| Paul has, over 28 years, created a highly successful multi-product business – starting as a one-man band in the north of England, making a single product.
He started his business in 1989 manufacturing a rapid set wall tile adhesive. Through hard work and commitment, he developed the company, manufacturing product and personally delivering it all over the northwest of England – making the move into powdered adhesive along the way. By 2002 his company was employing three people, and looked unstoppable.
However in February 2002 he suffered a nightmare accident when he fell into a turning mixer blender in his factory. Many of you will know the story of how the paramedics and the surgeons at Wythenshawe Hospital managed to reattach severed limbs and basically put him back together again.
Suffice to say, he was very lucky to be alive – and within a few weeks he was walking and even riding a bicycle. Having completely recovered and got used to life with one artificial limb, he had the misfortune to be involved in a second serious accident – this time with a truck when he was out on his bike. However He once again managed to make a full recovery.
While all this was going on he managed to continue the growth of his business, being joined in the management team by his wife Rhona and son Mark. He still says that being a family business, giving the customer a personal touch, is the main thing which sets his company apart.
In fact the business has been so successful and is such a strong brand that last year it was acquired by Kerakoll, another family-owned business.
This is a quite unique story of perseverance – and indeed success – in the face of adversity and misfortune.
EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
PETER OATES, CERAMIC TILE MERCHANTS
Peter Oates joined Ceramic Tile Merchants as a full-time member of staff to work in the showroom at Beverley in September 2014. Pete had previously worked within the industry for eight years in showroom sales, working for the York based company ‘Tile with Style’ (2006-2011). He then moved to a sales position at ‘Marc Oliver Tiles’ (2011-2014) situated at Dunnington near York. He brought with him a wealth of knowledge and experience and has become an integral part of their showroom team.
Pete has embraced the challenge of implementing the new K8 computer system at the company and used his IT skills to get to grips with the operational side of the software. This has included devising a system of organisation for pick notes, advice notes and invoices for both cash sales and account customers. He has been methodical and dedicated in the task of sorting out all the inevitable problems and glitches associated with the implementation of this progressive but complicated new system. In addition, during the course of the year, Pete has taken on the responsibility of training two new staff members to use the new system on a day to day basis. In this task, he has always shown himself to be businesslike, meticulous and very patient in his explanations.
One of Pete’s major attributes is his technical product knowledge and practical tiling and cutting skills. Pete is the one everyone asks when they have a practical issue to address, he is always on hand to assist when customers need any technical advice regarding Victorian floors, adhesives, wet rooms or underfloor heating. After planning and discussion with colleagues, he takes responsibility for changing the showroom displays.
TRAINEE TILE FIXER OF THE YEAR
TOM GRIMLEY, STAFFORD TILES AND FLOORING
Tom is a young man from Stafford Tiles & Flooring. He has been learning the trade with his employer and South Staffs College. He has worked tirelessly to obtain his tiling qualifications. He is developing into a very skilled young tiler, who has already completed many jobs to a high standard. He is a credit to our industry.
BEST COMMERCIAL PROJECT SMALL (UP TO 250M2)
CRAVEN DUNNILL JACKFIELD LIMITED, BARBECOA RESTAURANT
Jamie Oliver has opened his second Barbecoa restaurant, in the heart of Piccadilly. The restaurant is accommodated on two floors with seating for 285 diners and a sizable bar area. The design style draws on that of the 1920s, blended with rustic glamour and luxury. The dining area boasts striking, tiled faience walls, bespoke manufactured by Craven Dunnill Jackfield.
Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) was lead designer for the project, taking it from concept through to completion. The company approached Craven Dunnill Jackfield, having already been in discussions with two other manufacturers, who had expressed doubts over their ability to manufacture the magnificent, three dimensional tiles which were to adorn the top of 13 decorative pillars.
Craven Dunnill Jackfield is acclaimed for its ceramic expertise and specialist hand-made tile production. The company felt a solution could be found. Its commitment and significant contribution to the project is acknowledged on the Barbecoa website. “In our opinion, the tiles in the dining room are the real showstopper. They started life as a simple 15cm inspiration image on a moodboard and were reproduced and scaled up to the size they are now by Craven Dunnill Jackfield – the only UK company willing to have a go.”
For Craven Dunnill Jackfield, it was the fleur-de-lys tiles which proved the biggest challenge. Initially, the plan was to manufacture them hollow and therefore lighter for installation. However, this technique was abandoned when trials resulted in sagging and cracking. An alternative method of manufacture was decided and the pieces were made of solid clay.
