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GTEC Learner wins regional heat in Heating Installer Awards

Authored by Marco on April 25, 2023

Nick blog image

We’re very excited to learn that one of our heat pump trainees, Nick Irlam, is regional winner for the North West in Heating Installer’s annual awards.


He needs your vote to become overall winner, so please take a moment to read about his winning project in more detail and use this link to vote for him.


Nicks Winning Project


Nick’s winning project was an ambitious one. He was brought in to sort out the heating and hot water systems of a large, five-bed detached Victorian House set well back from the road in large gardens.


This work was to form part of a phased refurbishment and development of the property, which would almost double its size. Phase one was a complete overhaul and update of the house itself and phase two involved the conversion of the loft into a master suite and the building of a new annex.


The house had an open-vented boiler that was about 30 years old and a small 120-cylinder tank. This system hadn’t been maintained properly and was very inefficient. 


During phase one, pipework on the ground and first floors was replaced, large radiators were put in and internal insulation added to the walls.  The plan was to move the existing plant room to the garage during phase two of the build.


The Challenges


When Nick’s team surveyed the site they identified three main problems and came up with clever solutions:


1/ The family, with young children, needed to keep the existing system for heating and hot water as the building work in phase two was carried out. The cold-water supply was gravity fed, but the storage tanks in the loft had to be removed because asbestos was found.


SOLUTION: A temporary storage tank was built in the existing plant room and a booster pump was added.


2/ The customer wanted to go with the most efficient heating system for what they saw as their ‘forever home’.  A ground source heat pump was chosen as the best replacement, but the back garden could not be touched. Budget constraints and the impact of the rest of the build, meant that the simplest solution – boreholes – weren’t and option in the front garden, which was on a slight slope to complicate matters further!


SOLUTION: Nick oversaw complex work undertaken by the on-site ground-works team which allowed for the installation of a horizontal collector and 150 metre long DN 40mm ground loop.


3/ The location and size of the pump room at the rear of the garage. At just 1.5m x 8m, access was limited.


SOLUTION: After the large buffer and cylinder were installed a removable timber-framed wall was built, to allow easier access to equipment for servicing.


Seeking out the most efficient


The fact that Nick’s company is small makes it agile. He is able to work closely with his customers, to specify the very best equipment, cutting down on wastage and providing continuity in on-going post installation support.  Wherever possible Nick specifies products made in the UK, because he is confident that they are, in each case, the best components for the job. Lead times are shorter and transportation costs are lower.


Nick was fortunate to have the full backing of his customer who was keen to install a sustainable heating system. His close involvement in the project, from early days, meant that the family’s particular requirements could be met. Nick’s experience in and advanced knowledge in renewable meant he was able to:

  • Specify a higher grade of insulation for the annex to reduce heat loss.
  • Specify an appropriately sized cylinder to ensure the family of six would be provided with at least 315 litres of hot water a day.
  • Design and install a fully flexible heating system to accommodate the different areas of occupancy in the house. This resulted in the creation of four different zones so that different areas of the house and annex could be used as necessary, and energy saved.

One very happy customer


In his feedback, Nick’s customer said:


‘We knew our old gas heating system would need updating but unfortunately, we were unaware our current gas supply would not support a boiler big enough to meet our needs and that our plumber at the time wouldn’t be able to handle this.


“We contacted Nick through a friend as we wanted to look at a more efficient and sustainable way to heat our house.  Nick went right back to the basics to find out how we used the property. He gave us options for upgrading the gas system, ASHP and GSHP. Each option was fully costed, with further estimates for running costs and RHI return.


“We opted to go for the GSHP and Nick arranged the ground-works with the team already working on the house. Nick’s team managed the whole install, upgrading the pipe work to achieve the desired flow rates along with and electrical work needed. He liaised with our builder to manage the installation of the underfloor heating in the extension as well as the temporary relocation of our hold hot water tanks to allow for work to start in the loft.


“Nick was onsite or at the end of a phone throughout the whole process. We have been very happy with the quality and attention to detail of the work and wouldn’t hesitate to use Nick and his team for our future projects.”


Nick completed heat pump training with GTEC and we’re proud his skill and achievement have been recognised by the Heating Installer Awards.



Please use this link to vote for Nick – and who knows, next time, it could be you!