Previous Winners

Here are the 2018 regional winners and their fantastic entries – to be in with a chance of winning next year, enter for free now.

NORTH WEST REGIONAL WINNER

 Name: David Thompson

Business Name: Ground Heat Installations Limited

Gas Safety Number: 535463

Trade Organisations: MCS Microgeneration Certification Scheme, Gas Safe, SMAS

Project : Delph Lane

Technicality: Torus, who have a portfolio of over 20,000 properties contacted Ground Heat when considering a GSHP project in Prescot Merseyside. The project, Delph Lane, consisted of four blocks of nine apartments over three floors, all currently being heated via electric panel heaters. The DHW was via a direct electric un-vented heater. All apartments had benefited from a 2.5kw PV array consisting of 394 PV panels and a battery storage system to each of the four blocks for the landlords’ supply to communal area lighting.

Ground Heat was asked to provide a system with as little maintenance as possible. The site had no mains gas supply. The landlord had requested a new system that was to be innovative and easy to use for the residents. The system was to significantly reduce the carbon footprint whilst taking advantage of any grant or feed in tariffs available. It should incorporate the use of the PV and battery storage already installed to the apartments. The system should also help eradicate fuel poverty for the residents who at the time had only electric heaters. The work should be completed by March 2017 taking into account the worst time for weather issues. We had to be flexible within budget constraints. The system had to be MCS and DNO and RHI compliant.

The project involved integrating other technologies with ground source heat to increase efficiency and capture electricity to run heat pumps for minimum cost. We are able to put 1kw of generated electricity into a ground source heat pump and get 4.3kw of heat making them 420% more efficient than any other heating appliance available.

Ground Heat’s system takes the most common renewable technologies and integrates them as one technology. No other ground source heat pump has this facility. The system has been designed to address the issue of Demand Side Response which will future proof ground source technology and revolutionize the way that we operate heating systems. It will alter the way the DNOs and aggregators look at heat pumps, giving assurance that a huge new infrastructure is not required. This will enable heat pumps to be used prolifically in the UK, addressing fuel poverty, reducing CO2 emissions and making a significant contribution to the 2020 carbon emissions target.

With the advantage of having four separate apartment blocks on one site, we have installed two blocks using a shared ground array and two blocks on individual bore holes. This will provide us with vital data to reinforce previous findings where we have experienced shared ground arrays being far more efficient than individual bores. We will apply for Domestic RHI on two of the blocks and the Non Domestic RHI on the others. The information that we gather will be reported to the GSHPA and used to further advance research into shared ground arrays.

Professionalism: James Doran and Andrew Ellinson from Torus have driven the project forward with a passion for innovation and renewable energy matched only by the enthusiasm and drive from David Thompson of Ground Heat and Andreas and Sebastian Bangheri from Heliotherm, Austria. The Heliotherm unit has been designed and manufactured in record time because of the passion for the project. A strong link has been generated between all parties and a huge increase in Air Miles. Heliotherm has been designing and manufacturing heat pumps for over twenty five years and trades with many countries, but not currently the UK market. They liked the idea of shared ground loops and multiple heat pumps within a single dwelling rather than large inefficient district plant rooms. They have invested heavily in this project as have Ground Heat.

Torus has differed from other RSLs in that they came directly to Ground Heat to design the installation and not through a procurement provider who usually accept the cheapest price. This partnership was based on previous GSHP projects successfully completed by Ground Heat. Torus has invested in a quality system with a calculated return on their investment which can be tried and tested before implementation into the rest of its housing stock. In our opinion the Heliotherm unit will become the leading heat pump for multiple dwelling on the UK market.

Ground Heat worked closely with het pump manufacturer, Heliotherm, to manufacture a 1-6kw inverter ground source heat pump with a bespoke gateway which enables the ground source heat pump to take electricity directly from the roof. To our knowledge nothing has ever been done on this scale. If the PV from the roof is not sufficient, then it switches to the battery. Should this be spent, it resorts to the incoming supply. We have the ability to drop the incoming electricity supply to each heat pump from 1.6kw to 250w within a fifteen second command and still retain up to 2kw output making it suitable for Demand Side Response.

We worked closely with Voegele Metallbau in Austria to produce a casing in record time to enclose the new unit. The major decision that had to be made was the colour of the casing!

We liaised with Electricity North West regarding the project and they were extremely keen to collaborate with us on the DSR capacity of the heat pump. They requested that we trial a new type of filter to the inverter to prevent frequency problems from the grid. Heliotherm invested heavily in this adaptation to the unit. The project will be monitored by the DNO to inform future practice.

