Feature Q & A - UK Contracts Market
In conversation with our new UK National Contracts Manager, Jamie Abbott. Read more to find out how Uform can support the UK contract market.
What does your new role entail?
As dedicated UK National Contracts Manager, I am responsible for developing Uform’s brand presence in order to secure new business within the contract sector. I will be working closely with national and regional housebuilders and specifiers such as architects, interior designers and surveyors in addition to supporting the UK Sales Team in developing relationships with its selected trade partners.
What sorts of projects do you supply?
Uform can cater for all types of residential and commercial contracts ranging in size and scale. From small residential developments to large sites featuring over 1,500 plots, Uform has the product offering and infrastructure to support the residential and commercial UK property markets.
At what level of the market do you operate?
Uform offers a diverse product portfolio to suit all levels of the market. We offer a selection of doors and components within a good-better-best framework across a range of different price points, meaning we have styles to suit all tastes and budgets. Affordable products at a lower price point does not mean a compromise in quality. Uform offers ex-stock door ranges such as Dawson, Kensington and Zola Soft-Matte, all of which are the perfect proposition for the contract market. Their durable properties, diverse colour choices and accessory selection makes them the perfect choice for a practical and affordable kitchen which is not compromised in terms of its aesthetic design.
Why should a property developer or architect use Uform?
As a company our vision is simple; to make it easy for our customers to create and deliver the heart of any home. We do this through offering innovative products and unbeatable turnaround times which allows our customers to service their clients confidently and efficiently, ensuring complete customer satisfaction.
We offer one of the most comprehensive ranges of doors and accessories in the marketplace today. With over £7million of ex-stock product, we are expertly placed to offer the contract market stylish ranges which are readily available and will therefore not hinder progress on site where time really does mean money. Our materials are sourced from the best in the industry through a world class Italian supply chain, and we offer exceptional quality you can trust, with ranges tested and approved by FIRA and CATAS. Property developers and architects should also have the confidence and satisfaction in specifying our products as our ranges carry a 5 year warranty.
A dedicated National Contracts Manager and Key Account Manager also makes us easy to do business with, allowing specifiers the time to focus on other aspects of their projects.
In addition to our ex-stock offering, our product portfolio overall includes an extensive range of styles, colours and finishes. Choose from 19 different door styles, a standard paint palette of 26 popular paint colours and a range of specialist stained and metal finishes for something truly unique. This choice, coupled with a Made to Order offering and a Colour Match Service, puts Uform at the forefront of innovative products which add real value and a point of difference. We also offer handles to complete the overall look of the kitchen, as well as a versatile range of energy efficient LED lighting solutions, ideal for task, mood or convenience purposes within the kitchen.
Did lockdown create a pent-up demand for new kitchens?
We are experiencing a significant surge in demand since the Government started to ease lockdown restrictions and trade resumed. It has been particularly encouraging to see an increase in new business enquiries and moreover, the relaxation of the stamp duty threshold for residential properties up to £500k is a welcomed step to help encourage the purchase of new homes and stimulate the property market.
This change, coupled with certain restrictions on foreign travel has, we have found, resulted in homeowners turning their attention to home improvements. Where they can’t spend money on holiday’s, they may now have more income to spend on bigger ticket items such as kitchens, and having been forced to spend more time indoors in recent months, has potentially led to homeowners having an increased focus on how they can improve their living spaces.
All of these factors have certainly had a positive short-term impact on demand so we’re hopeful for another successful year ahead.
What will the post pandemic kitchen look like?
Because people have been confined to their homes for so long recently, we believe this has made people re-evaluate how they live and use their indoor space. Our houses are no longer just a place for us to sleep anymore. The pandemic has resulted in the sudden switch to remote home working, so we now require a ‘home office’ environment and this is just one example of how homes need to be more flexible in the future.
Other necessities include more creative storage solutions and true to our Uform company vision, kitchens will become the absolute heart of the home more than ever before so an increased focus on design and functionality will definitely come to the fore more. Larger kitchen island units are just one example, islands are not just a place now for preparing or eating food, they’re an area to homeschool kids or have Zoom calls for work! A shift to more remote working could also result in more of a work-life balance for people, which could in turn influence the amount of time we spend cooking in our homes. Undoubtedly, we would expect this to have an influence on kitchen design in terms of pantries and even utility rooms or areas beyond the main kitchen.
While open plan living has been a recent trend, there is some merit in believing that lockdown has made it difficult for some individuals and families to have privacy in their homes if they’re occupying the same space at the same time. You could also argue that it has been more of a challenge to separate work life from home life with no specific home office area so we think all of these factors will come into play in future kitchen design.
What we also believe will happen and has started to happen as a result, is the journey consumers undertake when purchasing a new kitchen. With recent restrictions on retail and many showrooms being forced to operate on an appointment only basis, we could see an increase in virtual selling through video conferencing tools so retailers will need to adapt to this accordingly.
From our own experience also through our Kitchen Stori retailers, adopting an ‘appointment only’ basis has actually helped attract a more serious buyer now so we know they’ve a genuine motivation when they make contact with us to book an appointment.
Overall, we think the Kbb industry has adapted relatively well to the ever-changing situation and while it has proved challenging, it has definitely opened up new opportunities.
If you operate in the contract market and are looking for a market leading supplier of kitchen doors and components, contact Jamie Abbott on 07956 174928 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.