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May Design Series 2014 – Kitchen and Bathroom, London

May 23rd, 2014

Excel London


This year’s May Design Series – the UK’s international furnishing fair, took place at London ExCel from the 18th- 20th May, with Kitchen and Bathroom designs a key aspect of the event, along with a focus on Furniture, Lighting, Décor and the DX design platform, which showcased the latest in creative thinking and innovation.

The event itself welcomed over 400 brands both British and International, with design guru Ab Rogers responsible for bringing us a show that is like no other in its delivery of a wealth of products, materials, designs and concepts, with industry leaders also reflecting on a variety of trends, challenges and opportunities.

Kitchen and Bathrooms gave us the latest in innovative products with luxurious and contemporary design, with this year’s exhibitors including:

  • Italian kitchen designers Arredo3, with their 30 years of expertise reflected in the sleek modern contemporary designs which offer optimal functionality together with workmanship of the highest quality.
  • Envirotech Bathing showcased their latest shower range, offering leak free showering through pioneering design that integrates the walls into the shower design itself, removing the potential for seepage through grout or silicon, with Envirotech also manufacturing their shower enclosures and accessories in the UK.
  • JIS Europe Limited were also at the exhibition, known as the original company behind the 100% stainless steel heated towel rail and radiator.  JIS Europe offer a 25 Year Guarantee on their durable ranges of duel fuel, central heating and all electric rails and radiators that are environmentally friendly and made using ethically sourced materials.
  • The Vintage Fridge Company brought fantastic examples of vintage refrigerators and ice boxes for those looking for something totally different as a main feature in their kitchen.  As well as specialising in these refurbishments, the Vintage Fridge’s mother company offer expertise in reclaimed original cast iron radiators.

New for this year was “Big Thinking for Small Places” allowing for advanced design and industry trends to be incorporated even in the most restrictive of spaces.  Solutions from Ideal Standard, Roca, Crosswater and Kaldewei were amongst those featured including slim basins and compact toilets as well as versatile bathroom storage solutions, making the most of every last inch of space available.

Next year’s date for the May Design Series is 17th-19th May, which will again be hosted at London’s ExCel.


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PHEX Tradeshows – 2014

April 30th, 2014



The Plumbing and Heating Exhibition (PHEX) has been running for 20 years now, targeted at the contractor and installer sectors within these industries.  Several events are held throughout the year and provide an ideal opportunity to explore the latest products on the market and industry developments and challenges, with networking opportunities also on offer.


PHEX+ is new for 2014 and is due to take place at Alexandra Palace on 20th and 21st May.  Free admission is granted for the 2 day event which covers domestic and commercial markets with renewables also set to be a key focus.  The event will welcome a vast range of manufacturers and distributors to showcase their products, allowing those attending the chance to meet with these key suppliers.


PHEX are also known for their informative seminars and at Alexandra Palace speakers in attendance will include representative from B&ES (Building & Engineering Services Association), Gas Safe Register, DECC, Residential Ventilation Association (RVA) and the Fan Manufacturers Association (FMA).


More information on PHEX+ can be found on the PHEX Website, and further event dates are scheduled for:

  • PHEX Manchester – 15th and 16th October
  • PHEX Chelsea – 12th and 13th November 2014



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Renewable Heat Incentive – Domestic Scheme Now Launched

April 30th, 2014


On a mission to promote heat generation from renewable energy sources, the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive payment scheme was initially launched on 28th November 2011 for non-domestic buildings.  The RHI was set up to replace the Low Carbon Building Programme which ceased in 2010, and rewards those who generate energy from renewable heat technologies such as ground source and water source heat pumps, solar thermal panels and biomass boilers.


Based on the Energy Act 2008, the introduction of the scheme for Domestic RHI has seen several delays but it was finally launched on 9th April 2014, providing financial reward for those who use renewable heat technologies within the home including air source pumps, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal panels. Those who are interested in benefitting from the scheme need to complete an application process with the domestic scheme open to private landlords as well as owner occupiers, self-builders and providers of social housing.


Ofgem, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets are administering the scheme and further information on eligibility and the application process is available at the Ofgem Website, with the scheme open to domestic customers regardless of whether they are on or off the gas grid, although for the latter the potential of the scheme is greater.


Those wishing to apply will need to provide an EPC Energy Performance Certificate, confirming that only a single property that is regarded as a domestic dwelling is being heated by the renewable system. The EPC will also cover energy use and recommendations within the dwelling and forms part of the Green Deal Assessment, details of all of which are also available from Ofgem.  Support is also on hand through Ofgem for installers on the necessary technology criteria that meets the schemes guidelines.


