Construction is changing and so is Vent-Axia. The industry is adopting a project-led stance and Vent-Axia, realising this, is using its expertise in heating and air conditioning as well as ventilation to look at air management solutions. David Neale, channel marketing manager for the commercial sector, talks to HVR about the changes
VENT-AXIA is all about air management, says David Neale, channel marketing manager for the commercial sector who is also responsible for corporate marketing.
And people need clean air to live healthily and work productively but it must now be achieved with greater energy efficiency.
This is recognised by the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, driving changes to Building Regulations Parts F and L, which comes into effect next month. Then planning applications for all new and some existing buildings will need to demonstrate compliance with the new requirements.
Vent-Axia has been a very successful company for the last 70 years selling ventilation products, into the residential and commercial markets served by the Vent-Axia and Roof Units brands.
Now, David acknowledges, the construction environment is changing, partly because of changes in project funding and partly through legislation. The industry is adopting a more project-based approach and Vent-Axia is at the forefront of this. It is applying its expertise in heating and air conditioning as well as ventilation to look at air management solutions as a whole project, working closely with specifiers and contractors.
David goes on to explain that 2006 is set to be an exciting year for the industry as a whole and Vent-Axia in particular.
The commercial channel of the business, where David is the marketing manager, is presenting the Vent-Axia air management range through a number of Vent-Axia brands including heating, air conditioning, Vent-Axia ventilation and Roof Units ventilation.
'The way I see it is that Vent-Axia is about providing clean, healthy fresh air for offices, schools, hospitals, factories and leisure to name but a few.'
The Vent-Axia brands are the tools which are employed to offer that healthy fresh air.
'The requirement for a project based approach is highlighted by the big PFI developments, where the main contractor also owns the project and some of the revenue will come from running the building. Air management is increasingly being regarded as a whole, not simply a combination of heating, ventilation and air conditioning, as whole life costing, maintenance scheduling and integration with building management systems become important considerations in the specification.
With government investment in health and education in particular, Vent-Axia is working closely in LIFTS projects, SureStart and Building Schools for the Future for example.
Take, for instance, a hospital project, says David.
The Vent-Axia salesperson is able to talk knowledgeably about air conditioning or industrial fans, unitary ventilation within showers and toilets, air handling, ducted ventilation, heating, hygiene (hand dryers), and fume extraction.
What it means is that the salesperson has a portfolio which is second to none.
This portfolio means that while the salesperson is with a client discussing one aspect of a project, he is able to offer other products which the specifier might not have considered and, again, 'it is a case of dealing with one company and of having one point of contact, not five or six'.
Back at the office in Crawley, West Sussex, there is a sales and technical support team which will answer technical questions from the sales team or clients as well as providing quotations project by project.
'I don't believe there is another HVAC company in the UK market with the breadth of our products,' he adds.
'This is taking place as the requirements of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and Building Regulations Part F/L are coming into full effect,' David explains.
'The Building Regulations Part F 'Buildings other than Dwellings' section highlights natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation - specifying whole building ventilation rate for the air supply to office (10l/s per person) and specific extract rates for rooms, including those with photocopiers and printers, food preparation and sanitary areas. With definition of the design parameters, in relation to number and fan types, floor area, siting of equipment and maintenance access, it's easier to design for a particular project, and evaluate product choices in terms of overall system life cost, solution performance and ongoing ease of maintenance.
The new Vent-Axia FP and XP air handling units which are launched this month
'The need for effective ventilation is reflected in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requiring the measurement of energy performance of commercial buildings in terms of carbon emissions, using the simplified building energy model (SBEM). These are incorporated in the Building Regulations Document Part L (for non-dwellings) - Conservation of Fuel and Power. The document defines limiting specific fan power (W/litre/s) for a range of mechanical ventilation systems.'
David adds: 'The new documents are a strong endorsement of Vent-Axia's range development, employing efficient fan drives, precise controllability and heat recovery.'
As an example, this month the company announces the launch of a new range of XP and FP air handling units which offer modular air management performance inclusive of heat recovery.
'These will save up to 80% of indoor warmth that would otherwise be lost through essential ventilation,' he insists.
'Ventilation technology is moving ahead as well with the extensive use of LoWatt DC motors which could as much as halve the electrical power consumption - evidenced by the award winning LoWatt MX roof extract unit.'
The next logic step is ventilation that is demand-controlled providing ventilation only when and where it is required, linking into a sensor system governed by carbon dioxide, temperature and humidity levels,' maintains David.
'This year promises to be a very exciting year with legislation driving developments in the market and Vent-Axia is ready to announce more exciting product launches in the next few months, providing energy efficiency, cost of ownership and maintenance benefits.
'It all adds value in an increasingly competitive and energy aware marketplace, while always remaining mindful of the need for a more comfortable and healthy working environment'.