New build house, GSHP

peeta
peeta Posts: 16 Forumite
edited 23 January at 2:41PM in Heat pumps
Hi all, just after some advice if that's ok.
We decided to go with a GSHP for our new build house. We chose an installer (who incidentally also did our first-fix plumbing).

There was a small gap (2-3 months) whilst we were deciding on horizontal or vertical collector systems. At no point did we agree that that original installer would also do the collectors.
We did get a quote from this company for a horizontal system, but we eventually chose a drilling company to produce the boreholes, lay they pipework, manifolds and even fill the system. This will start this week.

I contacted the installer of the GSHP to let them know that the GSHP will need commissioning after the collectors are in place.
The installer sounded very disinterested and suggested that the drilling company should commission the system. Is this right?

I'm worried that the installer has lost interest (he's been paid for the full amount of installation). In particular we need to ensure the system is performing, it has to be properly commissioned and of course the RHI paperwork has to be completed.

Who is responsible for commissioning the GSHP?

many thanks

:beer:
«13

Comments

  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    Whilst common sense would suggest that the installer would be responsible, unless you have a detailed schedule of the work in their quote, I doubt if you have much hope of compelling them to complete the work, especially as you have paid them in full.

    As above with the drilling company.

    If they refuse to commission - time for a lawyer's letter!
  • lovesgshp
    lovesgshp Posts: 1,413
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    Sounds like a right mess!!!
    As Cardew says, check what your contract states.
    A third party, (the drilling company), would not normally fit collectors etc unless under the supervision of the installer. Also, they would not commission a unit. If they did who would fix the unit if it goes faulty?
    As Manuel says in Fawlty Towers: " I Know Nothing"
  • peeta
    peeta Posts: 16 Forumite
    thanks for the replies
    the installer does not do boreholes - which is fine, I don't expect a plumbing / heating firm to drill holes in the ground.
    I have asked the drilling company to do all the pipework, fill up the unit and bring the ends of the pipes up to, but not connect to the heat pumps -- and I expected that the heating team to take over and connect, commission and test the system.

    I understand that there are two teams here, if there is a problem then each team / company is only responsible for their own work.
    If there is a leak / flow problem with the collectors I wouldn't ask the heating team to fix it. Equally, if the heat pumps do not operate correctly I wouldn't ask the drilling company to sort them out.
  • lovesgshp
    lovesgshp Posts: 1,413
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    Ok.
    Let me say how it works here. We have a contractor who does the boreholes. The special ground pipes are supplied by us for them, as are the collectors etc. When the boreholes are being drilled, then one of the engineers are there to supervise. We fit the collectors, pressure test at 4bar. If the pipes fail then we are responsible and would cover the cost.
    In every case, as the installer/supplier of the installation we have complete oversight.
    The plumber would then connect the collectors to the pump. On the next visit the ground probes would be filled with antifreeze, pressure tested again, before the actual start-up sequence.
    To be honest, your installer should be controlling all this work.
    As Manuel says in Fawlty Towers: " I Know Nothing"
  • lovesgshp
    lovesgshp Posts: 1,413
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    I understand that there are two teams here, if there is a problem then each team / company is only responsible for their own work.
    If there is a leak / flow problem with the collectors I wouldn't ask the heating team to fix it.
    How do you know that the flow problem is anything to do with the borehole probes? It could just be the flow pump setting in the machine.
    Equally, if the heat pumps do not operate correctly I wouldn't ask the drilling company to sort them out.

    Try to make sure that they are using a HDPE 100 specification pipe, as this has a life expectancy of 100 years!!
    As Manuel says in Fawlty Towers: " I Know Nothing"
  • peeta
    peeta Posts: 16 Forumite
    thanks lovesgshp
    I have finally been able to get an update from the installer (it's taken almost a month of emails and attempted phone calls just to get a basic conversation).


    the installer wanted to provide a horizontal collector system. because we chose a vertical system the installer decided our project didn't interest him any more. he said we wasn't prepared to commission a collector system that he did not personally specify


    I explained that the vertical system was being installed by an experienced team using industry approved materials, it was being tested and was guaranteed etc. we based the design on a properly commissioned geothermal survey, etc --


    he finally agreed to quote for filling the collector system and connecting to the heat pumps, and said this would cost nearly £5k.
    Now I don't know if this is fair price, it seems steep. Equally I don't know what options I have here.


    The heat pumps (2x 9kw machines) and the boreholes have not been cheap, and having made this huge investment we're now stuck. I just need a sensible solution to this problem.


    We need the system filled with fluid, connected up, and set working as it was supposed to.
    We also need somebody to help us with our RHI paperwork and application.
    The installer isn't approachable, and is basically fobbing us off - but would someone else be happy to commission a system they didn;t install?
  • lovesgshp
    lovesgshp Posts: 1,413
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    5k does sound very high for that amount of work. We did a start up last week, which involved the antifreeze filling in 1km of ground loops, commissioning and start-up. The whole operation took 3 hrs.
    If the installer if willing to do all the other parts included (commission & certify ) in that quote, then you may need to go for it.
    Alternatively, then you could contact Nibe, to ask if they have someone else who could complete the install and certify everything.
    As Manuel says in Fawlty Towers: " I Know Nothing"
  • peeta
    peeta Posts: 16 Forumite
    Hi lovesgshp

    the plot thickens. despite expressing an interest in having the commissioning done (for a rather extortionate fee), the installer is still not particularly interested, even though he quoted me for the work.

    i contacted another Worcester firm to see if they can commission the system, and they are happy to but made it clear they would not certify the system.

    as I understand it the firm certifying the system must be MCS registered in order to make the RHI application.
    here's the bad news, the original installer is not MCS registered.

    when we first went out to tender for the GSHP system I sent a checklist of requirements which included our intention to make use of the RHI scheme.
    we sent two emails confirming that the RHI was an important part of the work for us.

    The installer responded by sending me a breakdown of the projected energy usage and renewable energy generated, and an RHI application form.

    I believe I was misled into thinking the service offered by this installer would lead to an RHI application - what private individual building a new residential property and intending on using a GSHP would not want take part in the RHI?

    where do we go from here??

    :(
  • lovesgshp
    lovesgshp Posts: 1,413
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    Hi Peeta.

    So sorry to hear about all the problems you are having.
    It seems very obvious that the original installer led you down the garden path, as they could not certify the system, which they probably knew when they took the money. Even if they had installed ground loops, they would still not have been able to certify the system for you!!
    Try as I said before to contact the manufacturer to see if they can help with one of their installers.
    I do not know much about MCS or RHI as we do not have that here in Italy.
    As Manuel says in Fawlty Towers: " I Know Nothing"
  • peeta
    peeta Posts: 16 Forumite
    no worries and thanks for your advice.


    I have managed to find an MCS-registered engineer who in principle agreed to certify the system for us. He asked that it was commissioned by Worcester themselves, and in turn I contacted Worcester - who are considering my request (they used to commission systems in the past, but not of late).


    I have made a big investment in the heat pumps, the UFH and the boreholes (4x 123m) and really depend on a successful RHI application. I'm hopeful that Worcester will want to help.
    It was the Worcester technical team that spec'd our system (choice of heat pumps, the UFH layout, the collector system etc), and in my view this rogue installer is bringing their name into disrepute.
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