Buying a kitchen? Look out for a FIRA Gold Product Certification!
By Sue Calver
I never really realised how many decisions need to be made when buying a kitchen, so as a marketing manager for a company that specialises in testing kitchens, you would have thought I would have been well informed in what makes a great kitchen!
Not only was I looking for something aesthetically pleasing and within my budget, I wanted a kitchen I knew would stand the test of time. Therefore, a FIRA Gold Product Certification was key, as it means the kitchen has been physically and robustly tested to ensure that it is durable and fit for purpose. It also means that the company has been audited in terms of their handling complaints and issues.
The company that I chose are also members of The Furniture Ombudsman (TFO), so I had the extra reassurance of a third party to assist if anything was to go amiss and I couldn’t get it resolved with the retailer. I knew that TFO would review the issues on my behalf in a fair and independent way.
So, I had the kitchen I wanted at the price I could just about afford (amazing how some extras like a granite work surface can push up the price – but we wanted a wow factor). My thoughts then turned to the installation of the kitchen. Three weeks of chaos without a kitchen with a busy family is not something to be taken lightly.
This is why I am now really pleased to say that smaller retailers can now be certified against best-industry and legislative practices with a FIRA Gold Installation Certification. It means that all the fitters used by the company have to work to practices and procedures laid down in a manual, ensuring that I can expect the installation to be smooth, well managed and handled to high standard.
The scheme has actually been going for over 25 years, but has mainly been used by private house builders in new builds, as they can be assured of the quality of the product. Due to the cost, previously only very large kitchen retailers tended to go for the certification. But following industry pressure, we have been able to lower the price by creating a generic installation manual, to which the installers can be audited. This allows smaller, independent retailers take up the FIRA Gold Installation Certification, so that they can offer the same first-class service as some of the very big companies.
So, for those of us buying kitchens, it means that we now have greater choice from where to buy a kitchen, but still have the peace of mind that both the product and the installation will be to a very high standard.
Find out more at www.fira.co.uk