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Maximising regulation change

Michelle Sharp, brand manager of Greenwood Airvac looks at the recent changes to the ventilation regulations and explores the opportunities they have created for electrical wholesalers

Maximising regulation change

With domestic housing representing approximately 40% of the nation’s total carbon emissions it is no surprise that the Government’s key focus on its road to carbon neutrality has been the construction industry. Over the past decade we have seen many revisions to the Building Regulations with greater restrictions across all areas of house building, and all with the aim of reducing energy consumption, cutting carbon emissions and helping to achieve the government’s target of a zero carbon footprint for all new homes by 2016.

Having come through major revisions in lighting and heating one of the last sectors to experience the greatest levels of change is ventilation.

Constant revisions to the Building Regulations have seen ever increasing levels of air tightness to reduce energy loss and the consequential need for effective ventilation to provide acceptable air quality. The introduction of SAP Appendix Q helped greatly with the selection of the most energy efficient ventilation systems, but even the best systems are dependent upon the correct specification and installation to deliver the desired levels of ventilation in the real installed environment.

It is with this in mind that the latest revisions to Part F and L of the Building Regulations, which came into effect in October, have seen the realms of ventilation and the conservation of fuel and power taken to the next level. The new regulations now extend their reach beyond ‘design only’ and promote an all encompassing G.I.P (Guaranteed Installed Performance) which covers on-site installation, testing and commissioning and in-use operation and maintenance.

This means ventilation products can no longer be considered commodity items, for example it is no longer acceptable to fit just ‘any-old’ fan. Installers need to be product savvy to enable them to buy with confidence and ensure compliance with G.I.P (Guaranteed Installed Performance). Functionality and performance are now key factors in an installers purchasing decision so wholesalers needs to mirror these requirements and assess their own product offering to maximise availability of higher specification stock to meet customer demand. Moreover, whilst the Building Regulation changes only regulate new build projects, it is likely that the refurbishment sector will keep an eye to what they are with a view to delivering best practise.

The potential reduction in usage of low specification products will also subsequently lead to additional advantages. Product rationalisation will enable the wholesaler to reduce their stock levels, achieve better stock rotation on all higher specification products and generally improve their stock management.

By and large higher specification products, i.e. those which are designed to provide clear and simple testing and commissioning processes to help installers meet the requirements of G.I.P (Guaranteed Installed Performance), command a higher price tag than basic models. This gives the wholesaler the opportunity to up-sell their range to their customers, in order to generate a higher margin and help increase their overall profitability.

Other areas that offer opportunities to maximise on regulation change are accessories and controls. The Domestic Ventilation Compliance Guide, which gives details on installation practises, now excludes the use of ducting tape as an example. This will start to put a greater emphasis on ventilation ancillaries and how they are part of the delivery of GIP (Guaranteed Installed Performance). This in turn may produce a greater movement towards different or new types of ducting systems and commissioning through wireless controls and switches. Wholesalers would therefore benefit from reviewing their existing product ranges in order to follow market developments.

The recent introduction of such significant changes to the ventilation market also offers wider opportunities for responsive and forward thinking wholesalers. In these early stages of regulation change education and training is paramount, and whilst manufacturers are doing their best to spread the word wholesalers can themselves take on the role of advisor and look to differentiate themselves from their competitors. By training staff on the regulations and the features of higher specification products the wholesaler can look to add value to their customer service.

Manufacturers will be only too happy to support the wholesalers with this task so together we can take the necessary steps to ensure a smooth transition to G.I.P (Guaranteed Installed Performance) and ensure both parties achieve their objectives.

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