It is reported that proposals for a new Clean Air Act should include measures supporting the role of buildings as a ‘safe haven’ from pollution, according to the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).
“People spend more than 80% of their time indoors and there is still a lot more we can do to improve indoor air quality (IAQ)” says Chief Executive Paul McLaughlin. “A series of low cost maintenance measures to ensure ventilation systems work properly and incoming air is filtered and cleaned would make a major difference to the health and wellbeing of building occupants.”
BESA commissioned a YouGov survey last year that found almost 70% of office workers believed poor air quality in their place of work was having a negative impact on their day-to-day productivity and wellbeing. A third were also concerned that poor IAQ was damaging their health.
“Considerable investment has already been made in improving the airtightness of buildings to reduce energy consumption, and that same process can be used to manage air quality,” argues Paul McLaughlin
This article was spotted in the ‘Your Views’ section of HVP:
“The Gas Safe Register Technical Bulletin (TB) 118 issued in July last year, quite rightly intimated that all engineers working on electrical appliances should be working under the Health & Safety at Work Regulations and more specifically the Electricity at Work Regulations.
This TB would appear to go some way in helping our industry take a safer approach to working on electrical appliances, or at least it would if it had reached more than a handful of engineers. Speaking to the gas engineers coming through our gas centre at Sterling Assessment Services on a daily basis, I can honestly say that all who were asked had no knowledge of this
TB – and there lies the problem. I am sure that employers and engineers alike will have skipped over this TB due to its title and content: ‘Safe electrical isolation of gas appliances’.
In our experience, as an industry we have predominantly ignored: temporary continuity bonding, safe isolation of electrical appliances and basic fault finding practices. I will at this point apologise to those gas engineers/companies out there who do take this matter seriously, but in our experience you are in the minority. This approach can obviously lead to serious injury, or even death, along with possible prosecution and civil action against employers and employees who ignore legislation and manufacturers’ instructions.
A gas boiler is a 240V-AC electrical appliance with a large metallic surface area, along with numerous internal AC and DC electrical components, some of which can be as high as 325V-DC. With this in mind, surely it is inconceivable that engineers would proceed to put their hands in and around these appliances on a daily basis without first using basic electrical safety checks and the safe isolation procedures required by legislation and manufacturers’ instructions.
To this end, NICEIC has recently released a fully accreditied training and assessment program for gas engineers which guides them through basic electrical science, such as: safe isolation, how boilers/systems work and fault finding and testing. This will enable gas engineers and employers of gas engineers to keep up to date with the current electricity at work regulations while up-skilling themselves and their workforce on the fault finding techniques. This course will also allow gas engineers to use the latest up-to-date electrical testing equipment.” Julian Hearn, Sterling Assessment Services
Be Safe – Always use Gas Safe Registered Engineers!
HVP reported this month that an unregistered installer has been fined and given a suspended prison sentence after illegally carrying out work on a number of boilers. Faults were found on one such boiler following work carried out by Philip Locke in 2013, despite not being Gas Safe registered, High Wycombe Crown Court heard on the 9th February.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) wrote to Mr Locke informing him of
his responsibility to be registered in order to work on boilers, but he failed to comply.
Mr Locke of Chalfont St Giles, High Wycombe, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Gas Safety Regulations 1998 and was sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for one year, fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £6,280.
HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said: “Philip Locke showed disregard for the law when he continued to work on gas appliances without certification. This case highlights that plumbers must be competent and Gas Safe registered to work on gas appliances.”
In a separate case, a Preston landlord received a suspended prison sentence after failing to ensure gas safety checks were carried out on the gas appliances in one of her properties.
After failing to comply with an HSE Improvement Notice, Pritpall Kaur Singh pleaded guilty to breaching section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety
at Work etc Act, 1974, and to one breach of Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (36 (3)).
She was sentenced to a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and was ordered to pay £1,000 costs.
HSE inspector Anthony Banks said: “If you rent property out, you must comply with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations, including the need to have a gas safety certificate. Gas appliances should be regularly checked, as faulty appliances can kill.”
Stay safe – always use a Gas Safe registered engineer
Check – ask to see the engineer’s Gas Safe ID card*
Tenants – check your landlord has a Gas Safety Certificate for the property
Are your Gas Safe details up-to-date? Licensed Gas Safe products can only be sold to Gas Safe registered engineers whose details line up with those held on the Gas Safe register – if you have moved premises or had a change of name – make sure you notify Gas Safe.
