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Imported vs Local

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  1. #1
    Concepteur Sybarite's Avatar
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    Default Imported vs Local

    Hello all,

    Obviously I have a vested interest in this topic, but after having this article pointed out to me I thought I should post this link anyway.


    This is something to think about when considering purchasing certain imported products.

    "Shocking results of a study commissioned by the Australian Environmental Labelling Association Inc (AELA) show that almost half of imported wood panel products tested failed to meet Australian standards with formaldehyde levels of the worst products over twice maximum allowable levels. Formaldehyde has been classified as a Class 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). This chemical is also currently being reviewed by NICNAS, Australian Government body, for more stringent human exposure levels. These products cover a wide range of applications including flat pack kitchens sold by prominent Australian retailers including xxx. For example, a kitchen cabinet door from xxx recorded the highest reading at 2.24 times the Australian standard for formaldehyde emissions. Tests conducted on behalf of AELA at a specialist NATA accredited laboratory tested 16 imported products with 7 products failing outright"...(continued)


    http://www.aela.org.au/aela/Publicat...al%20issue.pdf

    This is really relevent to those guys who might be cutting and drilling these products out there...

    Respect, all.

    Earl


    Designer - Retail; Exhibition; Kitchen


  2. #2
    1K Club Member arms's Avatar
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    Smile

    Obviously I have a vested interest in this topic, but after having this article pointed out to me I thought I should post this link anyway.


    and i to have a vested interest in this topic, for all you guys that followand sometimes debase my thoughts i do agree with sybrite on the chinese/italian/vietnamese/german kitchens that are coming into the country at the moment .
    i have 3 arms to my business .
    1 .Armstrong Custom Cabinets (for custom built customers)
    2. Kitchen in a box (for the internet flat pack kitchens.
    3.The Kitchen Installers (to install other peoples kitchens).
    I install a fair few of the overseas kitchens and the guys dont think much of the quality ,but do say that the poly finish is compatable with anything they have seen in au,i have noticed that when the board is cut or drilled you do get a significant amount of odour from the board and the board is a noticable deeper colour to australian/nz products.
    this being the case i have noticed that not one of the people that we have installed these for has done it to stay in the house ,all have put these kitchen in so as to sell ,so there you go ,If you are selling your house then go for it but if you want something to see your days out ,BUY AUSTRALIAN/NEW ZEALAND products and give your kids and grandkids a job and a future
    kind regards
    tom armstrong
    www.kitcheninabox.com.au
    Flat Packed kitchens to the world

  3. #3
    Microsurgeons are great! renomart's Avatar
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    That's a real eye opener. Thanks for that Earl.

  4. #4
    Member gregoryq's Avatar
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    Hmmm. Aren't you guys asking for future trouble if a homeowner gets the formeldahyde level checked then wants a free new kitchen? Good luck fighting that particular media battle.

    Greg

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    Microsurgeons are great! renomart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryq
    Hmmm. Aren't you guys asking for future trouble if a homeowner gets the formeldahyde level checked then wants a free new kitchen? Good luck fighting that particular media battle.

    Greg
    I use board made in Australia (Laminex) and I don't import any kitchens.

  6. #6
    Member gregoryq's Avatar
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    By "you guys" I meant the entire kitchen industry, or at least those guys who get their products from overseas.

    Greg

  7. #7
    Member gregoryq's Avatar
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    By "you guys" I meant the entire kitchen industry, or at least those guys who get their products from overseas.

    Greg

  8. #8
    Concepteur Sybarite's Avatar
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    Hey RM you beat me to it again...

    All of our cabinetry is also made in Australia using Australian boards.

    We don't import cabinetry or boards. Which we tell anyone who will listen or bothers to look at our web site.

    Laminex (who supply the HMR that becomes our carcasses) carry the Good Environment Choice Label for the Australian market - this label is managed by AELA.

    http://www.thelaminexgroup.com.au/pd...ing_Choice.pdf

    As Tom pointed out, the worry is that it is difficult for the domestic user to perceive the differences until they are breathing in the dust.

