5 reasons to visit the ED&I Expo

5 reasons to visit the ED&I Expo

Hotcost are delighted to be attending the ED&I Expo at the NEC in Birmingham on 6th-7th September 2017, you can find us at Stand 128, and here are 5 reasons you should be attending too.



Expand your knowledge through a variety of hourly seminars and get involved with daily panel discussions at ED&I Expo. Seminars include the 18th edition, best practice for smart homes, CDM for contractors and more. All sessions are free to attend, so book a seat today and put yourself on the front foot for improving your business.




With hundreds of products and show exclusives on display, ED&I Expo is a must attend trade show for any decision makers in the industry looking to add more profitability to their business. Experience hands on demonstrations and gain access to exclusive show deals from a big range of manufacturers and distributors.



Interact with like-minded businesses, suppliers, industry clients, contractors and consultants to increase company awareness. If you are still looking for more, on the night of the 6th, ED&I Expo will be holding an industry networking dinner for those looking to build new business relationships and partnerships. A night full of food, drink and entertainment.


With the right strategy, every trade show you attend is an opportunity to drastically expand your company’s customer base. Support from leading industry associations and exhibitors ensure that all the information you need is provided to move business in the right direction.



At ED&I Expo there are plenty of opportunities to explore new industry sectors and discover what products and services are breaking new ground and uniting the industry in moving forward. The show gives visitors a vital chance to plan and prepare for the significant changes, challenges and opportunities ahead. Make a trip to ED&I Expo part of your strategy for 2017 and beyond!



July 2017 Newsletter

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Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

The government has ordered further tests on cladding and insulation in the wake of the Grenfell fire.

The extra tests will help landlords decide on any remedial action needed to make buildings safer.

These large scale tests will help establish how different types of Aluminium Composite Material panels in combination with different types of insulation behave in a fire.

Tests will look at three different types of ACM cladding combined with different types of insulation in accordance with British Standard 8414.

This involves building a 9 metre tall demonstration wall with a complete cladding system – including panels and insulation – fixed to it, and then subjecting it to a fire that replicates a severe fire in a flat breaking out of a window and whether it then spread up the outside wall.

Six combinations of cladding systems will be subjected to the BS8414 test procedure.

The six systems will incorporate each of the three common types of aluminium composite material panels, with core filler materials of unmodified polyethylene, fire retardant polyethylene, and non-combustible mineral.

The two insulation materials used in the testing will be rigid polyisocyanurate foam or non-combustible mineral wool.

The Building Research Establishment will undertake these tests “as a matter of urgency” and the results will be made publicly available.

Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

Homeowners looking to save money and improve their level of energy efficiency are looking at a solar/energy storage package to cut their electricity bills.

According to findings from new research by E.ON, when asked about the types of smart technologies people would want in their homes by 2020, four in ten (44%) said they’d like solar panels and/or an electricity battery storage system, more than a third (35%) would like smart lighting, a fifth (20%) wanted a voice controlled smart hub and 13% would like a charging point for an electric car.

But when it comes to solar energy, a number of myths persist with 17% of those questioned mistakenly thinking that solar panels only generate electricity when it’s sunny and one in ten (11%) wrongly believing that solar panels don’t work in cold climates.

Of those surveyed, almost one in ten (9%) homeowners said they already have solar panels. Of these, more than three quarters (76%) said they’re saving money, almost two thirds (65%) said their home is more energy efficient, and almost a third (30%) said they’ve seen the value of their property increase – all as a result of having solar panels installed.

What’s more, four in ten (41%) of those asked said that having a solar panel and battery system would make a potential home more appealing to them if they were looking to buy.

Gavin Stokes, head of Commercial Solutions at E.ON UK, said: “Many of the people we spoke to are already aware of the benefits solar and battery systems can bring – from saving money, to having a more energy efficient home, to making homes more appealing to buyers.”

The research with 2,000 homeowners has been conducted to investigate the nation’s attitudes to the smart solutions available today and in the future. It reveals that the majority of people have already taken steps to make their homes smarter with a third (34%) planning further upgrades.


Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

Source: Electrical Times

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Energy networks making £7.5bn in “unjustified profit” over eight year period, Citizens Advice claims

Citizens Advice is calling for energy network companies to return money to consumers through a rebate. Energy consumers are subsidising £7.5bn in profits made by the businesses responsible for the UK’s gas and electricity networks over an 8-year period, new research from Citizens Advice reveals.

The national charity has published new research, which estimates that key decisions made by the energy regulator Ofgem are allowing energy network companies to make billions in returns on their capital investments, without reflecting how efficient they have been.

Ofgem has said it will set tougher limits on the money that energy networks can make from 2021 and has said that when it sets the next price control for these companies, they should expect lower returns.

Citizens Advice has also called on the energy network firms to return their excess profits from the current price control to consumers through a rebate on their bills.

Energy networks are regulated monopolies – meaning it is not practical for there to be competition between them to drive down the amount consumers pay. Ofgem forecasts the costs for building and maintaining energy networks – including the cost of staff, materials, and the cost of capital used to finance investment – as well as estimating the level of business risk for investors. Energy network companies’ profits are taken from the difference between their actual costs and the amount that Ofgem allows for these costs.

In its new report, Citizens Advice finds three key decisions by Ofgem that are costing consumers money by being favourable to energy network companies’ interests over the current 8 year period – called a “price control.”

First, costing consumers £3bn, Ofgem overestimated the business risk for investors in energy networks. They estimated that energy networks are 90-100% as risky as the average company but market data suggested a more reasonable figure would be 60%;

Second, costing consumers £3.4bn, Ofgem assumed interest rates and returns for government bonds would be higher than they were;

Third, costing consumers £1.1bn, the financial incentives Ofgem has put in place to reward efficiency – such as allowing energy network companies to keep some of the underspend on projects as profit – actually rewarded companies that inflated their initial estimates for the cost of staff and materials.

Energy networks making £7.5bn in "unjustified profit" over eight year period, Citizens Advice claims

Energy networks making £7.5bn in “unjustified profit” over eight year period, Citizens Advice claims

Source: HVP Magazine

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1 in 3 consumers back government changes to smart meter rollout plans

Nearly a third of consumers in the UK back changes to government policy scrapping a commitment to install smart meters in 26 million homes by the end of the decade, new research has found.

As announced in the Queen’s speech, Theresa May’s government will continue to encourage homes to have the energy monitoring devices installed, but has now said that homeowners will be offered the choice to have a meter put in their homes, rather than being forced to do so.

The change comes as new research by Echo Managed Services found that 31% of customers think they should be given the choice about whether to have a smart meter installed or not.

Last week’s announcement is a watering down of then Prime Minister David Cameron’s government’s plan to install 47 million meters into all UK households, however, it is claimed that this new plan will still provide savings of £300 million annually by 2020, increasing to £1.2bn by 2030.

Commenting on the announcement and research findings, Chris Cullen, head of sales and marketing at Echo Managed Services, said: “Giving customers a choice about the services and products they use is a key factor in successful consumer relations and this announcement will be welcomed by homeowners.

“We know there is an appetite for smart meters among UK homeowners, but one of the most common complaints we heard was that people thought this rollout was being enforced on them without properly understanding the benefits so this decision will go some way to calming those issues. In addition, clearly articulating the benefits of meters to customers is vital, without this it can’t be expected that householders will readily agree to meter installation.”

These findings come at the same time similar research revealed that one in five customers could resist having a smart meter installed, primarily due to concerns over data security and privacy.

1 in 3 consumers back government changes to smart meter rollout plans

1 in 3 consumers back government changes to smart meter rollout plans

Source: Electrical Times

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APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

With Quality Plumber Week fast approaching, the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) is urging more plumbing and heating engineers to use social media.

John Thompson the CEO of APHC, said: “Over the past decade, companies have embraced social media as a valuable marketing tool. Right now, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are at the forefront and can be impactful marketing tools, giving plumbing and heating businesses the ability to communicate with customers and potential customers directly.

“The most important bit of advice I would give when looking to build a social media network of followers is to not focus on quantity, like gathering tens of thousands of followers, but to focus on gaining meaningful engagement and page impressions from a relevant social media network.

“To do this, I would look to engage with local people and companies whom you may have an affinity with; do they have the same customer base? Find them, follow them and engage with them. Retweet and repost their content and look for opportunities to feature them in your content. In time, you will find their audience becomes your audience.”

  • APHC recommends using social media to:
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Generate questions and enquiries from potential customers
  • Share helpful information
  • Promote deals and special offers
  • Share industry relevant news
  • Encourage customers to leave positive feedback
  • Get behind important causes
  • Network with other professionals and exchange tips.