Service: Communication with residents ensured minimum disruption.  All residents were contacted by various means of communication where possible, at least 7 days prior to the contract date with a start date and details of the operatives on site. Names and photos of operatives were prominently displayed in the building with contact details for key personnel available 24/7. Where required, communication to residents was available to non- English speakers via a multi – language leaflet drop. All residents had the opportunity to meet regularly with relevant personnel before, during and post contract works to ensure that they fully understood the proposed work and had the opportunity to ask any questions to identify specific requirements within the local community. Appointments were arranged with residents prior to accessing the property to advise on any action that they were required to take to ensure a smooth process. During the handover process, the operation of the new system was clearly explained to the residents until they were confident in its use. Instruction manuals were provided to each resident and Ground Heat staff liaised with the residents to set controls to their requirements. During commissioning, residents were given the opportunity to complete a Customer Satisfaction Survey, which will be used to further improve our quality management system. Ground Heat feel that residents should be confident to contact Ground Heat should there be any issues following installation of the new system and be assured of a quick response. The system is monitored by remote access enabling GRound Heat to identify any issues before the residents even know that there is a problem.

Happy Customers: The customer, Torus Housing, were very pleased with the result. They have awarded Ground Heat further contracts and are exploring the possibility of a joint venture with Ground Heat. The residents have been looking forward to their new systems for over a year and were glad to see the back of the electric panel heaters. The only complaints are of being too hot, a situation that is easily remedied.

Testimonial: Torus contacted Ground Heat when considering a Ground Source Heat Pump Project in Prescot, Merseyside. The project, Delph Lane, consists of four blocks of nine apartments over three floors. All of the apartments were being heated by electrical panel heaters and the Domestic Hot Water was via a direct electric unvented heater.

We requested a new system that was to be innovative and easy to use for the resident, incorporating the PV and battery storage already installed to the apartments. In addition, we requested a system that would significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the building, whilst taking advantage of any grants or feed in tariffs available. No mains gas supply was available on site.

Ground Heat designed a system that encompassed all of our requests, working with a manufacturer, Heliotherm in Austria to develop an innovative 1-6 kw inverter driven heat pump with the facility to link with PV, battery storage and address Demand Side Response.

They sourced a manufacturer in Austria to import a bespoke casing for the unit inscribed with the Torus and Ground Heat logos which was an unexpected bonus.

In addition, they liaised directly with Electricity North West to obtain the necessary permissions for the project to go ahead. The DNO was keen to collaborate with Ground Heat in order to inform future practice.

With the advantage of having four separate apartment blocks on site, Ground Heat suggested installing two blocks using a shared ground array and two blocks on individual bore holes in order to conduct vital research regarding energy efficiency. Ground Heat are completing Domestic RHI applications for the two blocks in individual bores and Non Domestic applications for the two blocks using a shared ground array. This has taken away the worry of having to complete complex technical applications. Ground Heat has also put us into contact with an Eco provider to hopefully gain additional funding for the project.

Ground Heat engineers have liaised with residents to ensure that the project runs as smoothly as possible. We have the united aim of eradicating fuel poverty for residents who currently pay between £900-£1,100 annually for heating and DHW. There have been inevitable delays with access issues and additional works, but Torus and Ground Heat have worked together to ensure that the project is a resounding success. The project has won the Renewable Energy Awards 2017 for most Innovative Project. CO2 has been reduced from 6426 kg to 1980 kg per year, saving 2.5 tonnes of carbon per flat per year.

I have worked in construction for 28 years and in that time worked with many contractors and suppliers. During each project there are bumps along the way and any time we have encountered a bump Groundheat have worked with us and provided the best service possible, I would go as far as to say they are possibly the best contractor that I have ever had the pleasure to work with We look forward to working with Ground Heat on future projects. They have delivered on all of their promises.

NORTH EAST AND YORKSHIRE REGIONAL WINNER

Name: Neil Bumford

Business Name: Bumford Heating Limited

Gas Safety Number: 13364

Trade Organisations: Gas Safe

Project:Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham Heating Upgrade

Technicality: Wentworth Woodhouse is the largest house in Europe. Bumford Heating were invited to determine if the existing old heating system could be altered and zoned. After spending days crawling through tunnels, lofts and cellars and studying Victorian heating system blueprints and drawings, Bumford’s engineers gained enough information to allow them to design a system. A number of small plant rooms, each containing 3 or 4 boilers were linked into the existing system and that part of the system was then isolated from the older system, thus the new boilers and control systems, some extra radiators and alterations, allowed a section of the house to have a modern and efficient heating system. This process was repeated a number of times until 28 boilers had been installed.

The works all had to be agreed with English Heritage in this grade 1 listed building, particular concern of English Heritage were flue positions, none of the flues, including the large chimney flue from the boilers that heat the main State Rooms can be seen from any major rooms in the house or from any outside vantage point, this was successfully achieved.

Professionalism: We are an independent family business, providing reliable, professional and competitive solutions to thousands of homeowners across the region. Since 1968 our customers have trusted us in their homes throughout Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.

We are well established and respected company within the industry. We take our responsibilities seriously and this is reflected by our membership of leading trade bodies such as Gas Safe, Oftec, HETAS and APHC.

Service: Since 1968, we have received hundreds of unsolicited testimonials from some of our customers thanking us and praising both our service and professionalism. These accolades make us very proud and determined to carry on providing the highest levels that we pride ourselves on

Happy Customers: Having dealt with the staff at Bumford’s for many years their customer service is the best around.

Honest and reliable plumbing firm, who put all of the cowboys out there to shame.

