Installation of biomass boilers expected to get a boost and experts foresee problems if industry unprepared

The construction industry must improve its skills to meet the needs of an increasing number of people installing biomass boilers , experts have claimed.

The installation of biomass boilers is expected to get a boost when the government rolls out its Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to domestic properties in October this year.

Bruce Laird, director of energy and renewables at consultant Capita Symonds, told Building: “The industry needs to get together and think about what opportunities there are with renewable heat. People are looking at the installation and not at the legacy issue.”

Laird said the industry had lost the skills of servicing and maintaining solid fuel systems when most homes converted to gas in the mid-20th century.

He said he feared a brake on demand for properties with biomass fired heating unless these skills were readily available.

“There’s going to be problems because biomass boilers will break down and the perception of the technology could be affected,” he added.

His concerns were echoed by Nigel Hollett, head of environment at SummitSkills. He said: “The reputation of the technology could be damaged. I’m not sure that the industry is wise to this issue at all.”

Bruce Laird will be speaking on the microgeneration market at Ecobuild.