All pipework containing water should be clearly marked to show where the water comes from and whether it is potable or non-potable, to avoid
contamination of drinking water. This is clearly described in the BS 1710:2014 specification for Identification of Pipelines and Services. Below is an extract from the BSI (British Standard Institution) website giving an overview of the revisions that came into effect in 2014:
BS 1710 specifies the colours and other information that should be used to identify pipes, ducts and electrical conduits.
As the last version of the standard was published in 1984, it is long out of date. There was a particular need to update the coding system for the water supply industry, where alternative water reuse systems are becoming more popular – and where alterations can lead to contaminated drinking water if the content of different pipes is not explicit.
BSI has now fully revised the standard. Among other things, the new version:
Refines the labelling system to aid identification
Simplifies identification in building and water systems
Introduces a new three-size methodology to accommodate the full range of fluid services
Removes ship systems, which are now covered in BS ISO 14726
BS 1710:2014 will support the legal requirement for those who install and use plumbing systems to prevent cross contamination.
More broadly the new standard will be of interest to building designers, operators, users and service installers, and a wide variety of associated industries and activities including waste, water, liquid fuels, gases, and refrigeration.
Last month we told you about the new Gas Certification Scheme launched by Capita, the company behind the Gas Safe Register. However, this month it has been reported in PHAM News that following widespread criticism from gas installers the scheme has been scrapped.
The UKAS gas safety certification scheme from Capita Gas Compliance Services (CGCS) was trumpeted as giving businesses a competitive edge, as well as saving on assessment costs and raising safety standards. In addition, it was claimed that the UKAS accreditation would provide assurance for organisations and employees against the risks of gas safety work.
Announcing the scheme, Matthew Hickman, MD at Capita Gas Compliance Services, said it would give businesses that go ‘above and beyond’ for gas safety work the recognition they deserve among their customer base and create potential new business opportunities. Assessments for businesses looking to achieve CGCS certification were to cover a number of areas, including quality control, supervision policies, service warranties and an on-site gas work assessment of employees and contractors.
In response to the launch, hundreds of Gas Safe registered installers voiced their opposition, concerned that it would confuse customers and create a two-tier system. Over 400 installers joined together to email Capita and express their displeasure. A few days later Capita replied with a short statement that thanked the installers for their feedback and said that the new service had been withdrawn.
Peter Booth (@PBplumber), who received over 500 retweets on his video that asked: ‘Am I not Gas Safe enough?’, commented “It’s great to see what a group of like-minded individuals can do when they get together for a common cause. We didn’t feel this scheme was needed and were vocal about the fact. It seems our voice was finally heard and they have scrapped this unwarranted scheme. Common sense has prevailed.”
Short Lived Gas Safety Scheme
PHAM News Editor, Chris Jones, went on to report:
Towards the end of its reign as the country’s gas registration body, CORGI received widespread criticism for being too commercially minded, upsetting not just installers, suspicious of any ‘money grabbing’ activities, but also other industry trade bodies and exhibition organisers who viewed the heavily promoted organisation as unfair competion. In comparison, Gas Safe, operated by multi-faceted group Capita, has received relatively good press. Restricting its endeavours to the registering, inspection and notification of gas installations, Capita has largely succeeded in avoiding controversy and the wrath of installers, apart from those few who thought they had wrongly been removed from the register. But that all changed in February with the announcement of the new gas certification scheme.
Credit to Capita for seemingly taking the criticism on board and wasting no time in withdrawing the scheme, but a lack of any formal statements and information about how such decisions were made does leave a number of questions unanswered. Not least is how the organisation plans to rebuild its now damaged relationship with the installer community.
At R M Labels, we have been following this story with interest and we will continue to post any further statements that are published. We are keen supporters of Gas Safe Registered Installers and Heating Engineers. We supply many products licensed by the Gas Safe Register, such as gas certificates, gas warning labels and boiler service labels; we therefore strive to keep up-to-date with all legislation changes in the industry and to make sure that all the products we supply are to the current standards.
Do your homeowners have their boilers serviced annually?
When a heating engineer installs a new boiler, it is important to spend time with the homeowner explaining the terms and conditions of the warranty and stressing how important it is to register the product with the manufacturer.
Boilers require regular maintenance to maximise performance, reliability and safety, meaning it is important that homeowners look after their boilers right from the start, with regular servicing necessary to maintain the validity of the warranty.
Warranty terms usually stipulate only replacing parts with genuine spares and arranging an annual service, which must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Spending time explaining this to the customer is a great way to show the
aftersales support your company can offer. Place a service label on the boiler so that your customer can see exactly when their boiler was installed and when the next service is due, this will mean they can clearly see your details and easily get in touch with your for their annual service.