“If your plumbing and heating business has yet to gain an online social presence, it is not too late to get started. You can sign up for a social media account for free and begin engaging with your audience immediately,” John concluded.

APHC is running Quality Plumber Week between 2nd – 6th October to celebrate the skilled work plumbing and heating engineers carry out every day. You can get involved on Twitter by tweeting using #QPW17 and on Facebook and LinkedIn by mentioning ‘Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors’ or @APHC_UK on Twitter.

During Quality Plumber Week, APHC will be asking the industry to showcase their work and say what makes them a quality plumber.

APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

Source: HVP Magazine

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World’s first sideways elevator unveiled

The world’s first rope-less, horizontal-vertical lift has been installed inside a purpose-built innovation test tower in Germany.

More than 160 years after the invention of the conventional elevator, manufacturer ThyssenKrupp is hailing it as a game changer for major buildings.

Instead of one cabin per shaft moving up and down, the “MULTI” system offers multiple cabins operating in a loop, like a metro system inside a building.

It requires fewer and smaller shafts than conventional elevators and can increase the building’s usable area by up to 25%, representing extra revenues from the additional rentable/leasable space.

Present elevator-escalator footprints can occupy up to 40% of a high rise building’s floor space, depending on the building height.

The first fully functional unit has just been installed in ThyssenKrupp’s purpose-built 246m test tower in Rottweil, Germany.

And now European developer OVG Real Estate plans to become the lift maker’s very first customer installing the MULTI in the new East Side Tower building in Berlin, adjacent to the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

World's first sideways elevator unveiled

World’s first sideways elevator unveiled

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

Almost 15% of young adults in the electrical industry are dealing with learning difficulties such as dyslexia and through its Apprentice Support Programme, the Electrical Industries Charity is providing vital support to ensure these young people succeed in their chosen career.

Dyslexia is a hidden problem that can be missed at schools, and often shows its presence through disruptive behaviour and missed schooling. For example, at the age of 15, Scott left school, due to many years of bullying and missed education. He is now well on the way to completing his apprenticeship, and all of his work is well documented. However, he has yet to pass his final written exam, and it is now that his difficulties have come to light.

After years of ongoing bullying at school for being ‘stupid’ Scott almost quit his apprenticeship thinking that his dyslexia was an intelligence issue. His employer was keen to help him through this final stage of his apprenticeship and, therefore, he approached the Electrical Industries Charity to get more support for Scott.

The Electrical Industries Charity joined ties with JTL to facilitate Scott’s first ever assessment for dyslexia and found a specialist tutor to help him on a one-to-one basis. Scott will now be supported right through his exam, and on to a successful journey as a fully qualified electrician.

In the electrical sector, there are many young apprentices like Scott who are not aware of their learning difficulty, which can stand in the way of pursuing their dream career. By joining together, the Electrical Industries Charity and JTL are helping young apprentices to succeed in their chosen careers and aim to end the stigma of mental health issues while creating awareness and giving them the support they need.

Tessa Ogle, managing director of the Charity, says: “Dyslexia is a hidden problem that is often missed throughout schooling. One in 10 people in the UK are affected by dyslexia. The Electrical Industries Charity is working hard to ensure awareness of dyslexia is better understood in the sector. With almost 15% of the electrical and energy industry suffering with it, it makes sense to create greater awareness and provide support through our Employee Assistance Programmes.”

Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

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Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

The chief executive of The Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), former MP and international development minister, Mike Foster, will be presenting at the Worcester Bosch Environment 2020 awards, focusing on the role that heat decarbonisation can play in enabling the UK to meet carbon emission reduction targets.

The Committee on Climate Change called for new strategies to be put in place in order to meet our carbon reduction targets. The EUA believe that transforming domestic heating, using green gas, provides a real solution. Mike will highlight the role that Worcester Bosch is playing to help the UK meet its international climate change obligations.

Around 20% of the nation’s carbon emissions are generated by domestic heating. Given that the UK has the world’s leading gas grid infrastructure in place, directly supplying heat to 85% of homes, there is real potential for green gas to be the future of heating. Multiple opportunities exist regarding green gas; namely biomethane, methane and hydrogen blended gas, synthetic gas from black bag waste and, in the long-term, 100% hydrogen.

Mike said: “The UK needs to decarbonise and Worcester Bosch play a vital role in paving a way for us to do so. Using greener forms of gas to heat homes will minimise the disruption consumers face, keeping their costs to a minimum, while helping to save the planet.

“Particularly exciting is the new technology that takes black bin waste and converts it to gas, which can then be used in our homes. The other emerging thinking is around the use of hydrogen, either mixed with natural gas or used on its own. New boiler technology needs to be developed for this to work, and I know Worcester Bosch is at the forefront of this innovation.”

Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

Over three in four electrotechnical workers (76%) say they prefer working for a direct employer rather than a labour agency, according to new survey findings commissioned by the Joint Industry Board.

Of those who say they preferred direct employment, almost two in three respondents (62%) said it was to ‘enjoy their full employment rights’. A similar number say they preferred ‘steady employment’ (63%) and ‘valued the holidays and additional benefits available’ (59%).

Just one in six respondents (16%) say they favour agency labour work over direct employment. Over four in 10 of those who preferred agency work (43%) said it was due to the flexibility, while nearly three in 10 (29%) said it was because they could earn more.

ECA director of employment Alex Meikle comments: “These findings overwhelmingly show that electrotechnical workers are more content and likely to be more productive working directly for an employer.

“While agency workers can be a necessary source of flexible labour for businesses, the industry should take a hard look at the value of temporary employment. It’s now time for a rebalancing that ensures worker productivity is maximised moving forward.”

Some 422 electrotechnical workers from across the UK responded to the survey, which was held during the first quarter of the year.

The ECA’s recent submission to the government’s industrial strategy consultation noted that ‘higher (employee) engagement is associated with higher performance’, and urged the government to consider using the procurement process to improve employer-worker collaboration.

The 2009 government-commissioned Macleod report found that ‘the correlation between engagement, wellbeing and performance is repeated too often to be a coincidence’. This view indicates the value of employee engagement and support initiatives – such as occupational health assessments and CPD training – to ensuring worker productivity.

Another recent ECA survey on the value of corporate social responsibility found that half of electrotechnical businesses said that having a CSR policy in place meant they were more likely to retain and recruit staff.

3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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England stars take on Worcester’s Boiler Box Challenge

Worcester, Bosch Group is inviting installers to take on the Boiler Box Challenge, after taking ex-England stars Wayne Bridge and Kyran Bracken back to their roots for its Rely On campaign.

With the campaign aiming to celebrate the things and people that we rely on every day, the manufacturer took the two sporting legends from the world of football and rugby back to surprise the players, parents and coaches at their childhood clubs in Southampton and Liverpool.

As well as offering pep talks and coaching sessions, Wayne and Kyran were on hand to deliver hot beverages and snacks to keep parents warm once the matches got underway. After the games, a final surprise was in store – each club being presented with a £1,000 cheque on behalf of the heating and hot water manufacturer.

Then, back on the very pitches where they first learned to play, the ex-pros took on Worcester’s Boiler Box Challenge, which saw the former internationals attempt to chip or throw a football or rugby ball into an empty boiler box.

Now, Worcester is inviting installers to submit their own efforts. From rainbow flicks to scorpion kicks, the manufacturer is asking for the most impressive ways engineers can get a football or rugby ball into an empty boiler box – with a host of signed balls to give away for the most creative clips.

You can watch Wayne and Kyran taking on the challenge on Worcester’s social media channels. Then, post your own attempts using #BoilerBoxChallenge for your chance to win a signed football or rugby ball.

Worcester is also on the lookout for deserving junior clubs to visit. Nominate a team, club, or society who you think deserves a surprise from the Worcester team before July 30, at:

England stars take on Worcester's Boiler Box Challenge

England stars take on Worcester’s Boiler Box Challenge

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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June 2017 Newsletter

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Grenfell Tower fire probe focuses on cladding

Fire investigators will focus on how the Grenfell tower blaze spread so rapidly jumping up the exterior of the building from the fourth floor to top in just 15 minutes.

A key area of investigation will be the common rainscreen system used on the Grenfell Tower, which is designed to include fire-breaks at every floor and around every window.

Experts believe this may have failed with the void between the aluminium panels and building fabric acting as a chimney to spread the fire.

The system has been used on many tower block revamps and the Government has now ordered checks on all buildings in the UK that have been revamped in recent years.

Chris Miers, a forensic architect, said: “I was surprised to see the extent of fire and its rapid spread. The risk is if the void is not adequately subdivided it would act as a chimney.”

