Coronavirus: industry update

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Published: 19 March 2020


In an effort to share relevant industry information on the impact of coronavirus, we will be posting advice, messages and notifications here. If your business or organisation would like to use this service, please email details to David Todd.

 

27/03/2020

A-Gas

Managing Director John Ormerod said: “A robust supply chain relying on multiple global sources, together with putting into action existing contingency plans, is allowing us to offer a near to normal service to customers. We also benefit from the production of reclaimed refrigerants onsite. 

“Some of our global teams are further down the coronavirus curve than the UK and we have put this experience to good use. We have been pro-active with social distancing. Staff worldwide have been encouragedto work from home, although we still have operational team members onsite to ensure our customers remain supported. Onsite we are also operating split shift patterns to reduce risk and best protect our teams. 

“We have taken extra precautions such as enhanced cleaning regimes and sanitisation across our sites and offices. Our teams worldwide are available to take calls and emails to support customers. 

For more information visit www.agas.com

26/02/2020

Fujitsu

During these unprecedented times, our thoughts go out to all who have been
affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We take our responsibilities towards the
health and wellbeing of our Staff, our Customers, and the wider community very
seriously.

The vast majority of our team are now working from home but continue to have
access to all of our systems to ensure all of our customers enquiries can be dealt
with as efficiently as possible during these challenging times.

We are also working closely with our distribution partners to ensure there is
minimal disruption to fulfilling orders, however, with the situation changing
quickly we do anticipate that we may encounter some challenges along the
way.

Our Elstree office remains open for the supply of spare parts.

Our technical team can be contacted in the usual manner, and as an extra level of
support, we will be offering our out of hours text service to all Infinity customers
who may find they need support when working unusual hours, our out of hours
support will operate over the weekend between 9am to 5pm.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all NHS and essential workers as
they continue to fight to minimise the impact that this pandemic is having on
all of our lives.

We appreciate your patience as we continue to navigate these uncharted
waters.

Take care

From all at Fujitsu
 

 

26/03/2020

Federation of Master Builders

Only emergency and critical construction work should be allowed to continue and help extended to SME building firms and the self-employed in order to protect the health and livelihoods of the industry’s workforce, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). 
 
New research conducted by the FMB has found that:
 
- More than half (60%) of builders have already ceased between 76% and 100% of their work;
- Of those, 80% are in the domestic repair, renovation and maintenance sector.
- Almost two-thirds (63%) of builders believe that the Government is not doing enough to support them;
- 80% of builders would apply for the £25,000 grant, currently only available to retail, leisure and hospitality firms, if it were made available to them; 
- Of those 303 firms who said that they would apply, they employ a total of just under 2,000 people (1,956) and most commonly said that the grant would help them survive another two to three months.
 
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Most FMB members have already taken the lead and ceased the majority of their work. It is almost impossible to follow Public Health England’s social distancing advice on many sites, and it would therefore be safer to close them.
 
“However, the Government must ensure that these firms don’t face a cliff-edge while doing the right thing and should ensure that grants of £25,000 are made available and that ample support is extended to the self-employed who represent 37% of construction jobs.
 
“No one should have to choose between feeding their family and protecting their health and yet that is the position many builders currently find themselves in. There is a clear appetite for greater Government support among builders, as demonstrated by the fact that 80% would apply if grants were available. Later today, the Chancellor must avoid any halfway house measures and ensure that he delivers equal support for the self-employed as those on PAYE. This package needs to cover the breadth of people who are self-employed not just a select few.”
 

 

26/03/2020

Aermec UK

The coronavirus outbreak is impacting us all. Aermec would like you to know what we're doing to support our customers and engineers across the UK.
 
Over the next few weeks, we will be working hard to prioritise emergencies, breakdown and critical installation commissioning activities - no matter what happens. 

But like all businesses, we're going to have to change the way we work for a while, to protect the health and well-being of everyone, which may include cancelling non-essential engineer appointments and commissioning activities.
 
Please keep checking our website and our social media channels for the latest information - we'll be providing regular updates.
 
Thank you for being part of the Aermec family. 

 

26/03/2020

Thermofrost Cryo

Following the recent Government announcement of increased measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, we have reacted with further changes in order to increase safety for our staff and customers, whilst limiting the effects on our service.

More of our staff have transitioned to remote working, although from a customer’s perspective, you will notice no difference when you call us. Our working hours are unchanged.

We have made the following changes at our trade counters:

Birmingham – the trade counter will be closed and replaced with a collection point only. If you wish to place an order for collection at our Birmingham office, please call 0121 666 4700. Our staff will prepare your order and have it ready for you when you arrive. Collections must be made before 4.30 p.m.

Manchester – the trade counter will be closed until further notice, although the office can be contacted via the usual number – 0161 872 2000. Orders can be fulfilled via overnight delivery from our Birmingham warehouse.

If you find that you need to work outside normal working hours, our website is at your disposal 24 hours per day. If you have not already registered, please go to www.thermofrostcryo.co.uk . When your account is open, you will be able to view stock, see your net prices and place orders online.

Our stocks are currently at a high level. However, if your preferred product is out of stock and supply becomes difficult, our experienced refrigeration and air conditioning engineers are at your disposal to assist with selection of suitable alternatives.

We anticipate some disruption over the coming weeks, but we are doing everything we can to ensure we minimise the effects in the areas which we can control.

We wish you well in these difficult times - we are here to help.

 

25/03/2020

Wolseley UK

We know that this is a worrying time for everyone.