BEST COMMERCIAL PROJECT LARGE (OVER 250M2)
DYSON-BRIGGS & SONS LTD, BATTERSEA POWER STATION PHASE 1
Dyson–Briggs were appointed by Carillion Construction to carry out the wall and floor tiling to the prestigious Battersea Power Station Phase 1 project. The subcontract value was in excess of £2m and involved porcelain tiling to walls & floors in bathrooms; wood effect porcelain floor tiling to apartment winter gardens; natural stone and ceramics to communal staircases, lift lobbies, bars and communal gardens.
The on-site works for Dyson-Briggs got underway in earnest in the summer of 2016 and were completed in September 2017. In completing the Customer Satisfaction Survey, Carillion’s Project Manager Liam Florey said that Dyson-Briggs were an “excellent company with a great team that have performed really well. I would have no hesitation in recommending them.” This is one of the largest projects Dyson-Briggs has been involved with during its 22 year history. Feedback from the client has also been very positive and having been asked to carry out works in the marketing suites for future phases of the Battersea Power Station Development, the company sincerely hopes to be engaged there for some years to come.
BEST HERITAGE PROJECT
PONTCANNA TILING LIMITED, CHANCEL & ALTAR OF ST DINGAT’S CHURCH
In April 2017, they were asked by Taliesin Conservation Ltd, an integrated conservation company based in South Wales, to put together a plan for restoring the geometric floors in the Chancel and Altar of St Dingat’s Church, New Tredegar, 20 miles North of Cardiff.
The six levels of the Altar and Chancel comprised 229 Ruabon glazed encaustic 4” and 3” square tiles in 6 different patterns. The base upon which they and their 3000 plain accompanying tiles were originally laid, had been eroded by salts after being buried beneath carpet for decades. The brief was to restore the levels to their original splendour and to the exact design.
Because of the cost of replacement, the encaustic tiles had to be individually, painstakingly salvaged and machined. As they were glazed, this required patience and care to avoid the tiles from blistering. They salvaged 99% of the tiles intact. The patterns in each of the six levels had to be meticulously recorded and sufficient quantities of the appropriate shade of new geometric tiles of near identical colours, ordered, to accompany the rescued encaustic tiles.
The base and the steps were replaced by Taliesin Conservation. Then Pontcanna Tiling, working to pre-taken photographs, meticulously recorded the plans. With machined, salvaged encaustic tiles and Victorian geometric tiles supplied by Original Style Ltd, they proceeded to re-fit the floors in the Chancel and Altar to exact, faithful specifications. The project was delivered 7 days ahead of schedule to a vastly reduced budget and to an extremely high quality, enabling the conservation contractors to complete their programme of works and to hand the Church back in time for its festivity calendar.
BEST DOMESTIC PROJECT
CREATIVE STONE & TILE, NEW BUILD, NORTHERN IRELAND
Creative Stone & Tile have chosen as their favourite 2017 residential project a beautiful modern classic new build home in Northern Ireland. The owners of this new build achieved a look of timeless elegance throughout the open plan and undeniably stunning surroundings. Undertaking the often-overwhelming project of a selfbuild usually involves much planning, consideration, research and design dilemmas. Creative Stone & Tile aims to take away the confusion by offering each client a unique and tailored design consultation service.
In this case, on showing the clients around their showroom and explaining the different design-led products available, it became apparent that the preferred choices and schemes would feature cutting edge Italian collections for a contemporary interior finish. They always start our design process from the heart of the house, the Kitchen/Dining area! After spending time viewing the floor plans, the colour scheme and modern classic design influence the house was to have; they put forward a porcelain ’Italian Chevron’ laid in herringbone throughout this ground floor open plan area and framed with longer 6 foot planks. The colour of choice was French Grey Oak. They adore this Italian tile collection, that oozes influence from French Chateaux; its variation in colour and grain truly enables it to look like authentic wood, but as a porcelain, zero maintenance. This natural collection uses an innovative production process; a clear expression of quality and creativity as revealed through its uniquely distinctive wooden characteristics. The exclusive mixing technology makes it possible to achieve a different result every time in each plank, thus creating a truly unique flooring each time.
KERAKOLL UK LTD, BIOGEL ADHESIVES
BioGel Adhesives have simplified the adhesives market in one fell swoop. Before the launch of this range tilers have had carefully to select an adhesive to match the tile type, substrate, project use and conditions to avoid the installation failing at a later date. The BioGel range does away with all of this, consisting of just two adhesives that cover all situations: internal and external on any substrate and with gres, porcelain, stone, glass and any other material.
