Belfast Plumbing & Heating Show Goes From Strength To Strength

16th October 2011
Hundreds of plumbers, oil heating technicians, storage tank installers and industry experts descended on Belfast's Ramada Hotel recently, for the 2011 Northern Ireland Plumbing & Heating Trade Show.

Northern Ireland has the highest prevalence of oil heating not just in the UK, but in northern Europe too. With over 65% of homes in the province dependent upon heating oil, oil equipment manufacturers and trade association OFTEC had a strong presence at the show. Despite high oil prices and today's harsh economic environment, a real sense of optimism was apparent amongst visitors and exhibitors alike.

For many oil heating technicians, Dunraven Systems' all-new Apollo Smart Heating Oil Energy Monitor was the star of the show. Apollo Smart has been engineered especially for use at domestic oil heating installations and is described as the 'world's first' heating oil energy monitor. Apollo Smart allows homeowners and householders to monitor fuel consumption, energy costs, carbon emissions and fuel remaining on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis.

Speaking to, Dunraven's Managing Director, Gerry Jones said, "The response to Apollo Smart from visitors has been simply fantastic. Northern Ireland is a significant market for Dunraven and Apollo Smart builds upon our market leading range of Apollo branded, electronic tank contents monitors.

"Plumbers' merchants, oil heating technicians and storage tank installers alike have been quick to appreciate how Apollo Smart can add value and profit to domestic oil heating installations. Indeed, such has been the interest in Apollo Smart at the show, we've already had to increase production levels and raise production forecasts to satisfy demand."

Gerry's optimisim was mirrored on the Warmflow stand by the company's Oliver Cormican. Best known as the UK's largest oil boiler manufacturer, Warmflow also had its new range of cylinders on display, manufactured a short distance away at the company's boiler and cylinder manufacturing plant in Knockmore, on the outskirts of Lisburn, Co. Antrim.

"Our new cylinder range perfectly complements our range of oil fired boilers.", explained Oliver. "The new range is the result of an intensive R&D exercise and demonstrates our commitment to the continued development and growth of our manufacturing business."

Boiler manufacturer Turkington Engineering was also present at the show. Designed, manufactured and engineered in Northern Ireland, Turkington's products are sold under the Turco brand in Northern Ireland and the Eurocal brand in Great Britain.  Speaking to, Turkington Engineering's Wesley Cotton reported that despite high heating oil costs and the continued development of the mains gas network in Northern Ireland, demand for Turco products remained strong across the province.

Firebird Boilers too reported that oil boiler sales remained resilient in the face of increased competition not only from mains gas, but also from renewables. According to Firebird's Cathal Rafferty, many renewable installations in rural areas of Northern Ireland are complementing oil fired boilers, rather than replacing them. Firebird now offers installers and technicians a complete range of renewable products including Solar Water Heating Systems which can be integrated into new and replacement oil fired central heating systems - together with a range of wood pellet and wood gasification boilers.

Also, of interest to visitors was Firebird's new oil fired Range Cooker. Featuring a classic, yet timeless design, the unit successfully combines a traditional, oil fired cooking stove, with a SEDBUK A rated condensing boiler. Firebird's Paul McGuckin commented, "Available in either 26 kW or 35kW outputs, Firebird's range cooker won't just cook you a fabulous Sunday roast, but will heat your home too."

With almost one third of UK domestic oil heating installations in Northern Ireland, a significant industry, requires a significant skills base. Based in Belfast's Tamar Street, a short distance from the city's iconic Harland & Wolff shipyard, CCTS is one of the province's leading OFTEC accredited Training Centres. CCTS's David Keery told that interest in oil remained strong, with the centre running a wide range of training courses across the construction, plumbing and heating sectors.

Despite Northern Ireland being home to some of the UK's leading oil boiler manufacturers, Worcester Bosch is a significant player in the local market. At the show, Worcester Bosch was displaying products from across its range of mains gas, LPG and oil fired boilers, together with products from the company's growing range of renewables. Speaking to, Worcester Bosch's Ray McClay said, "This has been a very good show for Worcester Bosch. There's been plenty of interest not only in heating oil products, but also in our range of renewables too."

Online oil equipment distributor, trade association and competent persons' scheme operator OFTEC was also at the show. OFTEC's Northern Ireland Manager, David Blevings was present for most of the 2 day long event. David told that OFTEC had an excellent show, with a number of new technicians registering with OFTEC for the first time.

The 2011 Northern Ireland Plumbing & Heating Trade Show was supported and sponsored by leading equipment manufacturers and product resellers in Northern Ireland including Adey, Dunraven Systems Apollo, Bassetts, Beggs & Partners, Bel-Air, CCTS, DAB Water Technology, Fawcett & Company, Firebird, Myson, Rom Aqua, SGAS Northern Ireland, Spendlove C. Jebb, Sprue Safety Products, Uponor and Vailant.  The show is set to return to Belfast's Ramada Hotel in October 2012.
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Article Last Updated 16th October 2011
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