Lifetime Achievement Award Winner 2019 – Roy Croft
Roy Croft’s company, Stortford Tiling, is now employing the fifth generation of his family in the business. Roy left school in 1967 just before his 15th birthday and he started off helping his dad by mixing grouts, loading and unloading lorries and other aspects of his tiling business. Roy attended Vauxhall College, where he completed a tiling apprenticeship, and then worked as a fixer for more than 25 years.
He then started his own business, which became Stortford Tiling & Marble in its present form in 2008, and Roy’s two sons and daughter became directors of the company in 2009. Nowadays his granddaughter is also working in the business as a QS, for which she has studied, so that now the fifth generation can help take the business forward into the future.
It was always Roy’s hope that the younger generation would take over the business, and the plans for this were brought forward when Roy suffered a heart attack in 2016.
Although Roy’s sons and daughter are running the business nowadays, Roy has maintained his involvement, particularly in the charitable fundraising work which the company has carried out for the last five years. During this time it has raised money for St Clare Hospice in Harlow with an annual industry golf tournament held every year in June.
“Really our story is a simple one,” says Roy. “We have grown from a small company to quite a big one, now tackling jobs of up to £1 million and beyond all over the country, although most of our work is in the southeast.”
Roy is a big supporter of TTA: “I have been on the General Purposes & Marketing Committee for a good few years – and, although I am retired, I would love to continue with this. I view it as my way of putting something back into the industry.”
Tile Fixer of the Year Winner 2019 – Steve Wagstaff
Steve started his career in tiling 25 years ago, working for a local tiler, largely on domestic projects. Steve jointly owns Pro-Tilers UK Wall & Floor Ltd with Mark Callan and they have three employees and 12 sub-contractors in regular employment. They work mainly on high-end projects, from intricate domestic to contract and monument/heritage installations.
Steve has a passion for detail and, to date, has never advertised his services. Word-of-mouth recommendations are testimony to his exceptional skill and commitment.
Mark Ellis from Tilemaster Adhesives says: “I remember the first time I met Steve Wagstaff – a true expert in his industry and field, but with the grounded nature to know that anyone can teach anybody something new, Steve is always willing to learn and pass on knowledge to the people he works with.”
Wall Tile of the Year Winner 2019: Mixx Metro / Walls and Floors
Walls and Floors’ latest twist on the established and popular Metro tile is called Mixx Metro. This is a range of exclusively designed white body bevelled wall tiles with a difference.
The distinctive feature of the Mixx Metro range is the combination of both natural and man-made surfaces to create a unique look. The tiles within the range showcase a blend of two materials, such as concrete and wood or marble and wood. The background encapsulates on-trend concrete or white marble effects, perfectly finished around the deep bevel with wood effect. This use of mixed media is a powerful trend currently and helps to create a strong and quirky look in this new tile range.
Mixx Metro is suitable to feature on any wall in the home, from the bathroom to the kitchen. It is best laid in a herringbone pattern, creating an element of drama and lots of playful personality.
Floor Tile of the Year Winner 2019 – Kaste01 / Parkside
What makes this collection so different from anything else on the market is that Kaste01 is available as a shower tray fashioned from the same material as concrete effect tiles. These are used on both the floor and walls, as well as an outdoor tile and step option, and this enables a cohesive flow between the floor and shower tray or indoors and outdoors. Exclusive to Parkside in the UK, Kaste01 is available in four contemporary grey toned colours – concrete, basalt, grit and cement – and in various standard and bespoke sizes, enabling a world of design combinations.
Highly versatile, selected Kaste01 lines are available in stock for immediate dispatch. The shower tray tile is sized 900mm x 900mm and can be combined with a variety of different sized tiles. The Kaste01 step is available in two different widths, 900mm or 700mm. Parkside’s bespoke water jet cutting service extends the range of size options available to include smaller squares, octagons, diamonds and rectangles enabling the design and creation of original one-off installations.
Best Innovation Winner 2019 – BAL Flexbone 2Easy / Building Adhesives Limited
BAL Flexbone 2Easy is a truly uncoupled solution. The uncoupling mat is laid loose on the subfloor – preparation can be reduced to just a quick sweep of the floor, provided it is flat, level and sound. This means the product can be used over mastic asphalt, mixed substrates, bitumen, screeds with laitance, contaminated screeds and screed with cracks. Designed with perforations and a mesh weave reinforcement, the system ventilates and uncouples the covering from the substrate in a single process – permanently and reliably.
