The theme of this year's British Institute of KBB Installation (BiKBBI) conference in Westminster this week was 'Driving Industry Change through Collaboration', and speakers and panellists shared opinions and experiences and debated the sector's challenges and opportunities, across a series of engaging presentations and discussions.
The event, which was sponsored by SENSTEC and Quooker, was hosted by Hannah Prevett – deputy editor of The Times Enterprise Network – and the conference was opened by BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters, who celebrated existing collaboration, but warned there is still a need for greater collaboration from the industry on the subject of education, standards, compliance and sustainability.
Keynote speakers included Fergus Harradence from the Department for Business & Trade (DBT) who shared the UK Government’s predictions for 2024, highlighting that, despite continued challenges, there was growth potential with both consumer and business confidence increasing which would ultimately benefit the construction sector. Industry insight data from AMA Research was presented alongside key findings from the Bathroom Manufacturers Association’s Understanding the Bathroom Installer Survey 2023. The results of the BiKBBI Installer Survey 2024 were also unveiled.
BiKBBI then hosted a sustainability panel featuring Phil Viner from Triton Showers, Tom Reynolds from the BMA and Lyrical Communications’ David Ventris-Field to discuss how to reach and support KBB installers better on the topic of sustainability. In addition, diversity ambassador for BiKBBI, the Rt Hon Stuart Lawrence, supported by James Moore from the MoD’s Careers Transition Partnership and apprentice plumber Sophie Maguire, led a workshop on how the industry should work towards improving diversity and inclusion. Education and apprenticeships also remained on the 2024 conference agenda, being a key area of focus for BiKBBI as a route to tackling the current skills gap.
Damian Walters, CEO of BiKBBI, said: "The attendance of so many brands and businesses here today is representative of the importance that installation plays to the whole industry and recognises the role that we fulfil as an institute. The theme of the day was collaboration, which was demonstrated by the 160 delegates who took time away from their busy day jobs to come here, join the conversation, and support this vital sector of the KBB industry. But now the real work begins, and we will continue to drive the agenda on the topics raised today with the support of our corporate sponsors, retail partners and wider stakeholders.”