The two new products are BioGel No Limits and BioGel Extreme. They use a new type of formulation that behaves like a gel making it easier to work with than standard C2 cement-based adhesives.
BioGel No Limits comes in powder form and is classed as a C2 TE S1 adhesive. Apart from the simplicity of choice, BioGel No Limits’ advantages over standard cementbased adhesives include the following: the adhesive stays the same consistency as when it is first mixed even after a long period in the bucket; the mix does not shrink, so it can be mixed at the right thickness for the job making it softer and easier to work than standard adhesives which have to be kept at a stiffer consistency to compensate for shrinkage; the consistency means that it wets the entire tile as well as the substrate, giving an excellent bond and superior performance; it is high-grab and non-slip even on walls.
Meanwhile BioGel Extreme is a two-part hybrid gel adhesive that bonds anything and has been proven to work even under the most extreme conditions. It is classed as an R2 adhesive under EN12004:2007 +A1: 2012 and is free of solvents.
BEST ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVE
After winning the Award for Best Environmental Initiative in both 2016 and 2017, Norcros Adhesives has not been resting on its laurels, but has broadened its work to reduce further any negative environmental impact of all aspects of its business.
The company has invested large sums of capital in modern, fully-automated manufacturing and packaging plant. This investment has enabled the development of lean manufacturing techniques for the high-volume production of polymer modified powder adhesives, grouts and screeds, together with professional, high performance dispersion adhesives.
Norcros Adhesives is now proud to be a member of the Supply Chain Sustainability School. Launched in 2012, the Sustainability School is a programme designed to promote sustainability in construction supply chains. It has more than 14,000 members and it provides free practical support in the form of e-learning modules, tailored self-assessment and action plans, sustainability training and networking.
In only 12 months Norcros Adhesives has achieved Gold member status within the School, indicating a high level of engagement with its activities, in terms of accessing its resources, undergoing assessments and attending School events such as training workshops and supplier days.
The UK Construction Strategy 2025 forms the background to the Supply Chain Sustainability School. This sets out clear ambitions for the construction industry – including the emission of 50% less CO2 and a 50% improvement on speed of job completion with 33% less cost.
Its various initiatives, made possible by appropriate targeted investment and supported by marketing initiatives, demonstrate that Norcros Adhesives is building on its existing environmental achievements and is committed to taking company performance in this area on to new successively new heights.
BEST E-COMMERCE WEBSITE/APP
WALLS AND FLOORS
Established in 1987, Walls and Floors pioneered online tile retailing after launching the very first transactional tile retail website in 2004. The company’s fearless approach to evolving technologies has seen it grow from strength to strength. The company’s core values of delivering excellent products at great value for money, with exceptional service including next day delivery available on orders up to 4pm, has proved a winning formula.
Walls and Floors’ product portfolio spans over 4,000 lines with an unrivalled rate of new product introductions based on the latest trends from the world of interior design. With a selection of products available for each and every style in a multitude of materials from ceramics and porcelain, right through to natural stone, glass and even natural driftwood; there is something for everyone. The in house designers have travelled far and wide to develop four fail-safe interior tile collections; Neo Treasures, Memory Lane, New Coracle and Craftsman’s Journal; helping pair tile combinations and piece together the perfect décor scheme to create a unique customer experience.
The company offers a fast and effective delivery service with a full sample service, supported by a full team of 30 plus sales operatives to help customers where necessary through live chat, FAQs or telephone. Walls and Floors maintains a 5-star Trust Pilot result, which is a testament to the company’s success.
The Walls and Floors website, which is Google certified, has recently undergone a full transformation to improve the customer’s shopping experience; from speed and inspirational imagery to itemised product videos, e-books and other helpful hints and tips. The company offers a range of checkout options, including Paypal and Amazon Pay, as well as an interest free credit option.
EXCELLENCE IN MARKETING
BRITISH CERAMIC TILE, NATIONAL TILE WEEK
British Ceramic Tile was the main sponsor of National Tile Week, celebrating the best of design and manufacture in April 2017. Back for the second year running, the week was a success with national and independent retailers supporting tile sales over the Easter bank holiday weekend.
In 2016 60 independent retailers were involved in the campaign. This increased to over 300 participating partners in 2017, plus 120 Tile Giant stores. Retailers were given a range of exclusive discounts and promotions from British Ceramic Tile for the duration of the week, as well as promotional materials to use in store, offering advice and guidance from DIY expert, Julia Kendell who fronted the campaign.
