Some things to consider before buying a kitchen by kitchen plans

Some things to consider before buying a kitchen by kitchen plans from Kitchen Plans, Independent Kitchen Design Consultancy

By: Kitchen Plans, Independent Kitchen Design Consultancy  03/01/2011
Keywords: PROJECT MANAGEMENT, interior design, plumbing

Buying a kitchen is a major investment & prices for kitchens vary from Kitchen Company to Kitchen Company. Prices will vary depending on several factors namely design, style, what’s included & responsibility. If you were building a house or house extension your first call would be to an architect who would draft plans for planning approval & for quotes from contractors. Basically you use one architect & pay them for their services, if you use the services of more than one you pay for these services also. Why because the architect knows what they are doing as they do this every day. You would not go straight to the builder for this.
Yet when it comes to buying a kitchen most people will waste endless hours trying to get a kitchen designed & often end up more confused than when they started. The first step is to go to the local kitchen company for a quote, but in order to get it a design must be done first. The quote is done based on the design & now comes the sticky bit, you want a copy of the design to study at your leisure. The kitchen company will generally ask for a design fee to cover the time spent so far with you, which will be refunded should you go with them for the kitchen. This is fair enough as you could take their design to any other kitchen company & not ever come back to them. Yet most people will not want to pay for this, so they end up going out the door & on to the next showroom where the process is repeated, only this time they are being quoted for a different layout, door & service. Well there is obviously going to be a difference in the price. By the time this process has been repeated often five or six times, you will end up with different layouts, different prices & no great clue as to what is included in each quote from a service point of view. Also unless you have paid for designs as you went along you will have no real idea of what was in each design. If you have you will have spent an awful lot of money to end up confused & only one company will refund the fee when you buy from them. Most kitchen quotes are quite vague as to what is included, many companies only giving a total figure. Then you find later that things you thought were included are not included. This will have wasted a lot of time for you & the kitchen companies. But the kitchen companies will be paid any way for this time because every kitchen quote has a certain amount built in to cover for designing & quoting for work that they never got. That’s the industry norm & any kitchen company that does not do this will not be in business very long.

The way forward really is to use an independent kitchen designer. Sounds expensive? Well they can actually save you money & lots of it. The main benefit of an independent kitchen designer is that they are not directly connected to one Kitchen Company trying to sell their products. They will have links to several kitchen companies & can obtain several quotes for you if you wish. An independent kitchen designer works for you & not any particular company. They will not be trying to sell you anything. They design your kitchen design according to your needs & your budget & you pay them for that, Simple. They will then be able to help you to source the kitchen & advise you on all other aspects of what’s ahead in the process.
They will provide you with a full set of kitchen plans, wall elevations for service locations, 3D images from various angles & a full partslist to take to any kitchen retailer for a quote. Now as you have a full specification list all quotes will be on a like for like basis. Then when you have got your quotes don’t be afraid to show them around the various companies again to see what better deal you can get. Any kitchen company can always do a little better when they can see a written quote before them. Don’t forget also to negotiate a little extra off because you did not waste their time getting a design done by them. You have already paid that to the independent kitchen designer. The independent designer will also be able to advise you as to which quote offers the best value for money. The cheapest is not always the best. Always check to see what is included in terms of service & responsibility should anything go wrong.

Service  from a kitchen company is important even after the job is done. Many lower end kitchen companies will quote you for a basic kitchen & show a separate estimate for fitting. But lets look at what’s included & what’s not. Firstly when you agree to buy the kitchen they will want payment in full before delivery. Now in most cases delivery will be extra on the price, so who is responsible when the product is delivered damaged or some damage is caused to your property during delivery. Is it the kitchen company or the courier? Will you have to pay the delivery charge on delivery or at the time of purchase?
Now comes the installation. Firstly will the kitchen fit? The company will have worked from sizes you provided & wont check them, preferring to leave that to the person installing the kitchen, which they do not include either. You were only given an estimate of what the fitting would cost & this is payable to the fitter subject to agreement on the price with them. So the kitchen is delivered & you must now find a fitter. The company may have a list of fitters to choose from, but they will not be responsible for their ability to actually do the work. Basically anyone with a few tools & a bit of DIY knowledge can become a kitchen fitter. You must employ the fitter and be satisfied that they can do the work. Now is the fitter tax registered or is he claiming social welfare & doing a “foxer” on the side, has he got insurance to cover him should anything go wrong, can he actually fit the kitchen properly. This is all your problem not the kitchen companies, after all you are the employer during the project. Who is responsible should something go wrong that may not become apparent for a while, say a pipe or wire in the wall has been damaged but is not noticed for a week or so. The tiling is done & some of the cabinets need to come out to repair the problem? Costly, but who will pay to repair the damage. Again this has nothing to do with the kitchen company. If your fitter is not insured this can be costly, & believe me it does happen.
You now have got a fitter & the kitchen does not fit. Some units need to be reordered in a different size, or the dishwasher was not delivered & this will hold up the fitter, so on top of the extra unit cost, the fitter will charge extra to come back to finish. Now the kitchen is fitted but a socket is over the hob or sink, because nobody advised you to move it. Basically this is because no site survey was done before the kitchen was bought. Now maybe that’s the way it always was & while it was that way no one could have made you change it.
Now that the kitchen has been replaced it must be fitted with the current safety regulations adhered to. Registered electricians & plumbers will advise you in this regard & will refuse to certify any work that does not comply, but its easy to take a chance if you are chancing it yourself or are getting some one to do a foxer. To be honest no one is going to check either, but unfortunately the unexpected happens in the kitchen & you need to claim on your house policy. Then you find that the insurance company will not pay out because the safety regulations in force at the time of the kitchen being changed were not adhered to.
Other things to consider is who will remove the old kitchen & more importantly who will dispose of it? You buy appliances from your electrical retailer, but who will dispose of the packaging, what will happen the old appliances? They are still connected & you will be using them until the kitchen is changed. Well your retailer is only obliged to pick them up if they are ready when the new appliances are being delivered but are not obliged to take any packaging. And you cannot put them in a skip either.
That’s why the cheapest quote is not always the best. In fact the kitchen company who will cover all this & will look after the project from start to finish will in the long run deliver best value for money. You also have the security that payments to these companies will usually be on a stage basis so you will have a hold on a portion of the cost until everything is done to your satisfaction.

Keywords: Decorating Services, Decorators & Designers, Drafting Service, fitted Kitchens, home builder, home building, home design, housing construction, Independent Kitchen Design, interior design, Interior Design Services, interior designer, Interior Designers, kitchen, kitchen design, Kitchen Design Service, Kitchen Designs, Painted Kitchens, plumbing, PROJECT MANAGEMENT, Underfloor Heating

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