• This month we talk about:

    • What are the five ways to put people first during a time of transformation?
    • Open-spaced living is transforming the way we think of furniture
    • How technology can transform the construction industry
    • 10,000 kitchens for Advantage South West
    • Modernise or die - what positives can we take from Mark Farmer's review?
    • MacMillan Halloween Cake Competition
    • Why you should consider glass splashbacks?
  • The five ways to put people first during a time of transformation
  • Transformation - social housing kitchens
  • In business terms, transformation can often be seen as a negative. Sometimes it is another way of saying that there are going to be layoffs. However, the reality is that most of us spend our working lives entirely within organisations going through constant change.

    Transformations and changes are usually difficult in a business environment, and if businesses are constantly going through it, they need to find ways to make change less arduous.

    So, to that end, here are five different ways to make the process easier, and they all stem from the same source, putting people first:

    • When you transform your organisation, make sure that you have a deeper purpose that your employees can connect with. Whilst financial and operational goals are all well and good, they can sometimes struggle to inspire the employees; your transformation needs to motivate everyone.
    • Rather than simply cost cutting, make sure that your transformations have long term strategies, so secure the future of the company. As well as this, the transformations need to promise success in the short and mid-term as well.
    • Give people the capabilities to succeed during a transformation period. It is a very complicated process with many different factors, which means that different people involved will need different skills.
    • Create a culture that promotes continuous learning. Constant transformation requires constant learning.
    • Inclusive yet decisive leadership is key to a successful transformation. Holding people accountable for results is important, but to really motivate your workforce, inclusivity is key.
  • Open space living has re-defined the way we think of furniture
  • open plan student furniture
  • Recently, more and more people have adopted open plan living into their homes.

    They knock down walls to open up rooms, creating a more social atmosphere. For some buyers, an open plan setting is key when it comes to purchasing a property in the first place. While it will take time to impact on student housing this trend towards open space living is starting to change the way we  look at furniture as well.

    Open plan living has been around for a while, although it’s only become truly popular in the last two decades. Before the 1990s, it was rare to see an open plan home.

    The philosophy behind more traditional closed-plan homes was that the more rooms a house had, the more compartmentalised and functional it was.

    In fact, ‘open plan’ first surfaced around the turn of the 19th century, and was described by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright as the dawn of ‘interior spaciousness’. He claimed open plan was the solution to traditional interiors that had been ‘cut up’ and ‘consisted of boxes beside boxes or inside boxes, called rooms’

    Large, clunky dining tables, and heavily upholstered armchairs are often too large and cumbersome to be incorporated into an open space plan. Therefore, now styles of furniture are needed, ones that are lighter and more modern.

    Using innovative technologies involving smart plastics, developers can create furniture that is just as useful as older, larger examples, but that is lighter and softer, more in keeping with an open plan living arrangement.

    These changes are starting to impact on social housing, and in particular new build student housing, so what are the main advantages?

    Instant space and light

    Open floor plans can allow you to make the most of the square footage and create an instant feeling of space. This is especially important where space is limited (as it is in most student accommodation) and where there is a competitive market the optimisation of smaller spaces through open-plan remodelling often makes a lot of sense.

    Removing walls also means more natural light from windows can permeate throughout the house. Darker rooms are replaced by a welcoming space filled with sunlight.

    A more social way of living

    The layout of a house can often have a large impact on the way people use it and interact with others. Open plan homes are widely acknowledged to encourage sociable living. Shut-off rooms can disconnect families, whereas many feel that open plan spaces help draw people together and promote a more communal lifestyle.

    Increased possibilities

    Open plan living can readily reflect our changing lifestyles. Today’s home must provide many different things to the home of a hundred, or even twenty years ago. An article from the Observer in 1953 wrote about open-plan living: ‘There are infinite possibilities, and we have hardly begun to explore them, but the alternative of poky little rooms has no appeal for many of us.’

    Today people work and live in the same space, so rather than designating and limiting certain rooms to very functional uses; ‘cooking’, ‘eating’ and the very vague ‘living’, open plan spaces allow you to use it flexibly.

  • How technology can transform the construction industry and more importantly, why it needs to.
  • technology for kitchens for social housing
  • The architecture, engineering and construction industries have, according to some industry professionals, historically been slow to react to, and incorporate new technologies. But given the issues facing the industry today, some say that embracing new forms of technology is the only way for companies to thrive.

