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[Solved] If the supplier won't commission my Heliotherm heat pump what should I do next?

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(@longbyre)
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I'm coming to you for help and advice. We are a self build home project. We are nearly there, but have one huge hurdle. What can we do? Where can we look for some help?

I have just been diagnosed with cancer and will be having surgery in a few weeks time (told yesterday probably mid August). At present we are all in 1 room above the garage (it's quite a nice room, but not ideal after surgery!). We need to get into the house, but we are stuck!

We bought a Heliotherm ASHP from one of their main representatives, near Reading, ESP. Paid for the kit in full..... When it came to the time to deliver, install and commission, Nick Hale, the boss, told us he could no longer help. I had to drive a truck to their warehouse to collect the kit myself.

Since then I have had telephone help from one of ESP's ex-staff, Julio, to install, plumb in and wire up the equipment. All done, but now, since February, I've hit a brick wall.... How can I get the kit commissioned?

I have tried contacting Heliotherm in Austria, but no response. Initially Julio said he could help, but having cancelled several booked visit dates he is now not replying. I have tried getting in touch with another Heliotherm representative in Wales, but after first telling me they would see what could be done, they have gone quiet. I don't know what is wrong. Don't know what else to do. Where can I turn to get this final step completed. I've done everything I know of. Can you give me some advice?

Yours sincerely,
Dicky Woollard


   
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(@derek-m)
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Please provide details of the model installed so that we can download the relevant manuals. It may then be possible to guide you through the commissioning process.

 


   
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 MPHB
(@mphb)
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I have written Heliotherm in Austria and pointed them at this discussion and the fact that apparently their service organisation has left someone standing in the cold (no pun intended). I recommended them to step in and intervene. Let's see if they show up in this forum.


   
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Mars
 Mars
(@editor)
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@mphb, thank you – you've beaten me to the punch. I will also be contacting the various bodies in the UK to get their input and see if they can prompt Heliotherm to take action that leads to a resolution.

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Transparent
(@transparent)
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Was this equipment bought from ESP with any form of government/MCS grant involved?
This is important because the grant assistance isn't paid unless the ASHP system is fully installed on-site by an accredited company.
Equally, the commissioning process and hand-over of schematics and documentation is a requirement of Part-L of the Building Regulations.
 
You need the Part-L document to send to the purchaser's solicitor when the house next comes to be sold.
There's no reason why you can't undertake this yourself by applying to your LPA's Building Control Dept under the 'Building Notice' scheme. So please don't be worried about it.
At this stage I'm just trying to check out what assistance you're going to require.
This post was modified 11 months ago 4 times by Transparent

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(@longbyre)
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@transparent

The equipment did not have any government sub. We paid the full price. I am aware of Part L sign off being needed. Without Building Regs I can't move into my house. The kit has been installed, plumbed and wired according to the manuals and with phone support from one of Heliotherm's recognised representatives. That rep did give dates when they said they would come to commission.... They didn't turn up and when I got another booking they cancelled it. Since then they are not responding to email, text, phone, WhatsApp... The control panel just needs wires terminating and the mains supply to be terminated in the ASHP outside, then to be commissioned and documented. Part P also needs sign off for the electrical side of the system, which cannot happen until the ASHP is wired.... It all depends on that. 


   
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(@longbyre)
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@derek-m

Heliotherm serial number

Here is a photograph of the serial number on the main unit. 

CameraZOOM 20230629085713384
CameraZOOM 20230629085724342

   
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(@longbyre)
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@transparent

Thank you for your interest in my problem.... Can you explain how the Building Notice Scheme can help? I have got building control approval of the plans and have had all the required building control inspections (so far). However I thought the heating (aka ASHP) and electrics were two areas that need competent person scheme approval and documentation (plus heatas for wood burners). I have installed pretty much the whole system now, with help over the phone, and following the installation manual. From what I understand..... To finish the installation the wiring needs terminating in the control panel and the whole system commissioning... That's the ASHP, buffer tank, Ecocent hot water tank and the UFH system. 

Then sign off and compliance documentation by a CPS registered person.

If there is a temporary or alternative way to comply without fines...... All help and advice accepted!! 

 

Dicky


   
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(@longbyre)
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@mphb

I have been messaging Heliotherm since February. I have now tried getting in touch with the owner and MD Herr Andrea's Bangheri as well. So far there is still silence... 

All help and advice gratefully received!! 

