AUSTRALIAN HARDWARE JOURNAL Bringing the latest trends to your store Get your store in the mood with the new interbath range! Vol.138 No.11 Nov 2023 Print Post Approved PP100007331 SINCE 1886

Trio Group Australia welcomes the Interbath plumbing range to the Trio family. Complimenting the existing Mildon product range, Interbath offers customers a premium variety of plumbing supplies for bathroom, kitchen and laundry. The Interbath range is ever growing to meet the increasing needs of the trending markets. Welcome new customers to your store with the latest plumbing trends. > Available in High Polish Chrome, Brushed Nickel and Matte Black. Showers Wall Mixers Basin Mixers Sink Mixers Accessories As a business, Trio always strives to provide the highest possible personalised service and deliver quality products at commercial prices. Our commitment to Independents becomes even stronger, bringing your store the latest trends and superior retail packaging for high growth sales and ROI. Vibrant and informative packaging Merchandising solutions to suit your store Our range now includes:

AUSTRALIA’S BEST HARDWARE AND PLUMBING SUPPLIER. scan here to see more! Interbath are proudly supporting Paradise4Kids in Sierra Lione. With every Interbath product sold, Trio will donate a portion of its profit to Paradise4Kids, to overcome the dangers of unclean water to orphan communities in developing countries. Help us provide the underprivileged with the most basic of human needs and raise orphans out of poverty* Find out more at *See the Interbath website for terms and conditions. Supercharge your sales with our Exclusive Social Media Package.

DEPARTMENTS Newsmakers Features 5 Viewpoint 6 Industrial Focus 10 Behind the Counter 12 US News 16 Timber Update 41 News 43 Product Focus 44 What’s New 20 S afety and Security The ease and installation of smart security products and safety products are the driving force behind segment growth, with entry to smart home barriers reducing year-on-year as technology simplifies and smart locks become more economical. 27 B athroom & Plumbing According to the HIA Kitchens and Bathrooms Report 2022-23, bathrooms are having a moment in the spotlight as the average home now has 2.6 bathrooms and are being renovated on average as often as every 14 years. 12 The Home Depot wins 2023 Safer Choice Partner of the Year 16 A BARES reveals continued decline in plantations 41 P ontings Mitre 10 celebrates 100 years About the Cover Interbath is the premium Australian-owned brand by Trio Group Australia. We are dedicated to transforming your customer's bathroom, kitchen or laundry into a haven of style, functionality, and unparalleled quality. With our extensive range of plumbing fixtures, tapware, and accessories, we strive to provide you with the ultimate experience. At Interbath, we understand that your customer's bathroom, kitchen or laundry is a sanctuary where they seek solace, find inspiration, and indulge in moments of self-care. That is why we meticulously design and craft our products to blend seamlessly with personal style while enhancing the practicality of a bathroom, kitchen or laundry. Bringing the latest trends to your store Get your store in the mood with the new interbath range! Vol.138 No.11 Nov 2023 Print Post Approved PP100007331 SINCE 1886 43 6 20 27

CAB Audited Peach Media & Publishing and Australian Hardware Journal are pleased to provide the articles contained in this publication to keep its subscribers up to date on issues which may be relevant to their businesses. This publication is supplied strictly on the condition that Peach Media & Publishing and Australian Hardware Journal, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants are not responsible for any deficiency, error, omission or mistake contained in this publication, and Peach Media & Publishing and Australian Hardware Journal, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants hereby expressly disclaim all liability of whatsoever nature to any person who may rely on the contents of this publication in whole or part. Published by Peach Media & Publishing A.B.N. 74 667 374 585 11 Rushdale Street, Knoxfield Victoria 3180 Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Editor: Christine Bannister Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Email: Journalists: E mily Morrison John Power Online Communications & Production: Justin Carroll Email: ADVERTISING Alastair Bryers Email: Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Mobile: 0498 555 085 ACCOUNTS Melissa Graydon Email: SUBSCRIPTIONS Melissa Graydon $93.00 – 12 issues ART AND PRODUCTION Justin Carroll PRINTING Southern Impact Pty Ltd 181 Forster Rd, Mount Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: (03) 8796 7000 There has been a hive of activity within the industry of late, as Natbuild, CSS (Construction Supply Specialists) and AIS (Australian Industrial Supplies) kicked off their national conferences and trade shows. (See full coverages on Page 34-40) The support from suppliers and members was solid throughout, with speed dating sessions during the trade shows proving especially successful throughout the AIS and Natbuild events. It was particularly evident during the CSS event that although the group had experienced a change in leadership, with the retirement of founder and long-time General Manager Jeff Wellard late last year, new General Manager Ryan Wiggins remains mindful of the important values that have built the group’s success. When chatting with Mr Wiggins recently, he pointed out the importance of retaining the current business model, and of building relationships which has proven successful for several decades. He said he did not take on the role to make substantial changes to a structure that was already proving successful and would continue to look to the ground roots of CSS for guidance. (See full coverage of the CSS Conference on Page 38-40) Another substantial event took place last month as Pontings Mitre 10, located in Warrnambool on Victoria’s south-west coast, celebrated its 100th birthday. Third-generation store owners, Pamela Madner and Walter ‘John’ Ponting said the birthday event was not only about celebrating 100-years of business, but also about celebrating the friendships that have developed over so many decades, from the customers to suppliers right through to the family members. It is this strong history that allows the business to remain in good stead today. Looking ahead… With another recent rate rise announced and more challenges expected within the building market, independents and suppliers will need to rely on the strong foundations of businesses to navigate the challenges ahead, particularly with building approvals and lending at an all-time low. The low volume of new home commencements now remains at odds with the goal of increasing the supply of housing, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. HIA’s Chief Economist, Tim Reardon said there remains a significant volume of building work still to be completed and as this occurs, home building will drag on economic growth and push unemployment higher. Mr Reardon pointed out in a recent HIA report, that the increasing volume of new homes commencing construction against the rising cost of borrowing will require governments to, “lower the cost of shovel ready land, attract more investment especially from overseas and reduce tax imposts.” Looking to the month ahead, as the Christmas period ramps up, remember your customers will most likely be particularly stressed and busy. Ensure staff are on hand to help wherever they can, put processes in place now to ensure a smooth transition during busy periods, and do not be afraid to put on some Christmas tunes and offer complimentary gifts to loyal customers such as stubby holders, bottle openers or the occasional T-shirt – everyone secretly loves them. Coming up… Look out for AHJ’s all important Review Preview in the upcoming December edition, featuring interviews from several industry leaders who give their take on the year ahead. Christine Bannister - Editor