The week started off with a pop-up event in Covent Garden hosted by Julia Kendell, known for her work on DIY SOS and 60 Minute Makeover. The aim of the event was to show consumers, press and retailers the endless design possibilities with tiles. To showcase this, the company made a number of bespoke benches, including a British Union Jack pattern and luxurious marble effect and a beautiful golden throne. The benches were designed by Julia and dropped throughout London as a guerilla marketing stunt.
National Tile Week resulted in the company’s biggest sales month for the year, and 30 pieces of coverage in high tier consumer and trade titles. The campaign reached over 5.5 million people, with the throne being used as a set prop on This Morning.
EXCELLENCE IN RETAIL
With a share of over a third of the domestic tile market and over 375 stores across the UK, Topps Tiles’ core business strategy of “Out-specialising the Specialists” remains very much at the heart of what they do, ensuring they have great people to help sustain a great company. The key areas of strategic focus are having the UK’s leading range, providing an inspirational experience and being the traders’ champion.
Showcased in their national autumn 2017 TV campaign, they offer the UK’s leading tile range with a new product launched every other week. Their specialist knowledge and passion for the product means they are able to work collaboratively with leading manufacturers from all over the world to design and create new tile ranges and finishing solutions based on emerging trends that buyers are often the first to identify. These ranges are sourced on an exclusive basis wherever possible and supported with over 40 photography shoots per year.
Their trade customer base provides a vital link to those homeowners who prefer to transact through their fitter. The trend in the UK is moving away from “Do It Yourself” towards “Do It For Me” making traders increasingly important. Sales through their trade channel account for over 55% of total sales.
However the majority of customers shop infrequently for tiles, which means that when they do they need lots of advice and expertise. High levels of customer service mean that they are very focused on their colleagues who deliver this service. In January 2017 they refreshed their employer brand based around why colleagues love working for Topps Tiles.
EXCELLENCE IN SUPPLY & SERVICES
INSTARMAC GROUP PLC
Instarmac is a multi award-winning market leading company. It is a specialist in the manufacture of cement and bitumen-based products to the world market for over 40 years. The company has built a solid reputation based on the research, development and production of innovative materials. Today, its tiling products are produced in a modern, automated facility and are sold to fixers, tile retailers and general stockists nationwide.
Charlie Hudson founded Instarmac in 1977 and had this philosophy: “Product performance is key, it is this that people remember long after price has been forgotten.” Low cost alternatives are always available across all product lines but it is the long-term durability and assurance offered by Instarmac that sets them apart from the competition and it is this philosophy that they adhere to. Instarmac supplies the tiling market with a comprehensive range of adhesives, grouts, tanking kit, primers, levelling compounds and silicones with over 2 million units sold in 2017. All products are manufactured in their factory located in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Their state-of-the-art 6-acre site houses production, distribution, transport, research and development, sales, marketing, quality and training. The production and warehouse in particular covers an impressive 7,405sq m, housing ten production lines and storage for over 3,000 pallets. They provide a personal, efficient and award-winning service that includes email confirmation and a dedicated field and office-based customer support team, whom their customers can always contact. Their TTA award winning website and mobile app provide comprehensive information about products at the touch of a button including datasheets, product calculators and video applications. What’s more, the in-house marketing team offer bespoke POS support and innovative communications to help customers stay ahead of their game.
WALL TILE OF THE YEAR
CASA CERAMICA, FUTURA
Futura is a collection that portrays a strong visual impact. It is the evolution of multiple concepts. The idea was inspired from the main protagonists of the artistic and architectural currents of the first half of the 20th century. This collection takes the main focus of inspiration from the strong contemporary dynamics of both Bauhaus and the French architect Pierre Chareau. Pierre Chareau curated the spectacular Maison de Verre in Paris around 1932. It is designed with the three primary traits of honesty of materials, transparency of forms and juxtaposition. The 41zero42 Futura collection has taken inspiration from the traits of the architect. With the 4 ‘drops’ and ‘grid’ tiles which emulate the Maison de Verre.
The Bauhaus movement was part of the German art school in 1919-1933. The school unified arts, crafts and technology. The ‘Futura’ uses the Bauhaus movement as a source of inspiration for both modernism and Avantgarde style.