SOUTH WEST REGIONAL WINNER

Name: William Hale

Business Name: D J Hale and Co

Gas Safety Number: 552502

Trade Organisations: Gas Safe

Project: Holcombe House Plant Room

Technicality: I have been working on a large Victorian ‘gentleman’s residence’ in Dartmoor. The building was formally a care home and is now being converted back to a family home. The old inefficient system of a single oil boiler and open vented single zone system was removed and a new plant room was constructed. The brief for the new heating system required it to be efficient and adaptable and be within a fairly tight budget due to the size of the project. Heat pumps were considered but were unsuitable due to the lack of three phase power. Two oil boilers were installed on a sealed system and linked to a buffer tank. The tank acts as a low loss header providing hydraulic separation between the boilers and the 11 pumped zones. Due to the size of the property 11 zones were decided on to allow heating in areas not being used to be shut down when uninhabited. The zone pumps are A-rated auto adapting. The buffer tank also allows boiler cycling to be kept to a minimum and the output of mains pressure domestic hot water via a plate heat exchanger. Due to the construction of the property underfloor heating is not possible so the rooms will be heated by restored original cast iron radiators, many of which were original to the property.

Professionalism: The property restoration was in fact being undertaken by my parents and due to this in some ways required an even greater level of professionalism due to my relationship with the clients! Due to the size of the property the restoration was costly and therefore I was always aware of providing the best possible solution within budgetary requirements. I laid out many different options and ideas and explained in great detail the pros and cons until a suitable solution was decided upon. I advised that a dedicated plant room would be appropriate due to the size of the property and also suggested the use of elements more usually found in commercial installations that would speed up the installation process such as using press fit copper fittings as opposed to soldering. Despite the clients being my parents I maintained a highly professional approach to the project which resulted in a quick, efficient and within budget installation.

Service: Due to the unpredictable nature of restoring old buildings there were many set backs that delayed the installation. However once these had been addressed I insured that the installation was completed as quickly as possible to prevent delays with other trades. Throughout the installation I gave day by day feedback on progress and any issues that needed to be addressed. Alongside this, each day I took a photo of the days progress to keep the clients updated on what had been done if they were not on site to see it for themselves. I also ensured that the work area was kept clean and tidy, any rubbish was removed and the site safety was maintained.

Happy Customers: “We couldn’t have asked for a better installation from William. He talked us through his plans and kept us in the loop the entire time. As the property was incredibly old, William had to design a whole new system for us, this is something we knew nothing about, however we felt reassured and confident about the job the entire time. Whilst we were away, William took pictures at the end of every day to update us on the progress. He also tided up after himself and left the property tidier than when he found it.

When the job was complete, he gave us a tour, showing us everything he had done. Most importantly, he kept the job on time, and to budget, which was important to us. We would recommend William to anyone we know and will always use him going forward.”

SOUTH EAST REGIONAL WINNER

Name: Daniel Wells

Business Name: DW Heating and Plumbing Ltd

Gas Safety Number: 536383

Trade Organisations: Gas Safe

Project: Downmere

Technicality: Downmere property is a 650 square metre building built circa 1900 with later additions. The total square footage of the grounds is more than 10,000 sq ft consisting of its own lake.

Our client wanted a super-efficient, eco-friendly heating system and hot water supply. Previously, he had an oil-fired boiler which was costing our client over £20,000 per year to run. We designed and installed a system incorporating a ground source heat pump which utilised the water from the lake. The water was pulled from the lake to the plate heat exchanger which circulated the heat through the property via two plate heat exchangers. The two plate heat exchangers heat the entire underfloor Heating circuit on the ground floor and the radiator circuit on the second floor via their own zone-controlled valve. It also feeds all of the bathroom towel rails which also have their own zone valves so they can be heated as required. Our plate heat exchangers also deliver head to two 220 litre Gledhill unvented cylinders which supply hot water to two different sections of the house. Both cylinders are controlled by their own thermostats so they can be used separately dependent on which side of the property is in use. They are also fitted with circulating pumps which pump the hot water around the pipework in a loop meaning the furthest hot outlet from the cylinder gets hot water instantly, saving thousands of litres of water each year. All hot and cold supplies to the bathrooms have their own dedicated isolation valves in the plant room for the purpose of easy maintenance. The heating system is split into 7 zones, there are 5 zones on the ground floor, underfloor heating circuit which heat separate parts of the house and are controlled by their own dedicated thermostat. The radiator circuit on the first floor of the property is split into two zones and each zone is controlled by its own dedicated room stat. Each radiator also has its own Thermostatic radiator valve meaning the client can choose to heat which part of the house he needs when required saving him thousands a year on energy bills.

Professionalism: Professionalism and expert craftsmanship is what we pride ourselves on when it comes to our business and us as installers, therefore it was essential to us that we had a close relationship with the client with good communication. It was important to the client that it was an eco-friendly system, we therefore designed the system to be super-efficient. As it was a large build it was important that we also had a good communication with other trades, therefore keeping to a tight schedule was essential, even if it meant working late/weekends. If there were any hold ups we made sure to tell the client as well as other trades to ensure they were overcome as quickly as possible.

