GF Piping Systems

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by GF Piping Systems's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from GF Piping Systems is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Commercial Director
GF offer engineering services
to assist with design and
calculations of piping systems
Founded in 1802 in Switzerland, George Fischer (GF) came
to the UK in 1933, when it bought Britannia Iron and Steel
Works in Bedford to produce malleable cast-iron fittings.
However, the link with the UK started before then, in 1851,
when Berthold Fischer was recognised at The Great Exhibition,
Crystal Palace for these products after working with foundries
in the Black Country. Commercial Director Sarah Matthews tells
The Parliamentary Review
the story of the journey since then,
and of GF’s strengths and challenges.
After the Second World War, GF started developing plastic pipe fittings, and in
1966, the company opened a manufacturing site in Huntingdon, where injection-
moulded fittings for the UK and Middle East markets were produced. In 1990,
GF amalgamated its London and Manchester sites into a purpose-built sales and
distribution centre in Coventry. Close to the motorway networks, the design was
based on GF’s main distribution centre in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and the
site is where GF’s piping systems business, covering the UK and Ireland, is still
Over the past 60 years of developing plastic piping systems, innovation has been
at the heart of our business, and the Swiss quality has never been forgotten. Being
able to offer a full solution to the customer has meant that we now produce
pipes, fittings, manual and actuated valves, as well as measurement and control
equipment. Production is now worldwide in 30 locations, with over 50 sales and
representative offices.
»Commercial Director:
»Founded in 1802
»Located in Coventry
»Services: Sales and distribution
of pressure piping system
components and prefabrication
»No. of employees: 94
»GF have produced over
8billion malleable cast iron
GF Piping Systems
Highlighting best practice
Where we are today
Over the last 15 years, our approach
to market has been through segment
management which has ensured that
our people have in-depth knowledge
of the segment and that the product
offering matches the segment’s
technical requirements. More recently,
focusing on projects and identifying
all potential stakeholders and decision
makers early has brought us success
even in more challenging years.
As part of our 2020 strategy, GF
piping systems has focused more on
higher-value services and products.
As a differentiator, we can now assist
in the design of the piping systems
by offering take-off services, stress
analysis and other system calculations,
installation advice, prefabrication,
offsite services, and customising, as
well as non-destructive testing and
remote stock management.
We started prefabrication in the UK
in 2000 to promote acceptance of
plastic piping systems in building
services applications, and we have
supplied a number of prestigious
GF now has over 60,000
products in its range
Offsite fabrication carried
out at GF Coventry
It’s new products
that are more
energy efficient
and quicker to
install that the
market is calling
out for
installations, including City Hall, the
O2 and Landmark Pinnacle in London,
and Beetham Tower in Manchester.
This service has grown substantially
over the past few years, and in
recognising the trend towards offsite
fabrication, we have made significant
investments in this area to promote it
to themarket.
Value-added services and
While manufacturing top-quality
products will always be at the heart of
our company, the provision of value-
added services and a full solution to
the customer from the engineering at
design stage through to prefabrication
has reaped benefits and will continue
to be a key development and
Innovation in product development
has helped keep GF at the top of its
game. Currently, for instance, the
market is calling out for new products
that are more energy efficient and
quicker to install. Furthermore, looking
at digitalisation in the area of process
automation will extend the reach of
our actuated valves and measurement
and control equipment.
A key focus by our sales force is on
projects from the early stages through
to specification and then driving this
specification through the complete
supply chain.
Ensuring we are protected
against the future
A challenging area for innovation is
legislation. More specifically, we are
struck by how outdated regulations
can hinder the acceptance of new
products, which are more energy
efficient, environmentally friendly
and easier to install. It would
be better if government and its
related bodies kept up to speed on
As we no longer manufacture in
the UK, the challenge of currency
fluctuations for our imported products
seems to be ever-present. We also
face challenges in terms of a skills
shortage and attracting young talent.
One way we have counteracted this is
by maintaining a graduate entry-level
position within the company, giving
exposure to different areas of the
business. Last year, this also meant
involving our engineering graduate
in overseas development by having
the opportunity to visit and manage a
GF-sponsored project to improve the
sanitation facilities at a primary school
in Uganda.
GF Piping Systems is
represented in the UK
and Ireland by George
Fischer Sales Ltd
As we no longer
manufacture in
the UK, the
challenge of
fluctuations for
our imported
products seems
to be ever-

This article was sponsored by GF Piping Systems. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster