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UltraTileFix is a Gold Sponsor of the TTA Awards 2019. UltraTileFix is running an exciting New Year competition, in which the prize is a holiday of  a lifetime. The winner can choose either a family trip for up to two adults and two children to Disney World Florida, a 3-night stay for up to four adults in Las Vegas or a 10-day all-inclusive holiday to the Caribbean for two adults.

Each of these holidays includes flights, accommodation plus spending money.

In order to enter, simply purchase £250 worth of UltraTileFix products from your local retailer or distributor and send UltraTileFix proof of purchase by visiting uploading a photo of your receipts or invoices for your chance to win – it couldn’t be easier!

For every £250 you spend you will receive one entry into the competition and if you spend £1,000 in one transaction, or over 3 months, you will receive 4 entries.

There’s no limit to the number of times you can enter which means the more you spend, the higher your chance of winning one of these amazing prizes.

Also included in the competition are an additional five pallets of UltraTileFix products and five Makita FM DAB Site Radios. Additionally everyone who enters the competition will automatically receive an UltraTileFix t-shirt.

The competition closes on 31stMarch 2019, with the winner announced live on UltraTileFix’s Facebook page at 2pm on 3rdApril 2019.

For full terms and conditions and for further information on each of the holidays and prizes available, please visit call 01827 254455.



The latest revision to the British Standard covering wall tiling includes a number of important changes, of which those working in the industry need to be aware.

BS 5385 Part 1: 2018 was published on 30 June and includes the following new requirements:

  • Tiling should be carried out by a skilled operative, who has been trained to a level of competence, certified by a recognised authoritative body, such as the TTA;
  • Tiling direct to plywood is no longer recommended for wall tiling, but a bespoke tiling backer board should be used;
  • New adhesive coverage requirements for large format tiles;
  • New minimum grout widths, dependent on the size of tile.

These changes are coming in as part of the regular review of the Standard and are designed to reflect product changes and developments within the industry since the publication of BS 5385 Part 1: 2009.

The incorporation of a requirement on Workmanship (Clause 7.1.3) is a change the TTA has been lobbying for and is highly significant for the whole industry. For the first time the Standard now recognises the importance of the quality of workmanship and requires that the installation of ceramic or natural stone tiling is carried out with “efficient supervision and the employment of properly trained operatives, skilled to an appropriate level of confidence, certified by a recognised authoritative body, e.g. The Tile Association”.

“The new emphasis on skill levels enshrined in the Standard fits with Government initiatives to qualify the workforce,” says Brian Newell, chairman of the TTA’s Technical Committee. “It is also noteworthy that TTA has been explicitly mentioned in a British Standard, so it is a recognition of the work that the TTA has been doing to drive up quality in the industry, enhance training opportunities and to ensure that the quality of work carried out in our industry is adequately policed. This is a very important development which will help drive up quality and also enhance customer confidence in the industry.”

In other sectors of construction, a system for the licensing of operatives is now being looked at. The Federation of Master Builders has recently published an independent report which considers the benefits of this and how it might work.

Such initiatives could be extended to the tiling sector as well, and the Technical Committee and Training Committee of the TTA are already working on a programme of fixer competence tests, which could be incorporated into such a licensing system.

The other changes in the Standard mainly reflect recent technical developments in the market. The removal of plywood from the new Standard, as a recommended substrate for wall tiling, is viewed as necessary due to the wide variance in the quality of product now available on the UK market. A lot of cheaper imported plywoods are not able to provide a “stable and rigid background”, as mentioned in the previous Standard. The decline in the quality of plywood is mirrored by the rise of specially developed tiling backer boards which are now offered by a number of manufacturers. These are stable and moisture resistant, as well as being more environmentally friendly.

There are also new adhesive coverage requirements in the Standard, which have been introduced to cope with an increase in the size and type of tiles that are now on the market, in particular large format and heavier tiles. The Standard requires that tiles of a certain weight, for instance 9mm porcelain tiles weighting more than 14kg, should be solidly bedded regardless of their size.

Grout joint widths are also addressed in the new Standard, so that grout widths vary according to facial area of the tile concerned. Smaller tiles up to 600mm length should have a minimum joint width of 2mm, while larger tiles up to 1200mm length should have at least a 3mm grout width. In the case of ceramic panels, the grout width needs to be increased relative to the size of the panel. For instance a 3m panel will require a joint width of 5mm.