6 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | NOVEMBER '23 77-year-old independent joins CSS for the first time After 77 years of business independence, agricultural supply business Collier & Miller has joined forces with CSS (Construction Supply Specialists) to boost the development of both its in-store and online businesses. Business: Collier & Miller General Manager: Chris Miller Location: Griffith, New South Wales Buying Group: Construction Supply Specialists (CSS) Bill Collier and his wife Ruth first established the well-known store in 1946 as W.S & M.R Collier Engineers, after Bill had returned from serving in World War II. Operating out of a humble tin shed in Griffith, New South Wales, Bill soon realised his dream of running his own business from a small engineering shop offering welding services and machining repairs to locals while also selling grain silos, stock crates and trailers. It was not long before the business earned a loyal following from the local farming community and in 1957. Bill approached Ron Miller and Ron’s wife Enid to join him as business partners. Collier & Miller was born. “Bill established the original engineering shop straight after the war, with my grandfather Ron Miller joining the small business 10 years later. Ron did not have any engineering experience, but he enjoyed the people side of things so this complemented Bill’s engineering expertise,” current General Manager Chris Miller said. Soon after the partnership, the local region underwent a significant growth phase as farms were released in the nearby Kooba district, forming the Coleambally Irrigation Area. After experiencing strong growth the business moved to a new site in 1962 which is where the store remains today. After the move, Collier & Miller began manufacturing farming equipment including prune shakers, land-forming scrapers and equipment for irrigation farmers. In the late 1960s the business significantly expanded its retail business selling hydraulic components, fasteners and industrial paint. “Our retail business was established after we realised that customers wanted to use the same products we were using in-store. We had a little repair shop so we were using welding products, bearings, bolts, industrial paint, and customers started buying these products from a little window in our workshop. It was very organic growth based on what our customers needed,” Chris said.

