The EUF is taking a leadership role to drive forward discussions with international partners on confronting technical issues affecting the global tile market.
Following the recent regular meeting of the EUF at Cersaie in September 2017, there was a special meeting with the Tile Council of North America and Confindustria, representing the Italian industry. The representatives of the TCNA included their president and other directors. The aim of the meeting was to develop international cooperation and drive up standards globally.
Bob Howard MBE, the president of the EUF; technical director, Brian G Newell; and Kay Porter, who assumes the responsibility of running the secretariat of the EUF, were present at the meeting.
The American presentation included such familiar issues as the recruitment of new tilers into the industry, in particular the problem of attracting young people to the sector. Of key interest was the growing move in the States towards the requirement for accredited fixers for many jobs. This mirrors a similar trend in Europe, where accredited fixers are seen as the way forward to drive up quality in the industry and improve customer confidence.
This is particularly the case with the latest fixing challenges now being posed by the large format porcelain panels which are becoming increasingly common in both North American and European markets. These panels can be 3m x 1.2m in size and require totally different methods for storage, handling and fixing. They will also most likely require more than one fixer on the job and may require specialist adhesives.
“When faced with these types of product developments, which in many ways are game changers in terms of the way that fixers work on-site, it is really useful to hold these international discussions, since we find that our American and Italian colleagues are grappling with many of the same issues,” says Bob Howard MBE. “I look forward to the next EUF meeting which will take place at Cevisama in February 2018.”