How was Housing 2017 for you?
“It was excellent,” said Intergas Business Development Manager, Mark Prescott. “It remains one of the most important dates in our diary as we can showcase our innovative boilers to decision makers from all areas of the social housing sector. The event this year has been another very productive one for us. The interest shown in our range of boilers has reinforced our view that more and more organisations are looking for the reliability of a robust boiler that can also deliver economy and performance.
“Our heat exchanger has been in the spotlight again, but there was also a lot of interest in our Intouch system, which uses remote management technology to monitor boiler performance. But Housing 2017 is also about developing relationships and collaborating to create the ideal environment for future development.”
Ground breaking news....
We’ve just bought 30,000m2 of land adjoining our head office in Coevorden to extend our factory facilities. Soon we’ll be running another six to eight new assembly lines to handle all the orders coming in from the UK. We’re also building a new 1,600m2 Presentation and Training Centre. We haven’t broken ground yet, so there’s nothing to see, but we’ll give you regular updates once there is. The construction work won’t affect the look of the building which, if you hadn’t already guessed, is designed to look like our revolutionary 2-in-1 heat exchanger. Not a lot of people know that.
Winter is coming
If you didn’t know better you could, just possibly, believe the scriptwriters of Game of Thrones had been moonlighting in the UK for the past 18 months, writing diabolical plotlines for politicians of all parties to play out. But the twists and turns in Westeros have nothing on us, because we have not been created by the imagination of George R R Martin where anything is possible and everything is unpredictable, this is all very real. Still, the similarities are uncanny; from in-fighting, double-crosses, calamitous decisions and winning battles only to lose the war, to broken promises, poisoned chalices and power struggles on an unprecedented scale – we’ve had the lot. And, unlike GoT, it’s been far from exciting. In a macabre kind of ratings war, the games played out on this stage have had an unwelcome effect. Consumer confidence fell to -10 in June 2017 from -5 in May, worse than market expectations of -7. (For the record consumer confidence in the UK averaged -8.95 from 1981 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 10 in June of 1987).
As rising inflation has increased the pressure on household budgets, consumer spending has slowed which has accounted, in part, for the sales decreases in many industries, boiler manufacture included. But, according to the HHIC, other factors have influenced boiler sales such as the cap on ECO. In the first quarter of 2017 sales were fairly stable, but then decreased by 7.8% year on year, which was when the cap of 25,000 boilers over an 18-month period was introduced (the previous allowance was 130,000 in a 12-month period). This, and our good weather: hottest May in the last two years, and highest temperatures since June 1976 being recorded last month, will have lessened consumer impetus to prepare for the colder months.
But winter is coming and, as the UK has one of the highest rates of fuel poverty in Europe, it’s our responsibility - manufacturers and social housing providers - to avert emergency retrofits, with all the frustration, upheaval and emotional upset it sometimes involves, by generating awareness of the need to act now while the sun, literally, is still shining.
Intergas is very confident in the future and believes that buoyancy will return to the market later this year. But, whether sales are lower than usual or on the increase, certain brands will thrive, and they’re the ones that consistently deliver super efficiency, long-term reliability and peace of mind, because that’s what tenants deserve.
Keeping tabs made easy
The software embedded in every Eco RF boiler enables the boiler to ‘talk’ to you, wherever you are. This Remote Management system helps housing organisations keep track of boiler performance without having to visit the property, and it provides alerts to faults and real-time updates, making service and maintenance calls a time-saving reality. With the precise nature of the information coming in, parameter settings can be changed remotely when necessary, potential problems can be prevented from developing and more first-time fixes are achievable. This system, unique to Intergas, can link up to 240 properties via a single internet connection.
Intergas Remote Management is also being used to improve duty of care given to more vulnerable residents.
New look for Intergas
Noticed something different about our Intergas logo? Yes, we’ve finally said goodbye to the flames, and
have replaced them with a more contemporary look.
Changing a brand identity is quite a big deal and is only done when there’s a really good reason. Like most organisations, Intergas has spent decades associating the logo with some very specific benefits, but felt the combination of the flames and red lettering no longer reflected the design and engineering ingenuity that is the mainstay of all our products. A more streamlined, modern look was needed and, after months on the drawing board, our designers have created our new brand identity. Some of us have taken to calling it the ‘shark’s fin’, but it’s actually a visual cue to our new range of ground-breaking products. Watch this space!
The need for speed
Speaking of branding, we’re sponsoring a rallycross car, so you’ll see the Intergas logo speeding around race tracks all over the UK. Why? Well, it’s a great way of increasing brand awareness, which helps to generate consumer preference and foster brand loyalty etc, etc. But at Intergas we quite like fast cars, which is why we’re sponsoring motorsport addict and rallycross driver (and Sales Director of L&M Heating), Nick Potter and his 1600cc Peugeot 106 xsi. It could be down to Nick’s driving or the magic of our logo, but at the second meeting, Nick came first in the BTRDA’s Historic Super Modified category! Rounds 4 and 5 are on 5th/6th August in Pembrey, South Wales, if you’d like to come and enjoy the spectacular racing!
Mark Campbell is the Training Manager at Intergas. In fact,he’s been with the company since 2008, when it first came to the UK, so he’s seen the brand develop and grow over the past nine years.
“My objective is to help heating engineers who haven’t yet embraced Intergas and its 2-in-1 heat exchanger, learn about the boiler’s benefits and its ease of installation. As the boiler only has 12 moving parts, engineers only need to spend half a day at a training session. But it’s down to me to create the right environment for learning because it’s only when your audience feels engaged that true learning takes place.
“My colleagues and I run courses at 21 centres around the country, and have just added the 22nd, the G20 Training & Assessment Centre in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. This is a new centre, fully equipped with every Intergas boiler, and is a fantastic training environment.”
If you’re interested in attending an Intergas course on the HRE and Eco RF, here’s a list of where and when. If you’d like to come along, just visit the website to reserve your place.
19th July Basildon
20th July Hoddesdon
25th July Scotland
26th July Scotland
27th July Scotland
15th August Seaton
16th August Cleakheaton
17th August Atherton
18th August Treforest
22nd August Faversham
23rd August Basildon
24th August Northolt
30th August Burgess Hill
31st August Portchester
1st September Treforest
David Stanley shows us how it’s done
It’s always useful to have a visual reminder when you’re installing a boiler or pairing a wireless thermostat to it so, over the past month, Intergas havs been writing, filming and editing a series of new ‘how to’ guides. You’ll be able to access them all on YouTube and on intergasheating.co.uk from this August.
If you don’t know the UK Technical and Service Manager David Stanley, you soon will, as he’s the star performer showing you ‘how to’.
The first five are:
• HRE and Eco RF
• Intouch pairing and using the app
• Servicing and commissioning
• Scale protection, water testing and venting
And there are more in the pipeline. If there’s an area you’d like Intergas to cover, please let them know.