As such, we continue to make further adjustments to our operations so that we can support our customers at this time for essential break-fix, infrastructure and maintenance in hospitals, nursing homes, supermarkets, schools, homes and utilities, all critical to the operational stability and wellbeing of the UK.

Our priority is to operate our branch and distribution network, and support services, in a way that ensures customer and colleague safety first and foremost.

From today (25 March) we will reduce opening hours from 7.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday. Orders can still be placed for delivery overnight.
From this weekend coming (Saturday 28 March), Wolseley UK branches will be closed on Saturdays (Plumbing & Heating, Building Services & Cooling branches).

The Wolseley customer support centre will continue with its current hours (7.30am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm Saturday and 10am to 1pm Sunday). The website remains open 24-7 and our Distribution Centres continue to operate safely to fulfil essential orders.

Trade counter doors will be closed; however pre-orders can be collected from the safest point on the site. Please refer to specific instructions at your local branch to inform us of your arrival, and the location of the temporary collection point which enables maximum social distancing.

We request that you call ahead to confirm collection time. Please ensure strict adherence to social distancing rules.

We have temporarily closed a number of branches and these are detailed below:

In addition, the following branches are temporarily closed:

  • Leicester
  • Northampton East
  • Peterborough
  • Wimbledon
  • Potters Bar
  • Canning Town
  • Crawley
  • Lincoln
  • Wetherby
  • Chapeltown
  • Pickering
  • Irvine
  • Galashiels
  • Dumbarton
  • Chapeltown

For future orders and to check stock availability please visit www.wolseley.co.uk or contact your branch by phone, or our Customer Support Centre on 0344 891 0196.

Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time, and for continuing to provide essential services to our local communities.

 

 
25/03/2020

Institute of Refrigeration

As we are all experiencing challenging and unprecedented times, I am writing to confirm that the IOR is continuing to operate with all staff working from home, so please email any queries you may have. 

We have changed all meetings to webinars for the foreseeable future – IOR is well prepared to run web-based meetings and conference calls and has done so for some time. If you are a member of a committee or booked onto any event you will be sent a webinar registration link so that this important work can continue. The IOR also has eLearning training, webinars on RACHP technical topics and issues new publications online every quarter. 

We hope that this technical information and services will support our members who are working hard to keep food chains robust, hospitals safe, and necessary industrial processes or buildings operational.

On behalf of the Trustees and staff at the IOR and SES we wish all of our members, both in the UK and internationally, and those we work with good health. 
 
Kevin Glass FInstR
President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Institute of Refrigeration

ior@ior.org.uk


 

 

25/03/2020

Grant UK

Throughout the Coronavirus outbreak, Grant UK wants to keep all customers up to date with the company’s latest operations. In addition to the Company’s online press release, Grant UK has issued this FAQs page specifically focused on answering the key questions customers may have during the present climate.

[Content updated 25th March 2020]

Q. Is Grant Engineering manufacturing products?
A. Yes. Grant Engineering’s manufacturing plant in Ireland is currently still in operation .

Q. Is Grant UK despatching orders?
A. Yes. Although many of Grant UK’s employees are currently working remotely, a skeleton staff remains in operation in Devizes which includes the Warehouse Team. Orders that are placed with Grant UK are therefore being processed and despatched as normal.

Q. Are the Technical and Customer Service Teams operating?
A. Yes. Grant UK’s Technical and Customer Support teams are working remotely but are still available to answer calls and emails between the hours of 8.30am through to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Q. Are Grant UK’s in-house Field Service Engineers working?
A. Grant UK’s inhouse Field Service Engineers are attending emergency breakdowns only. When Grant UK’s Field Service Engineers attend site, they will be following the strict social distancing and hygiene procedures currently in place to ensure that both they, and the customer, are protected during any visits.

Q. If a household has to self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak and is therefore unable to have their Grant product serviced, will the product's warranty be affected?
A. Grant UK fully understand that some customers may have to self-isolate for a considerable period of time and as such, will not be able to have their Grant product serviced. We are therefore issuing the following guidance.
     While it remains important for all appliances, cylinders, stores, tanks, fuel lines and ancillary components to be serviced annually, Grant UK will continue to honour all warranties (on both Standard and Extended) beyond the normal service date up to 31st July 2020 whether the appliance is serviced or not. This extension relates to Grant oil boilers, Grant Biomass boilers, Grant Aerona Heat Pumps and Grant Cylinders/Thermal stores.
     This date may change in line with the recommendations of the UK Government and current information can be found on our website here.

Q. Are the G1 Team still operating?
A. Yes. Grant UK’s G1 Team are currently working remotely, but fully contactable by phone or email and can assist G1 Installers with any queries they may have regarding their membership. Simply call 01380 736920 or email G1@grantuk.com.

 

24/03/2020

Airedale International

Following the UK Government announcement on 23rd March, that all non-essential premises must now close, Airedale International is announcing measures to temporarily scale back business operations in order to support the national effort in minimising the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).

The UK Government released further guidance following the announcement on those businesses which were deemed “non-essential” and were therefore to close. Manufacturers were not on this list and due to the critical role our business plays in supporting UK and International key infrastructure (such as data centres, healthcare, energy, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals), it has been determined by the management team that Airedale must continue to operate during this national emergency, albeit at a reduced capacity.

We are still seeing enquiries, receiving orders, making deliveries and fielding requests for commissioning, spare parts and technical support, from industries like the ones above, who must continue to operate at all costs during this unprecedented time.
From 25th March, Airedale will be operating at a reduced  capacity in the manufacturing plant in order to keep producing products, whilst increasing social distancing and therefore safety for our people. We are also increasing the ability of our workforce to work from home, with several measures in place to support both this and the safety of people who remain at work.