NOVEMBER '23 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 7 “My father, Peter Miller, joined the team in 1980 and took on the role of General Manager in 1987 after working across all areas of the business. I joined the business in 2008 and became General Manager in 2014. Prior to joining Collier & Miller I was a practicing accountant with a local Griffith firm. While being a part of the business was never firmly planned it was never off the cards either. It just naturally happened. My father is still a director of the business and my sister Kate also works in our marketing and communications team,” Chris said. Unique business The store is different from traditional hardware stores because it has always had a strong agricultural and engineering focus after it originated as an engineering business servicing the agricultural industry. “Our customers are either farmers or agriculturally based. They include food and grain processors or come from the wine and poultry industries. We service these businesses with over 40,000 product lines including industrial and fastening products, abrasives, hand tools, power tools and PPE.” Today the store employs over 180 staff who operate a large engineering workshop and a large retail shop. “The business has grown through various innovations including the introduction of our computerised point of sale system in 1988. We have continued to invest and improve our IT over the years and in 2014 we launched our e-commerce site which was a huge investment,” Chris said. “Our website now hosts almost all of our trade and industrial products which gives us the advantage of enabling us to reach a wider geographic customer base, while also acting as an e-commerce shop and catalogue. The website is great because it allows us to direct customers online to view items. This saves our customers from having to travel into town because the website gives them all the information they need on the product they require.” “The people who work within the business have also enabled it to grow substantially. We have a long history of employing and training apprentices and trainees and I believe that investing in our people has contributed to our business’ success. Many of our team members have been with us for 10, 20, 30 years – you cannot beat that kind of experience. Being organic and responsive to what our customers are asking for has been instrumental in driving our business,” he said. Selling quality products is also a high priority, with the business only stocking quality local and international brands it knows its customers seek out regularly. “Our customers range from large corporate clients, farmers, and tradespeople to small businesses, families and individuals. Many of our customers are second and third-generation customers. People know if they come to us they will get the product, or service, that will do the job they need. Delivering a quality product is our priority. This has really enabled us to build trust with customers which naturally supports us to build repeat business and referrals.” “We are constantly assessing our products and their location in-store and make sure our store is completely customer friendly. During COVID we introduced our Click ‘n’ Collect service and we have continued this to ensure we cater to our customers’ needs. More recently we introduced free local delivery as another strategy to enhance our customer experience. We are passionate about supporting our local community and this initiative fits with our values,” Chris said. Local competition Competition in the area is strong with several local businesses offering engineering services and trade products in-store and online, and the online space is also growing at a rapid rate. “We aim to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for our customers both in the store and on our website. Our tagline is ‘making it easy for you’ and that really is what we focus on delivering. Customers can come into Collier & Miller, or look online and know they can pick up a new drill, some fasteners, work boots, sunscreen ... you name it. Our primary selling point is that we do have everything in the one 6,000 square metre warehouse and we always carry the stock that our customers demand,” Chris said. INDUSTRIAL FOCUS Collier & Miller General Manager Chris Miller.

8 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | NOVEMBER '23 The store’s current marketing mix includes TV and radio advertising as well as digital marketing strategies, which is something Chris will continue to build on in the future. “We know that our customer base is evolving and it is important to reach different demographics via different touchpoints. We have begun to introduce more events in-store this year, including our Trade Expo which we launched in June. This was a refresh of a Sale Expo event we ran for many years prior to COVID. We have also had some good success with brandspecific promotions in-store and will continue to incorporate these into our plans in 2024,” he said. Joining CSS While the proudly independent business has been approached by many groups over the years, Chris says his family always believed that joining a group was not for them, until now. “In recent years there has been a lot more competition particularly online that we have found to be very difficult to compete with. So we started looking at joining a group that could assist us with this challenge. We met with Paul Davy and Glen Waites from CSS and we felt really comfortable with them as soon as we met.” “CSS are just like us. We had a great feeling with them straight away. We also did a lot of research and asked around the industry about the group and everyone pointed back to CSS being a great group. They also deal with a lot of brands that we deal with so this made it a very easy decision to make as well.” “CSS has enabled us to have the buying power of the multinationals, while still remaining a local familyowned business. It is also great to have enhanced access to suppliers through events like their trade show and to network with other businesses and suppliers that are part of the group. Because we are so isolated a lot of suppliers do not have reps that come out here, but they are coming to us now which is really good,” Chris said. Looking ahead Big plans are in place for the store next year which include an internal and external cosmetic refresh of the store, as well as several improvements to the website. “Next year’s store refresh will include a repaint of the store, new signage and new display shelving. We will also continue to invest in our website as we explore new ways to make our online shopping experience as user-friendly as possible, particularly with new payment methods such as Apple Pay.” “Although the e-commerce site does not have all of our product lines, we are working hard to get everything on there at the moment and we have a couple of people working on this full time. The site is useful as a catalogue as well as for selling products that can be picked up in-store or delivered,” Chris said. The site is particularly important because many customers live some distance from the store on large farming properties. “We are excited about 2024 and looking forward to where our new partnership with CSS will take us,” Chris concluded. INDUSTRIAL FOCUS Collier & Miller will undertake a substantial refresh in-store next year. Some team members have been with the store for 10, 20 and 30 years. Delivering quality products online and in-store is a priority for the store.