Service: On the project it was crucial that not only the system was super-efficient but that it was user friendly. A lot of thought was put into the system to ensure everything was easily accessible and easy to maintain. All sections of the installation are zoned, labelled and isolated to make a clear user-friendly system for the client. At completion a full, detailed, jargon free handover was explained and shown to the client to ensure the client was comfortable with the system at hand. By making sure we worked overtime and stayed late we made sure the clients tight schedule was met. We feel that communication is so important in an industry where you don’t necessarily see the client every day, this makes the client feel like their home is in secure hands. An investment like someone’s home is not something both the client nor we as a business take lightly, it’s therefore crucial to us that our craftsmanship reflects our passion for the work.

Happy Customers: “Downmere is a 650 square metre property renovation which has seen the installation of a two 250 litre water tanks, seven new bathrooms, a new kitchen, underfloor heating downstairs and radiators in the bedrooms upstairs, all powered by a ground source heat pump with an electric boiler boost/backup.

Dan is a real pleasure to work with – he always takes the time to listen to our ideas and requirements (both onsite and over the phone), highlights where they could be implemented in a more efficient and effective way, accommodates changes and additions to the project with good humour and patience, and keeps us completely informed throughout.

He is always smartly turned out, arrives on time and leaves the site tidy at the end of each day.

Dan’s professionalism, knowledge and expertise are exceptional. This shines through in the work he’s done for us at Downmere – we will continue to use Dan in the future and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to anyone looking for impeccable service, immaculate work and someone they can trust.”

EAST MIDLANDS REGIONAL WINNER

Business Name: BAR Plumbing

Trade Organisations: Dimplex Renewables Accreddited Installer, Worcester Bosch Accredited installer, RECC, MCS, GRANT

Project: Stiebel Eltron Classic Air Source Heat Pump

Technicality: We were approached by a local architect who was undertaking the conversion of a 1970’s bungalow and wanted to install a renewable heating system. Because the project was to be highly insulated, the compact, new Stiebel Eltron Classic WPL-9 Air Source Heat Pump proved to be ideal.

The Stiebel Eltron Classic Air Source Heat Pump offers very high levels of efficiency, virtually silent operation and is designed to be quick and easy to install. To find out more, click here.

Once the client had passed us the plans for the project, we were able to begin work on the MCS approved system design. We are required to produce a design for both the heat pump and the space heating and domestic hot water, to ensure that the entire system produces sufficient heat and hot water on even the coldest days.

Stiebel Eltron Classic and HSBC-200 Hot Water Cylinder Stiebel Eltron offers their heat pumps in a number of packs, designed to cover every type of installation. The pack selected included the Stiebel Eltron Classic air source heat pump, and the pre-plumbed Stiebel Eltron HSBC-200 heat pump cylinder and buffer tank. This attractive and easy to install unit offers a high quality, yet quick and easy installation. This means the client gets excellent German quality at a very attractive price.

One of the deciding factors for the client was the reduced running costs of the air source heat pump, compared to a fossil fuel heating system and the payback from Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. The RHI still provides a healthy return for those wishing to go down the heat pump route, usually paying for the system within the 7 year payback period. The government has confirmed its commitment to the Domestic RHI for both ground source and air source heat pumps.

Professionalism: Because of the breadth of skills and accreditations our heating engineers possess, we are able to undertake a wide range of installation work. This includes commercial gas and oil technologies, in addition to renewable heating systems, and range from simple domestic air source heat pump installations, through to complex commercial installations, incorporating existing heating systems with new plant equipment. We can provide solutions for a wide range of space heating and hot water, production or manufacturing applications.

Service: In addition to the above, Cedar Renewables Limited is a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited renewable heating installer, which means that, where an eligible renewable system is installed, you will have access to the government’s Domestic and Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The RHI will pay you quarterly for 7 years (Domestic RHI) or for 20 years (Non-Domestic RHI) for the renewable heat you use.

Happy Customers: “The team at Cedar were very informative and professional at all times, they considered the needs of me as a customer with efficient and straightforward communication. The high level of service has continued post installation and it is clear that excellent customer service is the heart of the companies’ core values.”

WEST MIDLANDS REGIONAL WINNER

Name: Ian Smith

Business Name: IJS Trade Services

Gas Safety Number: 566144

Trade Organisations: Gas Safe

Project: 2 full heating installations

Technicality: Had a request off a charity called discover u to fit a central heating system. On arrival i found a system was needed in the property and adjoining workshop. I carried out a survey and found only one gas meter and this was a commercial meter in the workshop feeding a water heater in the work shop and an old heating system in the property. The property was the same size as a 2-bedroom terraced house and the workshop was 11meters by 11meters square.
I advised that 2 domestic meters to be installed, one in the workshop and one in the property, and 2 separate central heating systems to be fitted. I carried out heat loss calculations on both properties taking into account windows doors and insulation and sized the radiators and boilers to each system accordingly. I also carried out gas pipework calculations for each system to determine how much 28mm and 22mm pipework would be required so each boiler would have the correct amount of gas. I advised the customer on the best way to get the 2 meters installed by the gas supplier. I also advised a magnaclean system filter on each system for ongoing protection for the heating systems and boilers. When discussing controls and the customers’ needs the customer and I decided the best form of control would be a smart heating controls so decided that I would install Hive smart active heating thermostats so they would be able to control their heating remotely away from the properties. On looking at the water supply I carried out a test for hardness of the water and found it would be beneficial to fit scale reducers on the water supply.