Dicky


   
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Transparent
(@transparent)
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Posted by: @longbyre

Can you explain how the Building Notice Scheme can help? I have got building control approval of the plans and have had all the required building control inspections (so far). However I thought the heating (aka ASHP) and electrics were two areas that need competent person scheme approval and documentation

There are number of points to made here.
I'm explaining in greater detail than you might need because others will come across this later.

 

The two main approaches to Building Control are these:

a: Approval at the plans stage, and an appropriate official notification to the LPA when all is completed. For a new-build this is likely to be handled by the architect or the Quantity Surveyor appointed by them.

b: Building Notice. You complete a form for your LPA, who must respond within 48 hours, usually with an on-site visit. The Building Regs surveyor discusses the project(s) with you and stipulates the next stage at which the Authority must be notified. Last time I applied there were 14 such stages in the build process, any of which might result in a site visit. They have 24hrs to respond to your notification, otherwise you may proceed.

You seem to have experienced a mixture of these two approaches. No harm in that!

 

Building Control Officers tend to know from experience which sites they need to keep checks on. The initial conversation tells them a great deal about your competence.

Overall, self-builders are regarded as very compliant.
They are going to live in the house under construction, so are extremely unlikely to knowingly cut corners.

Yes, your ASHP and electrics do indeed require Notification from an acceptable/certified trades-person under the Competent Persons Scheme.

Part-P (electrics) are accepted without challenge by LPAs because they know that the relevant trade organisation (NICEIC/Elecsa etc) has oversight of their member and they process the test certificates in-house.

Part-L (energy/heating) is a serious problem area. LPAs are issuing letters of compliance to householders without the possibility of an on-site visit. And yet the MCS accreditation process does not provide oversight of work by their members.

I haven't ever seen or heard of a heat-pump installation which complies with Part-L.
So the public are being supplied with letters of compliance by their Councils, which are effectively worthless.

I am in ongoing discussion on this matter with my LPA (Planning Committee members and their officers), my MP and the Dept of Energy (DESNZ).
The present situation is unacceptable.
It facilitates the proliferation of low-quality installation companies who are raking in work on the back of massive government subsidies from the Boiler Upgrade Scheme in particular.

 

It is very unlikely that your LPA would involve a Planning Enforcement Officer in your case.
You are already doing everything which they want to see!

Even if an Enforcement Notice is issued, and a 'builder' fails to comply, the LPA cannot issue fines.
There would still need to be a court case.

The weight of evidence in this Forum Topic alone would mean that the LPA would lose that action!

 

I live in rural Devon with a helpful Council and good rapport with Planning & Building Control officers.

If I were in your position, I would be sending an email to the Planning Dept marked 'Attention Building Control' and copying those Councillors who represent my ward.

That does two things:

  • it allows Building Control officers to provide advice, possibly adding their weight to Heliotherm
  • it allows Councillors to realise that their own Council is most likely issuing Part-L compliance letters when they have no mechanism to prove their validity

 

Changes to laws/regulations come about precisely because people like you and I raise these issues with the relevant authorities.

I currently have several 'live' energy-related discussions which require addressing by a change in regulations.
These include

  1. amendments to Sects 10 & 11 of the EV Charging Regulations (2021)
  2. Ofgem's Significant Code Review (SCR) on Access and Forward-looking Charges, which came into force at the beginning of April
  3. The Dept of Energy's strategy for Delivering a Smart and Secure Electricity System
This post was modified 11 months ago 3 times by Transparent

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(@longbyre)
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@transparent

Thank you so much for all that information and advice. It wasn't too much... 

So, my next hurdle is the actual commissioning of the system! I have not been able to find a wiring schematic for the control panel. I have wired the system to am overall layout diagram, but the various cable still need to be terminated within the CP. There may also be some connections to be made within the panel itself. Also, I have run the mains to the external ASHP machine itself, but have not connected it up. Would warranty be voidable if the system is not parex up by a recognised partner of Heliotherm? 

I am very grateful for the interest shown by the forum members. 


   
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Transparent
(@transparent)
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Posted by: @longbyre

I have not been able to find a wiring schematic for the control panel.

@derek-m has a reputation on this forum for tracking down manuals 😎 

As for commissioning, are we correct in assuming that the ASHP external heat-pump is already charged with refrigerant gas?
Or is there any doubt on this?

Save energy... recycle electrons!


   
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