10 HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU | NOVEMBER '23 How to recruit and meet young talents’ expectations Recruiting young talent for timber and hardware businesses involves more than just listing job vacancies, Mr Anderson says. Today's emerging workforce has distinct expectations and values, necessitating a rethink of recruitment strategies. “Young apprentices and trainees are increasingly seeking purpose in their work. They are inclined to place value on opportunities for personal growth, social impact, and making meaningful contributions to society. When seeking to attract these individuals, emphasise the meaningful work they will be doing within your organisation and the positive impact they can make within the community. This can be a significant drawcard for those who wish to contribute positively to society through their work – which many do,” says Mr Anderson. Work-life balance and flexibility are also key considerations for the younger generation. He says highlighting your company's commitment to maintaining a healthy work-life balance and fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment is key. A harmonious work-life balance and a nurturing work culture can be influential factors for young individuals contemplating joining the workforce. “One final consideration in attracting the best candidates available is the level of wages you offer. The employment market has undergone a significant shift over the past two years. Pay expectations have shifted due to the employment market shortages and as a result job seekers, especially those entering the workforce, are looking for and getting significantly higher per-hour rates. Competition to attract these job seekers is fierce and the cost-of-living crisis is contributing to expectations of rates higher than awards dictate,” Mr Anderson says. Effective management of young apprentices and trainees After successfully recruiting young apprentices and trainees, the next step is to ensure their effective management within an organisation, Mr Anderson says. A well-structured induction and support system are crucial for a seamless integration. “Provide them with a comprehensive understanding of your business's values, objectives, and expectations. This not only facilitates their onboarding but also fosters a sense of belonging within the team.” “Safety should always be a top priority. Adequate training in Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) is essential. The younger workforce places a high importance on safety, and they expect their employers to prioritise their wellbeing. Implementing a comprehensive WHS training program ensures their safety and contributes to a positive workplace culture,” he says. “Cultivating a positive work culture, especially for new recruits, is BEHIND THE COUNTER With unprecedented workforce shortages and fierce competition for talent in Australia, businesses need to adapt and understand the evolving expectations of young apprentices and trainees. To thrive in this changing environment, companies must recruit, nurture, retain, and upskill their workforce. In this issue of Behind the Counter, Peter Anderson, General Manager of Workforce at the National Timber & Hardware Association (NTHA) explores these critical aspects of the future workforce in the timber and hardware sector. Understanding and securing your future workforce

NOVEMBER '23 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 11 indispensable. Ensure that they feel valued, included, and an integral part of the team right from the beginning. Encourage open communication and provide opportunities for them to voice their opinions. By nurturing a supportive work environment, you can not only retain your young talent but also build a loyal and productive workforce.” One way of achieving this is to implement a ‘buddy’ system Mr Anderson says, by selecting appropriate members of an existing team that new starters buddy with. “The role of the buddy is to mentor, guide and be a safe person to ask what may be considered silly questions. New employees are generally hesitant to ask for guidance, to seek confirmation on the appropriate approaches to certain tasks, and to begin tasks that the rest of the team may consider to be common sense – this is all new to them.” “The buddy provides an embarrassment-free person to guide the young recruit through the unique world of your business’ culture, expectations, and norms. Just ensure that your selected Buddy is an appropriate, approachable person who will dedicate the time necessary to fulfil this role,” Mr Anderson says. Retaining and developing young talent Retaining young apprentices and trainees is vital to sustaining a pool of skilled tradespeople within the industry. Ongoing career opportunities are pivotal in this regard. Investing in their development by offering training programs and pathways for career progression is vital for retention and development. Mr Anderson says to demonstrate a commitment to assisting them in growing within the company and show that their future is valued. “Incorporating professional and nationally recognised qualifications into your training programs can be an enticing incentive. This not only benefits your employees but also positions your business as a place where individuals can gain valuable skills and certifications. This makes your business an appealing choice for those seeking career advancement,” he says. “In today's dynamic world, continuous learning and upskilling are essential. Offer opportunities for your young apprentices and trainees to enhance their skills and knowledge throughout their careers by providing access to relevant courses and upskilling opportunities. This helps showcase your dedication to their professional growth and long-term success.” “Naturally, the topic of salaries and compensation packages becomes even more significant once an apprentice or trainee has successfully completed their qualification. At this juncture, it is crucial to adopt a thoughtful and forward-looking approach. It is not just about offering competitive remuneration, but about setting the stage for a mutually beneficial long-term relationship with your workforce,” Mr Anderson says. As an apprentice or trainee graduates from their qualification, re-evaluating their role within the business is essential. Assess their newly acquired skills and contributions, and align their remuneration accordingly. This approach ensures that they are not only fairly compensated but also establishes a foundation for a fruitful career within your organisation. NTHA: Your partner in crafting a future-ready workforce “At the National Timber and Hardware Association (NTHA), we comprehend the unique challenges and opportunities that the timber and hardware industry presents. We are committed to helping businesses recruit, manage, employ, and train apprentices and trainees, thereby enhancing your operations. Our holistic support is designed to assist your business in navigating the evolving workforce landscape,” Mr Anderson said. The NTHA Trainees and Apprentices team are highly experienced in all aspects of recruitment, employment and management of young people across the industry. “As we gaze into the future, the workforce in the timber and hardware sector will continue to evolve. By adapting to the changing expectations of young talent, offering robust induction and support, focusing on safety, and nurturing positive work culture, you set the stage for your business' success,” Mr Anderson says. “Additionally, retaining and developing these young apprentices and trainees by providing ongoing career opportunities, training, and competitive salaries will be key to your business' prosperity.” The future of the workforce is here. By embracing these changes, you can ensure that your business thrives, remains competitive, and continues to be a valuable player in the timber and hardware sector – as well as other industry sectors. “At NTHA, we are here to support you on this journey by offering the resources and expertise you need to build a futureready workforce. Together, we can create a brighter and more promising future for the industry and the next generation of professionals who will shape it,” Mr Anderson concluded. NTHA extends the invitation to any businesses looking to employ young people entering the industry – visit, via email at or phone on 1800 822 621