Professionalism: Before arrival to any job or quote I always give a courtesy call to let customers know that I am on the way. I am always in uniform with my company details and logo embroidered on the front. On arrival I always show id in the form of my gas safe card and business card. All work areas are always dust sheeted and customers kept informed of any health and safety issues such as use of drills, cords etc. I keep customers informed of everything I am doing or going within their properties. My systems are fully paperless and all invoices, gas safety certificates etc are professionally typed and sent by email in pdf form. I also offer the ability to print and post at the customer’s request. At the end of each job all paperwork is completed and a review form is left with the customer to fill in if they wish. I always ask if they are happy with the work and ask if they require anything else. All customers details are kept securely in my database so i can easily access their details in the future, so if they call me again, this takes away the need of them repeating addresses and phone numbers to me and i also have a full record of all the work carried out at the property. When annual services are due my system will automatically let the customers know by email informing them of the date the service is required by. I have had really good feedback on this as a lot of my customers state they would have forgotten if they had not received the reminder. I am always polite and courteous and always take time to chat with customers. I have a lot of repeat customers and i would say 70% of my customer base now are existing customers or referrals. In the last year i came runner up in the west midlands in the heating installer awards 2017 and I was also nominated and a contender for screwfix tradesperson of the year 2017 and screwfix did a feature of me in the daily star.

I offer all forms of payment facilities including cash, cheque, bank transfer and card acceptance

Service: When quoting for the 2 heating systems at discover u it became apparent the way of payment was through funding and donations so the owner was looking to save money where he could. He had already had one quote where he informed me the tradesmen had a quick look and gave him a rough ball park figure without explaining anything he was going to do. I didn’t want to compromise quality so I took it upon myself to contact manufacturers and suppliers to see if they could donate anything or give any extra discount. I contacted Adey and explained the situation and they were absolutely brilliant they donated 2 magnaclean pro2 filters, 2 bottles of central heating cleaner, 2 bottles of central heating inhibitor and 2 scale reducers completely free. I took the items to discover u and presented them with the donation (picture attached). I then contacted ideal boilers as I am an ideal installer. I explained the situation to the west midlands rep and he gave us 2 boilers and 2 flues at cost price. I notified discover u and discover u ordered them through the ideal rep and had them delivered. I also got further discounts from bell plumbing on all the pipework and sundries which was added to my own trade discount. I contacted another plumber to help with the installation (matt plumbing and heating in Birmingham) and together we gave discounts on our labour to complete the job. This took nearly a week to sort out in my own time but it was totally worth it when I found we had saved discover u around 4000 pound on what the other tradesman had given as a ball park figure. On arrival at the job to start work we found out discover u had found an issue with the water main and had to have a new main put to both properties, at no extra charge we ran the cold and hot supplies for them in both the work shop and property and gave an existing stainless steel sink a revamp changing all the taps and drainage and plumbing it in the workshop free of charge. The workshop is now complete and up and running. We still need to go back and finish the other heating system as discover u are waiting for the gas meter to be installed. Once installed the owner will contact me and I will go back and run the gas line, fill and commission the heating and then it will be complete, everything else has been done in readiness.

In all the jobs I do I always try and give a little extra e.g. if I replace a tap I will always install free isolations just in case of problems which may arise in the future.

If I fix a boiler and which involves stripping down I always service it free of charge as part of the job. I have changed lightbulbs when customers couldn’t reach, changed batteries in a customer’s tv remote, and even packed a customer’s Christmas decorations back into a loft.

Happy Customers: I have a 5-star rating on Google and also have gained 121 reviews on checkatrade with a total score 9.94 out of 10 please see some recent reviews below.

New thermostat fitted. Radiators re-balanced due to two radiators not working.
“Very happy with this service. Friendly, efficient and very helpful. We needed the heating fixed urgently and thus was the service provided.”
Verified By Telephone
– Customer in Halesowen ( 1 ) 2 January 2018

Full boiler service.
“Excellent service provided, Explained exactly what he had done, extremely friendly person , will definitely use again.”
Verified By Telephone
– Customer in Halesowen ( 1 ) 6 December 2017

Gas fire – annual clean and service.
“Phoned to say on the way. Did a thorough job, cleaned up afterwards.”
@ Verified By Email
– Customer in Kingswinford ( 1 ) 5 December 2017

New boiler
“Quick, clean and efficient boiler replacement.”
@ Verified By Email
– Customer in Kingswinford ( 1 ) 12 January 2018

Broken gas boiler and central heating system fixed and then serviced “Excellent job. Everything was up front and explained to me as we went along. The service on the boiler was really thorough and top quality. I would really recommend this company.”
@ Verified By Email
– Customer in Dudley ( 1 ) 28 October 2017

EAST OF ENGLAND REGIONAL WINNER

Name: Mark Partridge

Business Name: Bright Green Renewables Ltd

Trade Organisations: NAPIT. Which? Trusted Trader. RECC. Microgeneration Certification Scheme accredited. REFCOM F-Gas Certification.