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How the Modern Toilet Has Evolved

April 17th, 2014

The 13th April marked the birthday of Joseph Bramah who was born in 1748 and was a famous inventor best known for developing the hydraulic press. As well as being a locksmith, Bramah also played a key role in the improvement of toilet design having patented design changes in 1778 which included a hinged flap that sealed the bowl and alleviated the problem of the water freezing during the cold winter months.  With examples of his work still in operation at Queen Victoria’s Osbourne House, we reflect on how modern toilets evolved into the sleek design and water efficient models that are in use today.

With evidence of flush toilets in their earliest form dating back to 3100 BC early designs featured toilets made from brick and stone, and with the development of basic sewers many toilets were built directly above the running water to enable the removal of waste as was the case in Roman times, although this luxury was only available to those of the affluent classes.

In 1596 John Harington invented Britain’s first flushing toilet, which featured a flush valve and wash down bowl, which allowed the water to be released from the tank and empty the bowl in the process.  Harington installed the device which he named Ajax in his manor in Kelston in Somerset, as well as an installation at Richmond Palace for his godmother Queen Elizabeth I.

Alexander Cummings held the first patent in 1775 for his flush toilet, and his S shaped plumbing design was later modified by others to produce the U and J shape.  Cummings solution featured a sliding valve in the bowl outlet, effectively solving the problem of stench travelling up from the sewer below.

In 1851 George Jennings installed the first public toilets at Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition.  With a charge of 1 penny over 827,000 visitors used them, with the service including a shoe shine, towel and comb and most importantly a clean seat. The following year Jennings patented his designs for improvements in traps, valves and pumps in water closets.

By the 1880’s with further underground pipe networks developed to improve sanitation, Thomas Crapper was producing flush toilets with improvements made to existing designs through the syphon system replacing the floating valve and reducing leakage in the process.  During this period Frederick Humpherson from Chelsea based Beaufort Works demonstrated the first flush-down toilet, with Thomas Twyford producing the first one-piece ceramic model, which incorporated the internal designs of George Jennings.

By the early 1900’s patents were issued to Thomas MacAvity Stewart for his vortex-flushing toilet bowl, with Philip Haas developing the flush rim toilet in addition to recycling mechanisms for which he was also granted a series of patents.

With duo-set cisterns available for the first time in 1980, the work of Australian Bruce Thompson whose designs featured 2 buttons with the 2 flush options, significant savings were able to be made on water usage, and this set the standard for the highly economic models that are so popular today.


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Tradeshow Recap – Construma Hungary

April 7th, 2014


The beautiful city of Budapest was the location of the 33rd Construma international fair which was held at the HungExpo Budapest from the 2-6th April.  The event is recognised as one of the largest in Central and Eastern Europe, with several exhibitions taking place under the Construma umbrella.  Over 48,000 attended the show with the opportunity to access over 500 exhibitors and make the most of the extensive conference programme which ran throughout the event.

The exhibition consisted of:

  • Construma – covering the building industry and materials with water and heat insulating systems also a focus.
  • RENEO – a trade exhibition on renewable energy sources, heating and cooling, ventilation, intelligent buildings and municipal development.
  • HomeDesign – featured the latest design trends in bathroom, kitchen and lighting technology, with furniture and consumer electronics also a feature.
  • Construma Garden – which covered Planning and Garden Construction.
  • Ligno Novum – a Trade exhibition for the timber industry.

The conference programme saw presentations and discussions from Vaillant, ATMOS, Penta-Kilma Kft, Merkapt Zrt, ATC, ELKO Hungary and Hydro-King with subjects covered including Intelligent Home Control, Rainwater Utilization, Central Ventilation, Heat Pumps, Surface Cooling and Heating Solutions as well as Pellet and Condensational Furnaces.

The OKO City house construction was presented, allowing visitors to explore first-hand the latest in building and engineering solutions and innovative products that allow for a family home to be run with minimal energy consumption.


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Tradeshow Recap – Mostra Convegno ExpoComfort, Milan

March 26th, 2014

 MCE Global Comfort Technology ExpoThe MCE Global Comfort Technology Expo took place from the 18th-21st March and attracted over 156,000 visitors to the 39th edition of this International event. The impressive Fiera Milano venue played host to the biannual expo, which focussed on the key sectors of HVAC together with Solar and GeoThermal Energy Solutions.

