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Gas safety legislation came into play in the UK in October 1998; the act was called the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations (1998). This act combined two earlier rulings (1994 and 1996) into a purposeful act that requires a valid certificate to prove compliance.
While the name is not imaginative, the purpose was to save lives. Regulations came in to protect tenants and ensure all gas appliances are installed and maintained safely, protecting them from the risk of injury or death due to gas or carbon monoxide escape.
Further legislation in 2018 went further and stated that each appliance and flue must be inspected for safety within 12 months of installation and then annually thereafter. More importantly, for this post, the regulations state that a person approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carries out the gas check and that a record of each check is kept and retained for a period of 2 years from the date of that check.
As a side note, landlords who don’t comply with the regulations can be prosecuted, fined or put in prison. So this is serious stuff and must not be taken lightly, especially if you are a landlord, but also for anyone who has gas appliances, like natural flame gas fires, in their home.
Check your Gas Safe Engineer – are they Gas Safe Registered?
Now, here’s the thing: the Gas Safe engineer must be registered with the HSE; there’s a handy link that might help. The Gas Safe Register offers a find-a-local-engineer service where you can find a registered engineer by inputting your postcode.
Anyone can check the engineer’s credentials on the HSE website. By inputting the engineer’s licence number, you can double-check the legitimacy of your engineer and check their qualifications.
You can also check an engineer is registered by texting “Gas” and the engineers seven digit licence number to 85080. You’ll then receive a text message confirming if the licence card number is registered.
What qualifications does your Gas Safe engineer have?
Gas engineers are professionals in a government-regulated job, which means engineers need the right kind of certifications and qualifications to work. It takes 3-plus years to become a Gas Safe engineer, and there are many different levels available in gas engineering, many of which focus on a specific type of gas appliance. Therefore, regular training and updates are required to ensure they comply with all up-to-date regulations.
The gas engineer completes his training by passing two specific qualifications – ACS in gas and Gas Safe registration, which takes us back to the HSE website. So, the short answer to the question – How to Find Out if Your Gas Safe Engineer is Legit? Check their qualifications by asking them for an ID Card and comparing that to the list of engineers on the HSE website.
Things To Look For In A Reliable Gas Safe Engineer
Although we would like to think so, not all gas engineers are made equally. Admittedly, they are not usually born with a set of spanners in hand, but most engineers know that they want to be Gas Safe engineers early on; sometimes, it runs in the family, and other times, plumbers transition into Gas Safe engineers. Here’s how to spot a keeper.
The first thing that you should check out before allowing a Gas Safe engineer to start work is their ID in order to check if they are legally qualified to work with gas.
Any legit engineer will be only too happy to show you their ID. Check both sides of their Gas Safe card for the following:
- A recent photo.
- Their licence number.
- A registration start date, as well as an expiry date.
- Double-check for a security hologram.
- The business details for which the engineer works.
Remember to check the back of the card for a list of the procedures and jobs the engineer is qualified to carry out.
Check Gas Safe Engineer Reviews
Any Gas Safe engineer or business that you employ should also have excellent reviews. You can check this by simply typing their name and company name into a search engine. There are plenty of great resources available online for investigating the level of satisfaction of previous customers.
In some cases, you may be able to talk to previous clients, especially if you have lots of expensive work carried out.
Insurance and Gas Safe Engineers
Gas Gas Safe engineers are often subcontracted by another business. For example, letting agents must use a qualified Gas Safe engineer or company of engineers to carry out annual gas safety certificates. Subsequently, the letting agent will ensure the engineer is qualified and legitimate.
Equally, fireplace companies subcontract to gas engineers for fireplace installation. In both cases, the contractor and subcontractor will have professional liability insurance, and this is another useful way to make sure your engineer is legitimate. Always ask if they are insured because uninsured engineers should not be employed.
Carbon Monoxide Testing
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that will bring on serious illness or kill you if you breathe it in. Fire and appliances that burn gas, wood, oil or coal make carbon monoxide, and there have been many reported cases of death in the UK and abroad that have made Carbon Monoxide escape testing a major part of a Gas Safe engineer’s job.
While the Gas Safe test is annual, it is a good idea to install an additional Carbon Monoxide alarm discreetly close but not too close to the gas fire or wood burner.
The same can be said for smoke alarms. The Gas Safe engineer will test smoke alarms as part of a gas safety certificate, but it is not part of his remit to install them. Wired smoke alarms are installed by an electrician, and battery-operated alarms can be installed by anyone but should be tested regularly.
Smoke and Heat Alarms
Here’s what the fire service says about smoke alarms:
Firstly, it is useful to know the difference between a smoke alarm and a heat alarm. Smoke alarms detect smoke, while heat alarms detect smoky or steamy atmospheres and only react when the room or area reaches a certain temperature.
The fire service goes on to say, don’t fit a smoke alarm on your landing or in the hall; fit them in any room where a fire can start. However, smoke alarms are not suitable for kitchens. Instead, use a heat alarm. Fitting a heat alarm where you cook will warn you if the temperature in your kitchen is such that it can cause a fire but will not be set off by cooking fumes or steam.
Interlining alarms is a good idea so that when one alarm detects a fire, they all sound a warning alarm, alerting you to fire wherever you are in your home. This can be particularly useful if a person has mobility issues that can delay their escape by alerting them to a fire as quickly as possible.
As previously noted, mains-powered alarms must be installed by a qualified electrician. An electrician could also fit extra automatic ‘fire suppression’ systems such as sprinklers. Sprinklers are a great idea to help you escape quickly.
Safety is the best gift you can give to your family, so take it seriously and only employ a legitimate Gas Safe engineer.
Gas engineers across the UK are Gas Safe registered but the question remains, WHY? Why does your gas engineer need to be gas safe registered. Being Gas safe registered is far more than just a logo on a van. Featured in this article…
Why a Gas Safe Registered Engineer must be Gas Safe Registered.
Gas can be a volatile substance if treated incorrectly. It is important that gas installations adhere to Gas Safe Regulations.
How to identify if your chosen Gas Engineer is on the Gas Safe Register.
Learn how to identify a genuine Gas Safe Registration card and check that your chosen engineer is registered on the Gas Safe Register.
Find the Gas Safe Register Contact Number and further contact details.
Find the Gas Safe Register contact number and further details that will put you in touch with the right people relative to your area.
We at Fireplace.co.uk strongly recommend before you have any gas work carried out, a service or installation of a gas appliance, boiler or fire, that you use a professional gas engineer. Gas can be a volatile, harmful substance if installed incorrectly resulting in potentially fatal, dangerous home improvement work.
Dangerous home improvement work can include things such as building around or over a flue extraction for boiler or fire. This can result in a build-up of dangerous combustible gasses or potential carbon monoxide poisoning. In some cases it is clear to see that a gas safe registered engineer is required. However in other cases the expertise of a gas engineer may be overlooked.
The Gas safe register advises that if you are unsure, suspect or just want to put your mind at rest, you should call a gas safe registered engineer and book a gas safety inspection. A gas safe engineer will be able to inspect your existing appliance to certify wether its function has been affected by new building work and certify whether it is safe to use.
Since 2008 In accordance with the law within the UK including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man all legitimate gas engineers must be Gas Safe registered and will carry a Gas Safe Registration Card. See an example of a genuine gas safe registration ID card in the picture below.
Make sure the engineer is the person on the card and represents the company you have employed to carry out the work. You will find on the back of the Gas Safe ID card a list of competencies that the gas engineer is qualified to work on and their expiry date. You can check the authenticity of the identification card by checking the hologram and the license number.
The license number can be verified by telephoning the free phone number 0800 408 5500 or texting Gas and the engineers license number to 85080 and you will receive a text back confirming the engineers license number is registered or not. Your mobile phone provider may charge a standard network charge to use this text service. Alternatively you may prefer to use the online check an engineer service.
You can also check that the company the engineer works for is Gas Safe registered. The free phone number is 0800 408 5500, alternatively text Gas and the unique business registration number found on the engineers identification card to 85080 to check the business is Gas Safe registered.
If you check the business online you will be given information on the types of work they are entitled to carry out e.g. Gas fires, central heating boilers cookers etc and the types of gas they are qualified to work with e.g. LPG (bottled gas) and/or natural gas. If you find any discrepancies with the engineers license, or the business details of the company, please report them to Gas Safe on 0800 408 5500 or online at http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help/report_an_illegal_gas_engineer.aspx
The Gas safe register conducts regular assessments of their engineers and inspections of homes where faulty gas work has been reported. The gas safe register actively aims to reduce the amount of unsafe gas works that are carried out in the UK and seeks to take action against those engineers who operate illegally.
Important Gas Safe Register contact details
Gas Safe Register free phone number: 0800 408 5500, www.gassaferegister.co.uk
HSE Great Britain (HSE): 0800 300 363, www.hse.gov.uk
HSE Northern Ireland (HSENI): 0800 0320 121, www.hseni.gov.uk
Health And Safety At Work Isle of Man (HSWI): 01624 685881, www.gov.im
HSE Guernsey: 01481 234567, www.hse.gg