A quality imported luxury kitchen will account, on average, for about 57% of your building or renovating kitchen budget. This makes buying a quality imported kitchen a luxury and an investment. Therefore when one invests, you make sure the investment meets your goals and objectives. So why should it be different when you spend on a luxury kitchen?
When we buy an imported luxury car, we take it for a test drive, we read technical reports in car magazines, spec safety features and seek advice from car journalists. This information allows us the opportunity to understand the differences between makes and models and helps us choose the best quality for our budget and our specific needs.
Why shouldn’t it be the same for quality imported kitchens?
The furniture industry and decor magazines produce very little detailed information on the quality of imported kitchens in South Africa. Therefore there are no comparisons between what is available in the market to help homeowners make an informed choice.
Designing, buying and installing a new imported kitchen is a big event for the whole family. Catalogues with captivating glossy images and technical descriptions often impact decisions made. So it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and enthusiasm of a new purchase, the appeal of a luxury kitchen design and the dreams of moments spent with family and friends in the kitchen.
However, to be in a position to make an informed purchase, more time should be spent studying features and facts that assist you in making an informed choice.
Quality marks for imported kitchens
A product that bears a quality or certification mark meets an accepted standard of excellence as dictated by a national or international regulatory body. A quality or certification mark is awarded to kitchens after stringent tests have been carried out. Certification is especially important for electrical appliances used in kitchens. In Italy, for example, many people die annually because of problems caused by electrical appliances.
Therefore the challenge today is the wide variety of certificates at hand for a kitchen. There is a large amount of information available, and this can often lead to confusion or errors in judgement when choosing kitchens based on their certification.
To assist you, we’ve grouped quality marks into these various categories:
1. Process quality mark
2. Product quality mark
3. Self-certification mark
5. Environmental protection marks
Process quality mark
A kitchen awarded a process quality mark means that the manufacturer follows a standardised production system and endeavours to improve it. These are, therefore, important for suppliers as these standards ensure excellent product reliability and consistency. However, for the manufacturer, it allows them to optimise their production system. This mark, however, provides no guarantee for the end user though.
An example of a process quality mark is ISO9001.
Product quality mark
A product quality mark guarantees that the kitchen manufactured corresponds to the quality and safety level fixed by technical standards established by the quality mark itself. For example to obtain a quality mark for a piece of furniture it must pass a set of safety tests (e.g. stability, safety of electric systems, absence of dangerous sharp corners, respect of regulations and limits concerning toxic emissions) and a whole array of quality tests (e.g. strength and durability of hinges, capacity of drawer runners).
This mark certifies the real quality of the kitchen, which is why it is a crucial mark you as a customer should look for when researching imported kitchens.
An example of a product mark quality for kitchens is ICILA. Globally recognised, they provide accredited management certification systems in fields such as wood processing, furnishing and paper.
The manufacturer applies the self-certification mark directly to the kitchen it produces. Therefore the validity of this self-certification mark depends on the honesty of the manufacturer. Furthermore, there is no certifying body and consumers only receive a partial guarantee from the manufacturer.
Trademarks are created and promoted by manufacturing companies who have a common interest. They, therefore, join together to reach their aims and increase the visibility of the trademark.
Environmental standards and certifications
ISO14001 is the international standard from which one of the most critical environmental certifications derive. Therefore, it guarantees that a company:
- Will respect all environmental requirements regarding sound, toxic discharge, dust and water pollution;
- has a controlled, registered waste disposal system;
- is committed to reducing energy consumptions and draws up and implements projects with this aim in mind;
- participates in environmental projects.
Independent certification bodies issue it after inspection of the company.
The FSC® CERTIFICATION: CERTIFIED WOOD is an example thereof. Valcucine obtained this certification in 2008 guaranteeing that the wood used, comes from forests managed responsibly.
Quality: tested and guaranteed
Good design isn’t the only thing that guarantees the quality and safety of your kitchen unit. So it is essential that all your kitchen parts and materials undergo stringent, uncompromising testing. Therefore it is vital to check that the written certifications back the claims made.
Seals of approval awarded to Valcucine kitchens
- FSC® Certification for solid maple parts (drawer interiors). Valcucine kitchens use only FSC® labelled chipboard, which guarantees that the wood comes from responsibly-managed forests.
- Valcucine’s consistent dedication to eco-friendly production ensured that they were the first Italy kitchen cabinet maker to obtain UNI EN ISO14001 certification.
- The BIOFOREST label was first created by Valcucine to show their commitment and action towards reforesting. BIOFOREST in now an independent NGO with recognition from the Italian Ministry of the Environment and is open to manufacturers committed to restoring the balance between carbon dioxide they produce. And the carbon dioxide absorbed by the trees they plant for manufacturing.
Now that you selected a luxury kitchen manufacturing based on their quality marks, here are some practical tips to help you design your high-end kitchen.
Need some ideas on how to light your new high-end kitchen, read here.