Promote Regular Servicing and Maintenance

HVP have published an article about Alisdair Cumming’s move from the automotive industry to become research development manager at Baxi. The article explains how Alisdair believes drawing comparisons between boilers and cars can help installers encourage homeowners to commit to a regular maintenance programme.

It’s a familiar story, where installers warn of the need for regular servicing and maintenance, but the message doesn’t always translate into a language homeowners understand. While many people may not think twice about spending hundreds of pounds to keep their cars running smoothly, this often isn’t a process they equate with keeping the home boiler going.

Explaining how a complex piece of machinery such as a boiler works can be tricky, and cash-strapped homeowners may be reluctant to spend money on their heating system until there is a Regular Boiler Servicingproblem. While boiler manufacturers such as Baxi publish easy-to-understand leaflets to assist installers with this, explaining the similarities between a boiler and a car can be a useful way of getting the point across.

In this vein, a useful comparison is boiler operating hours versus miles driven. Running a boiler for over a year without a service is much like driving a care for 100,000 miles without a check-up- a risk few drivers would take. No motorist would expect their vehicle to achieve the same miles per gallon if it had not been serviced, whereas many homeowners are shocked if a neglected boiler starts to burn more fuel to heat their home.

Indeed, some homeowners may be unaware that foregoing regular boiler servicing can also present a greater risk to their family’s health and safety. This is partly due to a lack of public knowledge around the threat of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Around 50 people die each year from CO poisoning and another 4,000 are treated in hospital. Given that the most common sources of excessive CO in the home are faulty gas appliances, these figures further demonstrate the necessity of annual servicing.

Another comparison that can be made is the effect missing a service can have on a warranty. Much like a car warranty or vehicle insurance, necessary maintenance must be conducted to retain protection, and an annual service is generally a condition of a boiler warranty.

In the same way homeowners would only trust a qualified mechanic to work on their car, they should also know the importance of only using a Gas Safe Registered engineer for any gas work – including servicing. The key difference here is government legislation. It’s critical any gas work is completed to the highest standard, but the law dictates it can only be completed by a Gas Safe registered professional, whereas there are no specific laws or ongoing training requirements relating to car mechanics.

Baxi encourages all reputable heating engineers to make a habit of showing their ID card before beginning work, to help educate homeowners on the importance of the scheme.

Not only does this ensure the safety of the homeowner, it also means their annual service is valid for warranty purposes. For a Baxi boiler to be eligible for a warranty it must be registered within 30 days of installation, and the Benchmark checklist must be completed. Once a new boiler is registered on our installer loyalty scheme, Baxi Works, we send out a yearly reminder on behalf of the installer, so the customer knows it’s time to arrange a service.

Ongoing homeowner education is just one of the ways the industry can work to improve gas safety. By making comparisons to familiar scenarios, such as car servicing, installers can help ensure the crucial message gets through loud and clear.

At R M Labels, we regularly bring to the attention of our readers any articles that encourage installers to promote their Gas Safe credentials to their customers. As a licensed supplier of Gas Safe products that are only available to Gas Safe registered installers*, we would suggest that all Gas Safe registered installers or heating engineers should include the Gas Safe logo and their registration number on information passed on to customers. These details can be added to annual service labels that can be applied to new boilers as they are installed. We all know how quickly time passes and it is easy for customers to forget when an annual service is due. Having a service label on the appliance will be a constant reminder of when the next service is due so that the date doesn’t get missed, and so causing the warranty to be invalidated.  Furthermore, displaying your information on the appliance will save your customers time trying to locate your details and will mean they are more likely to contact you first each time they need any working doing, rather than trying to find someone else.

Annual Boiler Service Label
Personalised Annual Boiler Service Label by R M Labels Limited

*Every time Gas Safe licensed products are sold by R M Labels, the purchaser’s details are checked on the Gas Safe Register to ensure they are a registered installer and their details match those given on the Gas Safe Register.

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Gas Certification Scheme Scrapped

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.

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