Sunday, 4 December 2016

It's Time For Change, Installers Need to Stand Up

I do enjoy my discussions with fellow installers on Twitter, a conversation we had this morning was the rise in popularity of a boiler brand that has been in the UK for many years, but was not widely known, it is a brand I picked up on when the first came to the UK, I went to their manufacturing facility in Holland to receive training, which I was very impressed with as it was far more in depth technically than training I had received in the UK on boilers, I started installing them and was impressed, I also fitted one in my own home.

But what this conversation made me realise is the boiler choice for installers has been manipulated by the manufacturers with the deepest pockets for advertising, the problem I see is customers can now via the internet look for information on boilers themselves, but they will tend to want the one brand that looks the most familiar, one they have seen or heard advertised, the choice is purely brand awareness, now this is exactly what advertisements are meant to do, but for a boiler this is not the best way to choose, also a lot of the people who have joined this industry over the past 10-15 years, have also been drawn into this false sense of security from familiarity of a product, it was the boilers that were given free to the training centres they trained in, the boiler they saw splashed all over the trade magazine they picked up at the merchants, they are not choosing a boiler based on quality and longevity.

This does raise the age old question of what is the best boiler, well there is no definitive answer, each installer will have their own preference, based on their own experience of the boiler, their knowledge of the boiler and the best support they feel they get from the manufacturer/local sales rep, most installers agree on a few brands that are classed as poor, but when it comes to the boiler they prefer to install in a specific property then they tend to have 2 maybe 3 preferred brands, and each application will require the installer to survey and assess the property requirements in conjunction with the customers needs, they will then decide on which boiler best suits the requirements based on sound engineering judgement and calculations, it is not however chosen based on the boiler you saw advertised during the commercial break of Coronation Street, installers are the ones who should specify the brand and type of boiler based on the fact they have the knowledge to make that decision, as they are the skilled tradesperson, not the customer, but installers too must free themselves from been manipulated by marketing and choose boilers based on quality, they need to look further than the main brands that are out there, as I believe some of the best boilers on the market are NOT the big brands everyone knows.

In my opinion it is time installers took back control of OUR industry, for me all these so called trade bodies that we can pay into to be part of them do not really represent installers, they do not share our concerns, they do not listen to our views, they listen to the money, they have become Yes Men, they also just jump on board with the manufacturers who have deep pockets who pay for pages in their trade magazines, write articles based on their own opinions of their products, so the trade bodies then just feed us the crap the  manufacturers want them to feed us.

I really feel it is time for change, I would really like to start up a trade body that truly represents the voice of installers, one that will not be afraid to criticise when it is needed and one that does not simply agree with every silly new or even some of the old outdated regulations that are imposed on this industry, the current trade bodies never seem to challenge regulations, they just go along with everything, well we need a trade body that questions and challenges everything in our industry, but unfortunately these things take money, so if anyone out there would be interested in helping fund a real free trade body, that I know installers would embrace, please get in touch with me, we are the true industry and it is about time we were heard. 


  1. Chris, I admire your sentiments. We have tried an failed with ARGI and OPGO to try and galvanise installers into action. Unfortunately most of them don't want to make waves and while they will criticise until the cows come home they will not get off their backsides to do anything. As someone once said, "Trying to get installers together is like trying to herd cats."

    1. Hi mike, I agree 100% there does appear to be a lot of apathy within our industry, I know the likes of ARGI and OPGO have tried in the past to get installers to unite without success, and I think your comment "most of them don't want to make waves" is very true, as I said in my Blog, they don't want to stick their head above the parapet and just go along with all the nonsense that is forced upon them, but I have seen a slight change in the attitude of installers on Social Media, there does appear to be a bit more fight in them, so maybe its time to try again to get this industry to unite

  2. Russell Armstrong19 December 2016 at 11:59

    Good article, hope this get republished in some of the trade magazines.
    For me its all about time and experience to head up such a trade body. Even if the funds can be found we would still need someone with enough experience, time and drive to make things better.
    Unfortunately our industry is driven by money (like all industries) a companies sole purpose (whether private or public) is to make money. Therefore if it takes spending on advertising to turn the wheels, to make the consumer/customer "want" that brand then unfortunately that gets them buy that Brand giving the said company more funds to fund the advertising.
    Criticizing a particular brand because it advertises and its not the "best" boiler on the market is, to my mind, not the best way forward
    I would have thought that Championing the brand one thinks is best and why one thinks that, the rational, is a better way forward.
    I know you and I have had chats about the metals or rather the "incompatible" metals found in our heating systems and what effects that can have on heating systems etc and I think that some if not many engineers have either not been taught, have forgotten or simply may not have the time to think about such matters and resort to a lowest common denominator approach to what is supposed to be an engineering solution.
    So whilst I would support any venture that had a good ethos and shared my values, I personally could not spare the venture any or much time to lobby, that would have to be done by someone who would need paying, which would mean it would need to raise funds which would take time, which would need someone to be paid for that role, which would mean it looks just like any and every other "trade body" out there (wasnt heat Fed supposed to be like this?) which would then require the subscriptions loop and to attract members.....
    Lets put a positive spin on everything instead of the negative, of course, in my opinion.

  3. I have had the same fight over the past 16 yrs regarding solar thermal systems, thermal stores and PVT hybrid system where 2-3 heating devices could cut UK energy bils. Today i am busy outside the UK since losing my distribution/installation business in 2009.
    Keep going Mike