    Over time, to incorporate technological advances, most of the core infrastructure will need replacing or repairing, and this usually costs huge amounts of money. Especially if these changes are done on a large scale. Often, the government is unwilling, or unable to prioritise these projects, and thus these necessary expenditures are hard to implement.

    Large scale infrastructure projects are, as we have seen recently, notoriously slow to plan, approve and then implement. It is hard to see how large scale technology changes will be any different.

    On example of technology that could be adopted is virtual, and augmented reality. This technology could allow us to view holographic images to scale, and we could interact with, and modify data on a physical level. Rather than investing money and time drawing up physical plans, designers could see their creations in a way that is impossible on a 2D drawing or screen. This could massively increase the efficiency of the designers.

    Cybersecurity is another huge problem facing the industry today, and yet another sector where the introduction of new technology could be beneficial. One of the easiest ways to bring a city to a standstill would be to launch a cyber-attack on the water or power suppliers. With new advancements in sensors that allow systems to both detect the attack, and be resistant to it, we can help to protect ourselves against such occurrences.

    Data gathering is another area where new technology can be of great benefit. Traditionally a very time consuming process, big data and digital models allow for far quicker, more effective and more efficient data gathering, which saves both time and money.

    Technological advances can be positive and negative, but irrespective we need to be aware of and ideally  keep ahead of the changes they can have on our industry.

    Here is a list of some of the technological advances that we see making the biggest impact on the construction industry, excluding pure developments in construction machinery and techniques;

    • Cybersecurity and data integrity
    • Drone and mapping technology
    • The internet of things and integration
    • Big data
    • Augmented and virtual reality
    • Automation and the development of robots
    • Social media
    • Wearable technology
    • 3D printing
  • 10,000 kitchens for Advantage South West 
  • Last month, following a competitive tender process, Premiere were awarded a contract by Advantage South West to supply kitchens for around 10,000 homes in Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. The properties include new build, refurbishment, void properties and delivery of kitchen furniture to response requests.

    The contract will run from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2020, and will be made up of a number of phases of design, manufacture and supply of various kitchen types.
  • The contract was awarded in person on Thursday 3rd November at a meeting held at Premiere’s Gloucester Head Office with Sean Williams, Premiere Business Development Manager for Wales and the West of England.

    Premiere have worked with ASW on kitchen projects previously, and look forward to their renewed partnership.

  • ASW - Kitchens for social housing
  • Modernise or die - The construction industry receives a harsh warning from Government -commissioned Mark Farmer’s review.
  • Due to low productivity and high levels of cost inflation driven by a shortage of workers, the construction industry in the UK is at risk of being in steady decline. The independent review of the UK’s construction labour model, led by Mark Farmer, states that the sector has a severe ‘lack of innovation’, paired with a ‘non-existent research and development culture’.

    According to Farmer - the industry doesn’t modernise to keep up with our constantly evolving society, and that is a death sentence in our day and age.
    constrution image
  • There are a substantial number of similarities between manufacturing and construction, so the construction industry could benefit from some of the same ideals: on time, with a fixed price and to a predetermined standard.

    While the headline report is fairly negative, there are positives and concepts that can be pulled out of it.

    What can be done?

    - Use the residential development sector to drive the large scale use of pre-manufactured construction

    - An entire reform of the current Construction Industry Training Board – needs new mandate to fund skill development and innovation in order to keep up with a fast-paced, ever-changing industry.

    - Government to use education, housing and planning policy measures to invoke change and ensure supportive conditions for development in the construction industry

    Overall, the construction industry seems to be in need of a change according to Mark Farmer. In order to adapt to our evolving society, the trade needs to reinvent itself, identify areas that needs improving and work specifically on refining them.

  • Premiere's Horrible Halloween bakery
  • The Premiere bakers produced a startling display of creepy cakes in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support last week.

    The creative display by our spooky bakers was judged and verified by the management team, who awarded the title of star baker to Katherine Limbrick from the Customer Service team.

    Katherine baked a ghostly graveyard cake, complete with human remains (!) hidden inside, demonstrating her exceptional talent in baking - well done Katherine!

    halloween cake
  • Go sleek with Glass Splashbacks
  • Glass splashbacks from Premiere are available in a variety of colours to suit every kitchen.

    Providing a sleek elegant finish, they are made of toughened glass to withstand everyday kitchen living.

    Glass splashbacks are ideal fitted above cooker hobs and work preparation surfaces, as they are particularly easy to clean and wipe down.

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