Neil-Afram

Neil Afram: “confident of an industry upturn”

UK: An apparent end to the recession, the need to upgrade R22 systems and the effects of the EPBD are all driving an upturn in air conditioning sales, says Neil Afram, md of Daikin distributor Space Airconditioning.

Pinpointing these as the main factors behind renewed confidence within his own company, Neil Afram said: “Sadly, due to the recession, our industry suffered several years of reduced business investment, not only in new construction projects but also in upgrading/replacing mechanical services, but at Space Air we are confident that this is now changing,” he said.

And the upturn in fortunes couldn’t have come at a better time. On August 1, Space Airconditioning celebrates its 35th anniversary, making it one of the longest established independent distributors in the business.

Still dedicated to Daikin, founder Neil Afram commented: “We have always felt privileged to represent the UK technical sales arm of Daikin, arguably the world’s finest air conditioning manufacturer, but today, more than ever before, the range of technologies and products we supply is unparalleled.”

Maintaining that after a number of years of flat sales, the industry is now seeing an upturn, Neil Afram explained: “The R22 phase-out programme had a tangible impact on those businesses still operating air conditioning equipment using HCFC (ozone depleting) refrigerants and much has been replaced in recent years, but equally, many such systems remained in operation simply because financial constraints delayed investment in upgrades. Now that R22 can no longer be used for service and maintenance purposes and we seem to be emerging from recession, we are seeing more enquiries for the urgent replacement of old R22 based equipment. Better late than never,” he added.

“There are positive signs that air conditioning equipment replacement/upgrade programmes are being put in place throughout the UK. These investment decisions may be further encouraged by a tightening of laws and policing relating to the mandatory inspection of air conditioning systems with a rated cooling capacity greater than 12kW. Whilst the inspections themselves do not compel building operators to make improvements, evidence is required that the inspections have been carried out as the law prescribes and this will flag up any important energy efficiency issues, particularly with older equipment, this in turn will (a) encourage investment in more energy efficient technologies (b) make such investments a necessity if the building is to be sold on or sub-let (c) highlight the increasing risks and costs associated with maintaining older and comparatively less efficient equipment.”

As Space prepares to get its birthday celebrations underway, Afram points to further success based on the company’s vast experience of the Daikin product range, quality customer service and after sales support and a dealer network that provides nationwide coverage for installation and maintenance excellence.

“Historically, recessions are followed by a boom period. We are not quite there yet, but I do believe we are very well equipped to exploit every possible opportunity and look forward to working closely with our customers to make our 35th anniversary a great start to exciting period of recovery,” said Neil Afram.