In It Together

In these difficult pandemic times, the building services industry has pulled together to maintain critical services and support the nation in our fight against COVID-19. Tom Murray, Specification Director at Baxi Heating, looks at the role of heating manufacturers in the supply chain and their response to the crisis

The last few months have seen the building services industry pull out all the stops to ensure that our essential buildings remain open, efficient and safe. In the face of the crisis, different sectors have come together to protect the NHS, key workers and essential organisations, while playing a vital role in supporting construction and the UK economy.

Manufacturers have also played their part, earning the praise of the government for keeping supply chains moving and key workers mobile. Certainly, when it comes to heating and hot water, the COVID-19 emergency has underlined the critical role of heating systems in keeping our hospitals, schools, supermarkets and care homes functioning safely.

So for us at Baxi Heating, it has been fundamentally important to continue serving our customers during the lockdown. But to adhere to the safety guidelines issued by Public Health England, we have been forced to change radically the way we operate.

Certainly, we couldn’t have done this without the amazing adaptability and resilience displayed by our colleagues, or the collaboration shown by our customers. Here’s our story of how we have improvised and adjusted to be able to remain open for business in Lockdown Britain.

Safety first

Our highest priority throughout this emergency has been to protect the safety of our valued colleagues and customers.

We therefore immediately introduced social distancing measures, with our Commercial team set up for smart working from the safety of their own homes.

Thanks to video calls, collaborative Microsoft Teams meetings, emails and good old-fashioned phone calls, we have been able to carry on providing our consultant engineers, designers and specifiers with the same level of technical and design support.

Our customer services advisors continue to support our contractor customers, providing a rapid turnaround on quotes and orders. With a full range of products and spare parts, we can arrange a swift delivery of vital heating and hot water equipment for NHS and other essential services buildings.

We’re also grateful to have the support of key merchants who hold additional stock of all our Remeha, Andrews Water Heaters and Potterton Commercial product ranges.

Also working from home is our technical team who can be contacted via our 24/7 support helpline for round-the-clock technical advice.

Last but not least, our engineers, provided with full personal protective equipment, are able to provide essential repairs to heating equipment to ensure that essential buildings and organisations have the heat and hot water they so crucially need.

Lockdown Learning

Of course, others aren’t so fortunate and we’re conscious that many of our customers have been forced to press the pause button temporarily.

So our specification team is now providing free online CIBSE-accredited Continuing Personal Development (CPD) webinars to enable building services professionals to continue to develop their knowledge and keep their CPD record up to date.

In a similar vein, we have created a series of specially designed online training courses for our Andrews Water Heaters and Potterton Commercial product ranges. Free to attend and run by our expert commercial product trainer, they are delivered live to give installers the opportunity to ask questions immediately and consolidate their learning.

We have also added a series of lockdown learning videos for domestic installers.

Supporting critical services

In these extremely difficult times, our industry has demonstrated time and again its tireless response to urgent demands for heating and hot water in essential organisations.

Working collaboratively with our merchants and contractor customers – including UK South Services, Arthur Pollard, and Gatenby Gas to name but a few – we are proud to have played our part.

One example is the Andrews Water Heaters ECOflo condensing units, now installed in a number of NHS Trust sites, including the NHS Field Hospital at The Vale Resort in Bridgend.

Providing reliable heating is also critical. Liaising with our specification and customer services teams, our customers have been able to secure delivery of our Remeha Quinta Ace boilers for NHS surgeries, health centres and care homes across the country.

We have also worked with our builders’ merchants and customers to supply ECOflo units for water heater replacements at national supermarket stores to meet the demand for hot water provision.

Across the Baxi Heating group, the good work continues as we support the NHS in providing urgent new environments to respond to COVID-19.

Today, hospitals across Great Britain, from Glasgow’s Louisa Jordan temporary emergency critical care hospital to the temporary recovery hospital at Bluestone Resort in Pembrokeshire and the temporary hospital at University of West of England Bristol’s Exhibition and Conference Centre are all benefitting from Heatrae Sadia water heaters.

Supporting key workers

We couldn’t be prouder of our staff who are giving up their time to support key workers wherever possible and helping protect the nation in these times of emergency.

Some are volunteering in food banks and care homes to support the NHS and the vulnerable.

Others are inventing ingenious ways of producing personal protective equipment. One of our specification managers has been super-productive, using his lunchbreak to produce face visors from his own 3D printer, while working from home.

Design engineers at our Preston site have taken up the baton, swapping the use of their 3D printers from making prototype boiler components to frames for protective face masks. As well as 3D printing mask parts for frontline workers in the UK, Baxi Heating has been able to help colleagues who work for Baxi in Spain.

Thanks to their work, at the time of writing, we are proud to have been able to donate 500 masks to the Buckshaw Retirement Home in Chorley. This, in addition to a delivery of safety glasses, face masks and nitrile gloves to Lancashire Constabulary and Northwest Ambulance Service to protect their staff.

And to help ensure that our brave NHS workers can return to a warm, comfortable house, we are offering free repairs on their home boilers.

Business as usual at Baxi Heating? Not quite, but thanks to our fantastic colleagues and flexible customers, we’ve been operating as near to normal as is possible.

Like everyone in the building services industry, we as a group are doing our utmost to support the UK in its fight against COVID-19 and will continue to support our customers as lockdown restrictions ease. As the hashtag goes, we’re #InItTogether.

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