Getting a good gas fitter (Gas Safe Register)
In the right hands gas is perfectly safe, but in the hands of an illegal it can kill. It is important to ensure your gas fitter is above board and fully qualified - read the article below for some essential hints and tips.
Jeff Learman, a Director at Gas Safe Register explains how the register aims to improve gas safety in Great Britain.
Research from Gas Safe Register reveals that unqualified gas fitters do a quarter of a million illegal gas jobs each year. These illegal rogue traders are carrying out this work without the skills or the qualifications to work safely on gas.
The British public is wasting £100million a year to rectify illegal gas jobs that put their homes and families in immediate danger.
These illegal gas jobs cost an extra 25% on average to rectify and they are often carried out by tradesmen who are recommended by friends or family, but are not qualified to work safely with gas.
One in five of the homes investigated by Gas Safe Register were found to be ‘Immediately Dangerous’ and the appliances had to be disconnected straight away to make them safe. In all cases the work had been done by an illegal gas fitter.
Further research from Gas Safe Register found that one in three people would trust a tradesman to do their gas work purely on recommendation from a friend or family member. Five times as many people would take a recommendation on trust, rather than actively check whether they were registered to work safely and legally on gas. Most people chose a fitter that they liked, who had been recommended and who offered a good price.
Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register explains the dangers: “All too often our investigations team find illegal gas fitters preying on the public, using charm tactics. Many use the Gas Safe logo on their van, adverts or paperwork when they are not registered. If you have a boiler, cooker or fire fitted by a gas engineer who isn’t registered to do the work, then you may end up paying to have it ripped out and start again which may cost you thousands of pounds, or worse, cost you your life. With a quarter of a million gas jobs carried out every year by illegal gas fitters who don’t have the skills or the qualifications to work safely on gas, it is vital that people always check that the engineer they use is on the Gas Safe Register or they could be putting their lives and pocket at risk.”
How do you spot an unqualified gas fitter?
Gas Safe Register has developed an accurate profile of those most likely to be involved in illegal gas work.
More than half (57%) are sole traders and a third (33%) work in companies employing fewer than four people.
As well as carrying out gas work, many also undertake plumbing jobs (90%), bathroom fitting (81%), kitchen fitting (67%), general building (43%) and electrical work(43%).
Gas Safe Register believes a higher percentage of illegal gas fitters advertise their services online and in local papers as few if any checks for registration are carried out. In contrast, directories such as Yellow Pages and Thompson Local check for registration, so few illegal gas workers advertise their services as for example, ‘gas fitters.’
How to avoid unqualified gas fitters:
Always use a gas engineer who is on the Gas Safe Register to fit, fix and service your gas boiler, gas fire and gas cooker.
Never trust a gas fitter on first impressions or recommendations alone, no matter how helpful and polite they seem – always ask for the Gas Safe Register ID card. It’s the only way you can guarantee that your engineer is legally allowed to work on your gas boiler, gas fire and gas cooker.
Check on the back of the Gas Safe Register ID that the engineer is registered to carry out the work he intends to do in your home. If they’re registered to fit gas boilers, it doesn’t mean they are automatically qualified to put in a gas fire.
Check a gas engineer is registered by visiting www.gassaferegister.co.uk or call the free helpline 0800 408 5500
After the gas work is done, nominate your home for a free gas safety check.
If you suspect an illegal gas fitter report them to Gas Safe Register anonymously.
This page was last edited in November 2012.