After months of entries being compiled, shortlists being drawn up, and a comprehensive judging day, it is finally time to unveil HVP Innovation Showcase winners’ list for 2019.
These five products have been crowned by our panel of expert judges as some of the most innovative products to come out last year.
Now in its second year, the HVP Innovation Showcase was launched as a means of celebrating product innovation in the plumbing and heating sector.
As a plumber or heating engineer, you will know how difficult it is to keep on top of every product that comes out. Although HVP does a great job keeping you up to speed with new technology and the latest products, the Showcase is aimed at helping you find out more about those truly outstanding products you may have otherwise missed.
To kick off this year’s competition, we invited manufacturers to submit their products to be considered. The only rule was that their entries had to have been made commercially available during 2018.
Once the deadline closed, we brought together a crack squad of judges (learn all about them on the opposite page) to review the entries and select their favourites. These picks then formed a final shortlist of 10 entries, which were then whittled down to a final five winners.
I’d like to extend a huge thank you to our judges who spent countless hours pouring through loads of entries to help us pick our eventual winners. Their wealth of knowledge and input has ensured that we have crowned another five worthy winners this year.
The next few pages are dedicated to profiling our winners in-depth, with quotes from our judges about why the winning products really do deserve to be showered with praise and acclaim.
We’re not done with the Innovation Showcase yet however, as we are pleased to confirm that if you register to attend the PHEX exhibition held at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium in London on 12-13 June, you will have an opportunity get hands-on with the winners.
Each of our winners will be on display at our special Innovation Zone at the exhibition, and visitors will have the opportunity to speak to the manufacturers directly to learn more about the products.
We sincerely hope you enjoy reading the HVP Innovation Showcase winners’ list.
Joe Dart, HVP Editor
Raff Agalliu, founder of On Tap Plumbers
Raff has over 10 years’ experience as a plumbing and heating engineer, with ACC accreditation and Gas Safe Registration. He set up On Tap Plumbers with Anne Timpany nearly 10 years ago and has since been instrumental in accomplishing the company’s accelerated growth and achieving its first class reputation as an award-winning company, focused on exceptional delivery of projects in the residential and commercial property sectors.
He now oversees operational activities and manages a high performing professionally skilled team with a wealth of collective experience. On Tap Plumbers provides a hands-on approach from start to finish on every project, ranging from London’s iconic Facebook HQ to Wood Wharf in the Docklands.
Steve Bartin, Plumber of the Year 2018
Steve is the current UK Plumber of the Year and has 23 years of experience in the plumbing and heating industry. He has two businesses that run side by side in the plumbing world: Bartin Plumbing and Heating, with the backbone of the business based in Tiverton, Devon, and Plug and Chain, a luxury bathroom showroom in the county town of Taunton.
Steve prides his business on delivering nothing but the highest quality in materials and workmanship for his customers and has great relationships with his ever increasing customer base, built on a professional and friendly service that customers trust. He also believes in bringing young talent through to the trade and is an advocate of the apprentice schemes, with four young adults coming through his company.
Peter Booth, award-winning engineer
Peter Booth is an award-winning gas engineer and social media influencer, with a huge following online.Known as @pbplumber on Twitter, Peter is a vocal proponent of best practice across the plumbing and heating sector.
His passion for using the right tools and equipment to get the job done is demonstrated through his popular tool review channel on YouTube. While he continues to undertake plumbing and gas jobs from Monday to Saturday, Peter works with manufacturers, fellow installers, trade press and exhibitions to drive forward standards and installer representation.
Hattie Hasan, founder of Stopcocks
Hattie retrained to become a plumber in 1990 when her career as a teacher didn’t give her the self-direction she wanted.
Needing to maintain a secure income, when none of the companies in the Leeds Yellow Pages replied to her, she employed herself and began her journey to plumbing entrepeneur and businesswoman.
In 2006 she vowed to create ‘an army of women plumbers’ to change the industry for customers and plumbers; improving the customer experience and helping women determined to become plumbers succeed. Always an innovator, she now runs Stopcocks, the world’s only national franchise of women plumbers and gas engineers.
Paul Hull, founder of Gas Safety Superheroes
Paul Hull is one of the most respected commercial heating engineers operating in the UK, with a huge portfolio of award-winning work. He is the co-founder of the Gas Safety Superheroes campaign, and has 30 years of experience in the commercial sector, which itself brings a level of knowledge, commitment and passion that is hard to find.
His eye for design and his positive attitude has contributed to his strong reputation in the industry. He is also very passionate when it comes to helping brands develop new products and innovative solutions for excellence and efficiency. Paul sits on the plumbing and heating apprenticeship board, the Worcester Bosch advisory board, and is regularly cited in industry press.
Baxi IFOS, launched in April 2018, is a weather compensation device designed to meet one of the Boiler Plus requirements as set out in the Building Regulations introduced in April 2018.
It measures the air temperature directly, and the flow temperature to the radiators is adjusted depending on the outside temperature. IFOS can be fitted to any horizontal flue, regardless of the aspect of the wall, because it fits under the air duct and is kept out of direct sunlight. The cable runs back to the boiler through the flue air duct, so there is no need for drilling walls to route unsightly cables.
IFOS doesn’t behave any differently to a wall-mounted weather sensor. The innovation is in the simplicity of installation, as it doesn’t need any extra drilling or wiring compared with the traditional external wall-mounted sensors.
IFOS is installed at the same time as the flue is fitted, so there is no need to climb a ladder to fix a weather sensor to a North-facing wall and then fix the wires back to the boiler. The reduced effort it takes to install means less risk to the installer.
