I started building furniture professionally in 2004. Since then, I have gained a wealth of experience and applied my previous engineering background to trying to be the best assembler I can be. I hold B Eng (hons) and have 12 years experience working in IT and Electronics as a Business Analyst (ISEB Diploma) and Project Manager (Various Qualifications) as well a as a GCE in Woodwork! So when it comes to formal analysis and doing things in a competent manner, I have a strong background in what and how to do so.
Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of very good assemblers and assembly companies out there, but I have come across some horrendous situtations where tradesmen have treated customers appallingly, and done very shoddy work, ruining the product and in some cases leaving it unsafe. Below is a selection of some of the enquiries that we have received to correct these mistakes. This is the motivation behind creating this website, to help sift the wheat from the chaff
The question is, how do the guys who know what they are doing distinguish themselves from the rest? Obviosuly with the Internet, customer feedback plays a huge role in this. The trick to getting good feedback is to make the customer like you, trust you and make sure they are satisfied with what you have done. So even someone who does not know what they are doing can be convincing and get good feedback through their personality. So it is not always easy to tell who is actually any good and knows what they are doing.
EXAMPLE: How does an assembler decide whether an item should be attached to the wall or not? - The answer is, he probably doesn't and is probably basing his decision on whether an item seems unstable. So how could he know? Well I asked myself this question and discovered BS ISO 7171 Stability of Storage Furniture. Once I read the standard and understood what tests were performed and how, I was in a much better position to determine whether an item should be attached to the wall or not.
A few years ago I scoured the internet looking for any courses or information available specifically tailored to flat pack assembly services. I found one course run by a college in South London for people into DIY, and after reading the syllabus, felt that it was totally unsuitable for anyone wanting to do this professionally.
I know many major high street names have provided their own inhouse courses, and whilst I have never done any of these, assemblers that I know and trust have. They have described all of them as trivial, little more than, this is how we want you to do the job, this is how you build one item (when they sell hundreds or thousands of different ones).
So what I have tried to do is create a system where existing people providing flat pack assembling services professionally can show they are competent. There are three main areas of concern, firstly the legal issues surrounding children’s and nursery furniture especially safety. Secondly how to handle waste, many tradesmen are getting substantial fines now (up to £5,000) for failing to do this properly, and this could destroy someone’s livelihood, simply because they did not know what the law was. Finally, some assemblers, just want to build furniture as quickly as possible and get on to the next job, there is nothing wrong with that, but if they miss out important steps/parts, the furniture can fail to perform properly and be unsafe. Below are a few things I have come across:
- Missing out fixings: such as screws (clothes rails and drawers); back panel lugs (wardorbes or chest are wobbly); lugs (to stop drawers popping out);
- Failing to screw down slats where necessary, attaching slats too far apart
- Not attaching wardrobes, bunk beds, bookcases and chests to the wall where necessary or advising customers of the danger of death.
- Failing to point out warnings on instructions ot customers, who will then never know what dangers to look out for.
Professional Flat Pack Assembly was a cottage industry 10 years ago and with more and more people relying on these services this has to change.
I have created a series badges to show that an assembler is experienced, trained and know what the are doing. This is done by a series of online courses and assessment tests. I have also decided to create an online a correspondence course, so someone new to assembly can learn from my experience, thus allowing new and prospective professional assemblers to have a better chance of doing the job properly. I will be launching this course in 2020.
Examples of Poor Assembly
Below are links to enquiries we have had and jobs we have attended to fix poor assembly work done by so called "professional" flat pack assemblers, who really do not know what they are doing.