Tag Archives: bathroom taps

Joyou is “making a name For ourselves”

Subsidiary of Grohe, Joyou International believes it has established its brand in the UK. CEO of Joyou International and a board member of Grohe, Gerry Mulvin, said sales in the first six months of 2012 had exceeded expectations: “It is still early days but already we are making a name for ourselves.”

The portfolio is available through Robert Lee, Cooper Callas and Faucets and spans kitchen taps, showers and accessories which are made in China. International business director, Mike Usher said: “Our goal in 2012 was to establish Joyou as a new brand in the market offering brassware, showering and accessories and so far we are delighted with the results.” He continued: “Over the next quarter, we will continue to invest in the market to both build the brand and introduce new products (including ceramics) as part of our goal of offering the full Joyou range of bathroom solutions by the end of 2013.”

Founded in 1979 by Cai Jianshe, Joyou AG is one of the leading, single brand manufacturers by revenue, in China, with total assets exceeding €380m. In 2010, it was the market leading tap brand in China with an 11.8% market share, with group revenues totalling €246m. It sells its products in China through 3,898 distributor outlets.

lnta lobbies MP for Water Label backing

Following the Bathroom Manufacturers Association call for members to lobby MPs to raise awareness of water-saving and its Water Label, Inta has received ministerial backing. MP for Stafford, Jeremy Lefroy has committed to support the Water Label in Parliament and lobby for bathroom products to be included in the Governments forthcoming Green Deal. The MP visited Inta’s headquarters in Hixon, Staffordshire, and met with its managing director Stuart Gizzi to discuss the issues facing the bathroom industry.

Lefroy said: “As a member of the International Development Select Committee I have seen the markedly different attitude towards water in countries where it is not readily available, compared to here in the UK. I feel it is time to educate the British public on how important water is and how they can make small changes to their behaviour which will help protect its long- term availability for future generations. “I will be writing to the Department for Energy and Climate Change to encourage them to examine if there is a way to incentivise the purchase of water-saving bathroom products within the forthcoming Green Deal. The reduction in CO2 emissions combined with use of less hot water combats two pressing environmental issues, so it would make sense to offer an incentive to homeowners to adopt these next generation bathroom products.”

MD of lnta, Stuart Gizzi commented: “In the decade Inta has been in business, we have worked incredibly hard to encourage the creation of legislation to make anti-scald devices compulsory in new bathroom installations, which helped shape Part G in the current Building Regulations. “However we are not resting on our laurels and are now  lobbying hard on other issues affecting the industry, including the forthcoming Renewable Heating Incentive and pushing to increase consumer awareness of the need for anti-scald protection. “We are also proud to be playing our part in spreading the message about the Water Label, so I was encouraged by Mr Lefroy’s response to the issues raised. I hope he will be a passionate advocate and encourage his parliamentary colleagues to back the efforts the bathroom industry is making.”

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association has also written to David Cameron calling for him to lead a campaign on water efficiency, especially in light of the recent drought measures.

BMA Water Label now European-wide

Trade associations from a number of European countries representing the tap, shower valve and handset industry, together with manufacturers have made moves towards a single Water Label. The European Association for the Valve industry, CEIR, brought together representatives from France, Spain, ltaly, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the UK.

Following the goal of the European Commission to consolidate all existing labels into one scheme, the CEIR and UK`s Bathroom Manufacturers Association formed a partnership to create the Water Label. The scheme is a self-certified tool to inform consumers and professionals about product water consumption. The Water Label shows the volume of water the product consumes per minute if installed correctly and in accordance with manufacturers instructions and offers a performance band per product. The Water Label will be launched officially during the European Commission Green Week in Brussels, held from May 22-25.