The building was overclad with Aluminium Composite Material cassette rainscreen. This consists of two thin aluminium sheets sandwiching a core material. The panels are available with polyethylene or less flammable mineral cores.

Russ Timpson of the tall building fire safety network, said: “In the UK cladding has to be of limited combustibility. I’m sure it will be questioned what exactly this means and what these types of cladding systems are adding to the fire load of a building.”

The cladding system employs a void behind the panel to vent moisture. An intumescent strip is designed to be installed at regular intervals to expand in the event of fire to become a cavity barrier.

Cladding contractor Harley Curtain Wall fell into administration shortly after completing the £2.6m Grenfell Tower project.

Main contractor Rydon, which delivered the £8.6m upgrade to the Grenfell Tower in 2016 as part of a £57m borough-wide regeneration in Kensington & Chelsea, said it had met “all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards”.

“We will cooperate with the relevant authorities and emergency services and fully support their enquiries into the causes of this fire at the appropriate time.

“Given the ongoing nature of the incident and the tragic events overnight, it would be inappropriate for us to speculate or comment further at this stage.”

Both firms also delivered a bigger project, the Chalcot Estate in north London, which involved using similar systems to reclad five blocks as part of an £18m revamp.

The Chalcot estate in Swiss Cottage consists of 706 homes in five tower blocks -Taplow, Bray, Burnham, Dorney, and Blashford – rising to 23 storeys.

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Contractors urged to act on upcoming energy regulations

In less than a year, the government’s new energy bill comes into effect. Ideal Commercial Boilers are urging installers to act now before upcoming changes to the energy efficiency regulations.

From 1 April 2018, landlords of non-domestic rented properties, including public sector landlords, cannot grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if their property has an EPC rating below E.

A report from global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield estimates that nearly 20% of commercial property buildings in England and Wales could fall short of the government’s upcoming energy standards.

Ideal Commercial Boilers see is the change as an opportunity for installers to encourage customers to be proactive before the legislation comes into effect and recommending products and services that will be required in less than a year.

Darren Finley, Chief Commercial Officer at Ideal Commercial Boilers, said: “While replacing an inefficient boiler with an efficient one is the obvious solution, we would also urge contractors to use it as a chance to reiterate the benefits of routine inspection protecting the whole heating system, encouraging clients to consider preventative maintenance, monitoring gas bills, introducing controls and water treatment.”

There is mounting pressure to meet the new energy standards, particularly where tenancies are due for renewal in the first quarter of 2018. Commercial landlords who are still heating their buildings with older boilers and inefficient systems will end up losing out.

The regulations will change again from 1 April 2023 and landlords must not let a non-domestic property if that property has an EPC rating of band F or G.

Source: HVP Magazine

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Electricians wanted to fill assessor skills gap

A campaign to recruit more NVQ assessors has been launched by training provider JTL, following concerns of a skills shortage in this area and the negative impact it could have on apprenticeship quality.

A very welcomed rise in the number of apprenticeships has in turn led to an increased need for independent assessors – individuals who can visit an apprentice’s place of work to review their on-site work, provide guidance on their NVQ portfolio and support their development.

However, with a shortage across England and Wales of those currently carrying out this role, the quality of each apprenticeship could be at risk because apprentices are not given the amount of pastoral and technical support they need to progress.

JTL prize the quality of their assessment highly and are keen to ensure that increasing learner numbers do not have a negative impact. Because of the specialised nature of the role, electricians who have already worked ‘on the tools’ in the industry for a number of years are ideally suited to an assessment role, as they are fully versed with current working practices and the industry techniques that an apprentice needs to learn. Those who are able to spend one or two days a week visiting apprentices at work to help progress their NVQ development are being encouraged to apply.

“Becoming an assessor gives you the chance to give something back and, if you’re retired or wanting to take a back seat in your business, allows you to keep in touch with the industry,” said Julie Asher-Smith, human resources director of JTL.

“It’s your opportunity to interact with the industry’s future workforce and allows you to share the experience and skills you’ve gained over the years.

“The skills gap relating to apprentices and electricians has been well documented, but having the right people to assess their training is an important part of the jigsaw. With this campaign we’re taking vital steps to ensure there are sufficient numbers of assessors to develop the next generation of craft professionals.”

Those interested in becoming an assessor are encouraged to contact JTL to find out more. Individuals need to be technically qualified with an apprenticeship or NVQ Level 3 as a minimum, but full support and training related to the role, along with attractive day rates, are provided.

To find out more visit

Source: Electrical Times

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Homeowners leave themselves at risk by not checking tradesmen’s credentials

According to the latest research by home service marketplace, nearly four out of five homeowners admit that they would hire a trade professional without checking for public liability or professional indemnity insurance.

Hiring a trade professional who does not have the appropriate insurance cover can leave a homeowner financially vulnerable if things go wrong, or if they are dissatisfied with the work carried out.

All home improvement or renovation projects come with some risk. Without public liability insurance, any costs arising from on site injuries or damaged property will fall to the customer to pay. Similarly, if the work carried out, advice given, or specialist services offered by a pro are unsatisfactory, without professional indemnity insurance, the financial costs to amend the project will again fall to the homeowner to organise.

Shockingly, according to the research, only 54% of homeowners check the Gas Safe Register when hiring tradesmen to work on their gas utilities. This percentage drops to 48% for under 55-year-olds, but rises to 60% for homeowners aged 55 and over. Ensuring that a property’s gas utilities are safely maintained is essential to prevent serious hazards or accidents. Checking the Gas Safe Register lets homeowners know whether a trade professional is qualified to legally and safely carry out work on gas appliances.

The research shows that 57% of homeowners believe checking reviews from previous customers is a must before hiring a trade professional. Checking a trade professional’s website also ranked highly, with 43% of respondents claiming that this was a key step when hiring a professional. This trend was stronger for younger homeowners, with 63% of 18 to 34-year-olds following this rule, compared to just 39% of respondents aged 55 or over.

Knowing what to look for when hiring a professional may be daunting for some, so Plentific does all the hard work for the customer when it comes to checking credentials. The ‘Verified Pros’ available through Plentific have been thoroughly vetted to ensure that they have all the appropriate cover for their trades. With the added backing of the Plentific Guarantee, an industry first insurance policy that comes as standard with Verified Pros, homeowners can also benefit from an extra layer of protection if the job doesn’t go to plan.

Stephen Jury, of Plentific, said: “It’s shocking to think that the majority of homeowners aren’t properly checking the tradesmen they let into their homes to carry out renovation or repair work. These projects can be costly, so if something goes wrong, it’s essential to be protected.

“The fact that more homeowners check previous customer reviews over credentials such as the Gas Safe Register, could be surprising to some. However, it shows how much influence people put on real life testimonials and recent customer experiences.”

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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Turning teens to engineering

According to a survey by Jobsite, the current engineering talent shortfall is driven, not by lack of interest, but by the fact that young people simply do not know how to get started in the field. Indeed, six out of 10 (63%) 16-18 year olds don’t know what qualifications are necessary to become an engineer, while three quarters (74%) didn’t know of any engineering work experience opportunities.

So with more than 50 per cent of respondents expressing a desire to join the industry, the onus is on businesses and schools to bring engineering apprenticeships to the fore.

One company that is already working towards this goal is engineering solutions firm, adi Group, which currently has 19 employees enrolled on its post-16 apprenticeship scheme, and a dozen 14-16 year olds undertaking an adi pre-apprenticeship in partnership with a local school – the first programme of its kind in the UK.

The scheme involves 12 secondary school students – male and female – attending adi Group’s workshop for half a day each week. This occupies 10% of the students’ overall curriculum time as they continue to work on their GCSEs alongside the course. Unfortunately, despite this being the right course of action, these types of partnerships are a rarity.

According to an IAC survey of apprentices, half of all those surveyed found out about their apprenticeship through their own initiative, with a mere 15% finding out from a teacher or careers adviser. In fact, some students are being actively discouraged by their schools to take on apprenticeships, demonstrating the need for employers to work with educational providers to emphasise the value of work-based learning.

Alan Lusty, CEO of adi Group, comments: “We are now seeing a generation of young people seriously considering engineering as a career choice, however, more needs to be done to match students up with high-quality apprenticeship opportunities.

“adi Group’s long term aim is to support the engineering and manufacturing industries by providing a constant stream of young talented people who are well prepared for specialist roles. Our pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programmes are clear demonstrations of that intent.

“However, we can’t do it alone. We need more businesses to adopt similar initiatives and increase the number of work experience placements available. As rising numbers of young people are interested in a future in engineering, this is a demand we must meet. As such, the pre-apprenticeship model is completely available, free of charge, for any employer or school that wishes to replicate an existing scheme which has proven to work, and work well.”

