The opportunities Light Commercial installations can offer.
Trying to accurately define “Light Commercial” is difficult, as there are conflicting views on where Domestic installations end and their Commercial counterparts start. While this grey area may put some off, those that embrace it can turn it into a very successful part of their business.
Light Commercial installations can cover a host of sites ranging from small business units such as hairdressers and shops to large family homes. Installers with a Domestic Gas Safe Registration can install boilers with a combined power output of up to 70kW which opens up opportunities for broadening out your Domestic business with Light Commercial work.
Some installers are put off Light Commercial work by the perception that it is more complicated than the Domestic work that they have become accustomed to. While there may be some installations that can be tricky, notably if a plant room is involved, the boilers themselves are not. Wall hung High Output boilers especially are very similar to their Domestic counterparts, just more powerful.
Learn the ropes
If you are looking to branch out into Light Commercial work, it’s worth doing some research into the products available. After sales support and warranties vary from those offered on Domestic boilers, so look into the best options for you.
Once you’ve made your choice, get trained on the boiler that you would be looking to use. Ideal Commercial offers free training courses on its models suitable for Light Commercial applications at locations across the country.
Learning about the boilers and how to install them is key to making the most of Light Commercial opportunities. Some installers comfortable with Domestic boilers may look to use multiple Domestic boilers in a Light Commercial setting to achieve the required power output. While this may be perceived as a slightly cheaper option on unit price, it could be a short cut to future problems.
Domestic boilers are not the best solution for cascade or multiple boiler installations and doing so may reduce their lifespan. What may be less expensive initially may end up costing your customer more in repairs and early replacements, which in turn could prove costly to your reputation.
Embrace the differences
There are some key differences that need to be considered when broadening your skill set to include Light Commercial work.
Making sure that you have enough room for a Commercial boiler is key. Depending on its power output, a Commercial boiler could have larger dimensions than its Domestic equivalent for starters. Then there is the consideration for the other equipment that may be necessary.
Commercial boilers do not have an expansion vessel built into them, so you may need to allow space to include an expansion vessel(s) as part of the overall system. Additionally, if you need to use more than one boiler, a Frame and Header kit could be used to mount the boilers giving a reduced installation time.
The flue is a further aspect that is worth considering. If a boiler is to be installed in Commercial premises, it has to meet the Commercial requirements of IGE UP10 and BS6644 must be adopted, even if the total power output is under 70kW.
While this may appear to add to the complexity of the installation, there are training courses available that will help you understand the additional equipment.
Seize the opportunities
Although the thought may be a little daunting, Light Commercial installations could prove to be a useful diversification of a Domestic business, providing a new revenue stream and the chance to develop your skills further. Light Commercial jobs could also balance out your workload; Commercial property owners are more likely to budget and plan when repairs and upgrades need to made, allowing you to fit these installations around the traditional heating season periods.
Chris Caton is Product Manager for Ideal Commercial Boilers.
This article first appeared in HPM magazine, September 2016.