Ecobuild takes shape

As we near Spring, the industry show calendar begins to focus on sustainable building, with Ecobuild taking place March 20-22, at the ExCel Centre in London. Ecobuild is an event for sustainable design, construction and the built-environment, which will see over 1,500 exhibitors display their products.

ln addition, there are more than 130 seminars, bathroom taps, live demonstrations and a free conference programme which spans the themes of Design, Architecture and Sustainability; Making Sustainable Construction Happen and Beyond Construction: Achieving a Sustainable Future.

The Conference programme engages in big picture debates, from the role of science and technology through to the psychology of climate change. lt will also focus on more tangible issues of how the UK construction sector needs to change, the role of architects, refurbishing the existing stock and building more houses. And for the first time, RIBA CPD sessions will also be taking place at the show over the three days.

Plus there is a RIBA BITESized auditorium of 15 – minute talks and Q&A sessions and a RIBA village, including bookshop. For designers and architects specifying sustainable  bathrooms or kitchens, there are a variety of exhibitors taking part. Armitage Shanks, Ideal Standard, Roca, Geberit, Thomas Dudley, Moores Furniture Group, Wedi Systems and Twyford Bathrooms will be among the bathrooms exhibitors taking part. And they will be joined by the likes of Zip Heaters, Westag & Getalit, Trianco and CaesarStone representing kitchen manufacturers.

Tapping away

Baths, basins, showers, and even furniture these days, are all areas which are likely to be given a lot of consideration when talking bathrooms. Brassware on the other hand, is perhaps not as high on the list. But in actual fact a tap, or the wrong tap, can make a great deal of difference to the overall design. And it seems consumers are becoming more and more aware of this.

According to Nick McGrellis, managing director of Croydex: “Brassware is now much more than an afterthought and critically plays an integral part of the overall design of the bathroom. As homeowners look to create a sense of luxury and opulence in their family bathroom, both to add value to the property and to enjoy themselves, they have come to realise that the humble tap should be chosen notjust based on its functional capabilities, but also on its aesthetic qualities.” And managing director of Perrin & Rowe Steve Cole agrees, adding: “With an ever increasing array of bathroom taps now available to consumers, they have absolutely moved up the wish list in a bathroom project. When it comes to bathroom design, consumers are beginning to realise that details are vitally important to the overall look of the space. Beautifully designed and crafted brassware is a really worthy investment that will change the whole dynamic of a room for the better.”
Refreshing or refurbishing

And so it seems taps are not only becoming a more considered product, but in some cases the only product. Many industry experts believe that the influence of brassware on the overall look of the bathroom has led taps to be used both in refreshment and refurbishment projects. As Nick Rowland, product manager for Heritage Bathrooms, comments: “Taps are sold both as part of a a complete bathroom package and as seperate sales.

There are significantly more taps sold than the fixtures for them to go on. A proportion of these will be distress purchases, however a reasonable number will also be for bathroom updates, particularly in the current climate.” Consumers’ opting to simply change the brassware within their bathrooms, mther than replace entire suites, seems to be a growing trend.

Darren Holliday, managing director of Abode, points out: “You don’t have to refurbish a bathroom to create a completely different look. lf there is nothing wrong with the sanitaryware, why replace it when just updating the brassware can make all the difference.” And John Whittaker; product manager at Moods Bathrooms, adds: “Due to on going innovation in the design and manufacture of bathroom brassware, the choice of bathroom taps is growing steadily, with a great selection of unusual shapes and designs available at mid-market prices.”

As a result, brassware is often purchased alone to simply refresh a white bathroom suite and give it a stylish uplift easily and affordably. Consumers recognise well-designed taps and seek out unique shapes that will provide a style statement and focal point for their bathroom.”

Competing with chrome

From traditional to contemporary, waterfall spouts and mixers to filtration taps and chrome to gold finishes. The possibilities available are almost endless and many different designs are increasing in popularity. Sharon Doogan, brand manager of Hudson Reed, says: “There are a number of parallel trends in brassware. Traditional designs still sell, probably because around 20% ofthe UK housing stock pre-dates 1914.

