In October 2012, Adam picked up the award for oil boiler installer (which he shares with WD Taylor Plumbing and Heating’s Graham Taylor). Nominated by OFTEC inspector, Clive King, Adam told Oil Installer that he was surprised to win: “It was nerve-racking on the night but it was nice to be recognised for my work.”
An educational visit
Adam’s winning installation was a huge project undertaken in the summer holidays at a private school. It involved the replacement of 120 radiators, two boilers, two water cylinders, a pumping station and a control unit. “Although the job was straightforward, the sorts of tasks I do day in, day out, it was sizeable and we were working to a strict timeframe,” explained Adam. “The only real difficulty was the plant room, which was very small and we had to take out the chimney breast to get all of the equipment in.”
Adam works for Dorset-based Total Energy Services, which is jointly owned by his father, John Smith and John’s business partner, Geoff Lamb. Prior to joining the family business Adam trained and worked as an agricultural engineer. Having eventually succumbed to persuasion from his father, Adam retrained as a heating engineer eight years ago. “It’s better money and nicer hours,” he joked. As well as winning installations, Adam also does servicing and breakdowns.
Variety is the spice of life
Five years ago the company moved into renewables with solar thermal and now also installs air source heat pumps. “We’ve been doing air source heat pumps for about two years and I can see that’s where the market is heading. It’s something most people will have to consider in the future. We certainly get a broad spectrum of customers enquiring about them,” commented Adam. However, he believes that oil still has a huge part to play. “Oil’s always going to have a place in the market, especially if a good biofuel can be developed. It has to, because the price of air source heat pumps remains so high.”
For Adam, working with a variety of technologies ensures that his job is never dull. “I’m glad I don’t do the same thing all the time. It’s good to do a range of different things – I’d get bored otherwise!”