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Get the latest developments at TTA technical seminar

On 1st November 2016, TTA headquarters in Stone, Staffordshire, will host the latest of it’s well-regarded and popular Technical Seminars.

There will be three topics on the agenda:

  • Slip Resistance of Hard Flooring
  • Tiling to Calcium Sulfate Screeds
  • Update to BS5385 on Wall & Floor Tiling.

Following the morning’s seminars a buffet lunch will be provided for participants.

The cost is just £35 + VAT for members, and £45 + VAT for non-members.

Email to book your place.

technical seminar

New technical publications

In a further piece of work from the Technical Committee, two TTA technical publications are set for launch in October. New publications will be: The Installation and Fixing of Natural Stone Tiles and Slabs; and secondly one on De-coupling Membranes, while the existing publication on Tiling to Acoustic Systems will be updated.

These new publications will carry advertising and interested TTA members who might wish to communicate their brand messages to an influential audience of tiling specifiers should email for more information.

Tilezine gets a makeover

The TTA’s online newsletter and website has a brand new look.

Tilezine can be viewed at and the latest stories from the industry get distributed to the TTA database fortnightly. Tilezine also has a social media presence on both Facebook and Twitter. Since its launch in 2010, Tilezine has become one of the key places to catch up on the latest stories from the tiling industry, whether they concern new products, marketing issues, people stories, events or industry issues and trends.

The new design places Tilezine within the family of online products from the TTA, which include the TTA’s own website and the TTA Awards site.

Large images, as well as an intuitive layout and navigation, make the site both attractive and easy to use. News items are now sorted into logical categories to make them easier to find and read, and the website is fully optimised for mobile, making it easy to keep up with the latest industry news on the go.

Articles are also now added continually, instead of once a fortnight in the old system, but still mailed out to thousands of subscribers every fortnight.

If you have a story or an image you would like featured in Tilezine, please send it in to

Book early for TTA member networking events

The TTA has some great networking events coming up for members in October, November and December. Members are urged to book early to avoid missing out.

There are two dates just for fixer members, on 14th October at Punch Tavern in London, and on 4th November at Jamie’s Italian in Birmingham. They’re a great opportunity to discuss latest Tile Association and wider industry news and to network with colleagues from across the country.

On 9th December – at The Grazing Goat in London – is the annual Tileman’s Lunch. Please do book early to secure your place as this is a hugely popular event.

Email to book your place.


Bob Howard appointed new National Heritage Training Group chairman

Bob Howard

Tile Association board member Bob Howard MBE has been appointed the new chairman of the National Heritage Training Group.

Bob says he is excited by the challenge of taking the NHTG forward at a time of increasing political and economic uncertainty.

“Despite everything else that is going on around us,” he said, “we must not lose focus on the challenges facing the heritage sector, not least the alarming shortages in our traditional crafts skills base.

“Our architectural inheritance must be safeguarded for future generations and that can only be achieved through training and education. We must ensure vital skills, knowledge and experiences are passed on and I firmly believe it is the role and indeed the responsibility of the NHTG to oversee this transition.”


Bob also sees the work of the NHTG Project Management Board in delivering the new bursary programme (funded by HLF to provide heritage training in the workplace) as a great example of how the NHTG is shaping the future of the sector.

“I hope my own extensive craft and industry experience accumulated over the past 52 years will help NHTG in our promotion and delivery of heritage skills to a workforce which will be increasingly in demand.”

Born and educated in Manchester, Bob has been in the wall and floor tiling industry since leaving school. His career path took him from a five-year bound indentured apprenticeship to become a lecturer at the Manchester College of Building before moving south in 1978 to become director and subsequently managing director of a London-based tiling contractor.

He was the last chairman of the National Association of Master Tile Fixers and one of the founders of The Tile Association. As past chairman and current board member of the TTA he chairs the Training Committee, represents the Technical Committee and carries out technical inspections on their behalf, but still finds time to run his own business as an independent consultant for wall and floor tiling.

Bob also represents the TTA in Europe where he is President of the European Union of Tile Fixers, an umbrella organisation that represents 11 European Trade Associations from its registered office in Brussels.

In 2012 in the Jubilee Honours List, Her Majesty the Queen presented Bob with the MBE for services to the British wall and floor tiling industry. He is also a Liveryman to The Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers.

An NHTG spokesman said: “The NHTG is delighted that such a passionate, influential and experienced individual will be leading the team forward in the next stages of its development as it continues to promote heritage skills as a priority for UK construction.”

Schlüter-Systems to sponsor UK tiling team at WorldSkills 2017

The 44th WorldSkills Competition will be taking place in Abu Dhabi in October 2017 and Schlüter-Systems has announced their sponsorship of the UK tiling team.


The WorldSkills Competition is a flagship event: held every two years, it is the biggest vocational education and skills excellence event in the world, which truly reflects global industry.