Airedale fully intends to scale up operations as soon as the Government restrictions are lifted and have retained all permanent staff. Open orders for component parts are still in place and our order book is being managed day-by-day, the aim being that we are back up to full speed as efficiently and quickly as possible as soon as the situation allows.

We understand that this unprecedented situation will be a concern for staff and customers alike, including those customers that hold service contracts with Airedale. We have therefore put the following list together to show how different functions of the business will be operating during this temporary period:

Sales / Account Management: All sales staff are working from home.

Enquiries / Quotations: Our Airedale support team remain at full capacity, albeit working remotely in some cases. Please direct enquiries via e-mail where possible and use connect@airedale.com if required, which will be constantly monitored.

Leadtimes: As you will no doubt understand, leadtimes will change and be dynamic as a result of scaling back capacity. We are also closely monitoring our suppliers, as disruption to our incoming component supply chain is also expected and may impact production. We are doing what we can to prioritise critical projects, including data centres, telecommunications, healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Please support us by regularly communicating with us on site-readiness and delivery dates. If you have an open order with Airedale, rest assured we will be in touch over the coming days to discuss.

New Orders: We are still accepting new equipment and spares orders, with the caveat that leadtimes may be longer than usual and subject to change.

Manufacturing: As mentioned above, we will be operating on a reduced capacity in order to increase the safety of our employees. We have contingency stocks of key components and all orders currently in production will be completed without major delay.

Factory Acceptance Tests: We are strongly advising customers to either postpone/cancel upcoming witness tests or conduct them remotely (via video facilities).

Delivery: As of the 24th March, our logistics partners are still operating as normal.

Commissioning:  Our Commissioning team is still able to attend site, providing we are happy they are safe and any risk minimised. Site inductions are of particular concern at the moment so please review procedures to ensure social distancing is adhered to.

Technical Support: Our Technical Support team is operating at a slightly reduced capacity. Please use individual e-mail where possible or use connect@airedale.com, which will be constantly monitored.

Spares: Our Spares department is operating as normal. Please call +44 (0) 113 239 1000, e-mail spares@airedale.com or fill in an enquiry form at www.airedale.com. Please note carriers may be affected during this time.

Service / Maintenance: Our field service engineers will prioritise emergency repairs. Where schedules allow and subject to social distancing, PPMs will be carried out where possible. If you are a contract holder with Airedale, please use your normal 24hr hotline for any work.

Given the severity and fluidity of the situation, we are monitoring the situation closely and will keep you, as our valued customer, duly updated on any development. We appreciate your patience, understanding and loyalty during these difficult times.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this news, please speak to your usual Airedale contact and we will endeavour to assist. In the meantime, stay safe, stay indoors where possible and look after yourselves and your families.

 

24/03/2020

SURE Solutions

Following the announcement from the Government, we have temporarily closed our offices as our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our employees, our families, customers and communities.

The SURE Solutions team will be working remotely to allow continuity and to assist customers as best as they can during this time.

For engineering services our office line (0151 668 0525) has been diverted to our support team whom are contactable for emergencies 24/7 while we await further developments.

I wish you and your family good health and I will be in touch with further information to keep you updated over the coming days and weeks should there be any significant changes.

Take care, think safety and stay healthy.

 

24/03/2020

Finn Geotherm

In accordance with the UK Government’s required lockdown actions during this crisis period, Finn Geotherm will be scaling back its operations to undertake essential work only.

We will continue to support all of our clients with emergency breakdown cover, in order to ensure the continuity of your heating and hot water.

All current and planned heat pump installations and routine servicing and maintenance visits will however be temporarily suspended.

Please note our new emergency breakdown number which is 07946 070083. Please only call this number if your heat pump is not working. During this challenging time, we will not have the resource to attend to any other query. We will endeavour to provide remote assistance for your breakdown in the first instance but one of our heat pump engineers will attend to the system if necessary, adhering at all times to the guidance that we have previously sent on protecting themselves and our clients.

Please note that our normal office number and all staff email addresses will be unattended until further notice. Please check back here on the Finn Geotherm website for any updates to this position.

We will look forward to resuming normal business activities once the Government has confirmed that the crisis period has passed. In the meantime, please accept our heartfelt best wishes for you, your family and your friends during this very difficult time.

 

24/03/2020

SEC Group

The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group has expressed major concerns over the impact of COVID-19 on SMEs (which comprise 99% of firms in the construction industry).

SEC Group is highlighting a number of concerns relating to sharp practices, disruption to repair and maintenance contracts (which represent more than half of construction industry output) and the weak balance sheets of the large tier 1 contractors with implications for payment security along the supply chain.

Sharp practices

Some evidence is beginning to emerge of supply chains being informed that they will have to bear the risk of any disruption or delay caused to construction works as a result of COVID-19.  This means that SMEs may have to bear the brunt of any liquidated damages passed down to them. This is generally facilitated by onerous contracts which are par for the course in construction.

Repair and maintenance contracts

There is increasing disruption to repair and maintenance contracts especially those involving planned maintenance to mechanical, electrical, plumbing and lift installations. Many contracts have termination at will clauses which often enable contracts to be brought to an end without compensation. Moreover, there are safety implications to be considered. Lifts, for example, require regular servicing to comply with statutory safety requirements.  SEC Group is asking for clear guidance to be issued from both government and the Health and Safety Executive.

