What a successful exhibition this year’s Grand Designs Live was, full of inspiration and great ideas for those wanting to improve their home. It was fantastic to be involved once again, meeting with people to discuss their plans but it was disappointing to find that once again the standard of designs being presented is not what it should be.
Our representatives in the ‘Ask an Expert’ area and the ‘Miele Kitchen Advice Centre’ both found that the plans being presented were lacking in design expertise.
KBSA chair Tina Riley said, “It was frustrating to be presented with so many plans that are clearly not going to work, even on a basic level and think it is disgraceful that this level of incompetence is so readily available.”
“Lacking In Style an Flair”
Alan Stanford is in agreement and believes that homeowners have to do their research fully before selecting a retailer or company in order to avoid costly mistakes. “If the design is lacking in style and flair that is one thing but we saw too many examples of poor design decisions that could prove to be expensive and difficult to rectify,” adds Alan.
“Every room and family is different,” says Tina. “A one size fits all solution that fits boxes to walls on a line diagram is just not sufficient for a modern kitchen design. The designer has to ask many questions and visit the customers home in order to design a functional room that is going to work for the family and give many years of service.
“This year most of the visitors had plans for a self-build and kitchen extension rather than just wanting a new kitchen without room alterations or any structural work. These types of projects are not straightforward, they require a lot of planning and management and the skills of an experienced kitchen designer and project manager.
“The 30 minutes that we have allocated at Grand Designs Live is never enough time to give the detailed advice we would like. It does however reinforce how much customers value face to face discussions, especially as much of the process is now automated with on-line research and CAD generated solutions.”
The same problems of lack of research into individual solutions was found with the bathroom designs. Many homeowners are looking for larger walk in showers and high tech shower enclosures, not something that can be bought off the shelf and fitted into a bathroom without research into water pressures, floor levels and clever planning to maximise the space in a typical British bathroom.
The Bright Side
On a positive note it is great to see so many wishing to push the boundaries of design and invest in their kitchens and bathrooms. As an industry we have the products and the skills to provide an outstanding service but need more promotion and education to help consumers find the level of expertise that their projects deserve.
If you are investing in your own home improvement project then find out more about the benefits of using a Kbsa accredited designer here.