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Discuss Domestic to Commercial heating - real world advice needed in the Gas Safe Register Forum - Public Forum area at

  1. Southsealee

    Southsealee New Member

    Hi guys,

    I was wondering if anyone was out there who could shed some light on commercial heating. If you can, thanks in advance.

    I’ve been a domestic installer & maintainance gas engineer since 2004. I fancy a new challenge, next step up... gas safety records aside, 99% of my domestic work is boilers/heating related, all natural gas.

    I’m considering doing the domestic to commercial changeover course. However I’m not sure which other modules to do, bearing in mind I only want to do heating. I see there are different modules depending on what type of boilers you are planning to work on, but I have no idea of what type of stock is currently out there in various commercial properties. Indirect, direct, overhead? I guess all of it is out there, but what is most current and what am I most likely I come across?

    Would it be reasonable to think that I could carry out repair and maintenance work with out TPCP1 and ICPN1? Or would it be a good idea to at least get TPCP1 to purge and relight?

    And what about commercial hot water systems? I have my unvented ticket, is that enough? Or are there other hot water systems and training out there I’ve not yet seen? Do I need additional quals to work on commercial water heaters? Are (gas) direct hot water cylinders still popular or am I likely to come across them?

    I’m also interested in learning how to design commercial / industrial heating / hot water systems... any advice out there for training?

    Finally, what are the pros and cons compared to domestic? Evenings, weekends, different tools? Better rates? Less working in a cupboard or cluttered house? Bigger van ??

    If any can shed a bit of light on the above, it would be much appreciated.

  2. bacon_sandwich

    bacon_sandwich GSR

    Couple of things spring to mind.
    Pipework, more thought required in the design, lots of calcs to ensure correct sizing. Pipes are bigger and heavier, different tools.
    Boilers are bigger and heavier so access and material handling come into play, manufacturers are pretty good and instructions have been well written so far so just take your time and follow them.
    Flues tend to be bigger and heavier... lol - i try and avoid vertical so i often choose an appliance with fan assisted flue so i can run longer and horizontal.
    I just have tickets for boilers and warm air heaters, its all i need but you may come across radiant heaters and kitchens, try and avoid kitchens if you dont like serious gunk
  3. Last Plumber

    Last Plumber Trusted Plumber GSR

    There is a big difference between domestic heating/hot water and commercial heating/hot water. Just so we know exactly what your thoughts are, are you thinking that going on a commercial gas course (changeover, appliances, testing and purging etc) will equip you with enough knowledge to go and start designing and installing commercial plant rooms/heating and hot water systems?
    A lot do and a lot end up not doing the work because there is far more to it than a fuel.

    We work on a lot of things gas fueled such as, boilers, indirect fired warm air (ducted and free blowing, floor standing and suspended), direct fired warm air heating (although not many), radiant (plaques and tubes), commercial catering appliances, industrial process burners, commercial process ovens, direct fired hot water etc etc. It is all out there depending on where you are working and what customers you have.

    I am not sure on which qualifications are a 'must' and which can be cherry picked to be honest. I know some do though so it is most likely possible.

    What qualifications do you have in Plumbing and Heating now?
    Did you go to at least advanced level? The only way you are going to learn to design, install, service, repair, fault find etc on commercial installations of any kind is to work on them alongside other more experienced people for years. It is not the sort of work you can learn on a course or self teach, in my opinion.

    The job is bigger and heavier but there are no carpets and wardrobes or customers stood behind you.
    The pay is better I would say. There is a more expense involved in the way of tools and equipment, insurance, qualifications etc. The materials are a lot more expensive too so funding the work is normally a lot higher if you follow my meaning? Most commercial customers pay on 30 days but some are on 60 so you can wait two to three months to get the cash in the bank.
    It is possible to be called out any time any day for some, e.g. nursing homes, hotels, leisure clubs, factories, restaurants etc. They use Heating and Hot water 24/7 and it is relied upon as you will understand. They cannot and will not wait until it is convenient for you.
    Have you done any work on any kind of commercial installations yet?
    • Like Like x 1
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  4. Rob Foster

    Rob Foster Top Contributor!!

