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. Inspection will also play a huge role in the BiKBBI offering moving forward.
The Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers (iKBBI) becomes The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) as it receives permission from The Secretary of State to use its new British status.