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BiKBBI 2024 Conference Report

February 19, 2024

February 6th 2024, saw the Annual Conference for the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) held at the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London’s Westminster.

This conference is an important assembly of key institute stakeholders and leading delegates from the wider KBB industry, giving a stage to discuss current challenges, industry successes and critical issues of the day. The event is a platform for debate, growth and sharing of ideas to drive positive change within the KBB industry.

I’ve made this 10,000-mile round-trip journey several times now, and I find it one of the most important days on my calendar due to the overall value I get from it. Attending this conference is necessary to stay informed about the latest UK industry trends and developments in kitchen and bath installation. It’s important to take a step back now and again and gain some perspective, and this conference provides me with that opportunity.

As someone who has worked as an installer for two decades and ran my own installation company, then spending the next decade and a half focusing on the business and marketing side of the installation, and now, with my current role at SENSTEC, I have an entirely new perspective to consider. We must provide the best product and installation advice to other installers, and conferences like this play a vital role in learning and sharing best practices.

The Deputy Editor of the Times Enterprise Network, Hannah Prevett, was the host for the day, and she guided the delegates through the various topics and panel discussions.

BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters discussed the current state of the industry and, during his presentation, emphasized the importance of collaboration as a key factor in achieving success. He also highlighted the four core pillars that form the foundation of the industry: Education, Compliance, Standards and Sustainability. Walters looked back on the past, examined the present, and discussed the future of the industry.

During the event, apprenticeships were a key topic of discussion. The highlight of the day was hearing from some of the youngest attendees. Elliott Perry, from Ace Electrical & Plumbing, shared his experiences as an apprentice during the Power of Apprenticeship panel discussion. Additionally, the owner of Pink Plumbing Services, Sophie Maguire, spoke about her journey as a young female entering a male-dominated industry in the breakout session titled “Attracting Diverse Talent to our Industry”, led by Diversity Ambassador Dr. Stuart Lawrence.

BiKBBI Conference 2024


I found listening to these young tradespeople utterly inspiring and a shining example to the KBB industry, which is sometimes reluctant to employ young, diverse staff. You couldn’t help but be left feeling that Elliot and Sophie have amazing careers ahead of them. Watch this space.

Keynote speaker Calvin Bailey MBE, the Commanding Officer of the 70 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, gave an incredibly inspiring talk. He led us on a journey with words and photographs of his experiences and various deployments, emphasizing that working together during challenging times is always a key metric to achieving outstanding results.

The event offered opportunities to network and an enlightening breakdown of the national statistics within the construction industry from the Deputy Director of Infrastructure and Construction, Fergus Harradence.

One statistic that jumped out for me was that over seventy countries will hold elections in 2024, including eight of the ten most populous. This fact highlights the possibility of instability ahead, with inevitable change for some on the horizon.

A discussion around recent surveys conducted by the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) and the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) would have brought a smile to many an installer. These surveys repeatedly highlighted the importance of installers on multiple levels across the industry.

If installers are important and installation affects every aspect of the KBB industry, it’s essential to be involved in the conversation. You can disagree with the discussion; you can try to change it or add to it, but it’s crucial to be present.

The industry is in good hands when we all work together. However, more pe;ople need to get involved. We need more businesses, installers, retailers and designers to participate. The most interesting discussions happen when lots of people are involved.

So, 10,000 miles later, I’m back home in Vancouver, Canada, reflecting on another successful trip to Westminster, London. I’m filled with ideas and renewed enthusiasm for the part I can play in this wonderful industry.

—By Mark Conacher, managing director, Senstec US

Photo credit: BiKBBI