US NEWS The Home Depot wins 2023 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Lowe’s announces partnership with Carhartt The Home Depot was named 2023 Safer Choice Partner of the Year for outstanding achievement and contributions to the Safer Choice Program. The company secured its third consecutive Partner of the Year Award which continues to help customers save water by making more than 6,000 WaterSense product models affordable and accessible in more than 2,000 stores across the US. The company proudly chooses products with ingredients that are safer for families, pets, workers, communities, and the environment. The Home Depot is among the 30 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners announced by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To qualify for the Safer Choice label, a product must meet EPA’s Safer Choice Standard, which includes stringent human and environmental health criteria. The Safer Choice program currently partners with over 300 formulatormanufacturer partners who make nearly 2,000 Safer Choice-certified products for both consumers and commercial buyers. This past year, all toilets, bathroom faucets and showerheads sold in US Home Depot stores were WaterSense models. The Home Depot estimates that the WaterSense products its customers purchased in its fiscal year 2022 helped reduce annual water consumption by more than 33 billion gallons. This is roughly a savings of more than US$686 million on water bills. The company also worked with utilities to make more than 500 local rebates available, offered instant rebates at more than 760 stores and worked with the Texas government to promote tax-free weekends for ENERGY STAR appliances and WaterSense products. The Home Depot ensures that its employees understand the savings and benefits of WaterSense products. This includes information in online training modules, a pocket guide for store associates, the retailer's merchant handbook, and a quarterly newsletter sent to all US associates. “The Home Depot is honored to be recognized as a 2023 Safer Choice Partner of the Year. We believe in the power of responsible product choices, and this award reflects our ongoing journey to create a safer and more sustainable future for all,” said Ron Jarvis, Chief Sustainability Officer at The Home Depot. To learn more about The Home Depot’s commitment to sustainability check out the company’s 2023 ESG Report at com/news/company/2023-esg-highlightsdoing-our-part. Lowe's and Carhartt, the uniform of hard work since 1889, have announced a partnership that will bring an assortment of Carhartt products to and select stores nationwide. The collection is set to feature Carhartt's iconic duck jackets and vests, as well as hoodies, T-shirts, workwear pants and beanies. The collection is currently available at roughly 250 Lowe's stores across the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest – with approximately 250 additional stores in Texas, The Safer Choice Program currently partners with over 300 formulatormanufacturer partners. Carhartt is known for producing gear designed to protect hard workers.