For more information, visit

Source: Electrical Times

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Heating firms called up for £600m Scottish housing deal

Specialist heating contractors from across Scotland are being invited to submit bids to take part in a new social housing framework.

The new panel of firms is being set up to help registered social landlords meet their obligations under the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing.

It is being launched by PfH Scotland, the procurement specialist set up by the National Housing Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing.

To meet the EESSH standard, all social housing in Scotland must achieve an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of Band D or better by 2020.

PfH Scotland’s newly-launched framework is expected to generate contract work worth up to £600m over four years across Scotland’s social housing sector.

Following a process of vetting, shortlisting and selecting contractors, the framework is expected to go live in September of this year.

PfH Scotland Head of Operations Stephen Herriot said: “I would encourage heating contractors of all sizes, including those who may have no previous experience of tendering for public sector contracts, to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in this £600m procurement framework and to secure new work while helping drive ongoing improvements in the energy efficiency of Scottish social housing.”

The framework will be split into six defined geographic regions across Scotland.

PfH Scotland is offering a range of bid support and advice for SMEs with limited or no experience of tendering for public sector work.

To further support participation be smaller local contractors, evaluation of tenders will also be 70% weighted in favour of quality and 30% on price.

In each geographic region, the framework has been broken down into 13 individual lots covering services ranging from energy performance certification to domestic and commercial gas servicing and from the installation of renewables to architectural services.

Those tendering can submit responses for any or all of these individual lots and will then be required to identify the geographic areas within each lot that they can service.

Contractors have until the 17 July to register an interest in the framework and to submit their bid.

Further information about the PfH Scotland EESSH heating services framework is available on the Public Contracts Scotland website.

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Training will transform building controls industry

The Building Controls Association (BCIA) believes the key to a sustainable future in the building controls industry is to invest in young people and find skilled role models for the next generation.

The current skills shortage faced by the industry has been well documented. A recent survey conducted by UK Construction Week discovered that 67% of respondents identified a lack of knowledge as a serious issue in preventing buildings being run more efficiently, highlighting that more needs to be done in terms of education and training.

To tackle the building performance challenge head-on, building controls engineers must be fully trained to optimise buildings and correctly ascertain which controls will be of most benefit to deliver cost savings and enhance overall comfort.

Technical qualifications called T-levels will be introduced next year for 16-19 year olds following a sizeable investment from the government.

Construction and engineering are set to be two of the key areas which will benefit from this. George Belfield, is an ideal illustration of what a young person can achieve with the right training and guidance.

George recently won the coveted Young Engineer of the Year accolade at the prestigious BCIA Awards 2017 and works for InTandem Systems. Inspired by his older brother who was an electrician, George embarked on an intense training programme and has since gained valuable experience by working on various international projects.

George’s next step is to progress up the ranks and become a building controls engineer as he continues his development in his chosen field. George’s journey has been transformed thanks to obtaining the necessary skills and expertise through ongoing training.

Developing the industry’s talented engineers and retaining them is pivotal. Like George, the industry needs more role models and inspirational figures to encourage and motivate young people to opt for a career in this sector.

Malcolm Anson, president of the BCIA says:” We can all play a significant role in helping shape the future of the building controls industry. Let’s unearth the next crop of controls engineers and demonstrate our passion for the sector. Finding suitable role models will be vital in capturing the imagination of young people who wish to make a career in building controls. We must inspire and educate the next generation to ensure a sustainable future across the whole industry.”

Source: Electrical Times

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Fancy being a local hero?

Centrica has launched a new on-demand service, Local Heroes, providing a user-friendly digital platform to find trusted local tradespeople to carry out work in the home. The service currently connects people with local plumbing, heating, electrical and drainage experts.

Local Heroes links the customer-tradespeople journey seamlessly, from searching for a job and providing a price estimate, through to confirmation and online payment. All work that is undertaken via Local Heroes is backed by a 12-month British Gas guarantee.

For tradespeople who are successfully vetted and approved to become Local Heroes, the business model opens up a new revenue stream of work opportunities available within their local area.

Mark Hodges, Chief Executive at Centrica Consumer, comments: “Local Heroes is a perfect example of how we see innovation and new technologies flourishing at Centrica. Local Heroes is the first online platform that offers a complete start-to-finish experience, introducing current and next generation Centrica customers to local tradesmen – crucially, all backed by the peace of mind of a British Gas guarantee.”

There are more than 2500 Local Heroes across the UK. By 2020, the company aims to have completed several hundred thousand jobs in the home via its online platform.

To find out more, click here.

Source: PHAM News

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Electrical Trade gets its own focus group

Are you a small business working in the electrical sector who feels that your voice isn’t heard when decisions are being made in the industry that affect you?

If you are, this could be the perfect opportunity for you to get involved in a new venture by Trade Skills 4U to get the voice of the small business heard. Trade Skills 4U is keen to hear from self employed electricians (one-man bands), companies with two to five employees, five to ten employees and trainees and apprentices from these groups.

What is it?

The Small Employer Electrical Focus Group will be made up of approximately 10 people from small businesses and trainees working in the electrical industry.

The group will meet once a quarter to represent the employees and employers of small businesses and self-employed workers in the sector.

The intention is to be able to voice opinions regarding what is needed to make the industry better by training more people with the right skills to ensure they are competent.

The group will be guided by a director from Trade Skills 4U, and its intention is to listen to the opinions of the group and gather information, which can be used to influence future decision making around the electrical industry. This will ensure that future training and qualification changes represent what the industry really needs.

Why is it needed?

It’s hard to believe that even though the electrical industry consists of 90% of small businesses, it’s the 10% of larger businesses that have the most influence when decisions are being made regarding the skills needed for the industry, to ensure that the workers are competent.

This seems to be unbalanced when you consider that the majority of the larger firms don’t actually do the work themselves as they use sub-contractors to carry out an installation.

Trade Skills 4U believes that the small businesses should have a bigger voice when decisions are made, which is why they are interested in forming this Focus Group.

The aim is to be in a position to voice its opinions regarding training needs and reactions to specific industry related issues around qualification content and regulatory changes, with the intention that the views of the group will be considered to help influence the decision making and development needs of the sector.

What are the benefits?

By being part of this Focus Group Trade Skills 4U will give you the inside track regarding what’s happening in the industry and will share with you up-to-date information about forthcoming changes to regulations and qualifications.

Why Trade Skills 4U?

As the UK’s leading electrical training company, Trade Skills 4U has been representing the interests of the thousands of their customers for many years. They have been involved in the development of new qualifications, writing of course books and even provided evidence to Government on behalf of their customers. They already have close ties with accrediting bodies and industry bodies but they believe their voice will be stronger with your help.

If this is something you are interested in please register your interest via the form on this page or email

Source: Electrical Times

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Swansea’s £500m city centre regeneration plan approved

Ambitious outline plans to redevelop the heart of Swansea have been approved by the council.

The £500m Swansea Central scheme will see over 11ha redeveloped with the partially demolished St David’s site rebuilt as a new retail destination with a cinema and library.

The council has selected developer Rivington Land and Acme to manage the regeneration of the former St David’s shopping centre and surrounding car parks.

The redevelopment site is divided by the Oystermouth Road. A new wide pedestrian footbridge will connect the triangular southern section of the site.

This is planned to be home to a 3,500-seat arena built on the existing car park next to the LC leisure centre, along with a 13-storey residential block or hotel.

The scheme will need planning permission once plans are finalised, with work hoped to start on the southern site first by summer 2018.

A later phase will involve demolishing the civic centre and creating a city beach, which would also include an aquarium and digital science centre. Trebor Developments will lead the redevelopment of this seafront area.

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Secure estimating from Hotcost Limited

Understanding the tender documentation is essential for any project and is a must for any estimator. Some aspects of the requirements may be very familiar but others may be new and sometimes pioneering.

It is therefore vital for estimators to be alert and knowledgeable. An estimator needs to expect the unexpected and they need to be knowledgeable enough to know instinctively how to deal with all requirements of the project.

And that is all of our estimators here at Hotcost. Because we work continuously in the field of estimating, we have daily knowledge and experience of all type and size of project across the UK and beyond.

With up-to-the-minute costs and vast experience taken into consideration when providing a detailed estimate for our clients, it’s no wonder our clients can be secure in the knowledge that their project has been estimated exactly how it should be – profitable and competitive.

January 2017 Newsletter

‘The New Year see’s some major new projects get approved, schools are invited to raise awareness and there’s praise as industry members help those in need’


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Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Specialist student accommodation builder Watkin Jones is set to start work on a 33-storey scheme at Stratford in East London.