There is a healthy market for clean, minimalist designs which have now become mainstream, but the move now is towards more comfortable brassware with rounded edges and softer lines.” And taps product manager for the Bristan Group Helen Smallridge, adds: “Waterfall taps with iconic open spouts are getting a lot of attention. Although we expect it to be limited, we are anticipating any increased interest in gold; and we are actually seeing modern twists on the traditional yellow gold to reflect this renewed appetite.”

While the chrome finish seems to be a chart topper; gold isn’t the only colour that is competing against it. Methven’s industrial designer; Gemma Rassie comments: “Chrome continues to be the dominant finish in the industry. Howeven during the last few years there has been a trend in offering tapware in different finishes and colours.” She continues: “When it comes to colour white and black are choice. Full black and white tapware has been popular for a few years, however we are starting to see colour being used in a much more subtle way, such as using colour as accents mther than for the whole product.”

Functional trade up

With all that said, design isn’t the only thing which can encourage consumers to trade up within the brassware market. While the need for bathroom taps to conserve water hasn’t quite entered the mindset of the consumer digital technology may drive it. As Nick Rowland of Heritage Bathrooms, comments: “Design and functionality are still the main purchasing considerations. If a tap can deliver the required performance and use less water in the process, then it will be a viable selling point. However consumers are still not necessarily convinced that this is the case. There are some serious cost benefits to using digital technology for water delivery so in time, they will filter down to the mass market.”

Managing director of Galassia UK and UK agent for Webert of Italy, Maz Mazhar; agrees: “Although the technology is there, the domestic user has not woken up to water-saving taps. Government legislation at some future date might bring this forward.” However; he continues: “By offering better quality products across the board. Customers’ aspirations are often higher than we realise and they will often choose a better looking, better quality product if it is on offer In other words, stock cheap and you will sell cheap.”

Nick McGrellis of Croydex, concludes: “Opportunities for trading up are plentiful in the bathroom brassware market, particularly in terms of water – saving features and other technicalities. Consumers are often ruled by their hearts and will lean towards making their purchase based largely on the look and style of the brassware. Stand out from the competition and display the ’showstoppers’. That way, consumers have something to aspire to.”

New styles of bathroom taps

So many products deemed a must-have to create a stylish bathroom, it would be easy to overlook the tap. However it plays a vital role. After all, what would a bathroom be without water?

But more than that, it also forms an important part of the design of the bathroom. Managing director of Abode, Darren Holliday explains: “Taps are a hugely important part ofthe bathroom mix, get the style or design wrong and the whole aspect of the room can look wrong. They are not simply an add-on sale.” His views are echoed by Sarah Williams, commercial director of Vado, who adds: “The taps in your bathroom are used almost every time you enter the room, so not only will you see them every time you go in, you’ll touch them too. While the initial design of a bathroom  will naturally focus on the larger elements, like the bath or shower; selecting the right tap to complement the overall design is crucial. Like a woman wearing beautiful jewellery to complement or highlight a dress, fitting the right taps can really lift a bathroom to a whole new level of style and sophistication.”

On the deck

And for many bathroom designs, the taps making a splash in sales are single lever monobloc mixers that are deck-mounted. However; there have been recent moves towards sales of wall-mounted models. As Brian Grey, marketing manager of Ideal Standard International, explains: “The single lever has become a mainstream choice with changes in both price and availability, making them more accessible. The vast majority of taps remain basin-mounted, as opposed to wall-mounted.

The UK lingers far behind mainland Europe in the use of wall-mounted mixers. lt is early days but the use of wall- mounted mixers is beginning to appear in the UK.

