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Bathroom Pods - Why Buy British?

In this article, Richard Tonkinson, Executive Director of Offsite Solutions, the UK’s leading bathroom pod manufacturer, looks at why developers and contractors considering the offsite manufacture of bathrooms should buy British.

Offsite manufacture is even more relevant with Brexit looming and in the Covid19 pandemic. Moving construction offsite and into a factory offers much greater certainty of delivery on time and on budget compared to in-situ construction methods – a fact reflected in our record quote books. Our factories remained fully operational throughout the current pandemic, which avoided any disruption to customers despite so many construction site closures earlier this year.


How UK Manufacture Reduces Risk

However, that level of certainty and reduced risk only applies to pods manufactured in the UK. Currency fluctuations, potential tariffs, disruption of supply and price uncertainty are all overcome by procuring bathrooms from a UK pod manufacturer. We strongly believe that manufacturing bathroom pods outside the UK generates considerable additional risk and heightens concern about security of supply.

Pod manufacture in the UK is now a mature market and pod technology has advanced hugely in recent years. Offsite Solutions certainly has proven capabilities to deliver high specification pods that are on a level with the very best European pods.


A Stable Supply Chain

There is genuine concern that there could be severe disruption at the ports early in 2021 if the UK leaves the EU with no trade deal. Contractors need pods to be delivered to stringent and immoveable construction schedules – and there is clearly much greater certainty of delivery on programme if the pods are manufactured here in the UK.

Long-term relationships with key suppliers are extremely important for all manufacturers in these times of economic uncertainty with Brexit and in a pandemic.

UK distributors for bathroom components and products manufactured outside the UK hold ringfenced stock for our customer orders. Prices can also be fixed with material and product suppliers as part of the pod procurement process. We firmly believe this approach will mitigate any potential impact of Brexit for UK manufactured pods.

In the event of no deal at the end of this year, tariffs would apply to products imported from Europe from 1st January 2021 – including completed pods manufactured outside the UK. Material costs only represent around 50 per cent of the cost of a pod. The other 50 per cent is the cost of labour and the manufacturer’s overhead and profit. The imposition of tariffs on the full cost of pods from outside the UK would make these pods significantly more expensive. This situation will clearly favour pods from UK manufacturers.


Why Service Standards are Important

As well as delivering a high quality product, bathroom pod manufacture demands an elevated level of service. There is a significant amount of work to do before pods arrive on site. This includes the movement of mood and sample boards as part of the specification process; pre-contract design input; procurement, and signing off of the first pod. We also have a project manager attending site for the first pod deliveries and offer after sales service, for example to assist with any installation issues.

It is important for developers and contractors to consider the wider customer service implications of procuring pods from outside the UK as these service standards can be very difficult to maintain with Covid19 travel restrictions in place to and from the UK.

In times of uncertainty, we believe it is even more important to buy British to maintain service standards and support our economy.

Aerial view of bathroom pod factory | Offsite Solutions Steel-framed bathroom pod manufacture | Offsite Solutions Bathroom pod fitout | Offsite Solutions Luxury bathroom pod | Offsite Solutions

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