A total of 72 member countries and regions will be taking part in the competition, showcasing the very best talent their country has to offer in 50 skills ranging from floristry to tiling. With over 1,200 competitors and tens of thousands of visitors it will certainly be a spectacular event.

Schlüter-Systems has been the market leader in essential accessories for tile and stone since it was founded in 1966. With over 10,000 products in its range, Schlüter-Systems provides second-to-none edge protection, complete system-solutions and dedicated technical support, to ensure perfect protection and decoration to any tiling project.

Offering detailed training programmes Schlüter keep specifiers, installers, and resellers up to date with modern trends and new technology, safeguarding the longevity and integrity of installations. They also offer the latest training to other training course providers and lecturers running TTA-accredited NVQ tiling courses, Intermediate Construction Award, Advanced Construction Award, and Experienced Worker Route schemes for tilers.

Andrew Curry, Training Manager for Schlüter-Systems Ltd explain: “Understanding and knowledge of our products enables quicker, more efficient and effective installations. Being committed to excellence in training, we work in partnership with many organisations, including The Tile Association, Stone Federation Great Britain, and RIBA.

“We are proud to be sponsoring the UK Squad, WorldSkills is a great way of exchanging latest industry innovations and best practices and Schlüter-Systems have chosen to support the UK Tiling team as a commitment to the industry and will also be offering free training to the team in advance of the competition; we wish the team the very best of luck.”

The three competitors for the UK Squad have been selected from the finals of the WorldSkills UK Competitions and are announced as, Jack Radford from New College, Nottingham and Kieran Magee and Armondas Tamulis both from Southern Regional College, Northern Ireland.

The competitors will be trained by Paul Doran, a lecturer at Southern Regional College and in March next year they will compete for the one place to represent the UK in Wall and Floor Tiling at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.

Paul Doran, UK Expert for Wall and Floor Tiling said: “We are extremely grateful for the support of Schlüter-Systems Ltd and we will work with them to deliver a comprehensive training programme for Squad UK. The competitors have a challenging journey ahead of them as they prepare to take on the best tilers in the world but they are determined to show just how talented the UK’s apprentices are.”

Representing the best of their peers, the Squad UK members demonstrate technical abilities both individually and collectively to execute specific tiling related challenges.

For more information on Schlüter-Systems Ltd visit, email or call +44 (0)1530 813396

TTA fixers get the chance to compete at Cersaie

Two TTA tile fixer members have the chance to compete in the prestigious EUF tiling competition at Cersaie in September.

The Tile Association is a member of the EUF — the Federation of European Tile Fixers Association — with Robert Howard MBE having taken over the presidency in May this year.


It is envisaged there will be three or four teams of fixers made up from different members of the EUF who will work together to complete a technical challenge, set by the EUF’s Technical Commission and involving the fixing of large format panels.

The competition will run at Cersaie on 27th and 28th September 2016 within the Assoposa stand. All competition work wear and equipment will be provided by the EUF and Assoposa.

Accommodation from 26th to 29th September is generously provided by the Italian Ceramic Industry’s federation Confindustria Ceramica. You will also be provided with lunch on the competition days.

Fixers are responsible for their own flights and all other meals — however, the TTA will be exploring the possibility of sponsorship via members.

If you are interested in participating in the competition, not to mention obtaining a wealth of experience and networking opportunities, please let the TTA know as soon as possible, providing details of your fixing experience and qualifications.

Responses to must be received by Thursday 7th July at the latest to ensure nominations are with the organisers in good time

TTA strengthens board with three new directors

The TTA, the trade association for the whole tiling industry – retailers, distributors, manufacturers and fixers – has strengthened its board with the appointment of three new directors, bringing the number on the board up to 14.


In combination with the existing board members, the new additions represent a mix of experience and fresh insight from different strands within the tiling industry.

The first new appointee is Richard Wallis, managing director of Norcros Adhesives, who has been a member of the TTA’s marketing committee for the past year, although not previously a director. With his wide experience of the adhesives sector, his appointment will bring a fresh approach to the working of the TTA.

Ian Crowther, northern operations manager of N&C Building Products, on the other hand, has an existing wide experience of the TTA, having been a founder board member of the Association who is coming back to the main board, after a period focusing on other aspects of the TTA’s work. He is currently chair of the marketing committee and brings a wealth of experience of the TTA at all levels.

The third new board member, David Rowley, training manager at BAL, also has many years experience working for the TTA, latterly as chair of the supply chain committee. Dave’s particular area of expertise is in training, both in a TTA and a BAL capacity – and he is widely known and respected throughout the industry for his work in that area. He organizes the Skillbuild event, in which the TTA works in partnership with the CITB, and he has also worked on the development of the TTA’s new Retail Training Apprenticeship.

The appointment of the TTA’s new board members was ratified at the Association’s AGM in May.

Chairman Ian Kershaw says: “I’m delighted that we are able to announce these appointments which will help carry the Association forward in the coming years. I am happy that as long as we continue to attract representatives from our industry of this calibre to sit on our board, the TTA is in good hands.”