NOVEMBER '23 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 13 Ace Hardware ranks number five on Franchise Times’ top 400 Ace Hardware retained its number five position in the annual Franchise Times’ Top 400 List, with no changes in the top five positions in 2023. The Franchise Times’ Top 400 List is an annual ranking of the 400 largest franchise systems in the US by global systemwide sales, based on the previous year’s performance. Ace Hardware showed consistent growth, which has helped it maintain its long-standing position in the top five on the prestigious list. Ace Hardware shared its $23.1 billion in retail sales, equalling an upward 3.4 per cent increase from the prior year. The record sales results were driven by increased market share and continued new store growth after opening 168 new domestic locations and 232 total new locations worldwide in 2022 – equalling a 2.9 per cent unit growth, with 4,867 total units alone in the US. Ace Hardware is a cooperative of retailer-owners, with most of its stores being operated independently. While Ace is sometimes seen as a franchise system, the retailers, or franchisees, own their stores as well as being shareholders in the organization. At the end of each year, Ace distributes its profits to local owners as a patronage dividend. In 2022, this dividend reached a record-breaking $345 million. Unlike traditional franchise operations, Ace Hardware store owners do not have to pay any royalty or ongoing franchise fees. Ace Hardware attributes its continued growth to several successful initiatives designed to deliver industry-best support for its retailers. The company continually strengthens the service and expertise of its employees through comprehensive, ongoing training programs. December 2022 saw a milestone of over one million employee training hours completed in 12 months. In 2023, all Ace associates will take a minimum of an additional 15 hours of customer service-oriented training to ensure best-in-class and personal customer help in the aisles. Ace Hardware has seen steady sales growth due in part to its efforts to improve its online shopping experience. Consumers can shop online at and then choose to either pick up their orders at their neighborhood Ace or have their local Ace’s red-vested associates deliver it personally to their front door, which is a distinct advantage over other retail giants like Amazon. From November 1, in time for the holiday shopping season, Ace Hardware is promoting its ‘Ready in 15’ pledge, which promises customers that their online orders on in-stock merchandise will be ready for pickup from their local Ace in only 15 minutes. “Ace is honored to be recognized by Franchise Times as one of the top franchises in 2023, in the top five and the highest-ranked retailer on this impressive list,” said John Kittell, Vice President, Retail Operations and New Business at Ace Hardware Corporation. “We remain focused on continuously improving the economics of our store model to help entrepreneurs open stores, serve their neighbors and invest in their communities, which we have successfully accomplished with over 900 stores opened in the past five years alone.” Ace Hardware had an exceptional year in 2022, with record-breaking sales and a remarkable contribution of $22.7 million to the Ace Foundation. Local Ace Hardware store owners are committed to giving back to their communities, guided by two of Ace's core values – gratitude and love. The Ace Foundation provides support and opportunities for the Ace community to give back locally, primarily through efforts for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and American Red Cross Disaster Relief. the Southeast and California adding Carhartt products in early 2024. Carhartt has been known for producing gear designed to serve and protect hardworking people for more than 135 years. The workwear brand is already popular among professionals and is committed to deepening its engagement with new audiences who will be the next generation continuing to build the workforce. "Carhartt is a top brand that professionals know and trust for apparel that is made to last, and we are proud to now offer its high-quality, hardworking products in our stores and online," said Bill Boltz, Lowe's Executive Vice President for Merchandising. "Not only is Carhartt a workwear staple, but it is also a popular brand for daily living, building on our product assortment to create a one-stop shop for everything our customers need," he said Susan Hennike, Chief Brand Officer at Carhartt said, "We are thrilled to partner with Lowe's – like Carhartt, a trusted company with more than 100 years of history – to continue to bring our durable gear to hardworking people." "Whether it is wearing Carhartt for your next home improvement project or purchasing gear to stay protected on the job, at Carhartt, our goal is to play a part in helping hardworking men and women create their own histories – both on and off the worksite." For more information on the latest offerings, visit


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TIMBER UPDATE ABARES reveals continued decline in plantations AKD offers 29 new apprenticeships nationally Australia’s plantation estate remains on a concerning downward trajectory, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural Economics (ABARES) figures. Australia’s total plantation area contracted to 1.716 million hectares in 2021-22, which is a reduction of more than 28,000 hectares. Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Product Association (AFPA), Natasa Sikman said, “This continued decline in Australia’s plantation estate is extremely concerning and is a reminder that collectively, industry, Federal and State Governments and other decision and policymakers need to work together to get more timber trees planted for the future.” In the same reporting period, there was a small increase in new plantations of 2,300 hectares (hardwood, 1,181 hectares and softwood 1,119 hectares) but these new plantings will not be enough to meet future demand Ms Sikman says. “Australia’s national plantation estate has fallen by more than 250,000 hectares from 1.973 million hectares in 2014-15 to 1.716 million hectares in 2021-22. Australia is currently importing over $6 billion worth of wood products and we already rely on imports for up to 25 per cent of the timber needed to build Australian houses. As the Government looks to build 1.2 million new houses over the next five years, our reliance on imported timber will dramatically increase,” Ms Sikman said. “We know that global demand for timber and wood fibre products is forecast to quadruple by 2050 and it is why we see countries such as the United Kingdom including timber-use into their Net-Zero Strategy. The key element of the United Kingdom's strategy is to increase public demand for sustainably sourced timber through procurement policies and encouraging research into barriers to the uptake of timber. Indeed, recently King Charles visited James Jones and Sons where he discussed the significant benefits of productive forestry a company that partners with Australian-based Hyne Timber and XLam.” Ms Sikman says AFPA supports the Federal Government’s commitment to plant one billion new production trees and that Australia’s forestry sector recognises the work and investment by the Albanese Government. However, she urges that more is needed to reverse this downward trend in plantation estate while also increasing the use of timber in the construction sector. “An increased plantation estate alongside a strong native sector will be critical for Australia to meet its own net zero goals while also contributing to the global climate change fight,” she concluded. AKD recently offered 29 new apprenticeship positions nationally, covering fitters and turners, fabricators, electricians, saw technicians and wood machinists. The positions are split across their sites, Caboolture (Queensland), Tumut and Oberon (New South Wales) and Yarram, Colac, and Portland (Victoria). AKD’s apprentice program has continued to grow over the years and this new offering has furthered that growth. The National Apprenticeship Program closed on October 31, welcoming 29 new apprentices. AKD currently has more than 70 apprentices in training, reflecting approximately one in 15 AKD employees as trade apprentices. This reinforces AKD’s approach to train and develop its people, and to ensure trade-based skills are available for the longer term to support their ongoing sawmilling operations. “AKD Tumut continues to invest in its cutting-edge equipment and innovative technology,” AKD Tumut site manager Warren “Rabs” Green told Tumut and Adelong Times. “This creates exciting development and training opportunities, not just for trade-related jobs, but for all employees operating and supporting the business and community.” AKD Tumut Maintenance Manager David Rosetta said the young local apprentices were all very good at their jobs. “It is awesome that opportunities are still here for the younger people to get apprenticeships within the mill.” “These opportunities have been going on for many years and it is still going. There is a wide variety of positions going so we would like to see a wide variety of applicants. It is a real credit to the business that they

