Showerwall | Helping to build better

Showerwall | Helping to build better

As the UK begins its journey towards a post-pandemic world, the shift over the past two years has left a surging demand for social housing, placing growing pressure on local authorities. The Government has outlined ambitious targets for new-build homes within the next 30 years and Steph Harris, Product Manager for Showerwall, shares what to consider when specifying bathroom wall panelling. 

It has been well documented that the UK has been failing to keep up with the demand for housing requirements in the UK. Recent research has found that there has been an increased demand for single occupancy homes, highlighting that in the wake of the pandemic it’s not just family units who are seeking housing. The properties required, often bedsits or one-bedroom properties, are in short supply and there have been renewed calls for a social housebuilding programme. 

If new-build targets are met the emphasis on affordability for tenants is crucial, meaning that throughout the build process speed and budgets remain paramount. In the bathroom, property managers are looking for solutions that are easy to fit, but also easy to maintain, requiring fewer call outs to a property. Shower enclosures are now replacing baths and inclusive wetrooms and level access showers are becoming increasingly popular not just because of their accessibility benefits but to make the best use of the space available.

Growing benefits of wall panelling
Bathroom wall panelling has become a popular solution in modern homes due to the rising awareness of its many benefits, making it the fastest growing market in home interiors with the sector seeing an estimated 25% growth year on year for the past six years. Panelling has started to take away share from the tile market due to its ease of installation and hygiene benefits. The growth in this area has also been driven by the rise in popularity of shower enclosures.

Housing providers can capitalise on the benefits of this growing trend. Showerwall’s panels have the capability to fit over existing tiles, speeding up the installation process and can be fitted in just one day. Fitted around a shower area, the panels can provide a completely watertight solution reducing downtime and the time specialist trades spend on site. 

Wall panelling provides the ideal solution for social housing due to its ease of installation and low-maintenance properties. Showerwall’s comprehensive Laminate and Compact collections for example provide large expanses of decorative surfaces in a range of stylish decors. The panels are quick and easy to install from floor to ceiling and also easy to clean and maintain, which means there are no hiding places for mould, dirt and germs.

One solution to fit all
Multi-generational homes are increasing in popularity with families pooling resources together due to the cost of living increases. Families in the UK are living together for longer as the younger generation is struggling to get on to the property ladder, and the price of care for the older generation is not always affordable. However, while care is often the primary reason for multigenerational living, families are now also seeing the huge cost benefits of combining households.

Bathrooms are often one of the busiest rooms in the house where multigenerational living is concerned and therefore require products that are easy to maintain. Grout-free wall panelling is easily cleaned with a quick wipe, with no gaps or grooves for dirt and soap to build up. 

Property managers are also increasingly looking for long-term, practical solutions, which can futureproof homes for tenants who may require bathroom adaptations. Bathrooms featuring level access shower enclosures are very mainstream now, and offer practical appeal for users of all ages as well as those with mobility issues.

Working together for greener homes
Local authorities are now facing additional challenges following the UK Government’s targets to achieve net zero in housing by 2050 and it’s vital housing providers choose sustainable solutions that help reduce the carbon footprint of housing stock. 

Working with manufacturers such as Showerwall, which has just launched its Environmental Story, will give peace of mind to social housing providers that all sustainable practices are aligned to achieve upcoming targets. For example, the company has recently undertaken work within the business to ensure that its manufacturing processes and ways of working are environmentally conscious. 

As part of its commitment, all Showerwall’s panels are manufactured in the UK, meaning less fuel is used to transport materials, and its Display Stands are made within the same factory, helping to reduce its carbon footprint when getting the whole package out to the customer. In addition, Showerwall’s Laminate and Compact panels are manufactured using an FSC certified core board, guaranteeing that the timber used is harvested from responsibly managed forests. By purchasing a product with such certification, it supports sustainable forest management worldwide.

Training opportunities
As part of its dedication to supporting local authorities, Showerwall offers on site training for housing providers. During a dedicated session the team can fully train people to fit wall panels quickly and efficiently, meaning there is a reduced need for specialist trades to fit the panels — an ideal additional skill for maintenance teams. 

Social housing providers are under increasing pressure to tighten financial budgets, provide more high quality accommodation, and to ensure homes are sustainable. Working with trusted manufacturers can help local authorities achieve these goals and futureproof their housing stock. 

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