“The new Standard contains a number of important changes which everybody needs to be aware of, affecting both product usage and the quality of installation,” says Brian Newell. “The TTA is therefore planning to organise technical seminars in the coming months at which all these changes will be fully presented and discussed. More information on these events will be available in due course.”

Former Hanson MD is elected Master of the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers


Former Managing Director of Hanson Building Products UK, David Szymanski, is to be elected Master of the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers. David will become Master in a year that sees the City of London Livery Company celebrate the 600th anniversary of its first recorded Master. The Installation Ceremony and Annual Service will take place on 6 October 2016 at St Margaret’s Lothbury, followed by lunch at Carpenters’ Hall.

David has been associated with the brick industry all his life. Many of his family were employees of the London Brick Company and David was raised in Stewartby, a village in Bedfordshire that was owned by the company. His association continued as the London Brick Company sponsored him to attend Bradford University where he gained an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering. David went on to become an engineer for LBC working in Iran during the revolution and in Swaziland. When LBC was taken over by Hanson plc in 1984, David took the opportunity to move into general management. He subsequently held a number of senior roles within Hanson culminating in the position of managing director of Hanson Building Products UK. Here his division had a turnover of £500 million and employed 4,000 people. In 2007 Hanson was taken over by Heidelberg Cement and in 2009 David left the business to enjoy what he calls “semi-retirement”.

David became a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers in 2004 and was elected a Court Assistant in 2011. He said, “It’s an honour and a privilege to be elected Master of our ancient Company.”

Thoughts turning to TTA Awards 2017 entries…

TTA Awards

It may seem like the TTA Awards 2016 have only just taken place but it is not too early for Tile Association members to start thinking about their entries for next year.

The TTA Awards for 2017 will be held on the evening of 19th May and will be returning to London once again for the tiling industry’s biggest event of the year.

This year’s winners were unanimous in their enthusiasm for the Awards and the great personal pride and satisfaction which they and their companies derive from doing well.

Among the winners was Pete Davis of Stafford Tiles, who won the Award for Excellence in Independent Retailing. He said: “Chris and I were overjoyed to win the Award. It was really an Award for our wonderful team and recognises their hard work over many years.”

James McCann of Armatile, who won both the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Commercial Project Award, said: “We were very honoured and very privileged to receive both the Awards that my company received. These are really great recognition for the Armatile team.”

Here’s a video of this year’s TTA Awards…

If you want to join the select group of TTA Award winners in 2017, it is time to start thinking about ways in which you might be able to enter.

Entries will open later in the year and the categories will be:

  • Lifetime Achievement – awarded by the TTA Board
  • Excellence in Tile Contracting
  • Best Use of Tile in the Leisure/Hospitality Sector
  • Tile Fixer of the Year
  • Employee of the Year
  • Trainee of the Year
  • Wall Tile of the Year
  • Floor Tile of the Year
  • Excellence in Tile Distribution
  • Excellence in Multiple Retailing
  • Excellence in Marketing
  • Best Use of Tile in a Commercial Contract
  • Trainee Tile Fixer of the Year
  • Excellence in Manufacturing
  • Best Innovation
  • Best Environmental Initiative
  • Best Use of Tile in a Domestic Environment – Kitchens
  • Best Use of Tile in a Domestic Environment – Bathrooms/Wetrooms
  • Best Showroom
  • Best Ancillary Product
  • Best Renovation Project
  • Best E-Commerce Website/App

Follow the TTA Awards on Twitter for the latest 2017 Awards news and information

TIGS golf day at Frilford Heath on 13th October


The next Tile Industry Golf Society (TIGS) golf day is on Thursday 13th October at Frilford Heath Golf Club.

Coffee and bacon rolls will be served from 9am, with an 18-hole competition teeing off at 10am. There will also be a three-course meal, prize presentation and the TIGS annual general meeting.

For more information get in touch with Chris Harris on or 07836 538548

There’s lots more information about TIGS on their website HERE

Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers Triennial Awards

Every three years the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers holds its prestigious Triennial Awards competition.

Entries for the 2017 awards are now being accepted, so if you fit the entry criteria, please do put yourself or your business forward.

The Triennial Awards identify the buildings or structures within the area bounded by the M25 motorway which best demonstrate all-round excellence in the use of bricks, roof slates and tiles, and wall and floor tiles.