It’s important to explain to customers that the main reason for an annual service of their boiler is their safety. Consumer awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is still thought to be generally low and it is important that installers explain to their customers that unsafe gas appliances (appliances that have been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained) can produce this highly poisonous gas. In the case of a leak, this can pose a serious risk. Regular servicing of appliances is the best way to tackle this risk, ensuring the appliance will continue to perform as required and run efficiently all year round. Furthermore, this will help reduce energy costs and the likelihood of breakdowns, saving money for the homeowner and keeping their family safe.
Every now and then we come across discussions regarding the interpretation of At Risk and Immediately Dangerous situations, so for our post this week we are referring to the information given by the Gas Safe Register, as detailed on the Help and Advice page of their website:
A registered engineer’s left a warning label on your appliance – what does it mean?
When a registered engineer identifies an unsafe situation there’s a procedure they will look to follow: – the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure (GIUSP):
In the first instance, they’ll look to find the cause of the problem and rectify any faults;
If this is not possible, they will advise you that the fault(s) need to be repaired before the installation can be used again;
If the work cannot be corrected immediately, they’ll look to make the installation safe (after receiving your permission to do so), either by disconnecting it or turning off the gas to the affected part of the installation – this is dependent on the severity of the defects
Warning Labels and Defect Categories
If a registered engineer has identified a gas related danger in your home, they’ll attach a Danger Do Not Use warning label to the dangerous gas fitting and provide you with a warning notice. The warning notice will show a ‘defect category.’ There are two types of defect category:
Immediately Dangerous (ID):
If an installation is classified as ‘immediately dangerous’ it is considered to be an immediate danger to life and property if left operating. The installation will be disconnected with your permission, and cannot be used until remedial work has been carried out to repair the defect(s). Continuing to use an immediately dangerous appliance could endanger lives.
Should you refuse them permission to disconnect the installation or appliance and the appliance runs on natural gas, the gas engineer will report the situation to the Gas Emergency Service Provider (ESP). The ESP has legal powers of entry to make the situation safe, and are also able to disconnect the gas supply to the property. However, this does not apply to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) installations.
At Risk (AR):
If an installation is classified as ‘At Risk’ there are one or more recognised faults present which could constitute a danger to life or property without further faults developing. The installation will be turned off with your permission, and should not be used again until the fault has been corrected. There are a limited
number of cases in which turning off the gas supply will not remove or reduce the risk. In such circumstances, you’ll be issued with a warning notice and advised on who to contact for further investigation.
You may be advised that the installation does not comply to current standards. While this is something to bear in mind, it’s up to you if you choose to act on it. It’s always a good idea to bring an installation up to date, but whether you’d like this done could depend on external factors such as cost or whether you’ll be looking to have the appliance replaced in the near future.
If the Gas Emergency Service Provider has been out to your property as a result of an emergency visit (such as a smell of gas or fumes) and cannot confirm that an appliance is safe, they may also attach a ‘Danger Do Not Use’ warning label to the installation/appliance and issue you with an appropriate warning notice.
If the ESP has issued you with one of these notices, you’ll be advised not to use the appliance until an appropriately qualified Gas Safe registered engineer has checked it. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure the installation is checked. The registered engineer should keep you (or your landlord where appropriate) informed of the actions they’re taking in the interests of your safety. If you have any concerns over this, you can contact the Gas Safe Register
At R M Labels we offer a full range of products for identifying gas appliances, where you will find the Danger Do Not Use Safety Warning Labels and Warning Advice Notice Certificates which comply to the current regulations and are licensed by the Gas Safe Register.
We are delighted to post the following Feefo press release:
R M LABELS LIMITED AWARDED FEEFO GOLD TRUSTED SERVICE AWARD 2017
February 2017, R M Labels Limited has won a Feefo Gold Service award, an independent seal of excellence that recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences, rated by real customers.
Created by Feefo, Trusted Service is awarded to businesses that use Feefo to collect genuine ratings and reviews. A badge of honour, this accreditation remains unique as all the awards are based purely on the
interactions with verified customers. This feedback has been collated by the Feefo review platform, with the accolades being awarded based upon performance.
R M Labels Limited met the criteria of collecting at least 50 reviews between January 1st 2016 and December 31st 2016, and achieved a Feefo service rating of between 4.5 and 5.0.
