To help installers make the most of the new Benchmark app, Billy Wilgar, Deputy Chair of the Benchmark Steering Group, takes us through the ins and outs of what it is, why it’s been introduced, and how to use it.
Every so often, something comes along which marks a genuine change within the heating industry. With changes such as the introduction of the Gas Safe Register, there are occasions when plumbing and heating engineers are on the frontline of these significant developments. The digitisation of Benchmark is the latest such change, providing installers with a powerful tool to transform the heating industry.
What is the Benchmark app?
The new Benchmark app is the digital version of the checklist which, as engineers will know, is an important part of boiler installation, commissioning, and servicing. The app will also act as a kind of digital passport for heating systems, encouraging a whole life approach to boiler care by holding information such as installation and servicing history for engineers to access.
A consumer version of the app is scheduled for launch in the coming months, which will have a number of key features designed to encourage more regular servicing and a greater understanding of the importance of a well-maintained heating system.
How will it work?
The app will allow users to fill out the Benchmark checklist on their phone or tablet at the time of installation, as well as quickly access the history of the system they are working on.
As part of the launch, an early version of the app will be tested by registered gas engineers, and users will be encouraged to get hands-on and feedback on their experience, to ensure it offers everything that engineers may need. It will then be available for wider download in the coming months, wherever engineers usually get their apps.
What are the benefits for industry?
Benchmark has played an important role in raising standards within the industry since its inception in 1999, and has been critical in consumer protection given its direct link with the provision of appliance warranties. The new app is designed to make sure this continues to be the case, by promoting a whole life approach to boiler care.
Another key benefit to wider industry will be the increased awareness of heating systems that the consumer app will generate. Storing information about boiler history in an easily accessible way will not only be hugely beneficial for engineers, but will also have implications for house movers. Drawing attention to a well-maintained heating system will put boilers front of mind, and position them as a vital asset to the modern home.
What are the benefits to heating engineers?
It will offer a lot from an industry perspective, but it is equally promising for individual engineers. The new Benchmark app represents an opportunity to grow the servicing side of a business, as the consumer version of the app will do much of the leg work in terms of alerting customers when a service is due. Crucially, homeowners will be pointed in the direction of the engineer who completed the install, or who usually does their servicing, helping to forge a strong customer-engineer relationship.
The fact that the app will reduce admin time and paperwork is another bonus for heating engineers, who can concentrate on the important work and minimise the time spent looking for misplaced papers and signing in triplicate.
For more information and to download the app, head to www.benchmark.org.uk.
Q: What happens if I don’t have a connection on my phone when I want to fill out the checklist?
A: In cases where there is no connection to the internet, the app can still be used, and the data will be automatically uploaded once connection returns.
Q: Does this cover all Benchmark checklists?
A: Initially, the app will be focused on the boiler checklist. As the app moves out of phase 1, the ultimate aim is to integrate all Benchmark checklists into the app.
Q: What manufacturer support is there for this new app?
A: The app is backed by a range of manufacturers and stakeholders across the industry.
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