Professional accreditation can give businesses an edge in a competitive environment, says Isaac Occhipinti, Head of External Affairs at the Hot Water Association.

We live in a competitive world, where expectations on businesses are high and consumers are overwhelmed with information from companies all fighting for their business.

The heating and hot water industry is no different. Winning quotes in today’s market has become a shrewd battle of business, with heating companies branching out into all sorts of marketing techniques to bring in the glory. One approach to standing out from the crowd holds its position of power – accreditation. Aside from the sticker on the van or logo on a business card, trade accreditations speak volumes about your business and will, we believe, maintain this position of trust and recognition for years to come.

Today’s consumer wants to see businesses going beyond what is expected. Having a clearly displayed badge of honour, such as a trade accreditation, helps create that good first impression.

Trade accreditations extend to all parts of the industry. In 2014, we launched the Hot Water Association (HWA) Charter – a set of standards that every HWA member company signs up to. The aim is to instil confidence in the manufacturer, that they will deliver a service beyond just supplying the product.

The HWA Charter is more than words; it’s a goal at our very core, guided by four pledges. We’ve created these pledges by listening to customers. Pledges that we will deliver by always providing the best quality service.

The HWA Charter Code of Practice requires that all members:

  • Supply clearly and honestly described fit-for-purpose products
  • Supply products that meet, or exceed, appropriate standards and building and water regulations
  • Provide pre and post-sales technical support
  • Provide clear and concise warranty details to customers.

Four years on, and the independent accreditation of HWA members is well established. Independent governance supports the Charter principles – not only do members have to comply with the Charter’s standards, they also have to show an external accreditor how they do it.

Geoff Egginton, Director at Advance Appliances and HWA Charter member, said: “The power of the third-party accredited quality mark is significant. Seals of approval are developing their own brand reputations. The Kitemark logo, for instance, which is used in the UK for health and safety standards for products such as bicycle helmets and smoke alarms has made it into the Top 500 Business Superbrands list for the third year running.

“HWA Charter members are proud of their brand and what it stands for. Our aim is to get every business involved in the manufacturing and supply chain of domestic hot water products, to become Charter members.”

In addition to driving up standards within the heating and hot water industry, the HWA Charter aims to equip the installers visiting UK homes everyday with the knowledge they need to stand out from the crowd.

The domestic hot water tank often escapes our attention, but it has a big role to play in the energy efficiency of our homes. The demand for energy efficiency and alternative heat solutions, such as solar, heat pumps, and wood burning stoves, is prevalent. Water heating is increasingly becoming a key consideration of any heating system, whether renewable or conventional. Installers with high level knowledge of the products and efficiencies available will reap the benefits.

Members will continue to periodically review and develop the Charter standards, making sure that they maintain the standards set for the industry, and also continue to deliver on the needs of today’s consumer.

Engineers that wish to work with Charter members can expect products to be supported with clear and complete installation instructions, aftersales support from the manufacturer with easy access to help, advice and technical support, a range of spare parts where required, and clearly defined product warranties.