Manufacturers: making installs easier?
John Blackburn, UK managing director at Coram Group UK, considers the shower enclosure fitting process, how it can be improved by manufacturer contribution and what should be considered when selecting the right products for the job…
In today’s buoyant showering market, for a consumer, the decision about which shower enclosure to choose will usually boil down to a combination of two key factors – aesthetics and cost. But, an experienced installer knows that there is so much more to consider which will impact his/her ability to provide the best possible installation for their customer. Working in conjunction with manufacturers who consider all the possible fitting scenarios and account for them, will undoubtedly make the installer’s job much easier. So, what are the most important considerations when selecting a shower enclosure manufacturer?
A QUICK FIT
In an ideal world, every shower enclosure installation would be carried out quickly and efficiently; saving valuable time and money. But sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, it is impossible for this to be the case. By selecting a product that offers installer-friendly fitting options, for example pre-assembly, ‘One Man Fit’ or ‘Reduced Installation Time’, potential fitting problems can be headed off before they begin to impact on time restrictions or customer expectation. Or, time wasted on other parts of the installation can be made up while fitting the enclosure and tray.
One enclosure option would be Coram’s Optima range, which is pre-assembled and has a patented system designed specifically for ‘One Man Fit’ within an estimated super-fast installation time of just 45 minutes.
There are, of course, hundreds of branded and unbranded shower enclosures on the market. The fact remains that an installer’s reputation rests on the quality of workmanship provided for their customers. Even the most adept and experienced installer cannot be expected to provide a high-quality installation when working with poor or low-quality products.
Choose a manufacturer who displays integrity with their manufacturing processes, product quality and aftersales service options and that way you won’t go too far wrong. For price conscious customers who expect top-quality for reasonable investment, Consider Coram’s GB range of enclosures which is manufactured from high quality materials in their UK based factory.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL
There is nothing worse than opening a pack of screws and realising that you haven’t got an appropriate screw driver to tighten them. Across the huge variety of enclosures available in the UK the details differ immensely. Watch out for tiny, but noteworthy manufacturer unique selling points which will make installation considerably easier.
For instance where component parts have been pre-assembled, or seals have been pre-cut to size. Where manufacturers have included standard size screws or where products (particularly larger sizes of enclosure) can be erected and fitted in situ.
These details may seem minor or insignificant when product choice is being made, but will soon become vitally important when working to a deadline and providing a quality installation.
Consider Coram’s Optima range of enclosures which offers pre-assembled wheels, pre-cut seals, and screws sized for a standard PZ2 screwdriver.
ADJUSTING TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS
A key consideration when selecting an effective enclosure product is the level of adjustment it will easily offer. Even in new build properties there is no guarantee of walls being plumb, so it is important to ensure a good fit to choose a product which offers a generous amount of adjustment for out of true walls.
Other options which can be considered are separate corner posts in enclosures which balance pivot doors and eliminate frame twist and levelling systems for bath screens, which ensure that fast and accurate adjustments can be made.
If adjustment is a priority, opt for the Coram Premier range of enclosures which offers substantial adjustment options for out of true walls coupled with corner posts for increased integrity and eradication of frame twist.
Since July 2013 under the Construction Products Regulation, it has been mandatory for manufacturers to apply CE marking to shower enclosures and trays. A CE mark is the manufacturer’s declaration that the product conforms to the requirements of any applicable EC Directives.
Of course, some manufacturers go above and beyond to ensure their products not only meet, but exceed industry norms in terms of safety and integrity.
One example of this would be the Coram range of shower trays, which are subject to three types of testing; an edge load deflection test, a tray deflection test and a cycle test.
The deflection tests involve a 100kg weight being strategically positioned in high risk areas of the tray (on the edge and between the legs) for an allotted period of time to measure the amount of deflection.
The cycle test involves the trays being subjected to a repeated point load of 125kg for 25,000 cycles. Proving that a lightweight tray can still be incredibly strong and durable.
In such a competitive marketplace, manufacturers are increasingly aware that they need to contend on more than just price. With installers demanding more relevant features and benefits than ever before, shrewd research and development teams are winning hearts and budgets with smart thinking and ingenuity.