Social housing is experiencing a revolution, with local councils and housing associations looking for kitchen suppliers that will offer up-to-date, long-lasting solutions without comprimising on quality. Neil Mcdonald of Moores offers his advice.
As the need to be able to offer a diverse range of tenures increases, social housing is experiencing a revolution. Consequently, there’s an increasing pressure on developers to specify quality products while keeping within budget.
Sustainable design through longevity
Kitchens that are designed with longevity front of mind are far more likely to be approved for social housing, as they offer a sustainable, long-term solution that makes the most of squeezed budgets. Well-made kitchens – such as cabinets which are glued, dowelled and then squared and set in a high-pressure press – require less maintenance and will last for many years, even with a potential high turnover of residents.
Special features to help future-proof a kitchen’s lifespan include a timeless design that can evolve, hard-working materials, and the robust backing of a guarantee. Hard wearing door and carcas materials, along with premium accessories, will reduce the need for replacements caused by the wear and tear of ‘cheaper’ solutions that end up becoming costlier in the long-term. Sophisticated manufacturers will subtly integrate these features so that residents can enjoy an attractive space in their home with the extra design touches associations expect today.
There is an increasing importance for developers working in the public sector to specify products that help meet a combination of strict industry sustainability codes, budgets and designs. A simple way to ensure a manufacturer is producing high quality and sustainable product choices is to look out for brands and products that are FSC and FIRA accredited. This accreditation means that developers can rest assured that they are choosing a product that has passed rigorous testing procedures, such as ergonomic assessment and structural performance, and is also kind to the environment.
Flexibility between tenures
The ability to differentiate between affordable rent, market rent, shared ownership and for sale is key. This is why many manufactures have a ‘good, better, and best’ brand structure which enables tenures to be kept distinct from each other.
There are a number of ways a kitchen can be classed as sustainable, from material choices, through to manufacturing processes and the supply chain. Companies that use locally sourced materials and manufacture the entire kitchen on site reduce the product’s carbon footprint, eliminating the need for long transportation processes.
A sustainable supply chain solution does not have to mean a compromise on overall product production, performance or design. Some kitchens use MFC (Melamine Faced Chipboard) doors. MFC contains a high proportion of recycled material, often including chipboard waste which is sent back to the manufacturer for recycling. The end result is a stylish but sustainable product solution that appeals to both
the residents and the developer with minimal wastage.