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

The decision to go-ahead follows operator UPP and The University of London securing a £104.7m funding deal for the project.

Its Duncan House scheme on Stratford High Street will rise to over 100m and joins a cluster of tall buildings in the area.

It will provide over 190,000sq ft of new accommodation and will involve UPP operating 511 new study bedrooms and communal space for the length of the concession.

Demolition work is already underway on the site with construction due to start in March.

The scheme designed by Hodder + Partners also includes 44 flats for sale, which will be sold by Watkin Jones.


Funding secured for £100m London Stratford TowerFunding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Sean O’Shea, Group Chief Executive Officer of UPP said: “The University of London is a world-renowned institution and we are delighted to have reached financial close on this landmark transaction in East London.

“Located in the heart of Stratford, this exciting scheme will offer future generations of students’ competitively priced accommodation and facilities of the highest quality.”


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Praise for electrician’s generous deed

They say one good deed deserves another and that was certainly the case for Wigan based electrician Karl Mather.

He was recently asked by the local branch of Age Concern to attend the property of an elderly couple who had no heating. He quickly found the fault was an old storage heater which was more than 30 years old and needed replacing.

Sadly the couple, who were in their 80s, could not afford a new heater so Karl asked Age Concern to see if the elderly pair might be eligible for a grant.

In the meantime Karl took it upon himself to buy a portable heater for the couple so they would have some heat in the short-term.

He returned a few days later to check in on them and was told a grant could take months to come through, if at all.

Feeling he could just not walk away, Karl ordered a new storage heater and went back to fit and supply it a few days later.

“It was obvious talking to them that they had no money and the husband also suffered from dementia,” commented Karl.

“So, I just decided to write it off as an early Christmas present to myself and told the couple that Age Concern had received a grant to pay for the heater and my time.

“They were a lovely couple and I was happy enough with all the tea and cake they gave me for doing the job.”

Karl, who runs his own one-man business, KDM Electrical, thought nothing more of it until a few weeks later when a mysterious letter arrived at NICEIC headquarters about his good deed.

The letter was from another client of Karl’s who had heard about his generosity.

NICEIC decided to get in touch with Karl, thank him for his good deed and cover the costs of the goods, including the portable heater.

“I don’t think anyone could have just walked away from that job,” added Karl. “I never expected anything in return so was amazed when NICEIC got in touch. It all seems a bit surreal and was a real nice thing to hear just a few days before Christmas.”

Emma Clancy, CEO of NICEC added: “This is a great example of the things our registered contractors do for their customers every day.

“It was a really heart-warming story to hear. Karl’s actions demonstrated a genuine care for his customers and I am proud to have him as a NICEIC registrant.”

Praise for electrician's generous deed

Praise for electrician’s generous deed


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Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO

Gas network management companies across the UK have launched their annual school safety competition to raise awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

The Gas Distribution Networks (GDN’s) National Grid Distribution, Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities are looking for entries from students in any form of media, such as eye-catching cartoons, videos, models, short stories or poems that are informative and accurate in warning of the dangers of CO poisoning.

Phil Burrows, chair of the GDN CO Best Practice Group said: “All the GDN’s are committed to raising awareness of CO and are pleased to launch the school safety competition for 2017 – a key activity in highlighting the dangers of CO poisoning in schools, homes and workplaces across Great Britain.

“Each year the GDN’s are further impressed by the level of understanding and creativity that goes into making the competition entries and are encouraged the CO safety message reaches not only the students, but to their friends and families in the community as well.”

The competition is open to students in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 (ages 5 to 11) across Great Britain. Winners from each area will be invited to a special award ceremony to be held at the Palace of Westminster in London, where the national winner will be announced. All winners will receive a prize for themselves and for their school.

All queries and entries are to be submitted to by Friday 5 May 2017.

For further information including key dates and competition Terms & Conditions visit the ENA website.

Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO

Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO


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Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety

The London Assembly has made a unanimous motion for the government to introduce mandatory, five yearly electrical safety checks in the private rented sector (PRS).

Phil Buckle, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, comments, “Dangerous electrics in the PRS results in more deaths and injuries than those caused by gas and carbon monoxide poisoning, yet landlords have had to provide annual gas safety certificates since 1998 and the requirement for carbon monoxide alarms came into force last October. Regular electrical checks are required in Scotland and due to come into effect in Wales. Private renters in England should have the same level of protection.”

Electrical Safety First led the charge in ensuring regular electrical checks for PRS properties were included the recent Housing Acts passed by the Devolved Governments in Scotland and Wales. And the England-only Housing and Planning Act, which gained Royal Assent last May, included an amendment on electrical safety – which the charity sponsored. However, a range of secondary legislation will need to be passed before the Act comes into force (which is not expected until April 2017).

The charity has called for regular, electrical checks to be undertaken every five years – by a suitably qualified electrician, registered with one of the government’s Competent Person Schemes. To help ensure landlords understand their obligations, Electrical Safety First has produced a number of tools and guides and a visual inspection App, which can be downloaded to a mobile phone, to help provide an initial electrical safety review of any property.

Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety

Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety


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UK construction manufacturing continues to grow

Sales in the UK construction products manufacturing market continued to climb for a fifteenth consecutive quarter in Q4 of 2016, according to figures published in the Construction Products Association’s (CPA) latest State of Trade Survey.

The construction products manufacturing industry has an annual turnover of £55bn, directly providing jobs for 288,000 people across 22,000 companies. Products range from heavyside materials such as steel, bricks, timber and concrete, to lightside products such as insulation, boilers, glass and lighting.

On an annual basis, 78% of heavyside firms reported that sales had increased in Q4, while on the lightside, 75% of firms reported that sales were higher than a year earlier, which was the highest balance since 2014 Q3.

However, as uncertainty intensifies and cost pressures from the fall in Sterling post-Referendum hit this year, the CPA believes the industry may struggle to experience similar growth. Among heavyside manufacturers, only six percent on balance anticipate a rise in sales over Q1 2017, with 29% on balance of lightside manufacturers anticipate a rise during the same period.

Rebecca Larkin, CPA senior economist, said: “Construction product manufacturers ended 2016 on a strong note, with half of manufacturers on both the heavyside and lightside reporting an increase in sales in Q4, marking not only a fifteenth consecutive quarter of growth, but also the highest balances for the year.

“Unsurprisingly, manufacturers’ expectations for 2017 appear to have been tempered by the uncertainty surrounding the economic and political outlook. Heavyside manufacturers appeared most exposed to the effects of Sterling’s depreciation during the second half of 2016. In Q4, two-thirds of firms reported an increase in costs, the highest in five years, and a further 89% anticipate an increase over the next year. Rising costs of imported raw materials continue to be a primary driver of cost inflation, but there is now an indication that currency weakness is filtering through to higher energy and fuel costs too.

“The impact of Brexit on the construction industry is, as yet, unclear, but it is unlikely this year will be as buoyant as last unless government is able to provide greater certainty and the industry is able to manage cost pressures.”

UK construction manufacturing continues to grow

UK construction manufacturing continues to grow


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BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017

BSRIA is delighted to announce the launch of The BSRIA Blue Book for 2017.

The Blue Book contains invaluable industry information. This includes: key contacts; conversation data; key performance indicators; market statistics; and legislation and financial information. Bsria’s services, training courses and current publications are also covered.Jayne Sunley, Bsria’s information and knowledge manager, said: “The Bsria Blue Book is worth its weight in gold and vital for industry nuggets of information: we urge you to get hold of a copy.Bsria’s annual databook for 2017 is small but concise and continues to provide you with hard-to-find facts about building services.It is loaded with essential facts, figures and contacts. Bsria’s networks and events are outlined, along with the contact details of key Bsria experts. And key industry contacts and a full Bsria member list. The useful financial and VAT information and tables of technical data would certainly help every business in the industry. Annual building running costs are also covered.There is also a section on Brexit!”

BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017

BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017


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Underfloor heating system donated for Royal Marine’s accessible new home

A Royal Marine who contracted a chronic illness while serving in Afghanistan is benefiting from the generosity of a number of building product manufacturers contributing to a purpose-built house for him and his family.

Corporal Phil Eaglesham contracted the relatively rare Q fever while serving in Afghanistan five years ago. The condition has left him unable to walk and is unfortunately proving to be degenerative, making his existing home near Taunton increasingly unsuitable.

The Royal Marines Charity appealed for help to construct a bespoke dwelling to meet his specific needs.

Exeter based renewables and underfloor heating specialist, OMNIE, has donated one of its Staples pipework systems for the construction of a fully wheelchair accessible home.

The 600 metres of underfloor heating pipe and made-to-measure manifold will work to keep the entire ground floor of the two-storey property at a carefully controlled temperature.

