Collaboration is the key to success

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High efficiency boilers are the perfect antidote to those hard to heat homes in the UK. And housing associations all over the UK have been quick to see the benefits in helping to fight fuel poverty and spiralling service and maintenance costs.

Take Mansfield District Council for example. With a portfolio of 5,493 properties, 50% of which were built before 1960 so are classed as hard-to-heat homes, the Council, despite upgrading properties with loft, cavity and external wall insulation, were having to deal with a minimum of 200 emergency breakdowns a year. Its inefficient g-rated boilers and ageing coal-fired district heating systems weren’t helping and that, coupled with rising fuel bills, was an upsetting situation for tenants, 12.6% of whom were already in fuel poverty, and frustrating and expensive for the Council. 
A long term, cost-effective solution was needed and, after being seeing the range of boilers at the CIH Conference and Exhibition in Manchester in 2014, the Council invited the Intergas team to demonstrate the boiler’s energy saving credentials and product benefits to the Head of Housing and the Repairs Service Managers. No trial period was necessary and Intergas began training the team on the installation of the Intergas HRE boiler range and was contracted to supply 200 HRE combination boilers annually, replacing those boilers beyond economic repair. A further 190 have been installed in homes that have been taken off the council’s coal-fired district heating systems, with another 100 to go. Importantly for all concerned, customer’s energy bills are down as are the Council’s costs.
Speaking about the collaboration, Hayley Barsby, Director of Communities for Mansfield District Council said, “Working in partnership with Intergas Heating has enabled us to provide an energy efficient solution that benefits many people. Tenants benefit from lower energy bills, and we can address the issues of climate change and protect the environment by employing efficient solutions in our housing stock, and this system also allows us to keep maintenance costs low.”
Housing Solutions, a leading provider of affordable homes in the South East, which owns, manages and maintains more than 7,500 homes, was facing similar cost issues to Mansfield. But what Housing Solutions liked specifically about Intergas was its heat exchanger. Maidenhead is a hard water area and the biggest problem with boilers is the scaling up of the secondary hot water plate heat exchanger, causing inefficiencies and breakdowns. Ben Lancaster, Property Services Manager at Housing Solutions, had heard about Intergas boilers having only one heat exchanger and decided to examine one to verify its efficacy. Soon Intergas boilers began replacing older condensing boilers, as part of Housing Solution’s planned boiler renewal programme, and where boilers had reached the end of their economic life. Within a year, repair costs were down by 22% and, as more Intergas boilers are installed, this figures is expected to rise by another 20%, saving Housing Solutions an estimated £100,000 over the next five years.

Gloucester City Homes (GCH), like Mansfield District Council, has a portfolio of properties of which 48% pre-date 1960. It too needed a long-term heating solution that would give tenants peace-of-mind and the housing association control over its own costs. GCH’s selection of the Intergas brand was based entirely on the certainty that its tenants would be enjoying lower energy bills and increased comfort with no frustrating breakdowns. Intergas entered into a 12-year parts and labour warranty agreement too, as it was so confident in the boiler’s enduring performance credentials.

“Repair costs are not in our vocabulary now,” says Michael, GCH’s Director of Property Services. “In fact, all repair and maintenance bills associated with Intergas boiler installations have been reduced by almost 100%. Once all the boilers have been replaced with Intergas, we expect our annual maintenance savings to be in the region of £200,000 a year.”

By working closely with clients and developing exceptional relationships, you can help improve systems, introduce new modus operandi and control costs. Boilers can be extraordinary, but collaboration is key.

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