When gas arrived in Robert Boyle’s village in the East Midlands recently it stopped on the perimeter of Robert’s 800 acre estate which includes a magnificent historic Hall, dating from 1740 and currently being carefully restored by Robert and his family...

The estate also comprises two privately let properties, The Lodge and the Old School Building, together with ten further properties which are also let. In the absence of gas, however, the buildings were using inefficient and expensive storage heaters and Robert has a refreshing attitude to investment:-
“I’ve always believed passionately in sensible progression and a continuous updating of both infrastructure and facilities... If my tenants are happy then they are likely to stay. I’m absolutely not interested in capital appreciation for its own sake; overspending just to generate income is a waste of time and money...”

Boyle’s Law

When asked, in an ‘oh-by-the-way’ moment whether Robert is in any way related to the chemist and physicist Robert Boyle who published his famous Boyle’s Law relating to the absolute pressure of gas within a closed system, surprisingly the answer was yes! “I’m about a 12th generation descendant of Robert Boyle” says the modern day namesake. So with that heritage no problems working out how to best bring the gas supplies into his Estate?

“No problems until I got in touch with the national gas utility company” Robert says, “and I thought the price was quite reasonable. Turned out the price they gave me was just for preparing the quote! RIDICULOUS!!”

Barry Cassidy, Robert’s plumber and his mate came up with the answer:- “Try GBH Utilities” they advised “we hear good things about them and they are certified to access gas mains supplies...”

Rural piping criteria

Always a man to listen to good advice, Robert checked the GBH website and Lloyd’s Register which confirmed the company’s GIRS accreditation in full and GBH’s Sean Hulse visited the estate and was briefed on what was required. Initially that involved taking a gas pipe from the mains some 100m across a field to the two properties; and Robert recognised he was dealing with a company that “knew its stuff...”

Sean points out that different criteria apply in rural situations:- “Firstly, you’re dealing with a field and pasture so a survey is required; checking the presence of land drainage for example. With agricultural land we go deeper with the pipes because the ground can be less stable than city work. Also are there any stock, cattle sheep etc going to be in the field while the job is under way and/or later?”

Once the loadings and design procedures had been cleared with the National Grid and GBH’s price had been agreed the job “proceeded with the utmost efficiency” says Robert. “The team was professional, worked with minimum supervision -
a testament to GBH itself I may say - and I had complete confidence in them at all times. Because there were some animals in the field the team insisted on back filling the trench when leaving and opening it up again on the following mornings. And, they were as polite and accommodating to my tenants as they could be - minimum disruption and answering any questions that came their way... GBH are already briefed to undertake further work on my estate”.