Q&A - David Jones, managing director of Cistermiser and Keraflo

July 30, 2018 by John Hatcher
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Q&A - David Jones, managing director of Cistermiser and Keraflo

With his vast experience spanning market leading companies in the plumbing and water industries, including a divisional managing director position at Wavin, David Jones, now managing director of Cistermiser and Keraflo has a particular interest in intelligent solutions that provide a wholistic approach. With a management style that encourages having fun while achieving real results, David’s passion is to drive products and people forward.    

How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings industry?
My experience with Smart Buildings started in 2014 when I worked in critical infrastructure, so ensuring a building is safe in case of a terrorist attack. I quickly became familiar with the power of technology and the benefits it could bring to a building, but also recognised how important wholistic solutions are.
 
What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?
The interconnectivity excites me because I’ve seen how smart technologies working independently aren’t always enough. For example, one of the buildings I worked in, had a temperature control system installed whereby the windows would automatically open when the rooms reached a certain temperature and close again when the optimum temperature had been reached. But we experienced problems, when, in the middle of the night the windows would open to bring the temperature down, which would then set off the security alarms.
It soon became clear that even though some of the most advanced Building Management Systems were being employed, our problems weren’t necessarily solved. That’s where the Internet of Things can really come into its own, enabling different areas of a smart building to interlink and work as one – this is the exciting bit!

Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of, but are currently under the radar?
I think there are yes and they’re technologies that could make all our lives a lot easier. If we look at how resources are managed in hospitals for example, to manage water safety – particularly important for the prevention of legionella – hospitals need to conduct regular water checks. Most hospitals today, still carry out these checks by tasking their maintenance staff with the job of walking around the hospital and manually turning every tap on. This wastes water and generates carbon. And from a staffing perspective is using valuable resources that could be employed elsewhere.
Instead, hospitals and almost any other building could be benefitting from new technologies that give them a wholistic picture of their water’s safety and usage. LinkThru from Cistermiser Keraflo harnesses the Internet of Things to monitor water temperatures and ensure Building Owner compliance with HSG274, reducing the risk of Legionella. The LinkThru Temperature Monitoring Unit (TMU) fits onto any pipe with an access point, behind a panel, under a sink or washbasin, in a sluice, or by a boiler. The TMU incorporates an aerial and two ports to which cables connect and are then attached at the other end to the outlet pipework. Each port can take two readings, for instance from hot and cold water pipes. Once fixed its live and taking a reading every 10 seconds. It sends this data to ‘the cloud’ hourly with useful information such as maximum and minimum temperatures and all flow events, such as taps being turned on. The system uses the Sigfox network, a long range, low-power, low bandwidth, wireless technology, already established in Europe and being rolled out across the UK. It’s great new technology and the interface is much more user friendly than existing building management systems with temperature probe systems. I could go on forever about the benefits of this system but needless to say, it’s a game changer.

What services does your company offer?
Our services are all encompassing. Our 30-year heritage started in valves, but the business has evolved over the years to become the UK’s leading intelligent washroom controls and water efficiency specialist. This includes supplying solutions from tank to tap, with increasingly intelligent technologies to make it easier to manage the process and of course more cost effective. All the more important of course, when water is hitting the national headlines as experts debate whether or not we’re heading for a drought.

Are people aware of the regulations that they will need to comply with in the near future?
There is definitely a blind spot when it comes to Health and Safety guidance and regulations in commercial buildings, particularly when it comes to monitoring water. It is a legal requirement for example to record water temperatures from the cold and hot taps. Hospitals have become very aware of the regulations and the consequences of non-compliance in recent years, but so many other buildings are affected. Schools, airports, hotels. I could go on. In our experience, the maintenance teams working in these buildings understand the need for risk assessments and complete them diligently, but there often seems to be a shortfall when it comes to the follow through of these assessments. Partly because they don’t realise the severity involved and partly because they don’t realise how easy it is to achieve compliance with the new technologies now available. As a leading supplier of water management systems, this is something high on our agenda – raising awareness of the issues and the means of compliance available.  

What are the benefits of a smart building?
I think I’ve probably covered this but in short, a truly smart building will measure resources, create a better environment for its inhabitants and reduce long term costs.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
It’s obvious to say your parents have been a big influence in your life and career, but mine genuinely have. Aside from that though, there are two individuals that really stand out as having had an affect on how I went on to approach situations and solve problems in my working life. One was Peter Brundret, who mentored me during my time at Wavin. He always took an interest in my professional development and put me forward for positions to develop my career further. I even took over his department when he retired, and I will always remember his gracious attitude in trying to help me get ahead. He also taught me that you’ll only ever get out of a business what you put into it.
The other individual I must name is one of my lecturers, Mr Hicks. He had such a great attitude to learning and managed to find the fun in everything. I’ve tried to apply this approach in my working life, even once inventing pizza box cricket to get a team through a high-pressured situation!

What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?
What do you think will happen in the marketplace? This has become an even more popular question since Brexit.

What are the best/worst things about your job?
The best bit of my job is development. I love working to develop new products, processes and people, to make sure they reach their full potential.
The worst bit of my job is feeling like you haven’t predicted something that then goes on to have a negative impact on someone or something. Managers have to take responsibility for taking a wider view, and being an MD is a responsibility I take very seriously.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Listen to advice you are given, keep an open mind and understand that we all make mistakes. It’s a necessary part of learning, we all do it but as long as you own up to them and learn from them, mistakes can actually be a positive.
What living person do you admire and why?
That’s getting a bit harder these days, but I do admire a lot of our sporting heroes for their abilities and their attitude when they respect the opposition – Bobby Charlton for example, or Pele.

Where would you most like to live?
I live in the countryside just outside of the beautiful city of Bath. What better place is there? If you really pushed me to say somewhere else, I’d have to say Cornwall, but I’m very lucky to live somewhere I love.  

What is your favourite book?
I enjoy reading Spike Milligan and particularly enjoyed ‘Mussolini. His Part in My Downfall’.  

How do you relax?
I’ve got 2 working spaniels who are always getting into trouble, but spending time with them is how I relax.

What sports team do you support?
I enjoy watching lots of sports including football, rugby and cricket but the team I back is Everton.

What is your desert island disk?
Mr Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra

What is your ideal holiday?
Walking in the Lake District is just perfect for me. Watching the ducks on the water at Tarn Hows later in the day when it’s nice and quiet is just about as stunning and peaceful as it gets.

 

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