Project: The Royal Oak, Whatcote

Technicality: Having been closed for over 2 years The Royal Oak was in a very bad way and in need of major restoration and refurbishment. Henry Jervis, Cotswold resident and owner of the multi award-winning Jervis Homes Ltd, spotted an opportunity to purchase, refurbish and establish the pub as a “destination” eatery in the Cotswolds. Two years and many hours of hard work later the pub opened in mid-2017 and has already established itself as one of the best restaurants in the Cotswolds.

As part of the refurbishment of the property low running costs and a comfortable environment were priorities. There is no mains gas in Whatcote and the options for heating systems were therefore limited. However, having worked with Bright Green Renewables for many years designing and installing Renewable Energy heating systems into his portfolio of luxury new-build homes in and around the Cotswolds, Bright Green were the first to be approached to design efficient, low running-cost central heating and hot water systems.

Whilst maintaining the character and charm of the pub, great efforts were made to improve the fabric of the building in order to minimise the heat losses and improve efficiencies. Under the guidance of Bright Green Renewables these measures included the installation of significant quantities of internal wall and roof insulation during the refurbishment. An UFH system was designed by Bright Green Renewables to heat the main restaurant and bar areas and conventional high-efficiency radiators were installed throughout the first-floor accommodation areas.

These were all designed to be heated by a state-of-the-art Mitsubishi Ecodan Air Source Heat Pump and 300L pre-plumbed unvented Hot Water Cylinder.
The pub has now been trading during one of the coldest winters in recent history and the customers and tenants have enjoyed plentiful hot water and cost-effective heating at all times.

Professionalism: Before the heating and hot water systems could be installed at the Royal Oak significant structural work had to be completed to make the property safe. The internal layout also had to be reconfigured to suit the proposed new usage of the building, i.e. a top-quality restaurant and public house. This required that the first and second fix plumbing and electrical works had to be undertaken around the numerous other activities and trades on site. As such, numerous site visits were required to ensure that the equipment and services required for the heating and hot water systems were installed in a timely manner and didn’t delay any of the other ongoing works.

A detailed timing plan was provided by Mr Jervis which highlighted when the key events in the build were scheduled to start and be completed. Bright Green Renewables then developed a parallel timing plan to ensure that our first and second fixing plumbing and electrical activities could be synchronised around the main build programme and not delay anything.

This strategy worked extremely well and the ground floor UFH pipework, manifolds, first floor radiator circuit, hot water cylinder and (roof mounted) Mitsubishi Ecodan air source heat pump were all installed individually and at different stages of the build but did not affect the timing or sequence of the overall build.

Once completely installed and the system filled, the new heating system was set-up and commissioned the week before the new tenants moved into the building. Everything has worked faultlessly since.

Service: Bright Green Renewables’ pride ourselves on the highest levels of customer service in everything we do. Our Office Manager spent 20 years at Waitrose, where the philosophy of customer service is second-nature. In short, exceptional customer service drives the whole ethos of Bright Green Renewables.

Our enquiry, system design and quotation processes have been refined and perfected during our 10 years in business and at no time are any pressure selling tactics used. Indeed Bright Green don’t employ any salespeople. All projects are either from existing clients, referrals from existing clients, or from customers finding us via our website.

As part of every enquiry Bright Green visits the customer to review the project in detail and to discuss the options with them. Budget costs are also discussed. If these initial proposals are acceptable, a highly-qualified surveyor then visits the site to complete a comprehensive room-by-room heat loss assessment using an in-house developed, CIBSE approved, heat loss design tool. This enables us to run a computer simulation to determine which heat pump(s) are best-suited to the property, the projected efficiency levels, the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) grants that the system will be eligible for, and the estimated running costs.

In addition to our comprehensive Design Proposal and Quotation, these documents are presented to the customer to allow them to make their final decision based upon the facts alone.

All the above is undertaken free-of-charge as a commitment to the customer to help them fully understand the overall proposition. In instances where customers want to discuss a similar system with an existing customer, or visit a customer’s home to see and discuss their system, Bright Green Renewables are happy to facilitate this.

We typically don’t attend such visits and many of our customers willingly offer to demonstrate their systems to potential customers.

Happy Customers: The letter below is an exact transcript of what was sent to us by Mr Henry Jervis of Jervis Homes Ltd:

We engaged Bright Green to work with us and our architects to design, specify and install a practical and efficient solution for the heating and hot water requirements for a Grade 2 listed public house, The Royal Oak, Whatcote.

The Royal Oak had fallen into disrepair and extensive structural and cosmetic alterations where required to ensure the building was going to provide a sustainable and adaptable space for a business.

There were many issues to be addressed with respect to providing heating and hot water. These included no mains Gas, limited space for plant rooms, and limited space for oil/gas tanks. The property is thatched, which meant external aesthetics where a major issue.

With all these in mind Bright Green proposed a new under floor heating system for the entire ground floor to provide a flexible heated space without the restriction of radiators in storerooms, kitchen or front of house. In the first-floor accommodation radiators where proposed as installing UFH to historic timber floors was cost prohibitive and unworkable.

Bright Green also proposed the use of an Air Source Heat Pump as the primary heat source. This meant we did not have to find space for oil/gas tanks and more space could be dedicated to storage or public spaces. The heat pump was installed on a flat roof and cannot be seen from the ground. This was of great importance for this listed building.

I have no hesitation in giving the team at Bright Green my highest recommendation. They listened and understood the brief whilst bearing in mind the commercial aspects and timescales of the project. All Bright Green’s staff are professional and hardworking and able to adapt and communicate well. We would like to sincerely thank them for all their efforts.

Henry Jervis
Managing Director

WALES REGIONAL WINNER

Name: Huw Jenkins

Business Name: Thornhill Plumbing and Heating

Gas Safety Number: 4170058

Trade Organisations: Gas Safe

Project: Full heating installation

Technicality: Last month I completed a full heating installation on a three bedroom house. All new pipework had to be fitted into the property, all of the pipework on this job was hand bent and hidden under the floorboards. The only elbow joints were on the downstairs radiators (and one on the prv pipe under the boiler) I always aim to try and keep improving my work, that’s why I always want to do every job better than the last. I try to always pay particular attention to detail. I often polish my pipework with brasso and feel sad when customers hide my pipes behind boxing.

Professionalism: When recently visiting a customer she explained to me that she’d had four other plumbers out to look at the job, not one of them actually explained the job to her, they failed to ask her what it was she wanted doing and what she wanted to gain from the project. I always aim to ensure that all my customers have a thorough understanding of the

I do work long hours so it’s hard to balance work and family life. I don’t spend my time watching TV, I spend every minute i can with my baby daughter and other half. Once they’ve gone to bed I sort out my work for the next day and read the gas engineers forum, as I like to keep informed. I am a tool whore. If there is a tool I haven’t got, I must have it.

I am a strong believer of honesty is the best policy. I have been called back to jobs where I was at fault, the customers think it’s a separate problem but I’m always honest and if I am at fault, I will declare this. It is always appreciated, there is no need to hide things as people are very understanding, nobody is perfect, as long as you are honest and try your best. If I don’t know how to do something I learn how to do it before professing to know how to do it. I had a five year apprenticeship under my brother which was a trial of fire but it was the best way to learn, nothing worth doing in life is easy.

Service: I always carry electric heaters in the van. If a customer has no heating, I will let them borrow one of my heaters, regardless of whether they have me to do their work for them or not. I have also taken part in some voluntary work for a cash strapped school near me (Willows High School) I tiled a wall for them free of charge and held a workshop for students looking to pursue apprenticeships in a trade once leaving high school. I was able to provide them with guidance and advice. I don’t advertise it but if the customer is elderly and the job is simple, I usually don’t charge.

The last heating installation I worked on I worked 12 hours on Saturday and 12 hours Sunday as it was so cold and I wanted to get the heating up and running for the customers. I have a lot of customers in my immediate community. One of my customers has cancer, so I try and pop in for a cup of tea if i’m passing so he isn’t lonely. Recently, one of my customers lost her husband so I took my six month baby to visit to help cheer her up.

Happy Customers: Wendey Straker Jones – I cannot speak highly enough of Huw, who has saved me from a freezing cold house. When my boiler broke down, I struggled to find a reliable and trustworthy plumber and was despairing of ever finding one. However, once I met Huw from Thornhill Plumbing and Heating I realised that there still are some true professionals around! He has been professional, courteous and thorough right from the start and has gone the extra mile throughout. He has installed a new boiler in a new location in my property, which was necessary due to the need to install a condensate pipe for the new condensing boiler. From the start he provided a detailed quotation, explained everything fully to me, and gave a very competitive quote. He ensured that what he was suggesting fitted with what I wanted and has carried out the work to an extremely high standard. He has gone the extra mile and paid attention to detail throughout, making sure the pipework was concealed even though this meant extra work for him. He has worked extremely hard and I am genuinely grateful for everything he has done. He has overcome problems and my house has been left cleaner than when he started. He was also very kind and considerate throughout, and even lent me a heater to make sure I kept warm while the work was being done. I wholeheartedly recommend him and feel incredibly relieved and lucky to have found him to do this major work for me.

SCOTLAND REGIONAL WINNER

Name: Shaun Scott

Business Name: Derek Scott Plumbing and Heating

Gas Safety Number: 175637

Trade Organisations:Snipeff, Oftec, Watersafe, Gas Safe, Scottish approved contractor

Project: You can repair rather than replace if you know how.

Technicality: This granite property in Aberdeen based across four floors had been extensively upgraded ten years ago but had never delivered the owners their dream home.