Payment security

Whilst public sector clients are being urged to ensure that all their payment obligations to their tier 1 contractors are discharged quickly there is concern that this will not be followed through along the supply chain. Moreover, any disruption or delay to projects could result in severe payment delays to supply chain firms which will be exacerbated by the fragile balance sheets of the large companies. Supply chain contracts often allow for tier 1 contractors to suspend works without necessarily compensating their sub-contractors.

SEC Group’s chairman Trevor Hursthouse called on all clients of the UK’s construction industry to be on the look-out for distressed firms in their supply chains and ensure that, as much as possible, measures are put in place to alleviate such distress.  He added: “The UK construction industry is on a financial knife-edge.  We need to ensure that the industry will still have the capacity and resources to deliver the construction and infrastructure needs that will be required when some level of normality returns.”

UK Government’s measures including the COVID-19 Procurement Policy Note, business loans, grants and other support measures are welcome - the challenge is turning out to be understanding precisely how and where the support is accessed.  SEC Group will be monitoring access difficulties amongst members and will continue to support Government initiatives whilst also identifying delivery difficulties if they persist.  
 

24/03/2020

Wolseley UK

Supporting Essential Supply
In line with the latest government instructions we will continue to supply essential repair and replacement requirements. We have made further adjustments to our operating standards to maximise social distancing through this ongoing supply to support our customers in serving vulnerable homes and essential buildings including hospitals and supermarkets.

Trade counter doors will be closed, however pre-orders can be collected from the safest point on the site. Please refer to specific instructions at your local branch to inform us of your arrival, and the location of the temporary collection point which enables maximum social distancing.

We request that you call ahead to confirm collection time. Please ensure strict adherence to social distancing rules.

For future orders and to check stock availability please visit www.wolseley.co.uk or contact your branch by phone, or our Customer Support Centre on 0344 891 0196.

Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time, and for continuing to provide essential services to our local communities.

 

24/03/2020

CAREL

In accordance with the latest decree by the Italian Prime Minister's office, CAREL will stop the production activities of its plants in Italy starting from March 26 until April 3. Currently, the aforementioned plants are mainly carrying out preparation activities for this stop and warehousing and shipping activities.

With the aim of mitigating, as far as possible, the negative impacts deriving from the stop of the production activity in Italy, the presence of Group's plants in almost all continents is particularly important at this time. CAREL can count on a significant production flexibility guaranteed by five factories abroad, some of which have been expanded recently. The plants of the Group are located in Croatia, Germany, Brazil, China and the United States, all currently fully operating.

The initiatives already taken in relation to white-collar workers in Italy remain valid, enabling smart-working for a percentage close to 100%. 
 
CAREL confirms its focus on the management of this emergency and will put in place all the necessary measures in order to better protect the health of its employees both in Italy and abroad.
 

24/03/2020

Secon

As of this morning, Secon will be closing down all operations. We need to look after the wellbeing of our wonderful staff - many of them have immediate contact with 'vulnerable' people and this is the only decision open to us. The sooner everyone complies with this the sooner this nightmare will be over.

Rest assured that when this is all over we will be in a good position to continue business as usual - our warehouse is full and ready to go.

Thank you for your understanding in these difficult times. We will be monitoring emails from home but absolutely no goods will be shipped during this period.

 

24/03/2020

Mitsubishi Electric

Our priority at Mitsubishi Electric is always the protection, safety and well-being of our staff and stakeholders, including all customers, business partners and end users.

As the world comes to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing the cancellation of major events and the Government advising us all to avoid gatherings in close proximity and, where possible to work from home.

The next few weeks and months will be a particularly challenging time for businesses and we would like to reassure you that we are enacting plans to allow us to support our customers as much as we can.

We continue to review the situation on a daily basis and, in line with the latest Government advice, we are avoiding unnecessary travel and have postponed all planned events.  All customer and supplier meetings have been cancelled for the foreseeable future and, where possible, these will be held by conference call, video or Skype.

We are also implementing a ‘work from home’ strategy for a majority of staff. This will help ensure we prioritise the safety of colleagues and partners whilst allowing us to continue operating at maximum capacity.

Please rest assured that the situation is being monitored on a daily basis, and we have set up a COVID-19 task force which is currently implementing a number of continuity plan steps for our business along with counter measures to support both our customers and our staff during this difficult time.

 

23/03/2020

Precision Refrigeration

Due to the rapidly evolving situation surrounding COVID-19, and for the safety of all our employees, we have taken the tough decision to close our factory today until further notice. 
 
The situation is constantly changing, but as of now, we have kept on a small number of staff to help meet the needs of our customers, whilst taking all the necessary precautions to protect our team.

We are still able to accept orders and make shipments, but our manufacturing capability will be severely reduced until such times as it is safe to fully re-open the factory. We have healthy stocks of finished products, so we are in a good position to meet any demand you have during these difficult times. 

Current status on virus’ impact at Precision: 

Supply Chain: Healthy stocks to cover our current needs, but some delays 
are possible.

Manufacturing: 5% operational

Lead Times: Please contact us as we have healthy levels of stock
 
Delivery Commitments: We are actively contacting all affected customers

As ever, we are thankful for your support and will keep you informed as new information becomes available. In the meantime, please stay safe.

 

23/03/2020

BESA

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has joined calls for site managers to show leniency towards staff with expired SKILLcards, because operatives are unable to sit their tests due to the closure of testing centres last Friday to help stem the outbreak of COVID-19.

This follows the recent CSCS statement asking employers and those responsible for site access to use their discretion towards workers whose cards have expired since mid-March onward, so long as they can provide evidence that they have been unable to sit their Health, Safety & Environment test or undertake the required training due to closures of test/raining centres.