NOVEMBER '23 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 17 Australian Timber Design Award winners announced The annual Australian Timber Design Award winners for 2023 were announced on November 2nd at the Cargo Hall in Melbourne. The purpose of the Australian Timber Design Awards is to highlight, advertise, advocate, and develop a timber design ethos through the encouragement and highlighting of exceptional timber design across various applications. A broad range of entry categories demonstrates the diversity of timber and permits recognition of achievement in a variety of areas. This year, ARM Architecture received first prize for its outstanding Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Renewal project. The World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House celebrates its 50th birthday this year. The Concert Hall, which is the largest venue and home to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, has never lived up to the promise of the exterior of the building as it has suffered a poor reputation for acoustics. The challenge to solve this shortcoming involved the innovative use of Brushbox timber panelling and smart interventions into the existing White Birch ceiling. The wall panelling around the stage, stalls, and rear walls were reconstructed with new solid carved panelling. All panelling was made in the same Brushbox timber that was already present in the hall to integrate seamlessly. The new panels diffuse the acoustic energy, prevent direct reflections, and create a blended sound that amplifies a sense of envelopment in the music. The result is a series of highly tactile and sculptural surfaces that encourage the hand to run along them. Award Winners Overall Winner – Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Renewal by ARM Architecture. Merits • P eople’s Choice – Boola Katitjin – Murdoch University by Aurecon, Lyons Architects and Multiplex. • S ustainability – ANMF House by BayleyWard Architects. • R ising Star – Austin Reed from Brother Nature for Kunama Townhouses. Excellence in Timber Applications • Residential Class 1: New Building – Pocket Passiv by Anderson Architecture. • Residential Class 1: Alteration or Addition – Music Room by Alexander Symes Architects. • Multi-Residential – Eternity Life Apartments by k20 Architecture. • Public Buildings – The Pavilion Performing Arts Centre Sutherland by CHROFI & NBRS. • Commercial Buildings – Barker College Maths and Student Hub by Architectus. • Interior Fitout: Residential – Elsternwick House by Melanie Beynon Architecture & Design. • Interior Fitout: Public or Commercial – Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Renewal by ARM Architecture. • Furniture and Joinery – Art Gallery of NSW Library and Members Lounge by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects. Excellence in Timber Products • Australian Certified Timber – Galkangu Bendigo Govhub by Icon Fairbrother Joint Venture and Lyons Architects. • Engineered Wood Product – Boola Katitjin, Murdoch University by Aurecon, Lyons Architects and Multiplex. • Recycled Timber – Marramarra Shack by Leopold Banchini Architects and Cantilever Consulting Engineers. Tim Ross, Australian comedian, radio host, writer, and television presenter, announced the winners. More recently, he has been known as the presenter of the ABC shows Streets of Your Town and Designing a Legacy, which reflects his enthusiasm as a self-proclaimed architecture geek. The Australian timber industry extended its gratitude to the panel of judges, sponsors and those who entered projects. For a complete list of winners, finalists, and the awards magazine ebook, visit continue to do this because not all businesses are doing this anymore,” he said. Mr Rosetta believes it shows the commitment of the businesses to stay in the area after the heavy losses suffered by the timber industry in the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires. “We are still employing young apprentices. The business is very committed to the [Tumut] area even with the loss of raw product.” Mr Green added that AKD Tumut also continues to invest in technology. “We continue to upskill and improve our apprentices, and make it safer, and the important thing to me is that we are investing in the community. We have a long-term vision to make sure this town is successful,” he concluded.