Sharky Ward, deputy chief executive officer of The Royal Marines Charity, extended his thanks to Persimmon Homes, who donated the land near Taunton, Haldons Chartered Surveyors, who are project managing the build, and Grainge Architects, who developed the plans, all free of charge.

“Omnie have played key role and very kindly donated the underfloor heating system, which will help provide a consistent temperature, which is critical to Corporal Eaglesham’s needs,” he added. “We are hugely grateful to everyone who has made this dream become a reality.”

The layout of the property has created a totally wheelchair friendly environment across both floors, linked by a lift.

As well as the integral garage, the downstairs contains a master bedroom suite with shower room, while the linked kitchen, dining and living rooms feature folding doors, which open out onto the rear garden.

These areas, together with a lobby and separate cloakroom, are heated by six pipe circuits connected back to the five-port manifold and controlled by programmable room thermostats. Designed to create room temperatures of 19, 21 and 22 centigrade, the pipe layouts were securely clipped down over thermal insulation before a wet screed was laid to provide good heat transference.

Corporal Eaglesham said: “This house gives us the chance to make a life and a future again. Even as my condition deteriorates we can still get on with our lives to the best of our ability, rather than fire-fighting every issue that comes with every little change in my condition. The independence which the house layout gives me is second to none.”

Underfloor heating system dontaed for Royal Marine's accessible new home

Underfloor heating system dontaed for Royal Marine’s accessible new home


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ECA’s pick of the bunch

In the market for new test and measurement equipment? Steve Martin, Head of Specialist Groups at the ECA, offers some top tips to aid your selection process.

Vital to any electrical installation is testing, and contractors need to know that the equipment they’re using is reliable, safe and accurate. The industry therefore depends on having the correct procedures and equipment in place to verify the integrity of any installation.

While recent figures from the JIB and ECA show that electrical safety is now at its best since records began, there can never be any complacency. With this in mind, what are the key criteria for electrical contractors and installers when selecting test equipment?

Here are five important considerations when choosing your kit:

1. Usability
The ease (and speed) of testing when on-site remains paramount, particularly with many meters now gaining extended feature sets.

2. Toughness
Contractors should look to invest in a meter that will have a longer lifespan and can stand up to the knocks of daily use.

3. Reputation
The reality is that you get what you pay for. Using a manufacturer that provides full UK support (including technical, repair and calibration) provides assurances, while a full warranty with the product
offers extra guarantees.

4. Safety
Contractors should look for equipment which conforms or exceeds health and safety requirements, particularly given that pre-qualification requirements are becoming more comprehensive over time.

5. Whole life value
The running costs of the tester needs to be considered alongside the purchase price – its physical and electrical robustness are important factors.

“It’s also worth noting that the rise in new connected technologies, such as smart meters, electric vehicles and smart homes, means that contractors need to be aware of any additional regulatory requirements which may apply.”

Taking these steps will ensure that contractors use equipment which helps meet the requirements of building managers and clients, who are themselves becoming more aware of the need to utilise appropriate test equipment.

For instance, when it came to portable appliance testing, Carillion facilities management team running HM Winchester Prison realised the advantages of identifying all individual electrical appliances and other equipment using barcodes, allowing for the correct data to be stored automatically against each item as inspections are undertaken.

The FM services manager at Winchester Prison, Jeff Foster, notes that there is a ‘considerable time saving in being able to identify items, carry out tests, record results and make any notes as part of a fully streamlined process.’

It’s also worth noting that the rise in new connected technologies, such as smart meters, electric vehicles and smart homes, means that contractors need to be aware of any additional regulatory requirements which may apply.

As a result, installers will need test tools which have greater functionality and enable different tasks to be undertaken, particularly given that these technological advances increase expectations among clients for faster testing, and enhanced record keeping, among other requirements.

Here to stay
What remains clear is that contractors will always need testers. Given that the market is highly competitive and innovative products are now widely available, this leaves contractors in a strong situation. With manufacturers competing to deliver high quality products which provide clients with the solutions they need, contractors just need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each product.

By following the five key steps outlined in this article, contractors will be in an ideal position to make such judgements on the range of test equipment available to them.

ECA's pick of the bunch

ECA’s pick of the bunch


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BESA publishes district heating standard

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has been chosen to publish the UK’s first test standard for Heat Interface Units (HIUs).

This new standard is regarded as an important step towards improving the overall performance of British district heating schemes and has been adopted from a test regime developed by energy consultancy FairHeat.

HIUs are key components of heat networks, used to extract heat from the network to feed individual buildings and dwellings. How they perform is central to occupant satisfaction levels and the overall efficiency of the schemes in terms of return temperatures and network sizing. Up until now many heat networks have failed to achieve their intended efficiency targets.

The initial test regime was developed by FairHeat, in partnership with Martin Crane of Carbon Alternatives. It was adapted from a well-established Swedish methodology to suit typical UK operating conditions as part of a research project funded by the former Department of Energy and Climate Change.

This initial test regime has now been adopted as a technical standard by BESA and it will be used to compare manufacturers’ products and equipment types to help network designers evaluate the performance of individual HIUs against their design parameters. It will also be used to create a comprehensive database and improve the industry’s knowledge of HIU performance to better inform future network designs.

“District schemes are a key part of the government’s strategy for achieving low carbon heat targets,” said BESA’s technical director Tim Rook. “HIUs are the crucial interface between a network and its consumers – and, in many cases, they have proved to be an Achilles’ heel.

“This standard is, therefore, a major step forward for UK heat networks and it is a real accolade for BESA to be asked to publish and disseminate it on behalf of the industry.”

BESA publishes district heating standard

BESA publishes district heating standard


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Green light for new Chelsea stadium

Planners at Hammersmith & Fulham council have given Chelsea the go-ahead to build a new 60,000-seater stadium at Stamford Bridge.

Plans for the new £500m ground will see the current stadium demolished.

A club statement said: “We are grateful that planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of our historic home.

“The committee decision does not mean that work can begin on site.

“This is just the latest step, although a significant one, that we have to take before we can commence work, including obtaining various other permissions.”

The new stadium has been designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron and construction work is expected to last three years.

Green light for new Chelsea stadium

Green light for new Chelsea stadium


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Steps for accurate estimating

You have the tender documents and now you have to produce an estimate. So, another tedious and time-consuming task lies ahead. You go through the drawings, you analyse the bill of quantities, and you scrutinise the specifications. Then before you start work on the project, you check that all-important date. The deadline date. Now you know the full extent of the task ahead of you.

Of course if you’re an estimator all this will be familiar to you. You will approach the task one step at a time ensuring all your figures are as accurate as they can possibly be. If your company is a pre-approved contractor then inevitably the final decision will simply come down to cost. With this in mind, you might want to double check all the figures, which is yet another time-consuming exercise.

With so much time and effort going into producing an estimate, it’s only natural you will want to ensure you have covered every step of the process, methodically and mathematically. That’s what we do at Hotcost. We follow a step by step plan, which ensures nothing is left to chance. We look at every aspect of the tender documents, and we ensure that we always cost every element accurately.

We know all about timescales and we know how important accuracy is, so we work to ensure we combine both of these vital factors. We’re doing this every day, so we really do have our finger on the pulse when it comes to getting it right. Why not call us now and find out how we can help you get it right?

November 2016 Newsletter

‘As Winter approaches there’s positive news following Brexit vote, some big projects are given the go-ahead and a campaign to protect elderly people in their homes’


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Go-ahead to turn iconic Waterloo terminal into shopping mall


Plans to revitalise the iconic Eurostar terminal at Waterloo in London with a three level shopping complex have got the green light.

London & Continental Railways and Network Rail are planning to build over 130,000 sq ft of retail space in levels below the former Waterloo international terminal station platforms.

The scheme is aimed to bring the station’s shopping offer up to the standard set by Birmingham New Street and St Pancras International.

Plans also include dramatically improving the public realm fronting Cab Road and improved linkages to Leake Street and Lower Marsh, acting as a retail draw for the redevelopment of the nearby Shell Centre.

The two-year reconstruction plan is expected to cost around £60m, excluding shop fit-out.

The major retail plan forms part of the £800m remodelling of Waterloo, which includes bringing five former Eurostar platforms into use for regular commuter services by Network Rail.

Skanska is carrying out the major infrastructure works including lengthening existing local service platforms and reopening the former Eurostar platforms.


Go-ahead to turn iconic Waterloo terminal into shopping mall

Go-ahead to turn iconic Waterloo terminal into shopping mall




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ECA poll finds increasing number of businesses see turnover rise following Brexit vote


Over eight in 10 (80.1 per cent) electrical and building services engineering firms say turnover increased or stayed the same during the third quarter of 2016, according to new survey findings from the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA).

