What really is ‘contract quality’?

  • PUBLISHED BY: TOM DOWDELL
  • POSTED ON: Wednesday 10, 2017
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Around 40% of furniture used in a contract environment isn’t contract quality. The term ‘contract quality’ is used by companies who usually don’t know the true meaning of it. It is essentially being used as a marketing term to sell products to a wider market.

Products are being designed with planned obsolescence in mind – this means a product has been designed with an artificially limited useful life, so it won’t be functional after a certain period of time. Basically it’s been purposely designed to break at some point, which forces you to return to buy more!

Whilst products may look the same… how they’re made and what they’re made out of might be completely different. Cheap Chinese imports are a prime example of this.

Design is so important that we often sacrifice durability to get the look that the client wants. Online furniture shops like Made, Wayfair and Swoon often set the trend when it comes to furniture design, but their products are not contract quality.

The furniture range at UHS Group is put through a state of the art testing facility in Oxfordshire called “RIGA”. As well as the British standard tests, RIGA has also developed additional tests to ensure UHS products are suitable for the hospitality environment.

How to prove its contract quality?

Simply ask them what makes it contract quality. If it’s got a product guarantee or passed a standardised test like RIGA, BIFMA or FIRA you have every right to ask for the certificate to prove it. Key tests to look out for include:

BS EN 1022:2005 Seating Stability
BS EN 16136 Safety Strength & Durability

Buy sensibly and do your due diligence as it can save you a lot of money on repairs or replacements.

  • PUBLISHED BY: TOM DOWDELL
  • POSTED ON: Wednesday 10, 2017
  • SHARE ON:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

What do you do at UHS?

Provide graphic design content for brand publications, website development and social media engagement.

What do you do outside of UHS?

Go for walks along the Thames with my dog, brush up on my Table Tennis skills so Elston doesn’t beat me and follow the mighty Arsenal!

What is your favourite food?

Pasta… can’t beat carbo-loading!

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Craft beer pubs are having a moment – most towns and cities have a number of micro pubs, craft beer bars, or a place to grab a guest ale. If you own, or are in charge of managing or setting up such an establishment, you’ll understand that getting the “look” of your venue is important for your roadside appeal and customer retention. The right furniture and décor gives your pub its character, and is what your customers will remember (apart from the beer, and maybe the company depending on how good that is…). So, what should your bar furniture look like?

Many craft beer bars are known for their contemporary décor and industrial furniture
Often presenting an industrial look, well-known and hugely successful Scottish craft beer company, BrewDog, is leading the “craft beer revolution”. Across its venues, the interior is a far cry from traditional slouchy pub chairs and stubby bar stools – instead, brightly coloured seating stands out against exposed brick walls and contemporary lighting fixtures. We supplied Tagg bar stools to Liverpool’s very own BrewDog; with wooden backs and seats, these stools can be powder coated in any RAL colour or lacquer.

When acquiring your furniture, be bold and stay away from brown or grey – create something with the purpose of standing out. Our product configurator is perfect for this.

Standing out as a craft bar or brewery in a crowded market is important
Admittedly, as a furniture supplier to the hospitality industry, we cannot advise you on the beer you choose to serve, how you decide to keep it, and the bar snacks on offer. However, what we’re great at is furniture design. We truly believe that it can inspire your customers to return, and help to promote your venue across visual channels such as Instagram and Pinterest (read our blog on Instagrammable furniture). To help you to visualise your new furniture, our product configurator allows you to customise 7 different parts of a chair in:

• 420 fabrics
• 20 wood finishes
• 20 RAL colours

As a result, there’s potential for you to create a combination unique to your establishment, perfectly in line with your brand, concept, and what your customers want to see.

Remember – making sure your furniture is durable is important too
It’s not all about your aesthetic! Durable furniture is important for the safety of your customers. Read more about RIGA Testing, our hospitality furniture endurance standard adopted by many well-known UK brands.