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The ease and installation of smart security products and safety products are the driving force behind segment growth, with entry to smart home barriers reducing year-on-year as technology simplifies and smart locks become more economical. ‘Smart’ consumers dominate digital lock space Where once it would cost thousands of dollars for a hard-wired system, consumers can now source an Amazon smart hub for $80, according to Allegion’s Marketing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Craig Patterson, which means the market has opened up to a much wider consumer group. “Allegion understands there are consumers seeking a lower price point, however the brands that Allegion invests in are a certain style aesthetic. We want to make sure technology transitions into this style aesthetic so there is more of a whole-of-house solution with Allegion,” Mr Patterson said. In the past it seems that younger consumers made the easiest transition into digital lock technology, however this trend has now changed with all ages now entering the keyless entry space. “There are still consumers who feel a sense of security when they have a set of keys in their pocket but as soon as these consumers stay at an Airbnb or with friends that have an electronic or smart lock, they realise that they do not need to sacrifice security for the convenience of a smart lock. In fact, electronic lock security is higher because you have an auditing function. So if you lose keys, for example, you can quickly change them out.” “Once consumers utilise the technology and realise the ease of use without sacrificing security, they want this security at home. We also know there is a lot to think about when you purchase electronic locks including the entry-way they are catering, which could be a sliding door or security screen door. Consumers need to do their research to find the right solution to their needs,” Mr Patterson said. Current trends As satin brass and graphite finishes remain on-trend, Allegion ensures it has a whole-of-build solution within these ranges. “There is a current trend around mixing finishes throughout the home. While it used to be the norm to have the same finish throughout a new build, now it is on-trend to mix plumbing and door hardware. So a home might have black door hardware and maybe brass taps and then black cabinetry hardware. There is definitely a trend now towards having more of a unique style by mixing finishes.” “We know that if we offer more choice there will be a lot better options for those people that really want something that is unique and adds to the aesthetic. We were involved in ‘The Block’ again which is well-renowned for setting trends. Over a decade ago black hardware was all over ‘The Block’ and straight after we saw the demand and the queries for black hardware increase and that has continued even through to today,” Mr Patterson said. In-store education Consumer education on digital locks is vital particularly because there is still a misconception around electronic locks being less secure than mechanical locks due to the threat of hacking. However, slowly but surely this mindset is dwindling because many brands, including Gainsborough have done a good job on educating the market,” Mr Patterson said. SAFETY & SECURITY

There is no doubt COVID presented real challenges in the building and construction industry in recent years. Despite the trials, the trend towards digital and smart connected security solutions has improved user experiences and activated a broader range of activity through renewed engagement. Smart device connectivity set to drive future sales These trends have allowed for activity in security products to remain robust despite the market challenges. As leaders in smart locks, the team at Yale firmly believes that the seamless installation of smart home products will drive sales throughout 2024. “Consider this recent customer feedback from one of our customers who is a homebuilder. They view our Smart Yale Assure Lever lock as a perfect example of a seamlessly installed solution for new builds and retrofits. This is because of its standard single 54-millimetre borehole, a five-minute installation process, a PIN code and the Yale Home APP handover procedure that ticks all the boxes. Our products continue to evolve, and we remain committed to optimising the installation and design to offer our customers even better products,” Yale Product Manager – Smart Residential Ben Tang said recently. For now, the door and window hardware market is expected to grow and evolve through digital innovations. A need for enhanced security, increased demand for convenience and the evolvement of functions related to energy efficiency in homes are driving factors. ASSA ABLOY’s Director of Innovation, Andrew Williams says the convergence of several mega-trends sees door and window hardware no longer limited to providing security and style for one's home. It now also functions as an occupancy monitoring device, working in conjunction with HVAC and lighting systems to achieve better household energy efficiency. “I still think that the barrier to entry is due to Australians having so many different types of entranceways whether it is a garage, sliding door or front door. This can make things difficult and more can be done to better understand the correct locking solution for certain doorways,” Mr Patterson said. “Digital locks, like our Gainsborough Freestyle Trilock, are a considered purchase but they are still affordable for many homes costing between $200 and $600. However, if a homeowner needs to do some retrofitting or work to the door to make the lock fit and you make a mistake, it can be costly. This is why we put a lot of effort into understanding how to educate consumers in a retrofit environment and make sure they have an online solution.” “Consumers utilise social media for inspiration and support which is why we have got the technical hub that answers some of the tough questions and where we can escalate more challenging queries. We certainly have the internal knowledge to support anybody that reaches out,” he said. Future interconnectivity Interconnectivity between the tech giants is on the rise, which will see tech giants such as Apple and Google come together with pretty much a standard protocol. “In the future, the days of saying that this product will only work with X system will be gone and the need for individual apps potentially on your phone will also disappear as smart home products talk to each other to create an open protocol.” “We still have a little bit of pain to come in this space. But it will not be long before consumers will potentially have the ability to unlock the door and the heating will turn on at the same time. At the moment this is a possibility if you have the right systems and connector. In the future that barrier to entry and connection will reduce and matter will become more ingrained in some of the products being developed,” Mr Patterson said. Looking to the future Allegion agrees it has been the beneficiary of the investments from the Federal and State Governments that have gone into residential construction and assisted market growth. However, a slowing down of the building industry over the next 18 months is expected to deliver some challenging conditions ahead. “You read the economic data month by month and one month it is up and it is down with mortgage approvals, consent approvals, and completions. You get a little bit of a mixed bag. The general theme is that probably until late 2025 we will see some challenging times, but it will not be long before housing demand will grow the building industry once again,” Mr Patterson concluded. NOVEMBER '23 | HARDWAREJOURNAL.COM.AU 21