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BUYING A NEW KITCHEN - How to Avoid Costly Mistakes
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU BUILD YOUR PROFILE AS A KITCHEN BUYER
What are your current circumstances?
- How long will you live in the house?
- Are you renovating to sell?
- How many people live in the house
- How many family members use the kitchen
• What type of kitchen do you want?
Laminate doors & tops
Vinyl or 2 pack polyurethane doors
glass splashbacks or tiles
• How much do you want to spend?
- Is price the most important consideration?
- How do you establish a budget?
- Real estate industry estimations say that kitchen renovations normally range between 8 - 10% of value of house
• What level of service do you want
- Flat pack or DIY
- Supply & install (cabinets only) you arrange trades
- Full service where the kitchen company provides cabinetry, benchtops, trades, glass, & appliances as required
• How much involvement do you want
• How much risk are you prepared to take
Do you want a supplier guarantee?
Do you want a Government backed guarantee with insurance?
- Registration (Building Practitioners Board)
Are you aware that only Registered Building Practitioners are allowed to supply & install your kitchen?
Are you aware that RBP conduct and performance is monitored by the Building Practitioners Board and that lack of compliance can result in loss of licence?
- Company - what sort of company do you want to build your kitchen?
Owner operator where you deal with "the boss"
Large company with various levels of management
How to avoid costly mistakes - Overview
1. Understand your ‘profile'.
By completing the attached prompt sheet, you will be able to develop a good understanding of your kitchen buying profile. This should enable you to successfully communicate your wants and needs to your chosen kitchen designer/supplier.
Understanding your profile will provide a point of reference to help you ‘return to base' should you be distracted by the myriad of features and options available in today's marketplace.
2. Finding a kitchen supplier.
Many companies have showroom or other displays which are designed to help the kitchen buyer see what products and features are available for use in their own kitchen. Some suppliers also have qualified designers and/or salespersons who can assist with the design process.
One of the best means of finding a kitchen supplier is by recommendation; maybe a friend, neighbour or family member has used a local supplier and enjoyed a happy outcome.
Your initial contact with a preferred supplier will provide you with a great deal of information about their competence and professionalism. How did they answer the ‘phone? Are they on time for appointments; do they return messages promptly?
Find out how long they have been in business, ask for proof of registration as a building contractor; do they offer job specific insurance cover under their builders registration? In other words, how secure is your transaction if something goes wrong?
3. Engage with your designer to avoid disputes.
A competent and caring designer should be able to accept your ‘wish list' of desired features & style and help to turn it into your dream kitchen. Your designer will also be able to offer advice regarding the suitability of a particular kitchen style to the architecture and presentation of your house.
All agreed design, specifications, inclusions, and exclusions should be provided as part of a legally binding contract, registered under the auspices of the Building Practitioners Board. The contract should show the registration number of the kitchen builder.
Discussions with your designer should include, but not be limited to, the following topics:
• Kitchen design; the design of your kitchen will be dependent upon the space available and the location of windows and doors and, to a lesser extent, existing service feed lines. The eventual plan layout may take a number of forms; these forms include ‘U' shape, ‘L' shape, ‘C' shape, galley and straight line.
• Within all design shapes, your designer should adhere to a number of ‘good design rules' which govern placement of appliances and proximity of storage to work stations. He/she should also divide the kitchen into primary and casual usage areas, each serviced by appropriate storage and worktop availability.
• Features & Style; your new kitchen may be presented in a number of different styles; it may be Farmhouse style, contemporary style, it may be Tuscan or Provincial style. These varying looks are achieved by using different door and panel profiles, adding bulkheads and/or cappings and by using different types of handles and trims.
• Your kitchen may also contain a number of features and accessories. Many kitchens today feature drawers instead of doors for storage of crockery as well as pots and pans. Opaque and clear glass doors are often used as well as feature open shelf units and wire ware for spice, wine, and detergent storage along with many other new innovations.
• Costing; having established your buyer profile, and by setting a realistic budget for your kitchen supplier to work with, your designer will be able to prepare a detailed document itemising component costs for your new kitchen. This document should include definite charges for all individual trades, cabinetry, installation & delivery, registration and insurance, and GST.
In summary; buying a new kitchen should be approached as an opportunity to increase both the value of your house and the quality of your lifestyle.
To achieve the best outcome, identify what you want, and work with your designer to satisfy your requirements.
Make sure that the supplier you choose is a Registered Building Practitioner and that they are able to insure your job.
Ensure that you sign a contract that specifies all costs individually (rather than makes allowances) so that you don't have any unhappy surprises later.
10 designer tips for your new kitchen
1. Design for style - not fashion.
Your new kitchen will last for many years - ensure you select colours and styles that will endure changes in fashion.
(remember when pink and grey kitchens were all the rage)
2. Design to suit your house as well as your personality.
Ensure that your new kitchen complements the architectural style and presentation of your house; then add personal touches.
(for most people, their house is their greatest financial asset - ensure that your new kitchen improves your asset)
3. Specify materials that will last.
Registered Kitchen Practitioners will offer you up to 10 years warranty on your new kitchen. Work with your designer to select materials that will last at least that period and much longer.
4. Set a realistic budget and stick to it.
Kitchens do not consist of cabinetry only. Ensure that you make provision for associated trades (plumber, electrician &c.) and appliances when setting your budget. Decide whether you want the ‘hamburger with the lot' or something more modest.
(remember, there can be a large variation between most & least expensive styles)
5. Design a ‘focal point' into your kitchen.
The best kitchen designs draw the viewers attention to a focal point from where the remainder of the kitchen seems to radiate. This focal point can often be a steel & glass canopy, or a pair of feature cabinets.
(your designer will be able to assist you to find the focal point of your kitchen)
6. Hierarchy of Design.
Good design should follow the same rules no matter what the subject matter. Frankston Kitchens Hierarchy of Design is very simple:
• Safety - the kitchen must meet OHS safety standards
• Function - the kitchen must operate effectively & efficiently
• Presentation - you are proud to show your kitchen to friends
Don't overwhelm your kitchen with oversized appliances. That 900mm oven and huge double door fridge with icemaker may look good in the showroom, but if you have a very small kitchen, they may not fit as part of a well designed kitchen. It's usually better to inform your designer of your preference, but to take advice from him/her after draft plans are completed.
8. Storage (pantry & ‘fridge).
Good kitchen design usually places ‘fridge and pantry at the outer edge or perimeter of the kitchen. They can be at opposite ends of the kitchen or grouped together; but should not be in the centre where they will interrupt benches and workflow.
9. Space saving accessories, or ‘gimmicks'.
The kitchen accessories market has become flooded with chrome wire and PVC fittings that purport to do wondrous things. Some, in fact are extremely useful and can improve the performance of your kitchen markedly.
However, we should be wary of installing fittings based solely upon advertising and hype; not every fitting is suitable for your kitchen and the use of some fittings may even detract from its' functionality.
10. Primary and Casual users.
When designing your new kitchen, consider an imaginary line drawn though the centre of the kitchen (usually diagonally) which separates the days' Primary user (i.e. the cook) from casual users who may want to make a cuppa or toasted sandwich.
The primary user should have uninterrupted access to hotplate, oven, sink, and storage for pots & pans and cutlery. Unrelated storage and appliances should be located outside the primary users' area.
(further information regarding this subject is available from your designer)
Fact Sheet supplied by Greg Beaman from Frankston Kitchens:
HIDC Exhibitor(s) who specialise in this area;