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HPM-08-AUG-2016

32 SPECIAL REPORT HVAC industry leaders unite Better training, proper commissioning and a soft landings approach are key to reducing the performance gap, agreed panellists at the latest HVAC advisory panel, hosted by HVAC 2016 The round table event was attended by industry professionals and heads of major manufacturers and trade associations across the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. The lively discussion was dominated by the ever-recurring themes of the skills shortage and the gap between design and as-built energy performance. Alan Siggins, managing director of Airflow Developments, felt that there was still a lack of technical competence, which has meant that manufacturers have had to invest heavily in their own training programmes to ensure their products are sold and installed correctly. It was agreed that it was the residential market in particular that is suffering from a skills gap, with Roger Webb, director of external affairs at the Chartered Institute Of Plumbing (CIPHE), suggesting that an extension of statutory accreditation schemes such as, the Gas Safe Register, across the industry as a whole could be a way forward, albeit something the government would likely shy away from. Graham Wright, president of HEVAC, felt that many installers would actually welcome this. However, Alan Yates, technical director, sustainability at the Building Research Establishment, and Emma Clancy, CEO of Certsure LLP, warned that statutory accreditation can only protect you so far. Alan felt that a statutory framework may help to get the basics in place but ultimately, an installer can’t just be competent in their own area, they need to gain much broader expertise to understand how their ‘bit’ fits in. Emma quoted a recent comparison of the Gas Safety Register with the electrical industry’s own voluntary compliance scheme, which demonstrated that progress was largely on par. Emma felt that technical competency alone wasn’t enough – installers also needed to be trained on consumer rights and how to effectively run a business, to ensure customers were protected. The commercial market fares much better, with Graham citing the move towards soft landings as a key driver in upping standards. Whereas in the residential market, installers put the equipment in and walk away: they are missing out on an opportunity to have an ongoing relationship with the customer and almost relinquishing responsibility as soon as they walk out the door. For commercial installations in particular, correct commissioning is key. If you are going to invest in anything, invest in a highly skilled commissioning professional recommended Carl Davidson, technical services manager at Kingspan, who felt placing a higher importance on this was crucial to eliminating the performance gap. Mike Nankivell, president of the Heat Pumps Association, agreed. A prime example is in the air conditioning market. Under new regulations, all air conditioning systems must be inspected every five years and feedback is showing that the most common failings are down to the control set up itself, which are found to be completely inappropriate for the building. The potential for Building information modeling (BIM) was recognised, but Alexandra Logan, mechanical engineer at Cundall, pointed out that currently it is only really being used at the design stage – we need it to be more about managing the building right through to its end of life. We need to convince the client to invest in soft landings, added Mike Nankivell, most buildings show their failings within six months, so an initial investment upfront to ensure that contractors and manufacturers maintain an interest in the building, will ensure greater efficiencies in the long run. Graham wondered whether the industry might follow that of aerospace, giving the example of a Rolls Royce aircraft engine, which is not bought but leased; with Rolls Royce paying for ongoing maintenance. Could this be the future of the industry too – HVAC as a service? Event director for HVAC 2016, Nathan Garnett, said: “There are few sectors within construction that are as broad, or progressive as HVAC. Legislative and environmental demands continue to drive technological and behavioural change; and it continues to be one of the most exciting industries to be a part of. “This also means it can be difficult to keep up-to-date, which is why events such as HVAC 2016 are so important. We provide a platform to showcase the latest innovations and a stage to discuss the latest issues, such as those that were covered today. If you operate within the HVAC industry, you really can’t afford to miss out.” HVAC 2016 is fully supported by industry leaders including HEVAC, CIPHE, the Building Engineering Services Association, the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations, the British Institute of Facilities Management and the Association for Decentralised Energy. As part of UK Construction Week, HVAC 2016 will take place at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre on October 18-20, 2016. It consists of nine shows under one roof, Timber Expo, Build Show, Civils Expo, Plant & Machinery Live, Energy 2016, Smart Buildings 2016, Surface & Materials Show, HVAC 2016 and Grand Designs Live. For more information about the show, visit: www.hvaclive.co.uk or follow @hvacshow on Twitter. as part of UK Construction Week www.hpmmag.com August 2016 enquiry number 124 The HVAC 2016 panel “If you operate within the HVAC industry, you really can’t afford to miss out”


HPM-08-AUG-2016
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