    As for handing out free kitchens - if anyone CAN arrange THAT particular media battle I will happily hand out a FREE kitchen to some poor soul who has been sold a cancer kitchen and (after finding out what is in it) can't get a refund from the hardware store who supplied it.
    I would love my product on national televsion next to theirs and an AELA audit - along with some simpering hostess explaining to the viewers how outraged they are supposed to be at this particular attrocity...

    Seriously - everytime someone askes for a price I have to explain why we aren't as cheap as an off the shelf imported flat pack supplier.
    This is just ONE reason.

    Respect, all.

    Earl
    Designer - Retail; Exhibition; Kitchen


  9. #9
    Member gregoryq's Avatar
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    Can't you guys arrange that little media event? Maybe your national association needs to be more aggressive with this? As building envelopes start to become tighter in the energy efficiency race, air quality is going to become a bigger deal. I can sense a new asbestos in the wings.:eek:

    Greg (who understands that a cheap price isn't everything)

  10. #10
    1K Club Member arms's Avatar
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    Greg (who understands that a cheap price isn't everything)

    great ,then why do we (as kitchen suppliers)have to go through the process of having to explain IN DETAIL why our kitchens are dearer ,the public is a fickle commodity to manufacturers such as myself ,they come to you tell you what they desire ,you price the kitchen/cabinets on their desires and then they tell you that they can get a chinese kitchen cheaper ,i tell the go for it ,fly be free !
    but in all honesty after 25 years in my own business i have learned to ask specific questions of people and then the answers lead me onto further questions or none at all .
    i had a lady say to me many ,many years ago that the customer has the power ,i pointed out to her that in fact the kitchen manufacturer has the power ,it works this way
    step 1 customer comes to factory or asks for quote
    step 2 designer (me) goes to home and gets instructions
    step 3 me decides that she/he is either trouble or easy going
    step 4 goes back to price the job
    step 5 remembers that the customer was pretty easy going and cuts some of the costs
    step 6 goes back to the customer with a good price and gets the job (because the customer was reasonable to start with)
    step 7 everyones happy 1the client 2 us (we got paid)
    so the moral of the story is to be nice to the contractor and you will get a good job
    but getting back to the customer that said the buyer has the power ,after explaining this to her ,i have done about 15 kitchens for this lady ,she rings me with the address of the latest house she has bought and with her budget for cabinetry i do the job send her the bill and get paid<!-- / message -->
    kind regards
    tom armstrong
    www.kitcheninabox.com.au
    Flat Packed kitchens to the world

  11. #11
    Member gregoryq's Avatar
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    Well, you have at least one good customer there. I guess that when faced with commodity pricing, you have to then go out and market with information. I know this is time consuming, but if you don't educate the public as to what they aren't getting then the competition won't either. Maybe your suppliers (panels, hinges, drawer slides) can give you some sales help with demo products and fact sheets?

    The other problem that I see is too many people rushing through spec builds or renovations to rental properties without a care in the world about durability* or quality*. These people, and their flat pack suppliers will drag down all but the top end of the market.

    * two very old-fashioned words, I know.

    Greg (who was just looking at a bag of frozen vegetables packed in Viet Nam, of all places. I wonder what manner of soil quality is assured there?)

  12. #12
    1K Club Member arms's Avatar
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    i am not sure about what you mean by "their flat pack suppliers"
    2 of the replies (apart from my own)have come from flat pack suppliers.
    I do believe that i am the only one that does manufacture and not on sell other products into the flat pack kitchen market.
    there will always be a market for the overseas kitchens just as there is a market for crappy kitchens in australia/new zealand ,the more of these overseas kitchens sold will only strengthen the locally made products as people will have a choice as to what quality they want to use
    kind regards
    tom armstrong
    www.kitcheninabox.com.au
    Flat Packed kitchens to the world

  13. #13
    Member gregoryq's Avatar
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    Well, what I meant by that is self-evident. I am not having a go at anyone specifically, and certainly no one on this forum. Certainly everybody has a right to make a living, and consumers like a choice. The point which I was making is that cabinets, like so many things are becoming a commodity, and I wonder how many local producers can survive with commodity pricing.

