Rob has accommodated the tank and the piping for us nicely, the installation is good – otherwise it would have occupied too much of the operating area. It all went very smoothly, very professional. And there’s no need to phone in orders – it’s automatic, which we were impressed with. We don’t have to keep an eye on that.Frank Ridley - Co-owner Premier Waste Services
Co-owner Frank Ridley asked industrial heating specialists Harry Taylor of Ashton Ltd to suggest a system for the development: “They’re a local company and I like to stay local. I didn’t know anything about LPG.” Harry Taylor sales engineer Paul Chesney does though. Paul was happy to recommend LPG as the best off-grid heating solution for Premier Waste, and to recommend AvantiGas as the supplier: “There was no mains gas there so generally if a site is off-grid we recommend LPG rather than oil, because it’s a lot cleaner and a lot easier to work with,” said Paul.
WHAT WE DID
With LPG systems being cheaper to run and to maintain too, Frank was pleased to accept the advice: “They came down, gave us a proper survey, did what we needed – and I wanted a one-stop shop so I said ‘If you don’t mind, where do I go for fuel?’ They have a really good reputation so they’re not going to give me an introduction to a bad company.
“We wanted blow heaters and Harry Taylor came up with the right spec within the budget we were looking for. Then AvantiGas came down and Area Sales Manager Robert Burton stayed in touch until the time came closer to installing the system. We went back to them – and the rest is history.”
Frank also took on board Paul’s recommendation to install destratification fans, which in a high-ceilinged building push heated air back down to the floor where it’s needed, reducing fuel consumption by up to 30%.
Frank is justly proud of the clean lines of the building and the clear sight lines for the vehicles coming in and out, so he wanted the LPG tank to be installed well away from truck movements. By running about 30 metres of piping along the outside walls of the workshop, AvantiGas engineers were able to site the one-tonne tank discreetly and effectively.
“Rob has accommodated the tank and the piping for us nicely, the installation is good – otherwise it would have occupied too much of the operating area. It all went very smoothly, very professional. And there’s no need to phone in orders – it’s automatic, which we were impressed with. We don’t have to keep an eye on that.”
Keeping an eye on business, on the other hand, is something which Frank, 57, and brother Robert, 56, have done very well for more than 20 years. After establishing a successful waste company and selling up to a larger rival, Frank and Robert eventually decided to go independent again in 1996.
“It was just me, my brother Robert and a little Bedford Rascal van when we started in 1996, picking up what waste management work we could at the time,” said Frank. “But the company blossomed and grew, moving to new premises several times. We now employ 45 people.
“We’ve also got a brokership, Premier Site Services, supplying skips nationwide via a network of suppliers... That came about through customers asking us to replicate what we do in Manchester in other parts of the country. That arm now employs five people. It’s very quiet – no trucks, no drivers, no mess!”
Staff turnover is very low as the company likes to look after its staff – “our biggest asset, after our customers; the plant and the equipment and everything else is just incidental” – and the staff return the compliment.
In the wider community, the firm has won bronze, silver and gold in the Considerate Constructors Awards, winning honours three years running since they first entered in 2013. After “slipping back” to silver in 2015, as Frank put it, he analysed why they had not quite outshone all the competition. “Part of it was Corporate Responsibility, so we created a Pallet Repatriation Scheme. We get an awful lot of pallets passing through and 90% of them just got crushed up and put in the wood skip.
“Under the new scheme, we advertised that we would collect any unwanted pallets free of charge, throughout the north west, whether the companies used our services or not. We took all the pallets to a local reclamation company and we got revenue from that, which over the year was about £2,500. We passed that income on to The Lighthouse Foundation, a benevolent fund for people in distress in the construction industry. It’s good for the company, good for the customers and good for the environment.”