Critically the lack of a fully functioning heating system affected their ability to enjoy living in this stunning property and had driven them to consider selling up.

The owners having invested in a range of failed attempts by several specialist heating companies and quotes to replace the entire system in excess of £20K, this project was extremely challenging.

The installation was

• 46kw Veissmann commercial boiler
• 24 radiators
• Under floor heating on the lower ground level
• 2 x 250ltr domestic hot water cylinders with no hydraulic separation or cylinder demand boxes

Following a systematic review of the system it was evidently plagued with air. Fundamentally due to the high restriction through the heat exchanger of the boiler, there was clearly no way that it could cope with the flow demand of the heating system.

Observations also showed that the under floor heating was connected directly to radiator circuit and was on when the boiler was off, continually circulating cold water round the floor.

I re piped the flow and returns using a Spiro cross low loss header which gave hydraulic, air and dirt separation in one cost effective unit. The radiator circuit was connected to a pumping station and the under floor into a blending pumping station. An issue of leaking and seized blending valves at the manifold was rectified. We fitted two cylinder demand boxes to control the hot water via two motorized valves.

The customer is considering individual stats to all radiators but in order to provide optimum efficiency of existing controls we correctly re-configured the existing weather compensation system and moved it away from the boiler flue, as we had confidence this would work well.

In addition to our original remit we correctly terminated the pressure relief valve and the condensate and delivered the entire works under budget

Professionalism: Judith Palmer, owner, initially made enquiries following personal recommendation from one of her friends for whom I had just finished re-engineering their heating systems to offer them better control.

We are a small but growing family business and over the last 10 years have gone from strength to strength, When I started with my father I was his first employee and apprentice, since becoming partners in the business, it has more than doubled in size. We never advertising our services, all of our work comes from personal recommendation.

Today I employ 5 experienced plumbing and heating engineers, 2 apprentices and a small number of trusted self-employed engineers.

Key to my success has been delivering high quality, cost effective and consistent professional services. I will go the extra mile to deliver first class services to all customers.

My reputation and professionalism has ensured that I have won contracts from other, often larger contractors. I never oversell a situation, repairing boilers that others would only consider replacing.

Supporting our profession, I am an ambassador and currently the face of WaterSafe (www.watersafe.org.uk) having just completed a lead awareness video. I regularly blog, an example being for the met office offering up to date advice on how to keep your pipes safe over winter.

Sharing learning and good practice across the sector is very much part of my culture. Regularly I record installations and these have been used by such suppliers as Plumb Center and JT (Just Trays). We have had articles accepted into most professional plumbing and heating journals.

Investment in training and maintaining awareness of technology advances is key to my success and securing a leading edge in all that we do.

Service: Judith Palmer’s initial contact was to say “I believe you can save my home”! This showed her level of despair.

My time with customer was limited due to her business commitments. Establishing quickly her perception of the issues and what she wished to achieve was key to ensure we delivered the desired outcome.

Many others had quoted and failed to deliver agreed customer expectations. My quote was realistic, probably not the cheapest but my commitment to maintain control over costs, along with our first class reputation and communications with the customer delivered a trusted relationship.

The customer valued my open and honest approach, demystifying complex issues into a language that enabled her to appreciate fully what was required. We regularly throughout the works checked her understanding of our goal to ensure we delivered.

Our customers value my professionalism and the tidy manner in which I conduct my work, especially within a busy family home. The little things make a big difference, even down to carrying a hoover in my van so I am able to clear up after I have finished, customers really appreciate this.

Not a project you would have chosen to carry out in winter, with outside temperatures only making 5 degrees. I worked tirelessly long days to ensure that we maintained a level of heating throughout the works.

This heating system had provided an extremely poor living environment for many years and the owners could not believe the instantaneous difference made on completion of the works. The system is now delivering a more economic and effective service to this large family home.

When I returned a week later to review with the customer they said “we now have trust in heating engineers again!” My professionalism and understanding of the system delivered beyond their expectations and the enjoyment of living in their home has returned, all under the agreed budget and the customer is delighted.

Happy Customers: “We have struggled with recurrent issues affecting our central heating system since we renovated our house almost 10 years ago.

Having tried almost all of the local central heating specialists, both large and small, with little success and were resigned to installing a completely new system until we were recommended Shaun from Derek Scott Plumbing & Heating by a friend.

Shaun came and looked at our system and was able to identify the underlying issues relatively quickly. Although we had had several companies look at our system, Shaun was the first to explain the causes of the issues we faced and suggest possible solutions.

He provided a comprehensive quote and suggested a timescale in which the works could be undertaken. In the intervening period between his first visit and the final works, Shaun attended at short notice on several occasions to keep our system going, often at unsocial hours.

On the agreed date, Shaun and his colleague arrived and carried out the works to the timescale we had agreed. They were the tidiest tradesman that we’ve had in our house.

The works have been a complete success and we now have a consistently warm house and a fully functioning heating system for the first time in 10 years.

I would wholeheartedly recommend Shaun to anyone and thank him for his first class, professional service and the “can do” attitude that he gives to his customers.”