The findings cover the three months from July – September, the period almost immediately following the landmark vote this summer for the UK to leave the European Union. The responses indicate that, overall, there was only a modest pre-and post referendum impact on the sector.

Businesses of almost all sizes had a favourable third quarter, with small contracting firms, medium-sized enterprises and large organisations all reporting an improvement on the previous three month period. However, micro businesses with turnover below £200,000 had a slight downturn in Q3.

Looking ahead to the final quarter of 2016, the outlook is also positive overall, although business expectations are down, with 31 per cent of firms expecting a rise in turnover in Q4 (a fall of 11 per cent from expectations in our previous survey for Q3 this year).

ECA CEO Steve Bratt commented: “This ECA survey shows that electrical and building services firms remain broadly confident about their economic prospects, but we should remember that our sector feels any positive or negative effects later than many others in the supply chain.

“In addition, the survey shows that the expectation for business is down for the final quarter of the year, and members are already reporting increasing prices of key materials and equipment.  This means that 2017 may present even more challenges to profit margins.”

The Building Engineering Business Survey, which is held in association with Scolmore, was sent out to ECA members in early October this year. The response rate was the highest in five years.


ECA poll finds increasing number of businesses see turnover rise following Brexit vote

ECA poll finds increasing number of businesses see turnover rise following Brexit vote




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Plumbers’ merchants market forecast to increase by 4% in 2016


The plumbers’ merchant market was worth an estimated £4 billion in 2015, having recovered strongly in recent years. Demand has increased since 2013, leading to greater demand for plumbing materials, bathroom and shower products, and the plumbers’ merchants market is forecast to grow by around 4% in 2016, according to a report by AMA Research.

Increasing demand has been attributed to the improving economic climate in general since 2013, with demand increasing for both new work and RMI activity.

Price competition remains fierce and AMA Research believes this may influence margins going forward. In order to differentiate themselves, some plumbers’ merchants have invested in improving the overall customer experience through enhanced service, such as extended opening times, greater availability of stock and heightened promotional activity. Many have also expanded their online presence, to ensure that they compete with rising internet sales.

Consolidation has been a feature of the marketplace in recent years, as nationals have acquired smaller regional operations in order to extend their reach and range of services. However, many regional and independent merchants have performed well, with some expanding their number of branches to improve their product offering and stock levels to meet local needs.

It is extremely difficult to forecast the impact of the outcome of the EU Referendum on the economy going forward. Several economic forecasts suggest that the UK economy will start to slow, with business and consumer confidence affected, potentially with lower GDP growth in 2017 and 2018. The situation may improve after this, depending on the outcome of trade negotiations, both within and outside the EU, which have yet to take place.

Both Travis Perkins and Wolseley, two of the leading merchant groups in the country, have streamlined the plumbers’ merchant sides of the respective businesses as a result of uncertainty in the market.

“While there are indications of a slowdown in growth in the housing and commercial sectors from mid to late-2016, the plumbers’ merchants market is still forecast to increase by around 4% compared with 2015, with a further 2 to 3% per annum expected from 2017 onwards” said Keith Taylor, director of AMA Research.


Plumbers' merchants market forecast to increase by 4% in 2016

Plumbers’ merchants market forecast to increase by 4% in 2016




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NICEIC and ELECSA launch campaign to protect elderly people from faulty electrical equipment


A new, consumer-facing, campaign from NICEIC and ELECSA is urging householders to think electrics when they carry out their checks on the elderly this winter.

Proportionately, older people suffer more fatal and non-fatal injuries from electrically-related house fires than the rest of the population.

People over 65 are particularly at risk because they often live in old or poor-quality housing that contains faulty electrics or old appliances.

Yet research by NICEIC and ELECSA has revealed that although many people will be looking in on an elderly relative or neighbour this winter, the one thing that could be getting overlooked is a quick check on the state of the electrics.

“Some of the results we found were quite startling,” commented NICEIC and ELECSA’s Technical Development Manager Darren Staniforth.

“While up to 50% of people will be making regular calls on a relative or neighbour this winter, less than 20% of those would think to take a quick check of the electrics to make sure everything is ok.

“With people over 65 statistically more likely to be involved in a fire caused by faulty electrics, this is obviously concerning.

“During the colder months, the elderly are more likely to be plugging in electrical appliances such as heaters or electric blankets, many of which could be old and potentially dangerous.

“They could also be plugging these appliances into an electric supply around the home that might not have been checked in decades or perhaps never at all.

“We want to encourage those looking out for an older relative or neighbour to have a quick check of the home and make sure there is nothing there that could potentially lead to something awful occurring.”

Research carried out by NICEIC and ELECSA revealed that:

  • 50% of us hold the opinion that the elderly are more at risk from the electrical dangers in our homes.
  • 75% have never helped their relative to have their home safety checked by an electrician.
  • 80% have never been concerned by the safety of the electrical appliances in their elderly family member’s home.

As Darren added: “Our research shows that the Great British public does a great deal of work looking out for the elderly in the winter time.

“The lack of concern over electrical safety is not one about not caring, but generally a lack of knowledge about what to look out for.”

NICEIC and ELECSA have produced a checklist, of what to look out for to reduce the risk of an electrical fault. This quick visual check includes:

  • Ensuring that plug sockets are not damaged or scorched. Any scorch marks around a socket are an indication that something is not right and that you should call a registered electrician to investigate further.
  • Checking that any leads or cables are not damaged or frayed
  • Checking that lights are working correctly and there is no signs of visible damage
  • Checking that sockets are not overloaded or that too many extension leads are in use.
  • Check that the main fusebox (consumer unit) has RCD protection fitted. An RCD (Residual Current Device) will trip should it detect an overload in the circuit.

“By carrying out these simple checks people will be able to reduce the risk of fire or spot something that could potentially lead to a problem in the future,” added Darren.

“If they see something that doesn’t seem to be working properly or may need further investigation we always suggest they call their local registered electrician.

“A registered electrician will be able to rectify any faults or carry out an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) which will identify any potential issues that could lead to further problems.”

Faulty electrics in the home account for 20,000 house fires each year, causing upwards of 70 fatalities.

Most electrical issues in the home are easily preventable by ensuring a home is regularly checked by a suitable, registered electrician.


NICEIC and ELECSA launch campaign to protect elderly people from faulty electrical equipment

NICEIC and ELECSA launch campaign to protect elderly people from faulty electrical equipment




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Free boiler guide for your customers


The AA has produced a straightforward boiler guide to help householders better understand their boiler, hot water and central heating system. Covering everything from boiler types and controls to how to effectively use the system, the guide is designed to help householders save energy by using their system properly and encourage them to get it regularly checked and serviced.

The guide explains how combi, sealed systems and open vent systems work using simple diagrams. Other advice addresses boiler controls, temperature timings, room thermostats and the pilot light. There is also a section on how to achieve cost-effective heating.

To access the Big Boiler Handbook, click here.


Free boiler guide for your customers

Free boiler guide for your customers




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2.7 million renters at risk from dangerous gas appliances, says Gas Safe Register


Unsafe gas appliances have been found in a fifth of privately rented accommodation, leading Gas Safe Register to believe that more than 2.7 million people could be living in dangerous housing.

Investigation data by Gas Safe Register spanning five years revealed that gas heaters are the most dangerous appliances in rented accommodation, accounting for 59% of all unsafe appliances.

According to the data, a fifth of renters are unaware their boiler should be safety checked annually, and 11% don’t think their boiler has been inspected this year.

Despite landlords being responsible for ensuring that all gas appliances provided by them are safety checked every year by a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer, more than a third are unaware of their duty of care. In fact, one in seven landlords reportedly think gas appliance safety is the responsibility of their local council.

Jonathan Samuel, managing director at Gas Safe Register, said: “Gas safety can be a matter of life or death. The findings from the 122,000 inspections carried out by our team over the last five years show us that more unsafe appliances have been found in rented accommodation than in privately owned homes.

“However, any unsafe appliance can have devastating consequences, regardless of the type of property. We are urging renters, homeowners and landlords alike to make sure they know to get gas appliances checked on an annual basis and, as a legal requirement, to ‘trust the triangle’ by using a Gas Safe registered engineer.”


2.7 million renters at risk from dangerous gas appliances, says Gas Safe Register

2.7 million renters at risk from dangerous gas appliances, says Gas Safe Register




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Workers call for site shutdowns in freezing weather


Union leaders are calling for housing sites to be closed down when temperatures plummet below freezing.

Chiefs at UCATT have written to the major house builders demanding the introduction of extreme weather health and safety guidelines for construction workers.