Craft bars with a difference
Of course we love the interior of BrewDog, but here are some other interesting craft bars from around the world that stand out in terms of their décor or furniture. It’s time to get inspired!

• BarBarian, Lima, Peru
These publicans have got creative and decked a whole wall out with beer bottles. The burgers are pretty good too.

• Bacchus Bar, Birmingham, UK
It’s not strictly a craft bar, but it’s kind of like walking into Hogwarts if Hogwarts was a pub in the centre of Birmingham…

• Albert’s Schloss, Manchester, UK
The bier palace! We adore the brightly coloured flowers surrounding the entrance and apparently, there’s “push for Prosecco” buttons on every table.

• Open Baladin, Rome, Italy
This venue has numerous rooms, unusual décor, and great beer.

If you need some advice on how to furnish your craft bar, get in touch with us or browse our product and case study pages for inspiration. Cheers!

More and more people are searching using Siri, Echo and Alexa technologies, so we decided to put it to the test!

We asked Siri who was the leading supplier of hospitality and commercial furniture… see the response below:

#SiriKnowsBest

Printeriors approached UHS to help them supply furniture for their stand at the Fespa event in Berlin – this came after they saw images of the futuristic but retro looking Kite Chair.

Printeriors is a unique exhibit showcasing the many developing opportunities and benefits of using print in the interior design sector.

Forming part of the visitor experience at the FESPA Global Print Expo, in Berlin from 15-18 May, join designers, printers and manufacturers from all over Europe in discovering the innovative print applications and technology open to the interior design market.

[Above] Models from the event posing with the Jack Coffee Table supplied by UHS Group.

Print is revolutionising the way designers and architects work and leading the way for digital technology in production. This means shorter lead times in addition to more economical, straightforward and environmentally friendly processes.

We supplied furniture for the Printeriors stand at the Fespa event in Berlin. The theme of the stand was an “Airport Lounge of 2030” so our timeless Jack Coffee table, and retro Kite chairs fitted perfectly with the design.

Are you on the hunt for contract furniture for your student accommodation project?

UHS Group has been designing and providing modern furniture for establishments popular with students for several years… cheeky Nando’s anyone? Our vibrant chairs, tables, sofas, and stools can be found in commercial venues all over the UK – popular restaurants you’ve almost definitely heard of showcasing our collections include Nando’s, KFC, Zizzi, and ASK Italian.

 

Nando’s Oxford, furnished by UHS Group.

 

Collaborate with UHS to create an enviable student living environment 

The cost of living on or off campus means that students are no longer happy with flimsy plastic chairs and threadbare sofas. Invest in pieces to create an enviable student living environment, and a lasting impression in such a competitive arena.

 

The Collective Co-working & Co-living, furnished by UHS Group.

 

Need inspiration for your student accommodation project? 

Blok Seating by UHS Group

 

To gain interior inspiration (and take the first step towards designing your students’ living space) browse the collections on offer at UHS Group. Our favourites include Blok Seatingand Co-Create Tables – these items are stylish, practical, and robust (sturdy enough to last more than a few lively semesters!).

 

Co-Create Table Range by UHS Group

 

In addition, a recent piece, the Kite Lounge Chair, offers a contemporary design with definitive angles – the perfect statement piece for a modern halls of residence.

 

Kite Lounge Chair by UHS Group

 

As well as providing stylish furniture, UHS Group understands the importance of furniture safety in commercial and public settings.

UHS Group is known for its hospitality projects. As a result, our knowledge of developing resilient furniture fit for use in challenging public environments is comprehensive (furniture safety is of paramount importance to us).

 

 

After realising the need for a hospitality furniture endurance standard, we developed RIGAtesting – an independent hospitality furniture testing house. The knowledge required to develop this standard puts us in a unique position as a student furniture supplier – we’re able to combine established furniture standards and perform additional unique tests in line with our clients’ requirements. For more information, visit: www.rigatest.com