    If there is a real difference between a flat pack and a custom job, and that difference includes health concerns, then that information should be publicised. How many cabinet shops can survive without supplying the low end of the market? I know one guy with a serious clientele-he only works in homes worth north of 3 million, and he doesn't need any stinking middle class customers . How many guys are like him though?

  14. #14
    Concepteur Sybarite's Avatar
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    Hi Greg,

    I completely agree that it is up to us (the kitchen supplier) to go out and inform the customers, and I certainly don't think that you're having a go (at us).
    <O</O
    I don't expect anything more than anyone else would out of a "national association". What disturbs me, however, is that this product continues to be allowed to be imported and distributed without any form of regulation - given that there are some much tighter controls on the importation of some much less dangerous goods. Who is going to accept the liability on this issue? Unlike asbestos there won't be an individual target sitting fat and complacent when the fallout (so to speak) starts to be noticed.
    <O</O
    Instead we are glorying in a wholesale frenzy trying to see who can sell the highest volume of the cheapest excrement. Our economy is positively encouraging it. We have become addicted to cheap high volume manufactured goods - everybody expects to be able to access every product genre. Given that most of the people I write quotes for have jobs in Australia, it is frightening to observe our enthusiastic disregard for the local economy in the rush to save some (or earn a few more) dollars.
    <O</O
    This makes it a real challenge to reach the potential consumer right down to the wallet. As you have pointed out:
    <O</O
    "The other problem that I see is too many people rushing through spec builds or renovations to rental properties without a care in the world about durability* or quality*. These people, and their flat pack suppliers will drag down all but the top end of the market."
    <O</O
    Everybody wants a bit of the action - any kitchen supplier can tell you the standard customer line about "wanting something nice and modern but not too expensive, as it is ONLY for a rental". Which extends to mean that the owner considers the tenants, (who should REALLY be seen as employees in the owners investment business), to be second class citizens - I mean, who deserves the expensive kitchens otherwise? Surely not the person building your asset for you...I used to love hearing this when I was working out of a showroom and renting a house nearby.
    <O</O
    Then even if someone does end up living in a cancer kitchen of their own (or deciding to care about their tenants living in one) it it is usually too late to do anything about it. A large number of people using this sort of product are "one shotters" who may well never do a kitchen again; so if we don't get them the first time it's too late.
    <O</O
    Like many businesses in many industries we greatly value word of mouth advertising; a form of marketing that is equally effective in distributing misinformation and bad reputation. When this happens flat packs all get put into the same basket, regardless of provenance. Just search this site for "flat pack" and see what the mainstream opinion of this product is.
    <O</O
    It becomes a challenge explaining to window shoppers that our kitchen system contains carcasses that come out of the same local workshop that supplies a lot of "Installed" kitchen providers.
    Even though we are the only suppliers in Australia of our particular kitchen system, technically some of Bribane'<ST1s biggest cabinet makers are also Resellers of the same carcasses as us; they are just passing off the finished product as their own. This situation alone shows how easy it is for the lines to become blurry.
    <O</O
    I would be the last person who would want to deny someone the right to make a living, or access to a choice. Doing so at the expense of consumer health - or the health of the local economy is, however, terribly short sighted and ultimately counterproductive. Unfortunately, same old story, the people who will be most impacted by this situation will not include a large proportion of the people who created or benefited from it.

    We will continue to remain committed to our standards of product excellence. I see no point in us joining the mob in a market that will ultimately eat itself.
    It just remains to be seen who will be left in the pond afterwards.

    Respect, all.

    Earl
    Designer - Retail; Exhibition; Kitchen


  15. #15
    Member gregoryq's Avatar
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    Hi Earl...

    Looks like I'm going to have to re-calibrate my terminology. I shouldn't have used 'flat pack' so willy-nilly. What I meant, obviously, was stuff imported from countries without a strict standards regime in place.

    Speaking of which, why does this country leave it to the altruistic nature of the importers to assure compliance with locally accepted standards of product safety?

    It may just take a case of real or manufactured outrage on one of the shock/horror programs to get the legislative ball rolling.