The Tile Association is managing the awards submissions for the wall and floor tiles element of the awards.

Judging is rigorous. The entries received are whittled down to a shortlist in each category; each of these schemes is visited and assessed by a panel made up principally of members of the Company’s Craft Committee. This results in a final shortlist on which each scheme is visited and assessed by the Award Jury, usually chaired by an eminent architect and including the Master of the Company, the Chairman of its Craft Committee and a Liveryman expert in each of the three crafts.

This process leads to the selection of a winning entry in each of the three categories and also, from time to time, a high commendation for excellence. The Awards are presented, often by the Lord Mayor of London, at a special ceremony in the City.

To submit your application, email Please note that applications must be received by the end of the first week of October.

David’s fundraising mission for British Heart Foundation


David Baker, Contracts Director at TTA member Plunkett Tiling, has been raising money for the British Heart Foundation with a series of challenges with his family over the last few months.

David was inspired to support BHF after seeing the incredible care his dad received after he was diagnosed with heart problems last year.

Their fundraising mission got under way in June, when David and son Aran completed a 64-mile Cyclone cycle challenge…

British Heart Foundation

In July, David took on the 112-mile bike leg of a full distance triathlon, with niece Abbie conquering her first junior triathlon in the same month.

And finally it was on to the Great North Run. On 10 September, both of David’s children – Aran and Katie – together with nieces Abbie and Naomi, took part in the Junior Great North Run; before David – joined by wife Amanda and sister Alison – took on the full Great North Run the following day.

British Heart Foundation
David feels the pace at the Great North Run on 11th September

“It came as a big shock to us all last year when Dad was diagnosed with heart problems,” David says. “He needed open heart surgery shortly before Christmas but the brilliance of those involved in his treatment and care inspired us to fund-raise for BHF.

“Before Dad’s recent heart problems, I didn’t realise how much of an impact the work of the British Heart Foundation has had in reducing the number of people dying from cardiovascular conditions. Their vision is to get to a point where nobody dies prematurely from a heart condition, and they need donations to continue the vital research that will achieve this.”

It’s been a gruelling challenge, but it’s certainly been worth it. David has almost doubled his original fundraising target, with close to £2,000 now raised. And there’s still time to make a donation so that even more money goes to the British Heart Foundation.

You can make a donation online at David’s JustGiving page by clicking HERE

Find out more about the British Heart Foundation HERE

Build UK celebrates a ground-breaking first year

Build UK today (21 September 2016) celebrates its landmark first year of bringing the construction supply chain together and delivering change across the industry.

Build UK has achieved positive results on a number of high profile industry priorities. At its launch, Build UK published an Action Plan detailing the five issues it would address to achieve lasting improvements for construction, and its first year culminates with the
release of ‘Delivering Change’ which outlines the extensive progress achieved so far.

  1. Build UK committed to galvanise the image of the industry and inspire more people to join construction. The ‘Get into Construction’ film and hugely successful Open Doors initiative marks the beginning of Build UK’s efforts to transform the industry’s image
  2. The publication of the Build UK Training Standard represents a significant step towards ensuring that the outcome of construction training and qualifications meets the needs of employers while providing employment and apprenticeship opportunities
  3. Build UK continues to make progress in developing a solution to the pre-qualification process that benefits the construction supply chain
  4. Targeting improvements in health and safety performance and a reduction in accidents and ill health led to the development and adoption of the Build UK Safety Helmet Colours Standard by Main Contractors, Specialist Contractors and Clients
  5. Build UK’s commitment to bring the construction supply chain together to consider what best payment practice in construction looks like has resulted in agreement of best practice payment terms.

The recent addition of major construction clients to the collective voice draws the first year to a fantastic conclusion and highlights the extent of Build UK’s progress. With Brexit presenting a fresh challenge, having all areas of the industry at the table will enable a joined-up approach as the organisation strives to mould the future of construction.

Build UK Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol MBE said: “It has been a fantastic first year for Build UK and we have been able to make an impact on major industry issues from occupational health to the skills shortage, and our thanks go to all Build UK members for their huge part in helping us lead the way and drive long-term change. There are still some big challenges ahead for us as an industry, but we’re up for those challenges and can’t wait to see what we as the construction supply chain can achieve in the future.”