BESA Head of Certification. Duncan Sibbald. said: “This is a temporary measure to deal with workers not being able to meet the usual SKILLcard application requirements due to the pandemic.

“SKILLcard will continue to provide assistance to SKILLcard holders and site managers faced with this exact scenario by being able to confirm the validity of the SKILLcard in question.” he added.

Site managers seeking advice should call the SKILLcard helpline on 01768 860 406.
 

 

20/03/2020

'Keep cool and collaborate'

ADA and Wave Refrigeration

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and is causing anxiety and worry throughout society. In these uncertain times it is time to put competitive rivalry to the side and focus on what is truly important. As industry leading consultants with incredible talent, ADA and Wave have entered an agreement of collaborative support and working.

This partnership was simple to agree as neither company has interests outside of providing consulting services, we also have long standing working relationships and friendships that connect our businesses. Ultimately this unprecedented pandemic requires solidarity and our collaborative working will send a clear message to the industry that together we are in a much stronger position to serve our respective customers. In the event of any of our employees requiring time to self-isolate, the collaboration between ADA and Wave will ensure that we can still fulfil customer requirements through working together to provide:

  • System design (load determination and plant selection – this ensures that other areas of the supply chain will not be delayed in selecting plant equipment)
  • Pipe sizing – this will ensure that the contractors are still able to progress project costs and installations
  • AutoCAD and REVIT – this will ensure that drawings can be produced in a timely manner my pooling together our talented draughting teams
  • Technical support and troubleshooting for our respective customers – It is undeniable that ADA and Wave have amongst the very best technical engineers in the industry
  • Project management – both businesses have highly experienced project managers who have the ability to conduct surveys, facilitate scoping meetings, progress installation audit visits & reports and sign-off projects at practical completion
  • Commercially sensitive aspects of work will not be disclosed between our two businesses – this is to protect and respect our respective customers and their suppliers.

We hope that by taking a lead through this unique collaboration that it will encourage businesses across the refrigeration industry to support each other and demonstrate solidarity and friendship during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial for everyone that the disruption to the refrigeration supply chain is limited; we all rely on our industry for basic human needs such as fresh and frozen food, and medication.

Of significant importance, we are also duty bound to do our very best to protect our employees livelihoods – our partnership will hopefully go a long way in mitigating any concern and anxiety that both of our teams may have.

Both management at ADA and Wave are excited about what we can achieve together, let us all ‘Keep Cool and Collaborate!’

 

20/03/2020

Carter Thermal Industries Group

We have been monitoring and following the developing Covid-19 situation closely and continue to do so on a daily basis. We are fully committed to ensuring the continuing health, safety & welfare of all our staff, customers, sub-contractors and the wider public with whom we interact.

Internally we continue to develop and strengthen our business continuity and disaster recovery plans (DRP). CTI has a very robust DRP with Cloud-based IT / Telephony Backup which will enable ALL CTI Business units to continue working from home should the UK government instructions reach this level of control and containment of the population.

We have established key teams that are currently meeting daily to review the situation in all our business locations as well as our customer sites where our remote support and service teams work, and in addition, we liaise constantly with our Supply Base to minimise and mitigate the potential impact on its obligations to our collective customers.

The Company will be following the guidelines outlined by the Government and recognising our duty of care towards our employees and we have set up a daily monitoring system that records all cases of Covid-19 and all employees that are self-isolating. We have increased the frequency of cleaning within the business at all levels and within all areas, including the reiteration of government guidelines on hand / other sanitation processes and precautions for all of our mobile staff.

Our priority at this time is to ensure we continue to provide the best service to our customers and that we continue to operate our full service and support teams nationally on a 24/7 basis. The Carters business currently provides critical service support to thousands of supermarkets, convenience stores and more broadly to the food production, storage and distribution sectors as well as to key infrastructure facilities including hospitals, airports, mortuaries, medical centres and to the pharmaceutical sector.

As guidance changes, and we adapt to the evolving situation we will continue to update via our usual customer communication channels as well as our group website and business websites as appropriate and our various social media channels.

 

19/03/2020

ECA / BESA / SELECT survey

Over nine in 10 engineering services businesses (93%) say they are ‘concerned or very concerned’ about the impact of coronavirus on their business over the next six months, according to initial responses to a major new ECA / BESA / SELECT engineering services survey.

The survey was launched earlier this week by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and SELECT, the Scottish electrical contractors’ association. Over 60% of respondents say they are ‘very concerned’ about coronavirus while 1% suggested they were ‘unconcerned’.

Half of the engineering services respondents (51%) said that they have already encountered ‘delays and disruptions to current projects’, with 61% of larger businesses reporting current disruption. Around half of respondents already report ‘delays and disruption to future work’. Over half of respondents (53%) said they were now ‘preparing business contingency plans’ as a result of developments, a figure which rose to 71% in larger businesses.

The most commonly cited business activity in response to coronavirus to date is ‘reducing business travel’ and ‘asking or allowing staff to work from home’, followed by ‘business contingency planning.’ However, around 10% of businesses say they have ‘shut down at certain premises or sites’, and over 10% of respondents also say they are ‘updating their contracts’ and ‘looking into alternative suppliers’.

BESA Director of Legal and Commercial, Debbie Petford, said: “Though these are just preliminary findings, the sheer scale of the disruption to the sector is alarming. We will be working around the clock to provide as much guidance as possible to our members, and calling on the government to keep providing additional stimulus and support as the situation evolves, to ensure businesses make it to other side of this crisis in one piece.”