The collection consists of four variants in the colours white, black, rose and blue. However, the main base colour is the typical cement grey. In turn, the collection generates eight different styling patterns to complement the plain tiles. Each pattern is printed with HD printing technology. The collection is further enhanced with multiple layouts and solutions, that provides a true personalised feel to any space.
The collection is only available in one size format of 15x15cm with a thickness of 10mm. This makes this tile perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.
FLOOR TILE OF THE YEAR
CRAVEN DUNNILL & CO LTD, CHEV WOOD
Floor tiles in a chevron shape, enabling parquet-flooring designs, gained popularity during 2017. This continues the trend for small format floor tiles in abundance with emphasis on unique formats, textural surface effects and digitally printed designs. Marazzi has introduced Chev Wood, a new collection of 540mm x 110mm glazed porcelain floor tiles available in a choice of three natural wood tones produced using the latest high definition ink jet technology. The Chev Wood tiles have a comfortable, shaded photo-realistic appearance with natural wood graining and characteristics. Despite these tiles resembling soft natural wood, the Chev Wood range is made from durable water-resistant porcelain, which is robust, durable and practical to maintain in both domestic and commercial applications.
The technical performance qualities of the Chev Wood glazed porcelain ensures that the tiles are more hardwearing, scratch resistant and moisture resistant than engineered wood panel products. These preferable technical qualities enable the Chev Wood to be laid in a wide variety of applications and fit for purpose in any room of the house. The chevron shape comes in left and right-handed versions enabling a variety of floor layout patterns to be produced including the traditional parquet style.
The Chev Wood series is produced to the exacting tile standards detailed in EN ISO 10545 and is manufactured by the leading Italian glazed porcelain producer Marazzi. The series combines high definition digital printing, stunning design graphics and superior technical performance qualities.
EXCELLENCE IN TILE CONTRACTING
David McCartney took the leap from installer to business owner in 1999, and, with the help of a strong team and skilled workforce, has grown this business into the company it is today. DMC Contracts Limited (amalgamated from DMC Rail Limited and DMC Tiling Limited in 2013 to demonstrate their holistic service from inception to completion) are well known for their professionalism, expertise and ability to deliver projects safely and to the highest quality.
DMC provide design, value engineering, programme solutions, experience and project delivery of the highest standard, working with a philosophy of right first time every time. Clients, particularly within the rail industry, a highly complex working environment, will turn to DMC for their expertise in developing the design and in executing the works, usually within a live station. For this, DMC will often work in a constrained area on a congested site delivering works in a four-hour window. In these situations, there is no room for error, the site must be ready for the public to use the next morning.
2017 saw the business continue to prosper and also the award of contracts on seven Crossrail projects and Waterloo Station to add to their already impressive portfolio. DMC were also called upon, in 2017, to deliver two major rail projects in London, Whitechapel Phase 1 and Victoria Station, rectifying and completing works that another tiling contractor was unable to deliver, this led to the project milestone being achieved. Clients know that
DMC will always deliver over and above expectation. The repeat business from valued clients is one of DMC’s greatest accomplishments. They have a strong presence in infrastructure, subcontracting to all the major construction companies, and working direct for Transport for London under the STAKE and SWIP frameworks.
TILE FIXER OF THE YEAR
DAN KYLE, D K TILING SOLUTIONS
As a highly experienced fixer, Dan Kyle has a number of major achievements to his credit. From a young enthusiast, who started labouring at the age of 14 for a local tiler, Dan has managed to develop his business into one capable of winning major contracts for some of the biggest client names out there. He has achieved this through an enviable combination of quality and hard work. Often working long into the evenings, the quality of his work speaks for itself. A read of his social media pages indicates an impressive number of delighted customers, who are happy to pass on a recommendation, and much of Dan’s work today comes from customer referrals.
Alongside project work, Dan has gained wide experience in the domestic sector. A lot of this work is local to his Staffordshire base, where he has been able to build a strong reputation. The jobs have ranged from standard tiling jobs to the more exotic, such as the Stafford House project, which was submitted for the TTA Awards last year in the Domestic project category. Kitchens, bathrooms, wetrooms, hallways, porches, fire surrounds, hearths and swimming pools – they have all featured in Dan’s now extensive portfolio of tiling jobs. All this work is carried out with massive attention to detail and a flexible problemsolving approach which comes from his great familiarity with all the different tile types, substrates and issues which the experienced fixer knows how to handle when encountered on-site.
Dan is an enthusiastic fixer member of the TTA and he is a worthy ambassador for the industry and certainly deserves the accolade of TTA Fixer of the Year.