CSCS announces card changes

CSCS has announced changes to the process for obtaining trainee, supervisory and manager cards.

CSCS cards

Trainee Cards

From 1 August 2016, only one Trainee card will be available which will cover all construction occupations. This will replace the Trainee (Craft and Operative) and Trainee (Technical, Supervisory and Management) cards that are currently available, although these existing cards will remain valid until their expiry date.

In order to obtain the new Trainee card, an individual must:

  • Register for a CSCS recognised construction related qualification which will be based on National Occupational Standards (NOS)
  • Have completed the appropriate CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test within the last 2 years.

The new Trainee cards will be valid for five years and cardholders must complete their CSCS recognised construction related qualification before the card expires. This will ensure they are able to progress onto a skilled CSCS card.

Individuals had previously been able to obtain a Trainee (Technical, Supervisory and Management) card if they held a construction related qualification that was not based on National Occupational Standards, such as SSSTS, SMSTS and NEBOSH General. This approach had caused confusion, with cardholders unable to progress to a skilled CSCS card if they had not subsequently gained a NOS based qualification. This route will therefore no longer be available from 1 August 2016.

Supervisory and Manager Cards

CSCS has also updated the qualifications requirements for obtaining Supervisory and Managers cards with immediate effect. The qualifications that were previously required to obtain these cards are no longer available, although they remain a valid route for gaining a card.

To qualify for a Supervisory card you must now:

  • Achieve a Construction Related Supervisory NVQ or SVQ level 4, or;
  • Hold a Construction Related Supervisory NVQ level 3 (course no longer available), and;
  • Pass the Supervisors CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test.

To qualify for a Manager card you must now:

  • Achieve a Construction Related NVQ/SVQ level 5, 6 or 7 in the relevant construction management level qualification, or;
  • Hold a NVQ level 4 in construction management (course no longer available), and;
  • Pass the CITB Managers and Professionals Health, Safety and Environment Test.

To help applicants apply for the correct CSCS card, Build UK has published a handy Guide to CSCS Cards flowchart which now reflects these changes. You can see it HERE

International conference on slips, trips and falls in October

An international conference on slips, trips and falls is being held in London in October.

Slips trips falls

Slips, Trips and Falls 2016 takes place on 4th and 5th October at Farmers & Fletchers in the City of London, organised by the UK Slip Resistance Group and partly sponsored by The Tile Association.

Conference participants will have a unique opportunity to learn about the latest slips, trips and falls research through a diverse range of practical workshops, technical sessions and panel discussions led by internationally-renowned experts. It promises to be a hugely beneficial event.

There is lots more information HERE

TTA members can take centre stage at The Tiling Show

A packed programme of demonstrations organised by The Tile Association will be taking place at the first ever Tiling Show in September.

The Tiling Show — a brand new exhibition that will be running alongside The Flooring Show — will be held at the Harrogate International Centre from 18th to 20th September 2016.

The TTA Demo Zone will be at the heart of the show, with practical presentations lifting the lid on a huge range of topics and techniques.

The schedule for the three days is below, and TTA members are encouraged to book one of the slots if they would like to take centre stage at the event.

Ian Kershaw, chairman of the TTA, said: “The Tile Asociation is delighted to be partnering with the prestigious Harrogate Flooring Show to create the first-ever UK Tiling Show in 2016. After a number of years without a dedicated tiling show for the UK market, we view the launch of The Tiling Show as a very welcome development. This will be somewhere that our members and others in the tiling sector can do business, network, learn about the key trends and view demonstrations in the TTA Demo Zone.”

The Tiling Show is also a perfect exhibition opportunity and members of the Tile Association get a 10% reduction to exhibit. Further information and pricing is available on The Tiling Show’s website. If you’d like more information, email or call 0300 365 8453

Here’s the schedule for the TTA Tiling Show Demo Zone. TTA member businesses who would like to present in the Demo Zone should call 0300 365 8453 or email to book one of the slots below:


10am — Introduction and application of heating cables to prepared floor

10.30am — Introduction and application of levelling compound over heating cables

1pm — Introduction to tools used and cutting of large format tiles including thin porcelain

1.30pm — Introduction and application of decoupling mats

3pm — Fixing of large format porcelain tiles

3.30pm — Grouting using flexible grouts or admixes


10am — Introduction and application of wet room systems

1pm — Introduction to tools used and cutting of ceramic and glass mosaic tiles

1.30pm — Fixing of ceramic/glass mosaics

3pm — Grouting of mosaics using flexible grouts

3.30pm — Grouting using epoxy grouts


10am — Introduction and types of stone

10.30am — Introduction and application of sealing of stone

1pm — Introduction to tools used and cutting of natural stone products

1.30 — Fixing of natural stones

As well as the TTA Demo Zone, The Trends Hub will give visitors from both the retail and contract sector inspiration and ideas of where the market is heading in terms of design over the next few years. And there’s a packed seminar programme too — see the full schedule HERE

And there is lots more information about the whole event HERE