The National House Building Council publishes minimum temperature guidance to protesct materials on site.

Now UCATT wants to see similar recommendations to protect workers.

It said: ” The NHBC makes it clear mortar should not be used below 2 degrees C, whilst construction workers should put their gloves on, get out there and suffer.”

The union also hit out at an “institutionalised” macho culture which prevents workers from complaining about the cold.

UCATT Acting General Secretary, Brian Rye, said: “It’s a complete indictment of an industry that has temperature guidelines to safeguard materials but none whatsoever for the workers. This must now change.

“We have written to the NHBC to ask them to inject some humanity into the industry and provide clear temperature and extreme weather guidelines for constructors to apply to workers.

“In an age when we no longer send young children up chimneys to clean them, we should equally not be forcing construction workers to work in inhuman conditions.

“If it’s too cold for mortar – it’s too cold for mortals!”

There is no current legal minimum or maximum temperature for working outside.

Unions are currently negotiating to have rules or guidance on working in extreme weather included in the Construction Industry Joint Council agreement.


Workers call for site shutdowns in freezing weather

Workers call for site shutdowns in freezing weather




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Schneider Electric expands and enhances Partner Programme


Schneider Electric is to continue its commitment to electricians with the expansion of its enhanced and newly titled Electrician Partner Programme.

Formerly known as Ultimate Installer, the scheme is dedicated to supporting electricians and is free for professionals working in the residential and light commercial sectors and who can demonstrate one of the entry criteria.

Partners is designed to solve challenges such as striking a balance between time on the tools versus administration in the office, to maintaining skills and knowledge for emerging technology trends as well as the evolving marketing needs of starting a new business through to maintaining an established one.


Benefits for Partners include: a welcome pack with complimentary branded work wear; a business listing on Schneider Electric’s Partner locator for end-users; training opportunities; special promotions; and events.

In addition, Partners will receive exclusive access to the My Rewards Loyalty Scheme where they can make their spend on thousands of everyday materials go that bit further and reap a reward for choosing Schneider Electric.

Underpinning the Programme and helping electricians save time online is the launch of the new mySchneider Electrician portal.

The free portal provides a one-stop shop for product information, pricing, stockist locator, online training and quick links to customer and technical support. Partners also get further access to the loyalty scheme facilities and client support tools at Partner rates.

To support the launch of the portal, Partners have the chance to enter the Business Booster prize draw and win up to £5,000 to spend on their business simply by registering and activating their mySchneider Electrician portal.

One lucky winner will have the chance to spend the prize money on anything from a new website, to branded workwear, company video, van wrap or van insurance and trade membership fees paid for one year.

“I’ve been really happy with the quality of Schneider Electric products and the Partner scheme benefits are useful extras that set it apart from other manufacturers.

Schneider Electric understands the challenges that many electricians face as small or growing business owners in an increasingly demanding and competitive climate. I have no hesitation in recommending the scheme – there’s no risk and plenty of reward!” said Jon Darby at Oldland Electrical.

May Lee, electrician programme manager at Schneider Electric adds, “We believe it’s the cornerstone of our Partner Programme to identify and support the needs of electricians and to truly understand the challenges they face day-to-day.

“Our vision is to be the electrician’s business partner of choice by making their life and the running of their business easier; ensuring we continuously invest, innovate and provide the value and support they really need in the field and online.”

For more information about the Electrician Partner Programme, customers can contact their local Schneider Electric representative or visit:


 Schneider Electric expands and enhances Partner Programme

Schneider Electric expands and enhances Partner Programme




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More funding available to boost apprenticeships


A number of new measures have been announced by the Government designed to help employers take on more apprentices, including  a budget of £60m to be spent on helping to get young people from deprived backgrounds into work. It is hoped that the reforms will result in the creation of 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees will be entitled to receive 100% of the cost of training apprentices between 16 and 18. This will also apply if they take on 19 to 24 year olds who were in care.

The apprenticeship levy will be set at 0.5% of the pay bill, but will only be payable by those employers with a payroll above £3m. It is estimated that this will apply to just 2% of employers.

The Government has also simplified the funding model and built in greater flexibility so employers will now have longer to access the funds. The new scheme also provides greater flexibility to train those with prior qualifications in a bid to help existing workers develop new skills.

The announcement has received the support of industry bodies such as the Building Services  Engineering Association (BESA) and the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC).

“This is the news we have been waiting for,” says BESA’s Director of Training, Tony Howard. “Employers need certainty about future funding provision so they can plan their recruitment strategies, and this provides welcome reassurance.”

Graeme Dryden, Technical Services Manager at APHC, adds: “It’s encouraging to see further evidence of the Government’s commitment to creating apprenticeships. These latest policies certainly appear new and fresh, with good opportunities for smaller employers to engage with apprenticeship training.”


More funding available to boost apprenticeships

More funding available to boost apprenticeships




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SELECT wants to make “Electrician” a registered profession


SELECT signals to Scottish Parliament that it intends to push for legislative change to make “Electrician” a regulated profession.

SELECT, the campaigning trade body for the electro-technical industry in Scotland, has signalled to the Scottish Parliament that it intends to press hard to make the occupation of electrician a regulated profession in the same way that anyone working with gas is currently required by statute to be regulated.

Presenting the Scottish Committee MSP of the Year Award at The Herald newspaper’s Scottish Politician of the Year event in Edinburgh last night (Thursday 27th October 2016), SELECT’s Head of External Affairs, David Wright, said that the risk posed to Scotland’s householders increases with every passing year as the number of untrained individuals portraying themselves as ‘electricians’ gets bigger and bigger.

“ I’m an economist by training but if I wished, I could start up in business as an electrician tomorrow,” said David, “but it would not be a good idea.”

“Incredibly, it is not illegal to do that – but we believe that it most certainly should be.  So that, when we are in our homes of an evening, we can enjoy the same protection from electrical risks as we currently do from gas faults”.

Mr. Wright said that before Christmas the Minister and the Scottish Government’s ‘Better Regulation’ team will receive a report from SELECT which puts the case for statutory “Regulation of Electrician as a Profession” to bring Scotland into line with other civilised European countries”.

Newell McGuiness, SELECT’s Managing Director, said: “It has been a long-standing goal of ours to achieve Regulation for our industry because the population of Scotland is being exposed to unreasonable risks associated with electrocution and fire without even being aware of this.

“Last night we announced our intention to secure the support of Scotland’s politicians – and of the general public to deliver statutory regulation for our industry.  Many occupations from lawyer and doctor to bodyguard and night club bouncer are regulated in the UK but Electrician is not one of them.

“Electrical installation is a safety critical occupation and it’s time for Scotland’s politicians to acknowledge that where there is electricity, there is danger – and to do the right thing”.

SELECT’s 1200 members account for around 90% of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland and have a collective turnover of around £1 billion, providing employment for some 15,000 electricians.


SELECT wants to make "Electrician" a registered profession

SELECT wants to make “Electrician” a registered profession




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And the contract has been awarded to…

There’s nothing quite like the feel of success when you learn that your company has secured a major contract worth hundreds of thousands or even many millions of pounds. All the time and effort that has been put into preparing the bid has finally come to fruition and the subsequent celebrations are well deserved.

That’s how many of our clients feel when they realise they have beaten off all the competition and come out on top… with help from Hotcost.

Successful companies will grow and become more successful simply because they produce highly successful tenders. It’s just so important to get it right, and we should know. We’re helping companies win bids all the time.

Our costing service could make the difference between winning and losing. It could be that fine line between success and failure. Highly successful tenders depend on many factors but to be absolutely sure you’re right on the money when it comes to costings, our fast, accurate and reliable service won’t let you down.

Our expertise and experience is key to your success

Here’s how we can help you unlock new opportunities…

We all know that winning tenders for new work is about getting the numbers right. But getting everything right is not always as straight-forward as we would like it to be. If your company has a portfolio of quality projects, then the numbers might not seem so important, until you realise that your well written bid has been rejected.

Success is a question of balance. Quality will get you so far but there are many other factors, which can make the difference between success and failure. Timescales, resources and a reliable supply chain are just some. So while you consider how you can highlight all the reasons why your company should win the bid, why not let us look after the numbers.

At Hotcost we prepare bids for companies just like yours. We’re doing it every day, and because we are consistently working on costings, we have virtually all the information at our fingertips. This allows us to cost any project effectively and efficiently, giving you more time to concentrate on other areas of the bid.

Our expertise and experience in producing accurate costs within tight timeframes is what makes us a key team player in the industry. Our bespoke costing service could simply tip the balance in your favour, and the opportunity for success could be just a quick phone call away.