67 HPM 0413

HPM April 2013

Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com UNDERFLOORHEATING UFH design support: where’s the beef? Ever-improving levels of technical support are making it even simpler to specify and install underfloor heating (UFH), says Gareth Samuel, product manager for Thermoboard... Somewhat obviously, as the market for underfloor heating (UFH) develops there is now a plethora of manufacturers offering ranges claimed to cover most eventualities and requirements, along with the associated service and support you would hope to expect. Of course, as in the world of bolognese and the burger – where the spectrum ranges from budget-you-know-what to prime top-end Wagyu beef – it’s worth digging a bit deeper as not all UFH provision is equal and it pays to establish what quality of support you can expect. One of the most meaningful services that leading manufacturers deliver is a range of easily accessible and simple to use quote and design tools that enable installers to generate swift, accurate quotes or plans for materials for any project, no matter how complex, through a variety of channels. These channels being online, over the phone or through the post – the choice, from a quality manufacturer, should be yours. ACCURATE QUOTES The technical support ideally available should also be tailored to the complexity of the project. So, for a relatively small and straightforward job, there are tools that enable an installer to quickly work out the appropriate UFH system, the products and quantities and an accurate quote. This is incredibly useful when you need rapid, practically instant, speed of response. But, if the task in hand is larger and more complicated, seek manufacturer technical support teams that are on hand to effectively provide all the details of the design, the products needed and even schedule deliveries to co-ordinate with your programme. For the internet-savvy, you can easily get all the information you need using a laptop and a good broadband connection when, just a few years ago, you would have needed a shelf full of product literature. Certainly all the literature is available on the web – but that technology also now enables some smarter ways of getting information. Interactive tools that offer instant quotes or help with product selection or videos giving you installation tips you can see rather than just read about are all out there. One example of this type of support is Thermoboard’s QuickCalc tool which can produce a quote for most UFH projects. Installers can use this tool either on their own desk top or laptop computer or in their merchant branch to receive: project cost (at trade list price); project WWW.HPMMAG.COM list of materials required; and typical room layouts. The merchant can then arrange delivery of all required materials to branch within three to five working days or assemble them to be collected there and then. The sorts of projects that suit QuickCalc are: new screeded floors, where there is a choice between staples or system plate systems; new dry construction floors – using a foiled polystyrene system; and existing floors – using Thermoboard’s Low-Build 15 system. Once the installer has logged onto QuickCalc on the Thermoboard website they can create their own project file and then enter all the relevant details such as the floor area of each room/zone to be included, whether the controls are wired or wireless, and distance of each zone from the UFH manifold. The QuickCalc tool instantly produces a quotation and Bill of Materials. The installer can then click to print a copy of the full quotation, including: a list of products, product codes and quantities – with the current total trade list price; a summary of the project information on which it is based; and typical pipe-laying patterns. QuickCalc does have its limits. For new floors, 66 APRIL 2013 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY it is suitable for properties that are built to current Building Regulations, where the UFH will be connected to a standard boiler and only a single manifold will be required, with up to 12 ports. For existing floors, QuickCalc can only be used if the project is a single heating zone of up to 26m2 area. For projects that do not fit within these guidelines more detailed support is required, If you’ve an unusual or complicated project you can still talk it through with an expert. Some manufacturers are still at the end of a phone to get to grips with the issues and provide solutions from their wealth of experience. For instance, the Thermoboard FullSpec service is available for all types of subfloors (including dry construction, acoustic and raised access), projects involving an alternative heat source or retrofit into an old building that does not meet current Building Regulations. PLANS OF THE PROPERTY Through FullSpec, the installer can get a detailed individual design and specification at a guaranteed price. The Thermoboard team work from plans of the property to create the UFH system design. Plans can be emailed or posted, and there are even pre-paid envelopes available from merchants if the installer would rather use this route. Thermoboard’s technical support team then provide a specification and quote within five working days that is based upon a far wider range of products than available off the builders merchant shelves – the design can even include some items that are bespoke. If that quote is accepted then, under the guidance of a dedicated project manager, the technical support service will provide a fully-warrantied design, complete CAD installation drawings, control options tailored to specific project needs and heat loss calculations. The service also delivers materials direct to site and provides a call-off service so installers can schedule the project efficiently. With initiatives such as this, the best manufacturers are delivering the design and support service ‘beef’, making it simpler to choose and install the most appropriate UFH systems and assuring both consumers and installers that they have the level of help they need for any project. enquiry number 149 Thermoboard offers a complete underfloor heating design service for its customers


HPM April 2013
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