Focal Point Fires appoints new managing director


Focal Point Fires, the UK’s largest manufacturer of fuel effect fires, has appointed Phillip Wicks as its new managing director.

Phillip (pictured), who has been working with Focal Point Fires for over sixteen years, will oversee all aspects of the company’s operations including sales, design, research and development, finance, production, quality control, and personnel and customer service.

Considerations for retrofit commercial water heating

water heating

Commercial water heating is a very different entity to domestic – while many UK homes can be fairly uniform in their requirements, commercial and industrial water heating requirements can vary hugely depending on a range of factors such as sector, building size and peak usage.

Retrofitting brings its own challenges, particularly when a specifier or installer is dealing with a building that may have existed for decades, and with its own antiquated water heating system that needs significantly enhancing or a total replacement.

Either way, whether it be a leisure development such as a hotel or restaurant, an office block, or other light industrial building, there will likely be a requirement for large flow rates and water storage.

Ladders and swings top creativity table for #FlexYourPex competition

 #FlexYourPex competition

Ladders, swings, mug holders, and dumbbells are just a few of the creative uses plumbers and merchants have found for Speedfit connections, as part of JG Speedfit’s ‘Flex Your Pex’ competition.


The initiative, which ran from March to June 2017, challenged plumbers, installers and Speedfit stockists to make a video showing how many Speedfit connections they could make in under 60 seconds, with extra prizes awarded for the most creative ideas. Whilst Peter Booth, owner at Peter Booth Plumbing and Heating, won the overall challenge for his mug holder made from Speedfit connections, this was just one of many creative entries which included all manner of items from models of football pitches, to bikes.

The smart way to talk technical

Techtalk website

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) has launched two new websites, which will not only help members keep up-to-date with the very latest technical developments in the industry, but also boost their business knowledge on legal, marketing and financial issues. 


Named Techtalk and Smarttalk, the respective websites hold webinars and other materials, which have been developed by the CIPHE in conjunction with leading industry manufactures and business advisors.


The Techtalk website features webinars covering:techtalk website

● Water safety

● Renewables

'Scorching' year for Flame Heating Spares

John Savage

Flame Heating Spares is set for continued growth and expansion after more than doubling its turnover to record another successful year in business.

The North East’s fastest growing Heating & Plumbing merchant recorded sales of £14.5m up from £6.4m in 2016, and has seen its employee count rise to 42 members of staff.

Flame has now reported year-on-year growth since it was established in 2011 by entrepreneur John Savage, with a single branch in Gateshead.

Flame currently operates seven trade counters across the region, having launched outlets in Ashington and Newcastle over the last 12 months, and has invested a further £200,000 to launch three branches in Scotland this summer.

APHC reminds employers of their legal duties regarding workplace pensions

John Thompson

Under the Pensions Act 2008, every employer in the UK must put certain staff into a workplace pension and contribute towards it. This is called automatic enrolment.


The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors, the leading employer trade association for plumbing and heating businesses in England and Wales, is reminding industry employers that they need to understand what their legal responsibilities are, what they need to do, and by when.


Engage with customers through social media


With Quality Plumber Week fast approaching, the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors is urging more plumbing and heating engineers to use social media.

John Thompson the CEO of APHC explained; “Over the past decade, companies have embraced social media as a valuable marketing tool.  Right now, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are at the forefront and can be very impactful marketing tools giving plumbing and heating businesses the ability to communicate with customers and potential customers directly.

Bond It wins Inspiring Business Award


Bond It is celebrating its success after winning a coveted business accolade.

The company, which ranks as one of the UK’s fastest growing manufacturers of sealants, adhesives and building chemicals, recently picked up an Inspiring Business Award at a ceremony held in late June at the Chesford Grange Hotel, Warwickshire.

The Inspiring Business Awards are staged by Datel – the country’s largest Sage partner and a specialist provider of Sage ERP business management software and CRM solutions.

They are designed to acknowledge outstanding and inspirational success stories from across Datel’s customer community of over 1000 businesses – ranging from SMEs to large, multi-national corporations.

£300k investment to 'spark the Flame' in Scotland


Flame Heating Spares is gearing up for further growth with the launch of three trade counters in Scotland, following a £300,000 investment.

The fast growing Heating & Plumbing merchant has secured two sites in Glasgow and another in Edinburgh, as it prepares to expand outside of its traditional North East roots.

Flame expects to create up to 25 jobs with the expansion, including directorship roles, branch management and supervisory positions at the trade counters.

The Gateshead-headquartered company currently operates throughout the North East of England from seven trade counters, having launched with a single branch in 2011.

CIPHE welcomes new President


The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) held its AGM, today, Friday 30 June at United Insurance Brokers Limited in London. Geoff Westall EngTech MCIPHE RP was elected as National President, while Tracey Richardson EngTech LCGI MCIPHE RP was voted in as the Vice President.

Geoff has been a long-standing CIPHE member, joining way back in 1981. He has served as CIPHE branch secretary for Lincolnshire and Area Co-ordinator for Midlands, as well as supporting outgoing President, Paul Williams, for the previous year in his role as Vice President.