Summer at Last!!

It’s that time of year again. The sun is out (well, sometimes) the barbecue is on standby, the fridge is full of drinks, and in the Building Services industry we start to get involved in School Boiler Replacements!

Summer is the most logical time to replace boiler plant, as the school is empty, and, on some occasions, the boiler is not in use, so we can get in before the end of term and start doing the preparation work, to try to make the replacement less of a rush than it might be over the six weeks before the schools go back.

On the face of it, it’s an easy job. Strip out the old boilers, install the new boilers, connect up the heating mains and gas, and switch it on.

Job done. A week’s work maximum. Simple!

Except, we’re sorry to say, it’s never as easy as that……..

Why is it not as easy as that? Well, cue the world’s smallest violin concerto, it’s like this……..

  1. The plantroom is often used as a store room, so the items in storage have to be removed before we can start.
  2. The old boiler plant (often in three or more pieces) can be large, heavy, and the access to the plantroom has sometimes been modified since the installation, making removal an arduous task.
  3. The isolation valves often don’t operate correctly, meaning that the whole system has to be drained before work can commence.
  4. There is often asbestos present somewhere, whether it’s the flue, valve gaskets, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, paint finishes on walls, or actually within the boiler itself, making removal dangerous and disposal difficult.
  5. The old flue is never the right type or size and will usually require complete removal and replacement.
  6. The plantroom may require significant modification to accommodate the new plant.
  7. The existing controls may not operate the new boilers correctly
  8. The existing pipework may be in poor condition and be unsuitable for re-use.
  9. The pipework connections onto the new boiler are almost always in the wrong position, and the pipework might require extensive modification before the boilers can be reconnected.
  10. There is never enough space!

As we say, it’s not as simple as changing one’s socks. It actually might be simpler to keep the old socks and have your feet changed.

In the current world situation, we are also encountering issues with equipment availability.

We’re finding that pumps can be on as much as 26 weeks delivery, and that boilers can be on as long as 8 weeks – almost the entire summer!

The key to these operations is planning, ordering early, and getting enough notification to be able to try and head off any issues before they happen. That’s the plan, anyway.

We wish all of our fellow contractors involved in boiler replacement works the best of luck with their endeavours this summer.

We all relish a challenge, after all……




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Knowle House,
51 Station Road,
Knowle, Solihull,
West Midlands
B93 0HN

01564 732000

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