Warranting a Wider Appreciation of Light Commercial Work

Boost your business in this buoyant sector.

There is currently much uncertainty around the short to medium term outlook for the UK construction industry post-Brexit and as a result, savvy building services engineers will be considering alternative ways to grow their business. Light commercial is providing a way for building services engineers to refocus and take advantage of new opportunities. This section of the market could be a great area for those who don’t want to rely solely on big commercial projects during these financially unsettling times.

Our society is constantly growing at a rapid rate; Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union) projects a UK population of 77 million by 2050, compared with the current 65 million. With this increase in population comes new building work to support the growth, often in the form of light commercial projects such as –  nurseries, doctors’ surgeries, convenience stores and care homes. The National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses reported an increase of 97,000 private sector businesses since 2015 and two million more since 2000. These statistics show that demand for light commercial projects will continue to be on the increase. With this in mind, what are the key things to consider when approaching light commercial work?

The specification

Light commercial installations – those with an output of between 40-70kW – can cover a host of sites ranging from small business units such as hairdressers and shops, to large family homes, depending on their output requirement. In these types of building, heating and hot water use tends to vary considerably, so it’s worth doing some research into the different light commercial products on offer and assess which product will be most efficient and effective.  Ensuring the boilers’ outputs match system requirements is key to allowing the boilers to run at their optimum efficiency level. It can be the case to find boilers that have been over or under specified resulting in a boiler that is either over-worked or inefficient.

To get the most out of the move to light commercial, we would always recommend engineers of all experience levels are trained on the boilers they specify. After all, products are always evolving and there’s always something new to learn on best practice, so it’s important not to underestimate the value of training. Ideal Commercial offers free training courses on its models suitable for light commercial applications at locations across the country. Attending a training course is also a prerequisite for activating the 5 year warranty on Ideal Commercial’s Evomax wall hung condensing boiler*.

Consider the space

In many light commercial applications space is at a premium, compared to larger projects, so making sure you have enough room for a commercial boiler is key. Where a plant room would have been specifically designed to host the boiler and its ancillary equipment in larger scale commercial buildings, quite often in light commercial projects there is no such luxury. The Evomax range from Ideal Commercial, for example, is smaller than most and therefore a popular choice with our customers working on light commercial projects. It’s worth remembering that 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.

Smaller projects, bigger gains

Light commercial installations can be key to winning more business. With the downturn in big commercial projects and boost in small businesses, this is an area that should be explored further. By arming yourself with knowledge of all the nuances between large and light commercial buildings, as well as the products available, you can take security in creating a steady flow of work until the UK’s economic situation settles and major construction picks back up.

* 5 year warranty subject to Terms and Conditions. 5 years parts and labour warranty available subject to being commissioned by Ideal Boilers.

This article first appeared in BSEE magazine, August 2017.