Gas Safe

You may have experience as a plumber or fitter but the question is, are you allowed to connect water and gas pipes to a boiler?

Common sense might suggest that a plumber or pipe fitter has the necessary skills to fit pipes whether they carry gas or water.  Certainly, it would be more cost effective for one person to do the job rather than two.  However, the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 prohibit any work on a gas fitting by anyone other than a competent fitter, and ‘competence’ in this context means that the person must be on the Gas Safe Register.

The Regulations are wide, and cover removal, installation or reconnection of the gas fitting as well as disconnection, repair, alteration or renewal.  Arguments have been put forward that the acid test comes when commissioning takes place; as this is a task that should be done by a Gas Safe registered plumber, they would be able to identify any shortcomings in the installation.  Indeed, this may have been common practice in the industry several years ago, but today the Regulations make it clear that its definition of ’work’ goes beyond the commissioning process.

So if a plumber carries out work on a gas fitting, a boiler for example, it is not enough that the work is checked by a Gas Safe registered person before the boiler is put into service.  Anyone who works on a gas fitting – even a qualified plumber or fitter - must be Gas Safe registered.

The Health and Safety Executive has indicated that it will take a robust approach and prosecute persons who carry out any work on gas fittings if they are not Gas Safe registered.  Although there may be some mitigation when considering the severity of the sentence if the work was checked before the boiler was commissioned, this will not be enough to avoid criminal liability.  The result would be a hefty fine and could even extend to imprisonment.

At Birkett Long we have assisted clients in advising on complying with the regulations and defending prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive.  

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.