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Why still the scandal of

late payments? Financial Services U

And it seems that some of the worst offenders are the biggest companies – who should know better.

So, it was no surprise when Siemens Financial Services (SFS) sent me the findings of their report stating that slow and late invoice payments mean SMEs in the UK are missing out on billions of pounds of liquid cash flow.

According to SFS, a typical SME spends 130 hours a year chasing outstanding invoices, equating to a cost of £10.8 billion per year. This cost, combined with the average value of unpaid invoices, equates to £250 billion.

When compared with, larger companies, SMEs continue to suffer from slow and/or late payments disproportionately because they tend to be positioned towards the

TALKING POINT By Chris Shelton, Sales Director, Sentinel Commercial

ICOM guide represents an opportunity for the industry

ifferentiation is the holy grail of business. Every commercial enterprise is looking for ways to stand out from the rest, and nowhere is this more evident than the highly competitive, bottom-line driven commercial heating market. So, to any contractors, consulting engineers, system designers and installers who want to move away from margin- crushing and often service-compromising price wars, I implore you to give due consideration to ICOM’s new paper, which details the methods for delivering a prized service that is – as yet – a rarity. Entitled ‘Water Treatment and Conditioning for Commercial Heating Systems’, the guide offers its users foolproof practices and advice for preventing corrosion, limescale and other foulants within systems, ultimately ensuring long- term protection of boilers and components. Its content is gold dust, and here’s why: commercial boilers and systems continue to experience major problems on a significant scale – almost entirely due to improper water treatment. Problems caused by poor water treatment are serious; the premature replacement of parts, repairs, and even complete boiler breakdown can arise within weeks or months of system commissioning, with remedial works costing anywhere from a few thousand to tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds.


Meanwhile, other issues such as poor system performance, increased energy consumption and higher CO2 emissions almost inevitably give rise to inflated lifecycle and running costs. Now factor in the cost of a broken down heating system to businesses that may have to temporarily halt some services or even close entirely – for example, a restaurant or care home – and it’s clear that poor water treatment is a major cause for concern. Additionally, many boiler manufacturer guarantees are void without adherence to proper water


treatment, which includes system cleaning, inhibitor dosing and maintenance. Despite the severity of the issues caused by poor water treatment, it is, alas, the norm. Research has yet to be undertaken as to the prevalence of poor water treatment in the commercial market, but statistics can be drawn from research carried out in the domestic arena, since poor quality water affects both domestic and commercial systems in the exact same way.


Here, one leading boiler manufacturer discovered that approximately 87% of systems visited on service calls were found to be without correct water treatment. Moreover, the vast majority of water-facing system component failures occur in systems with no or poor water treatment. Given that inadequate water treatment is common in the domestic market – and this in the context of fairly thorough compulsory water treatment requirements in the Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide, of which there are absolutely none in the Non- Domestic equivalent – it is reasonable to deduce that the situation is even worse in the commercial sector.

Correct water treatment is the most effective way to prevent corrosion and fouling in commercial heating systems, and ICOM’s new paper, which has been put together with the help of leading boiler, heating equipment and water treatment manufacturers, is a step-by-step guide on how to achieve it. By studying its content and following its advice, users can elevate their service offering far above the prevailing standard to one that will help ensure the performance, efficiency and trouble-free operation of commercial heating systems – for good. BUILDING SERVICES & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER MAY 2017 3

K SMEs are missing out on over £250bn of liquid cash flow, says a report from Siemens


From THIS MONTHthe Editor

end of the supply chain.

Incredibly, businesses with an annual turnover of under £1m wait on average 72 days for invoices to be paid while those with an annual turnover of between £1m and £10m wait on average 53-54 days. This is significantly longer than the largest businesses, which typically wait 48 days. The problem, says SFS, is being compounded by 90-day payment terms demanded by larger organisations, which are becoming more common. Although many companies view outstanding bills as unavoidable, solutions such as invoice finance, suggests SFS, could help address the shortfall and can be used to unlock funding.

I look forward to the new Government addressing this issue. Enjoy this month’s issue.

Debbie Eales

4 INDUSTRY NEWS Latest news from around the industry.

7 ASK THE EXPERT A new column from ABB.

8 A LOOK BACK AT ISH Another year of growth for Germany’s ISH exhibition.


FOR BUILDING SERVICES Announcing the Building Services Forum – our new London event.

10 BUILDING CONTROLS uThe vital role of BS EN 15232 in saving energy.

uThe future of lighting connectivity.

13 THE BCIA COLUMN Meeting the Minimum Energy Performance Standard challenge.

14 FIRE & SAFETY Getting smoke control systems right.

15 INDUSTRY COMMENT Cold applied press connections and their role in the installation of sprinkler systems.


APPLICATION NOTE Micronics Doppler Flow Meter is used to measure flow in sludge treatment plant.

18 LIGHTING uGetting more commercial with LEDs.

uMaximum lighting efficiency from Steinel.

22 INDUSTRY COMMENT The latest intelligent lighting controls.

24 AIR CONDITIONING EU F‐Gas regulations: a new generation refrigerant.

27 ENERGY MANAGEMENT Getting back in control of your energy buying.

28 INSTALLATION NEWS A round‐up of the latest case studies. Also on page 29.


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