    We did commercial the main bind is payments, often
    had to bear 100 days yet my boys wanted lolly every Friday.
    If I was going at it again I would do more medical gas, good rates clean work.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Gasmk1

    Gasmk1 GSR

    also commercial and industrial not so easy to pick up jobs as most large companies and offices use the larger firms as they have the manpower and also the countrywide cover. Money is better and also most jobs are cleaner as in plant rooms or offices. but you would be expected to service air heaters and tube heaters in factories or garages as well as boilers. it takes a long time to gain the confidence to work on larger appliances like 500,000 to 1,000,000 btu boilers (they are actually easier than small boilers) but you need the knowledge and the tools.
  6. ShaunCorbs

    ShaunCorbs S. Mod Trusted Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    Don’t do the course until you go with a commercial engy for a year or two to build up experience
  7. Southsealee

    Southsealee New Member

    Thanks for all the feedback guys. So when i qualified back in 2004 it was at college C&G NVQ2 in domestic Gas installation and maintenance. Didn’t do the level 3 as never thought I would need it at the time. Regret that now. Been Corgi/Gas Safe working self employed since then, with a mentor or two in the early days of course. I would say I’m pretty much at the top of my game in the domestic world these days. Sometimes get called when 3 or 4 others have failed to fix, you know how it is. I don’t have any commercial experience as yet, but from your feedback that sounds to be the way forward before doing the commercial changeover course. I’m under no illusion that that changeover course alone is enough. Gets me qualified, but experience working with someone is where the the real lesson is.

    Not interested in kitchens / catering appliances, only heating and hot water. I was think more like hotels, GP surgeries, offices... rather than the really big stuff.

    I can do up to 70kw on domestic ticket and manf like viesmann, baxi and Vaillant offer high output boilers just under 70kw and training on cascading them, low loss headers etc. Do any of you cascade multiple sub 70kw boilers to get high combined heat output or do you come across installations like this? Or are the boilers you see and install over 70kw, therefore commercial ticket needed?

    Good point on the potential cash flow issues. Got a few customers like that already ;-)

    Thanks all.
  8. ShaunCorbs

    ShaunCorbs S. Mod Trusted Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    Need evidence eg working with a com engy for a min of 6 months
  9. Gasmk1

    Gasmk1 GSR

    Some boilers although under 70 kwatt are still classed as commercial by the manufacturers so in effect without commercial you could be working out of scope so you do need to check
  10. Last Plumber

    Last Plumber Trusted Plumber GSR

    All sizes of Boilers dealt with but whether it is commercial or not isn't just about the Kw of the appliance.
    Also, having gas qualifications does not mean you know anything about the wet side or the electrical side. That's why I asked what you had. You might be better getting a job at a commercial heating firm.
  11. Southsealee

    Southsealee New Member

    I’m an NICEIC approved contractor too (since 2012) so qualified for commercial and industrial electrical works. Am competent in domestic heating / hot water wiring, multi zone eg, but commercial no plant room experience or training as yet.

    Again, as far as the wet side goes, my experience is all domestic heating and hot water systems inc unvented, secondary returns, multizoning etc.

    So the message I’m getting, given my experience and quals above, get experience with a commercial firm BEFORE doing the commercial changeover course, have I understood that right?

    Apart from the domestic to commercial changeover course, and experience working for a commercial firm, are there any other courses or quals worth getting?

    Do you guys design your own systems or do you use a buildings services / mechanical design engineer?

    Thanks again.
  12. Millsy 82

    Millsy 82 Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    I dont think you do.
  13. ShaunCorbs

    ShaunCorbs S. Mod Trusted Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    New rulings same with the short course
  14. Millsy 82

    Millsy 82 Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    When did that come in? And where did you get that from? My 2 local places still say the prerequisites are having ccn1 for the changeover course nothing about experience.
  15. ShaunCorbs

    ShaunCorbs S. Mod Trusted Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    Think around 6-8 months ago
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