The ultimate resource for help assembling flat pack funriture in the UK.


Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQ section on this site will develop and re-strucutre over time, initially there will be a simple list of questions, but as it expands I will start to categorise the questions and also provide a search faclity.

I have started publishing some of my answers in my blog under the following category

Below is the current list of questions:

Is it safe to purchase furniture online?

Like any Internet transaction, you need to make certain you know you are dealing with a bona fide company's website. Before sending, any financial details ensure the site is "secure" and you have an actual address for the firm. When you visit a "secure" web site, most browsers display a closed padlock icon on the status bar and the web address should start "https" note the 's' this means "secure".

Clicking onto the padlock icon should display more security information about the site. Remember if you are purchasing goods from outside the UK you may need to pay import duty on top of the purchase price.

One of the main things about online retailers you should be aware of is, that most smaller (and some large) retailers use a business practice called "Drop Shipping" which means the retailer does not hold any stock, you receive it directly from the manufacturer, in other words you'll get the same furniture whoever you buy it off! The difference in price therefore is mainly down to the level customer service they give. Refer to my section on Buying before you make your purchase.

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Can assemblers remove waste packaging - cardboard etc?

This is not standard practice amongst assemblers though some will do it for a small fee. If they have a van, they will be charged at the local tip around £5-£10 for disposing of your waste.

Please note the following though, the goal posts are always shifting on this as are the government website links!:

  • If you dispose of the waste packaging yourself it is classed as household waste, you have already paid for your local council to take it via your community charge.
  • If an assembler (or anyone else not living in your house) removes waste it is technically commercial waste and is then subject to legal requirements, and the Duty of Care
  • If anyone removes waste from your household, YOU have a Duty of Care to ensure they are authorised to take it.
  • Check here for Authorised Waste Carriers

All businesses that remove waste have a legally bound duty of care to dispose of it in a proper manner and keep detailed records and receipts of how and what they have disposed of. This extends to sorting waste into cardboard, plastic, polystyrene, polythene etc. to ensure what can be recycled is recycled and so on.

When you consider that each time you remove waste you need to: transport it (time & fuel); pay for disposal; and keep auditable records, excessive costs are added to the service.

If someone is removing waste free of charge then they might be breaking the law and fly tipping. As your address (or suppliers address with reference numbers etc) may be prominent on the packaging you could be easily found if the packaging is disposed of illegally. Local councils are getting more draconian and controlling about how they operate, and it may come back to bite you.

Further information can be found at the DEFRA website (this link may be broken as responsibilities change all the time in the government):

DEFRA: Waste Legislation & Licencing: Duty of Care

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Can I get a quote for building my furniture online?

Due to the wide variety of furniture available it is difficult to provide a fixed price quote online. However I have provided a general overview of the time items should time to assemble by various types of people. Here is the online time estimator I will also be adding under each retailer listed assembly duration estimates of the items they sell (see retailer list ont he right). Due to the wide variety of items they sell, this will be difficult to maintain and may not always be up to date!

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What about fitting a new Kitchen?

Kitchen fitting is a complex process as you need a variety of skills such as electrical, plastering and plumbing (often Corgi registered) and it is therefore outside the scope of this website.

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Can I modify furniture to fit my room?

Unfortunately any modification to furniture might invalidate the manufacturer's or retailer's warranty. You will also find that the required modification, could weaken the structure of the item. In our opinion any modification is ill advised but if you must do it, make sure you compensate for any structural change.

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Furniture Collapses When Standing Furniture Up

The classical mistake is to leave the hardboard back off an item. This is essential for structural support and without it, the product is so flimsy it can collapse at any time. Many DIYers during assembly stand an item up without the back on and it collapses.

Do not stand an item up from resting it on its side.

You can stand it up without the back on:-
  • tip it onto its front or back first.
  • If you are tipping it onto its front, make sure the floor is protected and will not scratch it.
  • By resting it on its front or back first and then lifting, the weaker dimension of the joints are not exposed to the weight as you lift

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How much room do I need to build my furniture?

Generally the more room the better> To maximise your use of space always do the largest items first, except for beds, do these last.

You will normally need a flat area that is the size of the finished furniture laid on its back plus a working area of at least 600mm (2 ft). So:
  • (Metric) a 1metre x 2metre wardrobe requires an area of around 1.6m x 2.6m
  • (Imperial) a 6ft x 3ft wardrobe requires an area of 8 ft x 5ft.
Any less space and the assembly may be much more difficult and take a lot longer

Wardrobes can be built standing up, but you often need a second pair of hands, and if doing so give each stage a significant amount of thought first.

TIP: If you are assembling a wardrobe standing up. Attach one side to the base first, then put the back on to add rigidity. Then add the second side (do not fix to the back properly), before adding the top.

The assembly area should be as close as possible to the final position of the finished item. Larger pieces of furniture like cupboards and chests may not withstand being dragged over carpets and are often heavy once assembled and difficult to get through doors etc.

It is a good idea to cover the area with the cardboard packaging while you work to prevent scratching and it also has some give in it, when standing an item to prevent corner/edge damage as it support the weight. If you decide to use the cardboard box as a working surface make certain any staples are removed.

For High Wardrobes, please accurately measure the ceiling height. It is easy to hold the tape measure at an angle and get a false reading. We occasionally attend jobs, where the height has not been measured properly, and the unit will simply not fit. This is notable with the Ikea Pax Range, Rauch, Harveys and some MFI robes.

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How long will it take to build the furniture?

The time to build your furniture will depend on how complicated it is. So a small item such as a three-draw desk pedestal can take much longer than a simple wardrobe. Please refer to my Time estimator

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What if there are bits missing?

Many items these days have an accurate supply (or even oversupply) of fittings. It is easy to oversupply these fittings as they cost less than a penny each, and the cost of dealing with a complaining customer is much higher. Most retailers can supply these to you readily from the store orby post, Argos even have a dedicated phone line. Failing that your local DIY superstore often stocks suitable parts, but these are costly usually several pounds, so contact the retailer first.

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I need Help

Are you half way through a job and need some help? We can either come and finish it for you or offer some helpful hints so you can finish it yourself.
  • Please send an email or
  • You can call me Edwin Cooke during reasonable hours (07929 975 809).
  • Contact your nearest assembler directly
  • You will be quoted the time to assemble the item by one of our staff as a guideline, but charged for the time taken.
  • Often this is less, because you have unpacked it and made a start.

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