The survey, which is still live, has already received over 600 responses from across the industry, including nearly 180 from larger businesses in the sector. The coronavirus situation is fast moving and further survey responses are expected to show increasing impact on the industry in the days ahead.
Engineering services plays a critical role in developing and maintaining the UK’s built environment - which includes businesses, housing, hospitals and care homes, and the UK’s wider infrastructure, and is fundamental to employment and keeping the UK economy moving.

The survey, which closes at 4pm on March 27, can be found here

19/03/2020

Wolseley UK

We know that this is a worrying time for everyone across the UK right now, both from a personal perspective as well as for your business.

That’s why, we’re keen to reassure you that we’re doing as much as possible to ensure we’re well placed to continue to meet your needs.

In addition to following the Government’s guidance, we have incorporated additional measures to minimise risk and protect our customers, colleagues and suppliers.

These include:

  • Providing all branches with enhanced cleaning packs to maintain good hygiene standards across our network. This includes specific instructions to clean high contact areas, paying particular attention to counter-tops, touch screens, door handles and fleet vehicles.
  • We are in regular contact with our supply partners and are able to confirm that we have significant stock to cope with any potential impact on supply chain. We will maintain regular dialogue with all our suppliers to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum.
  • We have put any planned events on hold for now and we are encouraging colleagues not to travel, to avoid face to face meetings with customers and suppliers and for field-based roles to work from home where possible.
  • We are asking all customers and colleagues to practice social distancing and to maintain high levels of hand hygiene at all times.

Please rest assured, we are working tirelessly to keep our colleague safe and our branches operating as normal where-ever possible to support your business. In the event of a branch closing we will do everything we can to provide alternative arrangements. We’ll also keep our website updated with latest developments over the coming weeks.

Don’t forget you can also place orders, check stock availability and view your account any time.

Your local contact in Wolseley UK will be happy to speak to you about any potential changes you might like to make, as a result of changes to your own business procedures. Where needed, we will work together with you to find new solutions and ensure we can continue to deliver the service you have come to expect from us.

 

19/03/2020

Darryl Smith, Managing Director, AUK Distribution

In relation to the rapidly changing situation of Covid-19 and the subsequent advice from the government, we are currently working away from our offices. We remain fully operational however, having invested previously in IT systems that enable remote working with all calls and emails still being responded to.

I'd like to thank you for your patience and as always for your valued custom. 

 

19/03/2020

Stonegrove Refrigeration

In light of the current COVID-19 health crisis, Stonegrove want to reassure you that we are still here to support our customers. 

As a business, we are taking extra precautions to protect our staff, customers, and the wider community.  Following the latest government guidelines, as of immediate affect our office is now working with skeleton staff, with other office-based staff working from home.  Our mobile engineers are keeping up with the highest hygiene standards and still carrying out essential site visits. 

If required Stonegrove are able to transition to a wholly remote operation with all office staff working from home, meaning we can reduce the chance of further spread of the virus.

As there are still uncertain times ahead of us, should the UK face a total lock down, we will follow the Government guidelines and will endeavour to continue provision of services to the best of our ability.  We will continue to carefully follow and monitor official guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. 

You can still contact us via telephone, mobile phones and email. 

We would like to thank all our customers for their understanding, support & flexibility at this time, and by working together we can get through this.

 

19/03/2020

Kooltech

We appreciate that with regular news stories and updates about COVID-19 Coronavirus, there will be questions that you may have about the actions we are taking, as a business, to combat the spread of this virus.

As a responsible company we are committed to protecting the welfare of our staff, customers and suppliers. We are actively and continuously monitoring the Covid-19 Coronavirus outbreak and acting in line with the UK Government’s recommendations to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

We are working closely together to plan and co-ordinate our response to this ever-developing situation.

Some of the specific measures we have undertaken to provide confidence to our staff, customers and suppliers are listed below:

  • We have placed travel restrictions on sales staff making customer visits
  • Banned all non-essential travel in the UK
  • Any staff who have recently travelled to infected areas are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, and to seek prompt medical advice should they feel unwell
  • We are using technology, such as Skype and Teams to ensure we continue to actively participate in meetings, without needing to be there in person
  • We are contacting our customers to make sure we have their most up-to-date contact information and encouraging customers to buy online where possible
  • We are significantly increasing our hygiene provision in all our facilities and we respectfully request that all staff and visitors follow the guidelines and maintain the highest standards of hygiene to limit transmission
  • Where practically possible we would discourage all non-essential customer and suppliers visits to our facilities, especially if alternative technology-based options are available. This applies to our staff visits to customer and supplier premises


Crucially, we remain fully operational. Our teams continue to support all of our clients and their needs through modified working practices. All staff have been provided with all necessary equipment to maintain business continuity.

Thank you for your continued support and we will update you as and when the situation changes.

 

19/03/2020

Bacharach

Bacharach has globally activated our business continuity planning. All work organisation and preventive measures are fully operational within our sales, logistics and production teams.  This is to ensure the continuity of our business, which is essential to vital industry sectors.

The entire Bacharach global team are on hand to assist our partners, customers, business channels and end users with any questions or concerns that you may have.  We appreciate that during this time you may have additional requests or issues, and we are fully operational in order to assist you.

We understand that you may also have capacity concerns or work load issues within your own business, and therefore we can assure you that we are ready, capable and willing to be a resource to you, to assist you, and your business, through these concerning times.

We have seen a large demand for information from our customers regarding our products and services in recent weeks, and we are fully on hand to deal with this demand.

