HOME REMODELING IS MORE than a trend, it is a must for residential homeowners. According to a 2017 study by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), titled Estimated Market Value for the Kitchen & Bath Remodeling and New Residential Construction Markets, each year homeowners remodel upward of 10.2 million kitchens—roughly one in 10 of all households—and 14.2 million bathrooms, proving these are two of the most important rooms in a home.
That’s good news for members of NKBA. Dedicated to advancing the kitchen and bath industry, the trade organization brings value to members and consumers by promoting best practices, policies, standards, and regulations.
“NKBA raises the level of professionalism of industry members,” says Jenifer Wiley, immediate past president of the Texas North Plains chapter. “It focuses on education and technical skills and the ability to communicate with builders, designers, and customers. We agree to uphold a code of ethics.”
Unlike other trade groups, NKBA is comprised of members in a variety of related, aligned industries. Store owners join industry reps, interior designers and tradespeople at meetings, workshops, and educational events.
“NKBA is dealers, retailers, manufacturers, and design professionals. It’s one umbrella that encompasses a cross-section of the industry,” says Cristie Schlosser, 2020 president of the Texas North Plains chapter.
Through educational programs and events, professionals come together in a collaborative environment to share ideas, strengthen ties and develop new ways to improve the industry. Professional development is a hallmark of NKBA and includes continuing education, certification opportunities, and badge designations.
Certification programs ensure rigorous industry standards are met to achieve five globally recognized titles. Among them are Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer (CKBD) and Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD). All are based on continuing professional development, in-depth testing and extensive industry experience.
“Knowledge and experience are important. Education ensures we know how to create a functional space to meet the needs of the user and do it well,” Schlosser says.
NKBA-certified designers are recognized as experts with proficiency in residential construction and mechanical and electrical systems, as well as consumer health, safety, and welfare in kitchen and bath design.
Affiliated member professionals can enhance their knowledge through a series of badge designations in seven specialty areas. Educational content for these programs is developed by subject matter experts. Self-paced study materials are available on-demand and online and are followed by a qualification test.
Both certifications and badges require ongoing education to maintain the designation.
“It affords our members the ability to stay current with the latest information in this ever-changing industry. It’s experience and education under your belt,” Wiley says.
Established by NKBA, the annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) provides attendees with opportunities for education, networking, exchange of ideas and information to build their businesses. The conference features 74 sessions in five categories: Grow Your Business, Kitchen & Bath Specialty Training, Design, Management, and Customer Service.
“KBIS is all about education. There are all kinds of classes and workshops to take and speakers to hear,” says Wiley.
Attendees also have the opportunity to see the latest in product innovations and identify trends in kitchen and bath design.
In addition to expanding the expertise of industry professionals, NKBA continuing education and experience establishes a level of creditability and trust with consumers. Membership provides a level of prestige and reliability in the minds of clients and customers that is invaluable.
“You’ve got somebody who’s well educated and invested in their career and has an understanding of the industry,” Wiley says.
Homeowners can be assured NKBA members are reputable businesses that are representative of the sector and committed to providing the best possible service. Clients also have access to a vast pool of information and resources through both the NKBA website and Texas North Plains chapter site.
In fact, during National Kitchen & Bath Month last October, the Texas North Plains chapter hosted its Tablescapes & Holiday Spectacular. Dallas-area consumers were invited to review designer portfolios and learn industry tips and new technologies while viewing holiday tablescapes and sampling wine.
Members of NKBA are respected and committed consumer partners, dedicated to high standards and ethics.
“Being a member elevates business and its service to consumers,” says Schlosser.
Nancy Baldwin is a Dallas-based freelance writer and editor. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.