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Banbury Accommodation 6 Drawer (3x2) Wide Chest
Selecting the right products for your project
It can be hard to see the obvious differences between contract and domestic furniture by just looking at it - here are the key points to consider.
- The construction method of a domestic unit is usually lightweight plastic fittings or simply just screw fixed through one panel into the other.
- The construction method of a contract unit should be a much higher specification than that of a domestic piece, usually using various additional methods, i.e. glued and dowelled joints along with mechanical fixings and more of them.
Make sure the units you purchase are suitable for the environment in which they will be used. Think about how the units may be used and possibly abused. Contract manufacturers should be able to fully explain how the furniture has been designed to suit the market.
- Size of the unit is suitable for the end user’s needs.
- Cabinets are designed to meet the varying needs of contract market i.e. with rounded corners or person-specific for people living with dementia or challenging environments.
- The fittings and hardware used to assemble the unit - do they look lightweight?
- Solid handles that will not break easily and are fixed using bolts fitted through the door or drawer front.
It is essential within contract furniture environments to ensure you can provide traceability and certification for the product you select.
- Relevant British Standards for the strength and stability of furniture, this will ensure products have been tested and meet the relevant suitability for their purpose. i.e. BS 4875 part 7 level 4.
- Manufacturers’ warranties – most contract manufacturers offer at least a five-year warranty, most domestic retailers should offer at least a one-year warranty.
- Materials used are to the relevant British Standards for flame and scratch resistance.
Unit backs – thin hardboard backs versus thick solid backs.
- Thin backs are more prone to flexing - sometimes moving a unit around or upon delivery these backs can come away. Also when doors or drawers are opened the unit is more likely to fall forward towards the user due to reduced stability.
- Solid thick backs are usually mechanically fixed or screwed, allowing maximum rigidity and strength while offsetting the forward weight of the doors and drawers giving the unit a much improved stability.
Unit drawers – chipboard wraps with hardboard bottoms versus metal sided drawer boxes and thick solid bottoms.
- Chipboard drawer wraps are held together by a thin piece of vinyl on the corners and a thin hardboard bottom glued into the grooves. The bigger the drawer bottom, the more bow and flex this will have once clothes are forced into the unit, causing an increased risk of the drawer bottom coming out.
- Metal sided drawer boxes are rated to a weight capacity of 25kg, these are mounted on metal drawer runners and both the box and the runners are fitted with easy glide roller runners. The drawer box bottom is usually a minimum of 15mm thick and is screw fixed into the drawer so that it cannot bow or fall out.