Lastly, on a personal note, I hope that you are all well and keeping safe.  Please contact me directly for assistance canderson@mybacharach.com

 

19/03/2020

CEDA, Cedabond, ENSE and FEA have written the following joint letter to the Prime Minister calling for protection to industry supply chains, such as the foodservice equipment industry.  

The market value of the foodservice equipment industry supply chain is £1.3bn and it employs 10,000 people in the UK. Our respective organisations represent the breadth of the sector. The sector includes equipment manufacturers, importers, distributors, designers and installer consultants and service companies. 10% of business is export related. Typically, the equipment sector’s equipment comprises cooking and warming, refrigeration, warewashing, beverage, light equipment and tableware, ventilation, spare parts and servicing. 

The sector’s customer base comprises 427,627 outlets of which 267,485 (62%) are independent operators.   Foodservice equipment is extensively used for out of home eating and drinking across the following key operator sectors: 

Primary sector operators – where foodservice is the primary function 

  • Hotels, quick service restaurants, restaurants, pubs and bars. 

Secondary sector operators– where foodservice is a secondary function 

  • Healthcare, education, public and community services, armed forces, leisure and recreation, workplace, visitor attractions, venues, travel. 

We support the government business funding programme, announced by the Chancellor, to support foodservice outlets that are being seriously affected by the requirements caused by Coronavirus. Their vulnerability places significant pressure on the equipment supply chain. The majority of the businesses we represent are SME’s and are similarly unable to survive in the harsh commercial climate we are now in. Operators have, in effect, stopped spending on equipment and the related services. 

Projects are being cancelled and there is little new product purchasing taking place. This is not expected to improve until the operators are making a surplus over their costs. 

Given the significant effects of the requirements on citizens and the operator sector we call on Government to ensure the following: 

  • Where operator funding is made available there should be a mandatory obligation to ensure that operator businesses meet their contractual payment obligations, in order to support the supply chain. 
  • Supply chain businesses should have access to funding to bridge the gap caused by non-payment by customers. Support is needed to ensure that UK registered businesses are able to provide foodservice equipment for future Government projects. 
  • Regular reviews of supply chain issues are required, and changes should be incorporated into Government support proposals in order to ensure that supply chains do not suffer short term irreparable damage leading to loss of skills and experience. Failure to do this will prevent effective recovery as and when the operator industry recovers. 
  • Employment support packages must be made for all companies immediately. By giving PAYE ‘holiday’ for a one-off period of 3 months would be the SINGLE biggest help government could do for all businesses to ensure companies can continue to guarantee salaries to employees and therefore give employees / staff the confidence they need that salaries will be meet for at least 3 months. 
  • Not for profit organisations such as ours, are directly engaged in the sector and arrange events and activities to facilitate networking and to generate business for members. Losses due to the need to cancel such events should be covered by Government in the case of not for profit organisations where these cannot be recovered by insurances. 

We support the Government need to manage the safety and health of the nation, but immediate support is required in order to ensure that our members can sustain their businesses through the recession that is being caused by its necessary action. 
 

19/03/2020

From Mike Gould, HVAC Manager, JD Cooling

There is currently no evidence that oronavirus (Covid-19) is airborne, the virus appears to spread via droplets and direct contact with contaminated surfaces and objects.

However, as with any air conditioning system, the design and maintenance are key to its performance and the health/wellbeing of the building occupants.

Research suggests that increased humidification has a large impact on reducing the transmission of some airborne virus, as will the level of filtration within a ventilation system should the virus become airborne.

The optimum range of humidity to is widely recognised to be between 40% RH & 60% RH, this is because the moisture provides a larger target for the virus to connect too, keeps the bodies mucus membrane in the nose and mouth moist and captures it before it enters the body.

Only the highest class of high efficiency particulate filters are capable of capturing a virus that is airborne, these are typically used in medical facilities like operating theatres & cleanrooms, the typical low level filter or filtration systems in standard air conditioning units would not offer any protection to this Virus, however as the reports are suggesting the virus is not airborne or at the most has a transmission distance through aerosol projection from human to human the risks of air conditioning systems having an impact on its spread are considered very low.

Nonetheless, this virus, its transport mechanism and dormant yet most infections stages appear to be while the host is least aware, we would recommend that on return to the office spaces the air conditioning system filters are either replaced or if possible washed on hot soapy water.

For now, the we would recommend that the air space is well ventilated. If you are mobilising a home working strategy, turn off or change your time clocks on the office air conditioning and save some energy why you are away. 

 

18/03/2020

Steve Fleming, Samsung Climate Solutions

As you are all aware we are facing a uniquely difficult time with the advancement of COVID-19 in the UK. As a company the safety of our colleagues, their families and our customers is paramount.

To this end Samsung Climate Solutions UK will be following the government guidelines and asking our employees to work from home. However we are still available via our mobile phones/email. Also should you prefer we can communicate via a face to face video conferencing platform that suits your business.

We will offer all the support that is practical to work with our customers in this challenging time. As it stands we are able to continue to deliver from our UK and Netherlands warehouse, if this situation changes we will advise in due course. Samsung Climate Solutions will keep talking to and supporting you and your business through these challenging times. More importantly right now we hope that you and your family all stay safe and healthy. 

Take care all. 

 

18/03/2020

Anthony Cole, Managing Director, Airedale International

Due to the rapidly evolving and serious nature of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Airedale have been actively working on measures to reduce risks to employees and to maintain current business service levels.

Airedale has suspended all unnecessary overseas business travel for employees. Border crossing and regional restrictions imposed by governments will be adhered to, and at times this will result in cancelled travel to certain locations.

