Plumb job fixing Queen’s boiler is crowning glory for Warwickshire firm celebrating 40th anniversary

A Custom Heat van parked outside Windsor CastleA Custom Heat van parked outside Windsor Castle
A Custom Heat van parked outside Windsor Castle | other
Custom Heat invited to Windsor Palace under tight security

A local heating firm has crowned its 40th year in style by fixing one of the Queen’s boilers.

Engineers from Custom Heat were specially invited to Windsor Castle after the vital piece of royal equipment went on the blink.

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Company owner Lincoln Smith said: “It was all very exciting. Security was so tight it took us three hours to get in. Our vans had to have a front and back escort of blacked out vehicles as they made their way through the castle grounds.

The Custom Heat team have risen to the challenge of coronavirusThe Custom Heat team have risen to the challenge of coronavirus
The Custom Heat team have risen to the challenge of coronavirus | other

“We were asked to do the repair by a leading boiler manufacturer in March.

“Unfortunately, the Queen wasn’t there at the time, but shortly afterwards she made her inspirational TV speech to the nation about coronavirus.”

Her majesty is the second high profile client Custom Heat has worked for lately. The Rugby company had helped out former England and Northampton Saints rugby star James Haskell a few months earlier.

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Custom Heat has had to put its 40th anniversary celebrations on hold because of the pandemic. Many of the 28-strong team have been furloughed, but a dedicated team of engineers wearing PPE garb are still carrying out essential and emergency work for customers in the region.

Lincoln, 35, who took over the company when his father Robin was struck by ill health in 2009, said: “We invested a lot a few years ago in cloud-based systems, so as far as customers are concerned it is business as usual.

“When the government announced the lockdown measures we rescheduled until June 1 all our non-essential work such as bathroom upgrades, general boiler and plumbing work, and boiler servicing.

“A limited number of engineers are covering essential work such as the boiler replacement. If it breaks now we can put in a new one today or tomorrow.

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“We are probably changing a boiler a day, which is quite a high amount. We have seen a slightly higher than I would have expected amount of emergency type work coming in.

There isn’t a day when our engineers haven’t got work to see them through the day.

“It has been a little bit of a struggle getting personal protective equipment (PPE). If you go on eBay the prices are six or seven times what they were three months ago.

“All the engineers wear face masks and have hand sanitiser and disinfectant, so they will spray and then wipe down.

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“They also wear latex gloves, which have considerably gone up in cost. We have asbestos kit on the vans, so luckily we had a lot of the PPE already.

“Replenishing it is the problem because it is difficult to get hold of PPE from a reliable source, which is important.”

“A lot of customers are socially distancing. In the first couple of weeks there were instances where we were asking customers to keep two metres away so we could work safely.

“But as this whole thing has accelerated a lot of people are so cautious that they are opening the door and then going into the lounge without even saying ‘hi’ to the engineer. Itt is a pretty crazy time!

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“We are taking extra precautions with people that are isolating or in the vulnerable category. They are under strict orders not to come anywhere near us and to stay in the lounge or bedroom. We don’t want to bring anything into their home and end up causing an unpleasant outcome.”

As for the birthday celebrations, they have had to go on hold for the time being.

“We will probably do something over Zoom,” said Lincoln. “We will put party hats on and celebrate online.”