Any residual moisture in the substrate is evenly distributed through a system of channels and then drawn off through the perforations in the mat via the grout joints. In this way, substrates that are still damp are not encapsulated. This means the mat can be laid on fresh screeds including sand:cement when it’s walkable, and anhydrite screeds at 1.5% Carbide Method water content (usually minimum 0.5% CM water content is required before tiling). Saving on preparation can save up to 50% of the total installation time!
Employee of the Year Winner 2019 – Glynn Griffin
Glynn trained as a tiler and progressed into teaching tiling at Blackpool College. Such was the quality of his teaching – and therefore his students – that at one time Glynn had three students in the SkillBuild Tiling Finals. In 2015 he returned to the industry and became the first member of the Tilemaster Technical Team. The technical operation that Glynn set up still exists today, although ever-expanding. His focus on finding a solution for the customer is at the forefront of what he does, which perfectly embodies Tilemaster’s own business focus, with the customer at the forefront.
Glynn is a vital contact for hundreds of installers and retailers who have benefited from his knowledge. People trust Glynn, and because they trust him their relationship with Tilemaster is further enhanced.
His knowledge of the industry, substrates, preparation and installation methods and, moreover, his in-depth knowledge of the Tilemaster product range is invaluable to his colleagues and customers. This in itself instils a huge amount of confidence. His method and approach to site visits is exemplary – he has been on the other side of the trowel, where he’s the one installing the product, so he knows what has to be done to make something work. No matter what he’s visiting a site for, Glynn has an ability to bring parties together.
Trainee Tile Fixer of the Year Joint Winners 2019 – Alex Hammond and Charlie Green
Alex Hammond began his role as an apprentice tiler at The Great Northern Tiling Company Ltd immediately after leaving school in 2017, and has already developed significantly in his ability. He has relished the opportunity to learn from his highly-skilled colleagues and has exceeded expectations in all training provided. Alex is also currently working towards gaining an NVQ Level 2 in Wall and Floor Tiling at Sheffield City College, demonstrating his clear passion for the trade and willingness to learn.
Over the past year, Alex has contributed tremendously towards some highly prestigious commercial contracts, including a current project at the Mercedes-Benz car showroom in Erdington, as well as previous works at the Mayfield Pool Leisure Centre in Dagenham, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa in Chester and several F1 Autocentres across the country, to name just a few. His excellent work throughout these projects has evidenced how he has very quickly become a skilful young tiler, and is already an integral part of the team.
Charlie Green joined W B Simpson & Sons (Midlands) Limited in 2016 as an apprentice, after completing his GCSEs at Ashlawn School, Rugby. He has been studying Wall and Floor Tiling at Moulton College, Northampton, successfully achieving an NVQ Level 2. He very quickly established himself as a keen, adaptable learner and is now honing his skills as a tile fixer.
Charlie has represented W B Simpson & Sons on various projects, particularly the HSBC new Retail and Commercial Bank HQ in the heart of Birmingham. This 11-storey building is the first to be constructed to LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) in Birmingham. It is one of the greenest buildings in Birmingham and the first to receive Gold Accreditation, something Charlie will no doubt look back on as an honour to have been involved with.
The two Trainee Tile Fixer of the Year winners also received prizes donated by Aquacut. Alex and Charlie both won Topline Pro 720 tile cutters. These are the best tile cutters on the market, manufactured to high standards for use by professionals and retailing at over £300 each (inc VAT). Congratulations again to our two winners.
Best Commercial Project (Small) Winner 2019: Roccia for Zakaria Community & Education Centre, Dewsbury
This creatively unique external wall installation creates a fusion between past and present, for the future and for generations to come. The only one of its kind in Europe, it uses variations in colour and shape to form a magnificent geometric patterned ceramic tile composition.
Born of a vision to create something unique in the UK, a local philanthropist, architects, and the internationally recognised, award winning designer, teacher and author Eric Broug came together to design the project.
Roccia used their knowledge and expertise of the tile industry, and their state of the art water-jet cutting technology to cut 200mm x 200mm frost-resistant ceramic tiles, into over 3,500 pieces, comprising 33 different shapes, and in 19 different colours.
It took over 500 man hours to design, cut and prepare the tiles according to Eric’s designs. The tiles were individually labelled to ensure correct installation and position, then transported to site and installed outside the Zakaria Community and Education Centre in Dewsbury, ready to be unveiled in early 2019.
Each of the 3,500 pieces were specially cut, prepared and then systematically, according to the geometric pattern, tiled on to the external wall of the building using Tilemaster Adhesives’ semi-rapid flexible adhesive. The tilers, together with Eric Broug, had to test a variety of grouts mixed together in different quantities to create the necessary array of colours as per the design.
Best Commercial Project (Large) Winner 2019: ARDEX UK LTD for St Andrew Holborn
St Andrew Holborn has stood as a Catholic Church for over 1,000 years. Completed at the end of 2018, the latest refurbishments spanned the entire internal area of the church, including some 600sq mof flooring in the main church area and its surrounding rooms, as well as its vestibules and tower. Consisting of old vinyl tiling, it was worn and damaged and was replaced with new Hopton Wood Limestone. The existing base was also removed and replaced with a high-strength, rapid drying screed that could work within the client’s limited time constraints.
A full site visit helped ARDEX to understand the project and client requirements, and the works were completed in December. The contractor says: “Throughout the process ARDEX gave us technical support and advice on how to overcome some of the challenges we faced and assisted us with formulating a suitable specification for the screed, adhesive and grouts used.”
Best Heritage Project Winner 2019: Craven Dunnill Jackfield for Harrods Food Halls, London
Craven Dunnill Jackfield has been involved in the restoration of the tiling in the Grade II* listed food halls at Harrods for many years. In 2018 the company was contacted to produce new tiles for both the Roastery & Bake Hall and the Fresh Market Hall which is a vibrant bustling showcase of the very best in fresh produce and the latest development in The Taste Revolution – a three-year transformation of the historic Harrods Food Halls.
The Jackfield team were involved in surveying the original tiling, working closely with the client and contractor to enable the production of replacements for this prestigious project. The project used the glaze matching skills of the Craven Dunnill Jackfield team of ceramic specialists to colour match and replicate new tiles to sit alongside the originals on site.
Over 7,000 replacement tiles were specially manufactured in two shades of green and one shade of cream plus larger faience pieces for the door portals and the lower sections of the ceramic clad columns. The original tiles were over 100 years old and were heavily shaded, so the complexity of the project involved supplying replacement tiles sympathetic to the original tile work. The replacement tiles were manufactured using traditional hand dipping techniques and glazes very similar to those used to make the original tiles.
Best Domestic Project Winner 2019 – Arrow Tiling Limited for Mansion House, Surrey
Arrow Tiling completed all tiling works to this large renovated mansion house in Surrey. This included the design, surface preparation, supply and installation of a wide range of tiles and tiling products.
Four bathrooms were gutted and fully tanked before installation and external areas were screeded and levelled. Two separate Victorian tiled areas were designed and installed using left-over tiles from many years’ worth of extra tiles from previous jobs.
The rear garden patio was completed with up-cycled stone pavers previously laid in a Piccadilly Circus footpath. A 3-metre long slab of 6mm porcelain was mitred and polished with down-stands to create the island worktop in the kitchen – tough, durable and far more practical than marble in this kitchen. Electric underfloor heating was used throughout the internal areas and even the outside WC had black Nero Marquina marble tiles installed.
Excellence in Marketing 2019 Winner – House of Mosaics
House of Mosaics launched a new display stand into all 100 Tile Giant stores in November 2018. The whole project took just 8 weeks from start to finish. The short time-frame is by no means reflective of the work that went into the project!
House of Mosaics wanted to bring something creative, fresh and new to the market, not just from a range perspective but also from a merchandising and marketing communications point of view. The HoM team wanted to create a ‘house’ not only to reflect the brand but also to invite customers to envisage their own home when choosing mosaics. The stand was designed from scratch with the objective of bringing inspiration and practicality to the shopping journey as well as assisting sales by the in-store sales team.
