Why buying aged care furniture based on price alone is a mistake!
When sourcing furniture for an aged care facility refurbishment, you may be considering whether or not to go with an Australian furniture manufacturer. You probably have a few requirements in mind like ‘furniture should look good, be easy to clean, durable and safe’, but high on your list is probably also price.
Be careful! If you choose to NOT buy Australian made furniture and focus too much on the low prices being offered overseas, you may be making a big mistake that could result in a lot of heartache for you, the aged care facility residents, staff and management.
You may end up with furniture not being made to high Australian standards, cheap and nasty upholstery, furniture not designed to suit the aged care environment or worse yet, poorly made furniture that is faulty and dangerous, with no opportunity for recourse.
Refurbishing an aged care facility is such a big investment that getting it right the first time is crucial. After all, you don’t want to be replacing furniture a year after the fit-out because you chose to use lower priced, lower quality, imported furniture that wasn’t fit for purpose.
As the Spanish proverb says, “Take what you want, and pay for it.”
Read on for 5 reasons why you should always buy Australian made furniture…
1. Australian made furniture is made to Australian standards, warranties and guarantees.
Aged care facilities who choose to buy Australian made furniture have two layers of protection that are not offered by overseas manufacturers…
The first is that Australian manufacturers are held to some of the highest manufacturing quality standards in the world, with Australian businesses required by law to meet strict business, safety and quality control standards like the Aged Care Quality Standards. The materials used in Australian made furniture are also closely monitored by governing bodies. This means that Australian made products are high quality and built to last.
The second is that consumers of Australian made furniture are protected under the Australian Consumer Law which states that if a product or service fails to meet a consumer guarantee, you have the right to ask for a repair, replacement or refund. Many Australian furniture manufacturers also offer further warranties and guarantees on their products with some furniture manufacturers offering 10 year structural warranties, fixed price contracts and a guarantee of delivering your furniture project on time and defect free.
2. Australian made furniture can be custom designed and built to the needs of the aged care community.
Many companies offer custom-made furniture but if you want your aged care refurbishment project to be a success, you need a furniture manufacturer who understands the needs of the aged care population and both designs and manufactures furniture for aged care facilities.
A good Australian furniture manufacturer will start with an understanding of the environment in which the furniture will be used and will bring specific industry knowledge and understanding of furniture to the table. Each client has unique requirements and the initial consultation with your furniture manufacturer should discuss these requirements.
Your Australian furniture manufacturer should also be looking for a balance of function, aesthetics and budgetary constraints:
Function: Elderly people living in aged care facilities have specific physical needs which, when met, can have significant impact on their emotional wellbeing.
Aesthetics: Aged care furniture should look good, be easily understood and create a warm, non-clinical and residential feel.
Budget: In the early stages of your refurbishment project, your furniture manufacturer should have a frank conversation with you about what is achievable within your budget, while also providing a fixed price quote.
3. Dependable service from an Australian furniture manufacturer who is accountable to you and easily contactable.
The aged care refurbishment process is a huge undertaking. The pressure is on to make sure all stakeholders are happy including facility management, staff, residents and their family and friends. You want an Australian furniture manufacturer who understands the needs of the age care sector and offers end-to-end furniture solutions, working with you every step of the way - from project initiation through to quality-controlled design and manufacturing, right through to after sales service.
In other words, you want one Australian-based company completely focused and accountable for delivering your refurbishment. This means that you are likely to get a better quality product and any issues that arise can be resolved by making a phone call to your Australian-based furniture solutions partner.
This translates into happier residents, staff and management because you have delivered safe, functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces that people want to live and work in.
4. Buying Australian made furniture means more jobs for Australian families.
Buying Australian made furniture supports local industries and jobs, boosting the Australian economy and keeping profits in Australia. Also, Australian furniture manufacturers and their employees pay tax to the Australian Government and this means there is more money to spend on things like hospitals, sporting facilities and schools. According to labour force statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2020, manufacturing contributes about six per cent of Australia’s GDP and supports 862,200 jobs. By choosing to buy Australian made furniture for your aged care refurbishment, you are giving back to the community and supporting the jobs of families across Australia.
But it's more than just about keeping jobs in Australia. It’s also about how we treat our workers. Australia has some of the strictest workplace health and safety standards in the world, enforced by regulation. When you don’t buy Australian made, you can never be sure that workers are being treated fairly, paid properly or that they are working in safe conditions.
5. Australian made furniture is better for the environment.
Transporting products from overseas contributes to a significantly bigger carbon footprint. By choosing Australian made furniture, you are helping to reduce energy consumption, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Australian businesses also operate under some of the strictest environmental policies in the world, which means that our manufacturing processes are more mindful of the environment.
Buying Australian made furniture: Better outcomes for all Australians
When all is said and done, choosing new furniture for an aged care facility is about creating livable spaces that residents want to live in and workable spaces that staff want to work in. Astute aged care facilities who choose to buy Australian made furniture from an Australian furniture manufacturer know that they will have quality furniture delivered that is made to Australian standards, custom designed to the needs of the aged care community and that they have supported the jobs of Australian families.
At FHG, we partner with Australian businesses, to provide end-to-end custom furniture solutions - from quality-controlled design and manufacturing to ongoing after-sales care. With over 20 years of experience in the aged care furniture manufacturing industry, we bring solutions to our client’s unique circumstances; it’s what we do best.