    Greg (who knows that he is often steamrollered by the forces of progress, and globalism)

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    Interesting thread..!


    In the process of building a kitchen. I am about to order flatpacks from Lincoln Sentry. Are they good in terms of low formaldehyde?

    They arent that cheap but I know they are reasonable quality. Hopefully the formaldehyde is low.

    thanks

  17. #17
    1K Club Member journeyman Mick's Avatar
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    Extremely interesting thread! I missed it when it was forst posted as I was away on holidays and without internet access. While I was away though, I was shocked to find that thereis a large company in Brisbane bringing in entire kitchens, granite tops and all, from China. Then I found out that there was more than just the one. When I got home I picked up the local paper and found that there was a mob selling imported "stuff", you know, cheap Chinese tools etc, in Cairns. They also had an ad for cheap kitchens, with granite tops, "factory direct". I gave them a call about a hand operated walkie stacker (like a really basic hand operated forklift) and also asked them if their kitchens were made in China, reply was in the affirmative. Now besides the noted health risks there's the matter of labour effectively being imported by bringing in completed cabinets. Like others have said, this scramble for the cheapest product without regard for health or comunity wellbeing is all going to end in tears. Personally I'm not too worried about its impact on my business. I'm a one man show and own all my equipment and premises. I can't keep up with demand as it is and hav enever been without work, even when things have been really quiet. It does make me wonder how long it will be before I see a few more closing down auctions though.

    Mick (alert but not alarmed )
    "If you need a machine today and don't buy it,

    tomorrow you will have paid for it and not have it."

    - Henry Ford 1938

  18. #18
    Concepteur Sybarite's Avatar
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    Default Who to use?

    Hey P.B.

    Last time I checked, Lincoln Sentry were fabricating all their carcasses locally (a bit northish) on the Sunshine Coast.

    I can't vouch for the provenence of the board they use, but you should be able to get a direct answer about that from someone at L.S.

    Looking at their prices though, I would be suprised if it is imported, but it is still something worth checking out, as Australian made doesn't neccesarily mean made out of Australian materials.

    Mick - It just blows your socks off doesn't it?
    We keep our overheads and hence our margins as low as possible but when someone tells me they just got a quote for a two pack and granite kitchen for $3.5 K they seldom want to understand the rationale of why I can't do it for them at the same price.

    As you have observed, this trend is gaining massive momentum and expanding into many new domains. The above mentioned bargain kitchen (and everything else) buyers obviously believe that their children will not be needing jobs (or any other form of economic future) in this country.

    It's great to be getting some rational feedback on this topic.

    Much respect, all.
    Designer - Retail; Exhibition; Kitchen


  19. #19
    1K Club Member arms's Avatar
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    and that is where we all have to take a stand ,OUR KIDS WONT HAVE ANY JOBS ,it will take years of recovery once this culture of buying imported crap subsides to get back to the old days of buying aussie made for our kids and grandkids ,but the governments cant see this ,but then again i have never met a lawyer or doctor that has seen what it is like on the street at night
    kind regards
    tom armstrong
    www.kitcheninabox.com.au
    Flat Packed kitchens to the world

  20. #20
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    Thanks guys - so who have good carcasses and doors. Lincoln sentry are checking for me.

    He did not know.

    Is there any for around the same price as LS that are good. The thing is though Ive done all my kitchen around the LS stuff.

    Thanks
    Gazza

  21. #21
    1K Club Member arms's Avatar
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    lincoln sentry and for that matter all reputable manufacturers in aus use the european sizes/style of cabinet manufacture called system 32 ,and this has standardised the industry,so no matter if you bought off me or laminex os ls you will end up with the same cabinets (in theory).
    doors are doors are doors
    choose your own to suit your price range
    stay away from the chinese imports /there is a big push coming from within the industry to get the government to explain why carcinogenic products can be imported into the country but our aussie board manufacturers have safety and health issues to contend with if they make the board to the same standard,
    sybarite,renomart ,back me up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    kind regards
    tom armstrong
    www.kitcheninabox.com.au
    Flat Packed kitchens to the world

  22. #22
    Concepteur Sybarite's Avatar
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    Default Back Up!

