BEST PRACTICE: Sealing success in the shower solution market

Installers of bathroom solutions are for the most part well-versed in compliance and best-practice during projects.

But every once in a while a new product is released into the market which requires a different approach and knowledge. This can create challenges for dealers and installers who are unfamiliar with the product which can in turn deliver a poor customer experience and dent the business’s reputation.

Autumn UK’s Tru Cubicle toilet and shower solution was released into the bathing sector earlier this year and has already been well-received by distributors. However, being different to anything Autumn has produced before, the cubicle solutions, available as either a toilet or a shower, posed a new challenge for its partners.

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Keen to ensure the customer experience included a quick and high-quality installation, Autumn utilised its partnership with cubicle technical support manager and consultant, Clive Vare. Since the Tru Cubicles’ release, Autumn has worked closely with Vare to educate and inform partners.

Vare has been involved with all the major manufacturers of home adaptation equipment for the last 15 years and formerly trained contractors all around the UK. Speaking generally about the market, he says that he has seen his fair share of shoddy installations and has been able to educate contractors on compliance and best practice.

“Over the last 15 years it wasn’t so much the kit that was going wrong, it was more the standard of installation,” said Vare during a keynote presentation during Naidex. “The kit got better and better and so there were fewer and fewer issues there, it was more to do with installation. I know all the contractors around the UK and so Autumn got in touch and asked me to look after the cubicle on the installation side of things. Wherever they are in the country I probably know three contractors in the area who can install the cubicle competently and who I have a personal relationship with.”

When Autumn receives an inquiry, Vare will go out to do the initial survey to ensure there is a good and reliable water supply, that the pressure is appropriate, that venting is suitable and that waste can be extracted.

For a simple shower set-up a waste pump of virtually any brand can be used. If it’s a toilet set cubicle then a Saniflo can be mounted onto the toilet to extract waste and pump it away.

Vare continues: “Again, installation is key. I can give plans and photographs of installation to contractors and they can cost against that. We’ve put together a schedule of rates so we know pretty much what the price should be. Because the cubicle is so new contractors rarely know what to price against and they look at it as a conventional wetroom, which it isn’t. You haven’t got tiling and flooring so it’s much more cost-effective.”

Full installation shouldn’t take more than two days, according to Vare, although he admits he has seen it done in five hours in one case. If an installer is well-versed before they cross the threshold and knows where all the various aspects and elements of the shower are going to be, an installation should be quick and hassle-free.

Part of the Tru Cubicle’s USP is that it is an easy solution to set up which minimises stress for the client and so it is essential to Autumn that each installation goes off without a hitch. The problem can come when supplementary trades, for example electricians or plumbers need to be brought in in some cases. Relying on these trades can add time to a project, but installers are seldom in control of this.

I know all the contractors around the UK and so Autumn got in touch and asked me to look after the cubicle on the installation side of things

Vare’s support and knowledge will come as a welcome gift for installers of the cubicles. He comments: “I know lots of very good contractors but they’re not all familiar with this; and what you’re not familiar with then you can be very cagey about. I’ve been working with pumps for over a decade now and there’s nothing difficult about it, you’ve just got to follow the simple rules. But if you’re unfamiliar then it can look worse than it is, whereas if you know what you’re doing then you’re fitting with confidence and you’re fitting better and quicker. And if we can get a nice quick installation, then that’s what we need. They can always give me a call on the job even if it’s just to check what they’re doing is correct. If there’re any future problems with the pump or anything else then again they can contact me and I can recommend a suitable person to make a repair or adjustment.”

Vare will even work with OTs and carers to carry out feasibility studies on cubicles and make sure it will be used appropriately. Because of Vare’s relationship with Autumn, the support system is completely unique to the company. Further to this, Vare’s relationship with installers around the UK makes the system even more unique. This in turn benefits all parties involved.

Many of the contractors Vare deals with are not yet familiar with the cubicles. He describes how because of this unfamiliarity, they can often price it so that they can avoid having to do the job.

“If I can get over that barrier and gain their trust, if they know that it’s a good product, they’re more likely to work with me and put in a proper price for the client,” he comments. “I have had some very unrealistic quotes back from people who are unfamiliar with what they’re looking at and who are taking a worst case scenario. For some of them I would half the price of installation. I say that for a fact because I’ve done that.”

As far as bathing and toilet solutions go, Autumn’s Tru Cubicle, coupled with its relationship with Vare, gives partner installers a new opportunity to equip their customers with all the resources they need to deliver success.

Autumn UK’s Tru Cubicle

Available as a shower or toilet cubicle, the Tru Cubicle solution is designed for people who require a non-permanent solution where flexibility is key. The solution is popular with local authorities who do not want to provide social housing with expensive, permanent bathroom adaptations for a resident who could leave the property at any given time.

Similarly, the cubicles have proven popular with people who require a rapid installation where an elderly person has moved to live with their relatives. What’s more, the cubicle can be re-sited if the person relocates, meaning they can be confidently marketed as a cost-effective long-term effective.

The shower cubicle has been designed to fit in any room where water, waste and power supply have been made available. The design concept has led to the production of solutions from ‘fit anywhere’ products to specialist bathing items.

A watertight seal is achieved thanks to Autumn UK’s unique Air Assist screens, which are fitted as standard. Autumn UK’s shower toilet cubicles provide complete showering and toileting facilities all in one. They provide a watertight showering enclosure, with the added WC and hand basin completing the facilities available to enhance personal care.

 

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