Certainly, sales and marketing director of Aquaplus Solutions, Pete Mills has noticed the growth in popularity of wall- mounted models: “SimpIe, contemporary deck-mounted designs continue to be the most popular but we are selling an increasing number of wall-mounted spouts too. These tend to be popular with young adults atter an  element of ditFerentiation.” Keeping a handle on both trends, industry experts tend to agree it is important for designers and retailers to offer a range of tap options. As Paul Tanner; head of sales and marketing at Waterfront, says: “Despite the popularity of one-hole fixings, it’s important to provide customers with the full spectrum of options, including three-hole and wall-mounted.” To further illustrate his point, he continues: “A style gaining interest with the public is the two-hole tap, whereby the temperature and flow are controlled by a separate basin- mounted lever from the spout. This allows the spout to take centre stage in design terms, and is a great way to make a bold statement.”
Chrome retains stronghold

Whatever style of tap is chosen for a bathroom project, undoubtedly the majority of sales will be in a chrome linish. However there has been a recent emergence of coloured and gold decors challenging its dominance. Wendy Ryley, Bristan’s product manager for taps, comments: “Last year we saw a big movement towards using lots of white and black in tap designs. This year we’re seeing more gold being used but not the ‘brassy’ gold that was popular in the 80s. This time it’s a much softer champagne gold. But Pete Mills of Aquaplus Solutions continues: “Gold, black and satin chrome finishes are now more readily available and while they do sell, it’s on a small scale. It’s likely that chrome will hold its title as ‘king’ for many years to come, regardless of passing trends.” Such is the stronghold of chrome, thatjim Sinclair; director of J’n'J Bathrooms, comments: “Customers that are looking for something different often go for dramatic shapes and style rather than finish.”

Digital steps forward

Perhaps, the next step in the development of dramatic tap styling will be the evolution of the digital tap. An established sector in shower controls, it is moving into basin and bath tap design. Product manager of Pegler Yorkshire, Mike Dickinson comments: “The age of digital technology in brassware is most definitely here! We are seeing it more and more with the introduction of lights and remote controls for showers etc. The market for tap designs is still emerging, but is seen as a key driver for manufacturers to help give differential in the marketplace and develop the bathroom market to a new level.” Brian Grey of Ideal Standard International adds: “The development of digital technology for the bathroom is still in its infancy with limited product availability. As we are now firmly in the digital age, we can expect an increase in the rate of digital bathroom soIutions.As we move into the second decade of the 21st century, digital design is bound to play an increasing role and will have a significant impact on tap design.”

Save water by law

However, it’s not only the external styling which may see a change in tap specification, the internal mechanisms which can aid water-saving will spur sales. For new build properties, it is crucial that designers specify water-saving taps to meet current legislation. Managing director of Croydex, Nick McCrellis continues: “Recent changes to Part G of the Building Regulations  mean there is now a cap on how much water can be used per household, per day, in new build properties. We predict that this will be extended to refurbishment properties in the future.”

Sarah Williams states: “Hence, in the brassware market today, it’s essential for taps to be water- saving or at least to have a water – saving alternative or option.” And acting marketing manager for Deva, Vicki Newsome agrees: “It’s important for tapware to be able to save water but not necessarily to be a water-saving product in itselt Deva’s HSR flow regulators can work with any tap, so even a designer tap can save water”.

Interestingly, Brian Grey of Ideal Standard International, suggests that designers should consider where the brassware is being used to use water efficiently. As he says: “Consider having different flow rates in different rooms of the house. A cloakroom mixer does not require the same pressure for simple hand—washing, as a basin mixer that will be used to fill a basin.”

Consider the quality

Above all, the clear message coming through from experts is to showcase the benefits of the tap, while promoting the quality of its design. Head of sales and marketing at Waterfront, Paul Tanner comments: “Demonstrating to consumers how tap design has come on in  leaps and bounds over the past few years, will help them to see how trading up will have a lasting impact on their daily lives. Water flow and temperature control are superb compared to just a few years ago.” And Franz Lorenschitz, marketing manager of Hansgrohe UK, agrees, concluding: “I would always emphasise quality. Refurbishing a new bathroom is costly and designed to be a long- term investment. Given that up to half of the total budget can be installation costs, it makes sense for consumers to buy the best products they can afford. This is particularly true of taps, as they have to withstand constant wear and tear”