The stand is a four-sided, freestanding spinning display that can be positioned near a wall yet still fully accessed by the end-user if space is limited. It gives customers the option of a take-away sample to assist them to make a decision that they will live with, similar to the concept of the paint swatch sample.
Best Environmental Initiative Winner 2019 – Mosa
Mosa focuses intensively on sustainability in the sense of Cradle to Cradle (C2C). The company reduces waste, saves energy, and develops its corporate social responsibility according to five main criteria: pure raw materials, a large potential for reuse, low energy consumption, environmentally-friendly water management, and good terms and conditions of employment.
Mosa is the first ceramic-tile manufacturer in the world to have gained C2C Silver certification for the vast majority of its tile collection. Mosa tiles help designers achieve positive scores for Dutch and international building labels such as LEED, BREEAM, DGNB, and HQE. They make sure the data linked to their tiles is accessible in various national and international databases for the award of sustainable building labels.
Just as in nature, with Cradle to Cradle there is no waste, no shortages and no limitations. It is a design concept predicated on the unlimited reuse of raw materials, the use of renewable energy and the stimulation of diversity.
Best E-Commerce Website/App Winner 2019 – Trimline
2018 saw Trimline update its website, in order to streamline the user’s journey and improve navigation. The full effects of these changes have been seen in an increase in sales, new web traffic and improved returning visitor traffic.
The company added a blog section to keep customers up-to-date and a price drop email feature, to inform people who sign up what products have dropped in price. It also operates an auction and clearance site on the website, enabling site users to access great deals.
The company has launched a new loyalty scheme, T-Points. For every £1 spent with Trimline, customers will earn one T-Point. T-Points can be accumulated and redeemed online against a great number of gifts.
Trimline Group also operates an industry first service via WhatsApp to make it quick and easy for clients to contact them to track a delivery, ask a technical question or place an order. This is in conjunction with a Live Chat service for a quick and easy way to contact the staff at Trimline.
Excellence in Supply & Services 2019 – Armatile
Armatile is recognised as a specialist in the bespoke design and manufacture of tile and mosaic surfaces for individual interior, commercial and residential projects and larger tile distributors throughout the UK.
The company has expertly integrated within its offering the manufacture and supply of decorative tile and mosaic surfaces for a wide range of customers and projects. Each design is created to the client’s exact specifications and is supplied in every required quantity from single unit items for small, one-off projects to large scale production runs for wholesale distribution customers.
Established in 1975, Armatile is a dynamic, innovative tile company that has differentiated its manufactured products and services to stand out in a highly competitive, over-crowded marketplace.
Excellence in Tile Contracting Winner 2019 – Stortford Tiling & Marble
Stortford Tiling and Marble Ltd are a family-run business now in the third, fourth and fifth generation of tradesmen and women, specialising in all types of tiling and stone works.
The company has recently invested heavily in new marble/quartz cutting and polishing machinery, together with its own stone masons, as the industry is moving towards companies that can offer more than one speciality. This investment is exceeding expectations and enabling the company to provide a full service, from templating, fabrication and fitting of marble, stone, quartz and granites. All of which is helping profitability to improve year on year.
As the company has grown and diversified, it has become apparent that it requires a full time quantity surveyor for estimating, applications and knowledge of the ever-changing contract law. The directors have now invested in the 5th generation by sending the newest family recruit Lakisha to University for a degree in Quantity Surveying, where she has now completed her second year.
Excellence in Retail Winner 2019 – N&C Tiles and Bathrooms
N&C Tiles and Bathrooms offers ‘quality products at affordable prices’. That is the company’s brand positioning which is represented in the design of the stores, the in-store communications, the products sold and the long-standing price promise to customers. With 18 branches nationwide, N&C Tiles and Bathrooms showcases thousands of tile and bathroom product lines, catering for customers with varying requirements. N&C Tiles and Bathrooms has rapidly expanded over the years, even during uncertain times, opening five new branches in the last eight years.
2018 has seen a significant change in the design of the stores. The showroom in Stevenage was relocated, and the New Southgate showroom was rebuilt after being devastated by a fire in May 2018. Hard work and dedication from the retail team meant that even at a time when fire struck, a mobile temporary showroom was erected within 48 hours and figures had barely been affected as customer orders were still being processed.