Linda Thomas, Director at R M Labels commented: “We are delighted to receive the Gold Feefo award. It is our aim to provide our customers with a high quality service and high quality products, together with a quick, reliable turnaround so allowing them to get on with the job in hand. We would like to thank all of our customers that took the time to complete the Feefo feedback, it is very much appreciated.”
Andrew Mabbutt, CEO at Feefo said “We would like to offer our congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Feefo Trusted Service award. We are so proud that so many businesses are putting customer service first. We have been working closely with all our customers to build trust and transparency online, and ultimately helping shoppers buy with confidence and make better decisions.”
Feefo is a ratings and reviews, and customer analytics platform. We collect genuine, purchase-verified reviews on behalf of over 3,000 businesses. Feefo ensures that all feedback is authentic, by matching it to a legitimate transaction; we believe this is the best way to combat the rising issue of fake reviews.
Feefo is a global reviews and customer analytics solution to boost business & build trust. Feefo collects reliable customer feedback to deliver up to date insights so businesses and consumers can make better decisions. Feefo does this on behalf of 3,000 companies, providing reviews and customer analytics for more than 5,000 websites. Clients include Expedia, AXA, The White Company, Moss Bros, Notonthehighstreet.com & Tepilo.
R M Labels supplies domestic and commercial identification products for the plumbing, heating and building services industries, supplying quality products at affordable prices.
As well as providing a fast, reliable service, R M Labels are happy to discuss any bespoke requirements their customers may have and are happy to work with them to achieve the identification solution they are looking for.
HVP (Heating Ventilation & Plumbing) reported this month that a new gas safety certification scheme aimed to serve as a benchmark of best practice was launched on 3 February by Capita Gas Compliance Services (CGCS).
This is a voluntary scheme that will give certified businesses, says CGCS, a competitive edge, as it will demonstrate their ability to deliver a high quality service, having gone through rigorous and impartial third party assessment, confirming that all legal gas safety standards are met.
The scheme is UKAS accredited and recognised by public and private sector organisations. It also offers reduced risks in relation to the delivery of safe gas work as the use of relevant accredited certification is recognised as a mitigating factor in legal processes… read the article in full
In a second article HVP have reported that some engineers feel this undermines the value of being Gas Safe Registered… read the article in full
We believe that whatever business you are in, it is important to offer a
high quality and professional service to your customers. To help you do this, we supply a range of personalised products that can be placed on boilers, cylinders and gas appliances, including products licensed by the Gas Safe Register. This means your customers always have your details to hand and can get in touch with you.
homeowner peace of mind and saves them time trying to remember when they last had their appliance serviced. Your Gas Safe number and contact details are clearly displayed on the label so that it is quick and easy for customers to get in touch with you.
clearly printed and saves you time repeatedly having to fill in your details.
All of the personalised products are competitively priced and available in small or large quantities, aimed at professional plumbing and heating engineers and installers who wish to offer their customers a high quality service.
Following on from yesterday’s post regarding reducing water use, here are some top tips we have come across to help consumers save water:
Turn off the tap whilst brushing your teeth – a running tap wastes over 6 litres per minute.
Purchase a water efficient dual flush toilet, which has a split flush button giving the user the choice of how much water to use – this will be typically 4-6 litres of water opposed to the old style flush systems which use a massive 13 litres per flush.
Try to avoid flushing away cotton wall or make-up tissues. Not only can these items block the system, simply throwing them in a bin will cut down
on the amount of water wasted with every flush.
A bath typically uses around 80 litres, whilst a short shower can use as little as a third of that amount. But beware, since many power showers may actually use more than a bath.
Switch to a low flow aerated shower head which reduces the amount of water used by mixing air in with the water to still give the same pressure and feel as a normal shower.
Don’t leave the shower running before you get in and try to keep track of the time you spend in the shower by setting a timer alarm on your mobile phone.
Take shallower baths – by running a bath just an inch shorter than usual, you can save on average 5 litres of water.
You can minimise your water use by reusing your bathwater to water your houseplants or garden.
And Another Water Saving Tip!
If you have a water leak in your home, how quickly can you locate your mains water stopcock and isolate the water supply? Knowing immediately where the stopcock in located could save litres of wasted water and also save endless damage to your home. Seeing a Mains Water Stopcock label hanging on the valve will continually remind you and your family of where it is located and if an emergency arises you will be able to go straight to it and turn it off. Many plumbing and heating professionals are already installing these labels as part of their service and putting their details on the reverse of the label, so that the homeowner can quickly and easily get in touch in an emergency.