First clients join Build UK

Build UK has added the first client organisations to its collective voice as it continues to drive positive change by welcoming all areas of the industry to the table.

Major industry clients Argent and Great Portland Estates plc are the first to join, with other private developers taking a keen interest in Build UK’s activities.

Argent has delivered some of the best mixed-use developments across the UK, including major commercial, residential, education, cultural and community developments, and is key to the partnership that is developing the 67 acre site at King’s Cross. Great Portland Estates plc is one of the largest private developers in the capital with a property portfolio of over £3.7 billion, delivering new and refreshed buildings when quality space is scarce. Current projects include Rathbone Square, 73-89 Oxford Street and 160 Old Street, all of which total a combined construction project value of around £350m.

Build UK was created in September 2015 to provide a strong collective voice for the contracting supply chain in construction and the introduction of client organisations to the conversation will further demonstrate the industry benefits of working openly and honestly.

Build UK Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol MBE said:“We’re delighted to welcome Argent and GPE on board. Opening the Build UK discussions to construction clients will enable us to have the honest conversations our industry needs. This is particularly important if we want to change the industry for the better and to the benefit of the whole supply chain.”

Phil Sullivan, Construction Director at Argent, added: “As a construction client we are looking for certainty when delivering across our projects, and as such we are keen to engage with the Build UK membership. We now have a fantastic opportunity to work more collaboratively with the contracting supply chain and improve the quality and performance of our built environment, and I would encourage more clients to join us and help deliver lasting results for the industry.”

James Pellatt, Head of Projects at Great Portland Estates plc, said: “As a leading construction client, we understand the value of working closely with our main contractors and trade contractors, paying them regularly and promptly and listening to their suggestions. With design teams needing increasing assistance to fully design buildings it is important to continue dialogue in a constructive and collaborative  manner with our supply chain and Build UK provides us with a useful forum for debate.”

Build UK members less confident after Brexit

Results of the second State of Trade survey for 2016 show that whilst output from Build UK members rose before the EU referendum, there is uncertainty around future workloads following Brexit, with labour supply remaining a cause for concern.

The latest Build UK survey, which was undertaken by Glenigan, reveals that industry capacity remains increasingly tight with 81% of contractors operating at over 75% of their capacity and 46% operating at over 90% capacity. Enquiry levels during the second quarter of 2016 experienced little change from the previous three months, however output has increased by 22% which is a substantial increase compared to the 5% and 3% recorded in the previous two surveys.

When considering the upcoming quarter, 19% of contractors anticipate workloads to rise on the results of Q2 2016, with new build infrastructure and commercial sectors expected to be particular growth areas. However, this result is a decrease of 8% from the results of the last quarter (27%) and 11% from the Q4 2015 result (30%), reflecting the increasing uncertainty of the industry pre and post EU referendum.

This feeling of uncertainty continues when assessing the next 12 months. Overall, 21% of contractors still expect their own workloads to rise, however this represents a 5% decrease on the previous quarter (26%), and a 26% decrease when compared to Q4 2015 (47%). Furthermore, whilst contractors feel that their workloads will be higher in 12 months’ time, they also reported that they believe that the majority of industry sectors will see a decline in output, with only repair and maintenance work in the private other sector experiencing an increase.

Labour supply remains an area of concern for the industry, with 82% of contractors reporting that professional and technical employees were either ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ to recruit. Three-quarters of firms cited difficulty in recruiting supervisors and bricklayers, with two-thirds specifying carpenters or joiners and ceiling fixers. Where contractors had experienced difficulties in recruiting staff, firms cited lack of experience (61%), lack of skills (57%) and a lack of qualifications (41%) as the reasons for the problems. These difficulties continue to impact upon the cost of labour, with 45% of respondents reporting an increase in labour costs compared to the previous quarter and almost two thirds (65%) reporting higher costs than a year ago.

In terms of payment, 35% of contractors reported waiting at least 46 days on average despite only 18% having average contract terms of 46 days or more.

Build UK Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol MBE said: “A period of uncertainty was inevitable following the decision to leave the EU and that has been reflected in the State of Trade results and, in particular, our members concern over future workloads. The most important thing is that we make the most of the opportunities presented by the referendum result, and we are already working closely with members to present a comprehensive response to Government with a view to crafting the best possible conditions for our industry to thrive in a post-Brexit Britain.”