James serves a niche market – and looks forward to a prosperous future for oil

Because of his rural catchment area, ten years ago James Mead saw a gap in the market for a professional installation and maintenance business, specialising in all aspects of oil heating. That was the birth of Reading-based Redlands Property Services and since then, James has continuously expanded his company and the services he provides.

“Based in west Berkshire, we knew there was a high demand for oil engineers in the area,” James tells Oil Installer. “Within two years we were fully booked with work for one engineer, and have carefully expanded as the demand got greater.

“From our initial start up, our aim has been to specialise in one area of expertise – all aspects of oil including servicing, breakdowns, new boiler installs and oil tanks.

“We are a small, family run business, covering a 30 mile radius of our base. There are many rural villages within this parameter and this keeps us more than busy all year round!”

As a registered OFTEC company Redlands installs, services and commissions boilers, including range cookers, and also specialises in oil tank installations.

“We carry a large spares holding for the majority of boilers, meaning we are usually able to fix the issue on the first visit,” continues James.  “And we always try to provide a same day boiler and system breakdown service for our customers.

“We make sure that all our work is carried out to the highest standard, and we are in close contact with the boiler manufacturers, governing bodies, OFTEC and local building authorities – this is the only way to keep up to date with the ever changing rules and regulations!

“We predominantly carry out domestic work, but some small commercial work too. This extends to all types of oil work – our most interesting is looking after the mobile heaters for Zippos Circus, and abattoir boilers for Laverstoke Park organic farm.”

Prosperous future
James sees a prosperous future for Redlands Property Services and the oil heating industry in general. “Technology in oil is constantly moving forward and being embraced by us and customers,” he says. “Equally there are a lot of older boilers – some still running at 40 years old – that need to be looked after over the coming years.”

However, when asked if Redlands was considering diversifying into renewable technology, James says: “We generally haven’t found a renewable product that is cost effective and as productive as oil. But in the past year we have been installing blue flame technology boilers which have proven to be excellent and are becoming very popular with end users.

“In fact, our most interesting job recently was installing the first Blue Supreme boiler. It was amazing to see how fast the heat up time was in the house, how quiet the unit is when it is running, how the extremely efficient output can be downgraded from the old boiler (ie 35kW to 26kW) and how simple this new technology is to fit to an existing property and system. Customers regularly comment on their fuel savings and how pleased they are with this technology.”

Finally, James was asked: ‘If your company could invent one thing to make life easier for you and/or your customers, what would be?’ Without hesitation, he answered: “We have moved away from installing plastic tanks, due to their shortened lifespan, and back to bunded steel tanks. Invariably the installations are around the back of properties and have to be man-handled into awkward spots. In the majority of cases, the use of a Hiab crane is not an option as you can rarely access the site for the tank’s new position.

“Therefore, if some motorised way of moving and lifting these tanks across lawns, patios, narrow paths, etc., could be invented to take the weight off our labourer’s back it would make our lives so much easier, and jobs much quicker!”