With over 2,300 exhibitors taking part in the show, its popular and extensive conference programme included sessions on Smart Plants and Smart Cities, examining the challenges faced in Building Installations in a Changing City as well as Sustainable Energy Solution Case Studies.

With MCE providing the ideal platform for showcasing the latest in industry efficiency and innovation, products on display included:

  • The Iper CO2HPE from Lamborghini Calor Spa, a highly energy efficient CO2 air-to-water pump which produces Hot Sanitary Water of up to 90◦c.
  • Samsung Electronics Italia Spa gave us the latest in variable refrigeration flow systems with their DVM S Outdoor Unit, again with a key focus on energy efficiency and preventing compression loss.
  • Evolution from the COLA – Ferroli Group featured heating solutions with sustainable energy sources for both residential and commercial applications.
  • Mertik Maxitrol provided a range of Electronic Modula Systems, together with Gas Safety Devices and Combination Controls.

With the event attracting both national and international exhibitors, those in attendance also included Sanhua, ATP Srl, Parigi, Enercom, and SAER Elettropompe.

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Tradeshow Recap: AquaTherm Serbia

March 17th, 2014

Belgrade’s BelExpo Centre played host last week to AquaTherm Serbia, the international tradeshow covering heating and air-conditioning, ventilation, sanitary and environmental equipment. Organised by ICM, the event was supported by the Enterprise Europe Network and University of Novi Sad, and brought together over 50 exhibitors showcasing the latest in heating installation equipment and regulating and measuring solutions, with a focus also on photovoltaics, geothermal energy, and solar power technology.  Attracting thousands of visitors, the list of AquaTherm exhibitors included:

•    Weiss A/S from Denmark, a leading name in combustion for bio mass and waste materials.

•    CherBros S.A. from Greece, providers of quality brass fittings for solar, plumbing and heating equipment.

•    Taiwan based Gintech Energy Corporation, focussing on solar cell production with state of the art crystalline products.

•    Valtis Ogrevanje of Slovenia showcasing their boilers and burners, with a renewable energy a key features.

•    Serbia’s Master Inzenjering exhibiting advanced technology with their range of drives, motors and industrial fuses.

With the International Exhibition of ReneWable Energy and Business Forum also taking place alongside AquaTherm, both of which ran from the 12th-14th March, the event offered an extensive conference programme with discussions and presentations on subjects ranging from fire safety associated with solar panel systems to Wi-Fi solutions for reducing electricity consumption in smart cities.  With the IERWE promoting environmentally friendly solutions, technical and professional experts were on hand to offer advice and guidance to visitors on the latest industry developments and opportunities.

Tradeshows in February – 2014

February 1st, 2014

AquaTherm Moscow 4-7 February

Official Website:

Venue: International Exhibition Centre Crocus Expo – Pavilion 3, Hall 13, 14, 15
Moscow, Russia

Opening Hours: 10am-6pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 10am-4pm Friday

Overview: AquaTherm is an international exhibition which focusses on industry sectors such as heating and ventilation, as well as environmental technology, water supply, sanitary equipment and air-conditioning.  With over 750 exhibitors taking part, World of water and spa will also be a key feature at AquaTherm Moscow event.

Exhibitors scheduled to attend include:

  • Electro Engineering Limited
  • Pipex Systems S.A.
  • REMS GmbH & Co
  • Samson AG
  • Valtec


PlumbexIndia – 20-22 February

Official Website:

Opening Hours: 11am-7pm daily

Venue: Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon (East) Mumbai, India

Overview: PlumbexIndia is the only international show to take place in India which is dedicated to the plumbing industry.  With its 6th annual show taking place this year, PlumbexIndia is supported by global organisations such as World Plumbing Council, with companies such as Grundfos and KiTec also partners at the event.  CERA is sponsoring the symposium which takes place alongside the exhibition on the 20th February, with this year’s theme reflecting on Two Decades of IPA – Redefining Plumbing Standards in India.


AquaTherm Tashkent, Uzbekistan 25-28 February

Official Website:

Venue:  NEC UzExpoCentre, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Overview: AquaTherm Tashkent will be held together with the UzBuild exhibition, resulting in one of Uzbekistan’s largest tradeshow events, which brings together manufacturers and suppliers from both the construction and HVAC industry sectors all under one roof.