We have suspended non-critical face-to-face meetings, and inward visits to our UK sites have been postponed or rearranged to be either a tele-conference or a video-conference. Where visits are classed as business critical they may still go ahead with all the necessary precautions in place to minimise risk of transmission (Symptom checking, hand washing, distancing, avoiding main staff population areas).

At our sites and in our field teams we have provided hand sanitisers and antiseptic wipes and encouraged employees to adopt the WHO guidelines on hygiene. Levels of cleaning in communal areas has been increased and areas of separation increased between delivery drivers and our UK employees.

We are constantly reviewing our parts inventory with our suppliers to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, our orders, build times for products, and our availability of spare parts remain unaffected. We would also ask that customers with open orders with us keep us informed as much as possible regarding delivery dates, which we understand can be dynamic in times like these.

We have a high number of laptop users within the support functions of our business that can work from home and steps have already been taken to implement this. We are also implementing alternative working patterns elsewhere in the business.

Our Service and Commissioning team have over 70 engineers located throughout the UK. The spread of their locations greatly increases our resilience should the virus spread. Each of these engineers has been provided with hand sanitisers, antiseptic wipes and WHO guidance on protecting themselves and others.

We understand the severity of this issue and want to ensure that we play our part and take appropriate action. We continue to monitor the situation daily and will respond to events if and when they occur. Maintaining a high level of service to our customers is of paramount importance, as is the safety of people in and outside our organisation. Communication is key to that so If you have any concerns or questions please do not hesitate to direct them via your usual Airedale contact.

 

18/03/2020

Climalife

In order to limit the spread of Covid-19, Climalife has now activated its business continuity plan.

Our priority is :

  • to preserve the health and safety of our employees, customers and partners,
  • ensure the continuity of our business and service, which are essential to some of the vital sectors of the economy.

As a result, all preventative measures; work organisation and business continuity, are now operational at our production sites and within our sales, sales administration, logistics and support teams. We can be contacted by e-mail or telephone to answer all your requests.

The situation can change very quickly, we invite you to follow us via our website or on our social networks LinkedIn or Twitter.

We thank you for your patience in this difficult time and assure you that all our teams will do whatever is necessary to ensure the continuity of our service.

 

17/03/2020

BESA

Three engineering services associations have launched a survey to gauge the impact of the coronavirus on the industry.

The survey, for those in the sector and its supply chain, is backed by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and SELECT, the Scottish electrical contractors’ association. It comes as Build UK and CECA have stated that construction ‘sites may have to close’ due to coronavirus. The two bodies will be asking Government to ‘identify safety critical work on the infrastructure network that is essential and must be continued’.

BESA Director of Legal and Commercial Debbie Petford: “Our biggest challenge is ensuring our members have certainty in this extraordinary and evolving situation – especially when we do not yet know how long it will last or what extent the economic impact will be.”

ECA Corporate Social Responsibility Director Paul Reeve said: “Coronavirus is a fast-moving situation with significant social and economic implications. It is vital that we understand the key problems being faced by companies and how to both represent and practically support our industry in what is fast becoming a changeable and challenging near future.”

The initial deadline for responses is March 27 at 4pm and the confidential survey, which should take around three minutes, can be accessed here

 

16/03/2020

Andrew Robinson, Exi-tite

As a young business we are being faced with some strange perhaps challenging times ahead, but we are keeping a sensible level approach. There are always new challenges and problems in business.

I am glad to say that taking advice from our IT supplier many months ago we invested and now we can run a virtual office with remote access to all systems from any location for our team with WiFi. 

We don’t know what the next weeks hold but we are ready to handle it with an excellent team.

Let’s hope and pray all those with underlying issues and over 70s will be protected and avoid infection.

 

 

12/03/2020

REFCOM

REFCOM has produced guidance for members on what it describes as "misinformation" surrounding the coronavirus and air conditioning systems.

The F-Gas certification body says the move is in response to calls to members from concerned clients asking if their air conditioning systems are safe to use.

The guidance says: "Recent newspaper stories have been widely circulated suggesting that research has suggested that 'the coronavirus could be spread by air conditioning systems'. As with many stories like this in the media, a degree of caution should be taken with regard to the veracity or accuracy of the statements made. Air conditioning is often an easy scapegoat target when there is an outbreak of any kind – think of any Legionella outbreak and how the media immediately blames air conditioning despite the fact that we very rarely use the type of air conditioning in the UK where legionella bacteria can proliferate.

"The recent reports of research from Singapore seem to suggest from finding 'traces of the virus' in 'an air duct connected to the room of a patient' who had tested positive for the virus, that the natural conclusion was that the virus was being transferred via the air flowing through the duct. Not only is this unscientific because it does not consider the distinct probability that someone has touched the outlet grille and left the trace amount there, but the scaremongering this creates is unhelpful to those trying to get to grips with the reality of the situation.

"Having said that, any airborne contaminants can be minimised, if not eliminated, by proper and effective filtration and regular cleaning and maintenance of ventilation systems. A clean ventilation system is an essential part of a healthy building and it is essential that any ventilation system serving a building where confirmed cases have been diagnosed are sanitised in accordance with best practice, and that any buildings where no cases have been confirmed have their ventilation system cleaned to industry best practice as a preventative measure during this time and on-going.

Head of REFCOM Graeme Fox said: "We've produced this guidance to help allay fears and put the record straight with regard to the misinformation that some newspapers have been spreading in recent days. Please keep referring to our website to see if there have been any updates as the situation is still fluid and prone to change on a daily basis.''