Why Tuffa’s Fire Pros are still the best solution for Primesave Properties’ new builds

Primesave Properties is a house building company operating from Shrewsbury. By specialising in rural housing developments Primesave are able to offer affordable yet quality housing in desirable country locations in Shropshire and Powys. However, rural living often means there isn’t a local gas grid so the housing plots need alternative heating solutions.

Martin Moore, Primesave Properties Sales Manager, explains why heating oil is still the best solution for their rural new builds:

“The gas pipelines are miles away from the housing developments and with natural gas being phased out it doesn’t make sense to have new pipelines constructed. While we know hydrogen could replace natural gas with potentially little alterations to existing pipelines there is still too much uncertainty and expense to justify connection to the mains. For heat pumps to work effectively houses must be completely redesigned to increase efficiency with additional insulation, underfloor heating to cover a larger surface area suitable for the low-temperature heat output, and solar roofs to offset the additional running costs. This would lead to extra build costs of around £25,000 which is unaffordable for many home buyers. Heating oil is still the most cost-effective and efficient heating option for our rural developments.”

Primesave Properties started working with Tuffa Tanks 8 years ago while conducting research into the best heating oil tanks for their properties. Since then we’ve manufactured around 100 Fire Protected Oil Tanks installed in new build homes across Shropshire and Wales. Martin explained that the flexibility provided by integrally fire rated oil tanks is critical for off-grid property developments. The ability to site the tanks as close as 300mm from buildings and boundaries acts as a mitigation measure, allowing Primesave Properties to position them as discretely as possible. In relatively compact plots the tanks could otherwise be sat in the middle of the garden.

Externally constructed fire barriers offered an alternative solution but not a simple one. Fire barriers would need to be planned into the build in advance, which, while possible, is far from ideal. Martin advises that it’s only when the house is built that you “get a feel for where the oil tanks should be sited.” Our Fire Protected Oil Tanks simplify the installation allowing tanks to be sited where it feels right.

An independent review submitted to Tuffa testifies to Primesave’s ability to sense the right location, with new homeowner Dale McDonald writing “We have just moved into a new build property in Arddleen and have had a Tuffa 1150L tank installed. The tank itself looks great and isn’t an eyesore in the garden.”

With around 5% of UK homes using oil-fired heating it’s an easy assumption to make that most potential buyers will be surprised and perhaps a little concerned to find their desired new build property is heated with kerosene. However, in Martin’s experience the vast majority of new homeowners purchasing a Primesave property are already familiar with oil heating, and many will have moved from the local community which has a comparatively high proportion of oil heated homes. People moving into the new builds will usually have friends, colleagues or family members already using alternative heating systems such as heat pumps and will be aware of their associated problems. Using a tried and tested heating system provided by oil heating is therefore rarely a concern.

In many ways oil-fired heating isn’t dissimilar from natural gas. Fuel distributors typically offer pay-monthly schemes and UK energy price increases have affected both almost equally. However, heating oil does give homeowners some benefits over natural gas including more control to obtain cheaper prices. With around 7 fuel distributors operating in the Powys area prices are very competitive and many homeowners further reduce costs by joining community fuel buying groups. Oil heating also provides the ability to bulk-buy fuel when prices are low. With a capacity of 1150L, the Fire Protected Oil Tanks installed at Primesave’s housing developments hold enough oil to last homeowners around 9 months. By purchasing during the summer homeowners can achieve lower prices and with the fuel lasting until prices start to reduce in spring. All this means that constructing new builds with oil heating does not disadvantage the homeowners.

Badgers Fields is the second phase of housing developments in the village of Arddleen in Powys, central Wales. The plots consist of 9 properties ranging from semi-detached first-time buyer homes to large 4 bed detached forever homes. These are the latest of Primesave’s developments and are currently being handed over to new residents. To prevent any knocks or scrapes to the oil tanks their installation is one of the last items to be completed so accurate lead times and swift delivery of reliable products is essential to maintain a great experience for new homeowners. With the Badgers Fields development completed we contacted Martin to see how Tuffa have helped to fulfil these expectations:

“We can’t fault the quality of the tanks or the service from Tuffa. The ordering system is perfect and out of all the tanks we have ordered we have only had 1 minor issue which was rectified immediately so the aftersales service is top notch too.”

Installing Tuffa’s Fire Protected Oil Tanks into off-grid developments has thus far proven to be an integral part of Primesave Properties housing developments. However, the UK government has pledged to end the installation of fossil fuel boilers in new build properties by 2025 and proposed a similar ban on all off-gas grid homes by 2026. While developers such as Primesave Properties must plan for the eventuality of an alright ban on oil-burners, OFTEC and UKIFDA have proposed an alternative liquid fuel. HVO is a sustainable, low carbon biofuel made from certified waste oils and critically is fossil-free. Martin is well aware of HVO and agrees that it provides a common-sense approach for off-grid homes but expresses doubt over the available supply of the biofuel. However, the industry has had reassurances from UKIFDA and OFTEC that there will be sufficient HVO production to meet UK heating demands. Predictions show that HVO supply will increase globally from 7m tonnes in 2020 to 30m in 2025 with the US and Europe producing the lion’s share.

It’s anticipated that the UK government will recognise HVO as a future heating fuel and solutions such as EV technology or hydrogen will fulfil the needs of the transport industry. This means the surplus HVO supply can be channelled to UK heating. In these circumstances, the residents of Badgers Fields and the other 1.5m oil-heated homes throughout the UK will benefit from the continued use of oil-fired heating without the expense of heat pumps and additional insulation.

Tuffa is now in the process of manufacturing 17 more Fire Protected Oil Tanks for Somerford Reach, the third phase of housing developments at Arddleen, while another 54 tanks are on advance order. We trust the residents will continue to benefit from the discreet oil storage they provide and look forward to a continued relationship with Primesave Properties.

To see how our Fire Protected Oil Tanks can benefit you, browse our tank range or check out our Expert Guide to Fire Rated Oil Tanks for more information. You can also enquire on the form below or sign up to our newsletter for industry news and product updates.

Sign up for our newsletter