With Exhibitors yet to be confirmed, product categories at the event include:

  • Green Building
  • Sauna and Swimming Pools
  • Sanitary Technology
  • Water and Waste Water Technology
  • Heating Technology and Equipment

Unicera Istanbul – 26 Feb – 2nd March

Official Website:

Opening Hours: 10am-7pm 26th Feb-1st March, 10am-6pm 2nd March

Venue: Tuyap Fair Convention and Congress Center, Istanbul, Turkey

Overview: The International Ceramic, Bathroom, Kitchen Fair welcomes over 350 companies and 65,000 visitors to this popular event.  With Manufacturers and Exporters of Kitchen and Bathroom Equipment and Accessories, Wall and Floor coverings, Sauna and Turkish Bath Equipment and Ceramic Processing Technologies exhibiting in this the 26th Unicera show to take place.

Exhibitors scheduled to attend include:

  • Alteo
  • Dune Ceramica S.L.
  • Fuccelli
  • Studor Ventech Ltd
  • Swarovski

Thomas Crapper & Company

January 27th, 2014

Thomas Crapper was an inventor, plumber and famous founder of Thomas Crapper & Co based in London.  Although some believe that he invented the toilet this is not the case, however he is credited with developing the modern bathroom concept and also for opening the first ever showroom to display such products as toilets, sinks and baths, located in Kings Road London.  With manufacturing taking place in Marlborough Road, Crapper’s showroom appeared quite shocking to some when it opened, at a time when the subject of toilets was something rarely openly discussed.

Crapper started his own business in 1861, following completion of his apprenticeship and time spent as a journeyman plumber.  In the 1880’s Thomas Crapper would become the recipient of his first Royal Warrant, having provided and installed all Prince Edward’s bathroom, plumbing and drainage requirements, when the Prince rebuilt Sandringham House in Norfolk.  Edward would later become King, and this connection with royalty would continue with Crapper supplying plumbing equipment at the request of George V, further enhancing his reputation as a supplier of the finest quality goods.  Installations of Crapper’s fittings also took place at Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

Crapper’s inventions and pioneering design would see him hold a total of 9 patents during his lifetime, three of which related to improvements for water closets including a floating ballcock, with water waste prevention a key focus. His patents also included a disconnecting trap, a drains fitting installed underground.  A less successful invention of Crappers was a spring-loaded toilet seat which used pulling rods to flush the toilet automatically, due to problems experienced by some users over time the device was not a commercial success.

1904 would see Crapper retired, with nephew George and business partner Robert Wharam then responsible for the business.  In the 1960’s the company was sold to John Bolding & Sons Ltd, who later went out of business.

Sadly, today marks the anniversary of the death of Thomas Crapper, who passed away in 1910.  However, the company now operates once again as an independent, following its acquisition by a collector of bathroom antiques.  The company was subsequently re-launched and today operates from Stratford-Upon-Avon, supplying authentic reproductions of Crapper’s famous Victorian fittings, and continuing Thomas Crapper’s reputation for the finest quality sanitary ware.

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Our 5 Tips to Reducing Your Water Bill

January 10th, 2014


Our 5 Tips to Reducing Your Water Bill

With ever increasing prices being charged for utilities, it is important for us all to look at ways we can reduce consumption and in turn our bills, below are our Top 5 Tips for saving both water and money.

Water Meter

Whilst many of us now have a water meter fitted, there may be some homes which are yet to have one installed.  Paying for the water that you use rather than a rate based on your home could lead to cheaper bills.

Turn off Taps

We can waste a surprising amount of water simply by leaving taps running whilst washing up or brushing teeth.  With several litres wasted each time you brush your teeth, by turning off the taps during this twice a day ritual, savings can soon add up in the family household. Fixing a leaking tap is also worthwhile, as again a tap that is constantly dripping is costing you money.

Shower vs Bath

Opting to shower rather than bath has long been recognised as a money saver, but we can still end up using a vast amount of water during a shower. By shortening the time spent in your shower or reducing the rate at which the water flows through installing an efficient showerhead, you will again reduce consumption and save money on your bill.

Water Efficient Products

It’s worth exploring those products which facilitate reduced water usage, from dual flush toilets which can save several litres per flush compared to single flush models, to lower flow taps where water can again be saved. When looking to install more efficient white goods, taking the time to research what’s on offer is very worthwhile, as when it comes to replacing items such as dishwashers and washing machines water usage for these machines varies greatly, even though eco-friendly functions are now a main feature on most models.  You can still save water usage on existing models by ensuring dishwashers and washing machines are fully loaded before use.


Given our climate, installing a water butt in the garden is another good move, helping the environment as well as your pocket through making use of the rain water that we have an abundance of.


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