A time for change
Vent-Axia is a name that is already well known in the ventilation market, but the constant changes to both the market and the building regulations mean that they are adopting a different approach. I spoke to Managing Director Ronnie George to find out more about their plans for 2009.
It would be fair to say that in some cases change is not necessarily a good thing, but as far as Vent-Axia is concerned the changes which they are making are a sign that they are changing with the times and embracing the needs of the industry.
One of the major challenges for any company is in getting the manufacturing process right, and with the increasing cost of shipping having an impact on foreign imports, Vent-Axia has taken the decision to consolidate their manufacturing and produce more of their products in the UK. Apart from the fact that this is good news for the struggling economy, it also means that all of their products will be designed specifically for the UK market.
It can be frustrating to find that a product is manufactured abroad as a one size fits all solution. Clearly that isn’t good enough because here in the UK we have a whole different range of regulations and requirements which we need to meet which is why if the product is manufactured in the UK it stands a better chance of meeting our needs.
Another major issue with manufacturing in the UK is control of the supply chain – something which Vent-Axia has firmly in control. Ronnie says: “We took the decision to manufacture more in the UK because we firmly believe that this is a better way for us to satisfy the needs of our customers. By taking this step we are able to control our supply chain and ensure that we can provide the right products at the right time.
“On the product side, this step ensures that we can bring to the market the right products to meet UK regulations and requirements and by doing so we can ensure that we are meeting the needs of our customers.”
As I said at the beginning there are a lot of changes taking place at Vent-Axia and part of this process has been the complete review of their product range.
The main driver for this is once again to meet the demands of the market, and with energy efficiency playing a key role in buying decisions, Vent-Axia realised that they needed to refresh their products to remain top of the ventilation market.
Ronnie says: “What we are doing is launching a range of ventilation products for tomorrow’s market. We have spent a lot of time reviewing our product range and came to the conclusion that some of our products are dated and no longer meet the requirements of the industry.
“In 2009 we will be focussing on ensuring our products are as efficient as possible and in line with this we have created new products in our Lo Carbon range. We have also updated some of our more traditional product ranges to fit in with the requirements of today’s market.”
This review is also aligning Vent-Axia’s range with one of the big opportunities in the public sector, the £2 billion Building Schools for the Future initiative. A key element in the BSF programme is identifying and solving indoor air quality problems, in line with the recommendations of Building Bulletin 101.
Here, Vent-Axia’s award-winning Sentinel demand ventilation solution is helping to improve conditions on a growing number of BSF projects. Sentinel is a system designed to meet modern building management control principles. It responds to the exact ventilation requirements of a room at any one time providing supply or extract only when it is required and to the level that is required – therefore using only the energy that is needed.
One thing which can be said about Sentinel is that it puts Vent-Axia firmly into the bracket of a solutions provider. Ronnie says: “We are very excited about this product range because it meets an urgent need in the market to reduce the amount of energy we use by giving you control of your ventilation and helping to meet the regulations for air tightness in buildings.”
In another new development on this front, Vent-Axia has recently introduced its latest on-demand energy recovery ventilation system, the Sentinel Totus D-ERV. This combines demand ventilation with heat recovery to provide especially impressive savings, recovering 90% of the energy that would otherwise be wasted and virtually eliminating the need for after heaters which are commonly required in lower efficiency systems.
A driver for change
One area which continues to be of concern in the ventilation market is the use of AC rather than the more energy efficient DC products – so what changes can we expect to see from Vent-Axia here?
Ronnie says: “We have no intention of completely phasing out our range of AC products. This might sound like a contradiction to our other plans but while there is still a market requirement for these products we will continue to supply them.
“What you have to remember is that our AC products are still more energy efficient than some other products available. The problem lies with the fact that we want to provide a one stop shop service to our customers and we would be unable to do this if we removed this technology from our product range completely.
“As a market leader we are working with our customers to reduce the need for AC products and taking the right steps with them to be prepared for the legislation that’s heading our way from Europe to phase them out completely.”
Making it easy
One thing you would expect from a market leader like Vent-Axia is that they make it easy to do business with them – and that is something which you can expect to see more of in 2009.
For a start they will be launching their new website which is basically a ventilation bible on the web. Whatever you need to know, the answer is there, from comprehensive product details to fitting and wiring instructions – all in a very easy to navigate format. They have also updated their full suite of literature, providing a fresher and cleaner look which is in keeping with the changes which are taking place.
But perhaps one of the most important messages for 2009 is that Vent-Axia is a solutions provider and whatever your installation, they have a range of products to suit. What this means for you is that you can go to them for advice at the planning stage, and with a climate systems team already in place, you can rest assured that they have the right knowledge on everything from their own products to government codes and regulations to provide a comprehensive design for your installation.
There’s an awful lot taking place at Vent-Axia which I can’t really do justice to in such a small space – but I think the main message is that they are determined to remain at the top of the market.
Ronnie says: “Our message for 2009 is that we are a complete solutions provider and therefore regardless of what your installation is we can provide a solution. We want people to come to us first and with the new products and all the changes we have made I am sure that the next 12 months will be very exciting for us.”