    Tom is spot on, and frankly, we really need some (Federal) back up on this one.

    Even my board and door suppliers reps are chewing my ear off asking me if I have seen that AELA article (which I started this thread with...)
    This situation is extremely worrisome - not just for me, but for a whole swag of industry related occupations and service providers.

    If you have a browse of some of the more popular property investor forums you will see post after post from some very self satisfied "renovators" gloating about the massive savings they are making on the cheap kitchens they are installing before selling or renting.
    Getting the message across to them about Quality, Health or the Local Economy is nigh on impossible, as it is all about maximising their personal profits.
    I am pretty sure those profits aren't spent on bringing cheap Chinese excrement into their own lives...in fact Tom is lucky enough to be in a position to attest to this - and good on him; more strength to you.

    I still can't believe that our Grubbinment is allowing (Encouraging) a blatantly substandard product to be imported and distributed in high volume direct competition to local industry.
    Of course, when it comes time for someone to be held accountable it won't be the people who made it all happen having the finger pointed at them...it is unlikely anyone will even remember who they were.

    The industry is awash with people complaining about this, but it is my impression that there aren't many people willing to DO SOMETHING about it (or like me they don't know WHAT to do about it...)
    I have put my hand up to support any action that is initiated - but I don't have the personal resources to go campaigning by myself on this one at this stage of my business career.
    Then again, if things don't change there might not be a business to make a career out of.
    I am more than willing to host any documentation/demonstration of this issue on one of my web sites and to promote this issue as vociferously as possible.
    If someone tells me who I should go and talk to/write a letter to/beat over the head with a Chinese kitchen, to bring more attention to this issue I will do it.

    All ideas/suggestions will be considered - My limited experience with dealing in the political/governmental arena leaves me a bit uncertain of which way to take the first step.

    Respect, all.
    Designer - Retail; Exhibition; Kitchen


  23. #23
    Hammer Head - 1K Club Member
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    Even some factories in China are now making low emission board. But who knows what board goes into there flat pack crap.

    I had looked at importing 16mm HMR Particle board from China this year an had sourced low emission product to European standards. Rather than just selling imported flat packs we were going to do flat price per sheet CNC cutting / routing service as well as edge banding. Using our own board product. But things change as so is life.

  24. #24
    1K Club Member arms's Avatar
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    Angry

    [quote=Gaza]Even some factories in China are now making low emission board. But who knows what board goes into there flat pack crap.


    this may be true but is the timber used for the board plantation grown therefore a renewable resource i doubt it instead the chinese will strip there forests down to the last board then plead with the rest of the world that has been activley regenerating there own forests to help them or give them more importing concessions then the whole process starts again ,we went through this with tiawan years ago ,here we go again
    kind regards
    tom armstrong
    www.kitcheninabox.com.au
    Flat Packed kitchens to the world

  25. #25
    Microsurgeons are great! renomart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arms
    there is a big push coming from within the industry to get the government to explain why carcinogenic products can be imported into the country but our aussie board manufacturers have safety and health issues to contend with if they make the board to the same standard,
    sybarite,renomart ,back me up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    First off, I would suspect that the HIA - NKBA would be able to help us by lobbying the government. However, I am investigating other avenues.....

  26. #26
    1K Club Member Master Splinter's Avatar
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    After installing a few of the cheap chinese bathroom vanites, all I can say is that the purchasers had better enjoy the cheap price, because they certainly can't enjoy the quality.

    Chipboard where the green dye means 'green dye used in manufacture', not 'water resistant glue used in manufacture'.

    Stainless steel fittings, where 'stainless' means 'no rust visible on it...yet'.

    Paint applied in layers soooo thin that it's only just opaque, amazing "1 staple holds back of cabinet on" construction (as you discover when you happen to drill through that staple...and the back falls off), adjustable hinges with metal so soft you cant adjust the screws or the heads will cam out, drawer runners engineered with what must be a maximum load equal to the weight of the empty drawer...and I'm just waiting for the 'type tested' plumbing fittings to fail. ("ooooh but its got dual sinks...")

    Waste of natural resources if you ask me.

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