Peter Booth said: "I chose the Baxi IFOS for the HVP Innovation Showcase because it’s something I use and think is an easy way for installers to comply with Boiler Plus legislation. It’s an easy way to introduce weather compensation and therefore a more energy efficient system at a very low cost which, in my opinion, will encourage more people to do it."
Daikin Altherma 3
In February 2018, Daikin launched Daikin Altherma 3, which the company says is the first ever air-to-water heat pump powered by low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant R32.
The Altherma 3 uses Daikin’s Bluevolution technology with R32 refrigerant to deliver superior performance, which in turn helps make renewable energy an increasingly attractive heating option for newbuild homes, low energy houses, and refurbished properties, for use with both underfloor heating and radiators.
Compact in size and stylishly designed, the outdoor units can extract heat from the outside air even when the temperature is -25°C. Systems can deliver temperatures up to 65°C, which means water is stored at 60°c, reducing dependence on direct acting immersion heaters and thus helpfully reducing energy costs for end-users.
Daikin Altherma 3 is available in 4kw, 6kw, and 8kw versions. The split wall-mounted unit is a flexible system and includes an optional connection to deliver domestic hot water. It can be combined with a separate domestic hot water tank of up to 500l, with or without solar support.
According to the company, Altherma 3 represents a major step forwards in introducing lower GWP, high efficiency heating systems throughout the private and public housing sectors.
Paul Hull said: "The Daikin Altherma 3 is certainly an impressive piece of kit. Climate change is an increasingly important issue for customers, and installers will need to be ready to install solutions which have a low impact on the environment. The use of R32 refrigerant means that the Altherma 3 ticks that particular box really well. In addition, what I like about this system is its flexibility – it can be connected to deliver hot water, with or without solar support."
TapMedic is a universal replacement tap cartridge system developed in response to the frustration and injustice of seeing people forced to pay for needless new taps, alongside the associated shockingly wasteful leftover parts and energy use.
Now, instead of replacing otherwise perfectly serviceable taps, approximately 90% of taps with separate hot and cold controls can be set back to perfect functionality using TapMedic.
You make a safe WRAS-approved replica of the cartridge you are replacing in less than five minutes. Costing less than manufacturer’s versions, it means installers make more from a repair and consumers pay less than a new tap, but also regain control of their homes. Instead of being forced into the ‘distress purchase’ of new taps, fixing it means the plumber’s reputation is enhanced rather than undermined due to this quick, effective, and genuinely appreciated solution.
The company says the system helps tradespeople to shift from being ‘a’ plumber to ‘my’ plumber; a move into the customer’s inner circle of trust, bringing many opportunities for future work through those customers and word of mouth.
According to the company, TapMedic reduces tap replacements by approximately 30%. It says that’s fantastic news for the repair movement, the circular economy, and for planet Earth as we consume significantly less energy and far fewer raw materials.
Steve Bartin said: "TapMedic is a fantastic piece of equipment. To be able to repair a simple device, that is all too often replaced when spares are not available, enables plumbers to add these small repair jobs to the end of the working day without the worry of not being able to repair the tap there and then. This small task can also put you in a great light with customers; the repair is quick and easy and a lot cheaper than fitting a new tap."
The Testo 300 flue gas analyser allows boiler engineers to truly work in a ‘smarter’ way, according to the company. As the first analyser on the market with a fully embedded android operating platform and full 5in HD touchscreen display, the Testo 300 allows engineers to directly email reports and link to third party apps.
Another benefit of the Testo 300 is its fully integrated data management of customer site details, including the potential to store information on type of heating system, boiler manufacturer and type, and installation data.
Unlike other flue gas analysers on the market that rely on the engineer linking a mobile phone running an app (which then ties up the phone and stops the engineer making/taking phone calls), the ‘smart’ is built into the 300, and the only thing it needs a phone for is to create a mobile hotspot for the built-in WiFi.
With onboard diagnostics including a gas pathway check to ensure tightness of connections, the testo 300 gives users an operating menu structure with many features carried over direct from the smartphone operation we have all become used to.
Raff Agalliu said: "I like the Testo 300 because it’s forward thinking technology. Less paperwork is always a positive thing, and I really like the idea that the engineer can save details for each job on the unit. The touchscreen also adds a nice touch."
Wirquin NEO is a full range of basin and sink traps boasting a zero-leak bottle trap. Thanks to bi-injection technology, all washers are over-moulded onto the body so there can be no loss of washers giving total protection against leaks, according to the company.
The Wirquin NEO Air system function is an innovative option that replaces the traditional ventapipe air admittance valve, preventing noisy gurgling and bad smells. It allows the pipes to be naturally ventilated; when a negative pressure is created in the pipework, the membrane rises, thus creating continual ventilation to prevent the suction of the water seal.
All Wirquin NEO products have been designed to be quick and easy to fit thanks to the ‘quick safe’ function, a ¼ turn captive nut that ensures a quick and reliable installation and easy to clean with a simple ¼ turn base.
Hattie Hasan said: "The Wirquin NEO is a worthy winner. It’s an easy to fit, easy to maintain, no leak trap with an anti-vac mechanism that doesn’t make it bulky. The true innovation here is taking something that was already innovative and improving it even further."
An enormous thank you to all of our judges and entrants, and congratulations to the five winners for 2019. The winners will be on display at PHEX Tottenham on 12 and 13 June, and will be presenting product demos during the two days of the show alongside innovators from across the sector. Register for your ticket here.