Joining the Gas Safe Register is a rite of passage for all trainee gas engineers, but more importantly, it's a legal requirement for anyone who wishes to carry out gas installations in the UK. Unregistered individuals who work on gas appliances are breaking the law and may be prosecuted.

Court Gavel

One cautionary example is that of Michael Birch from St Austell in Cornwall. Earlier this week, Mr Birch was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Gas Safety Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

What did he do wrong?

Back in 2013, Michael Birch (who is not a Gas Safe-registered engineer) installed a gas boiler in a property in St Austell. The boiler - specifically the flue - was not installed correctly, which the homeowner noticed and reported to the Gas Safe Register. It eventually transpired that, after Mr Birch had finished installing the boiler, he had asked a registered gas engineer named Peter Hopper to 'sign off' on his work, which Mr Hopper did in spite of the unsafe state of the installation.

(Incidentally, Peter Hopper was also sentenced this week - he was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £5,000 for illegally commissioning the work.)

All of this serves as a stern reminder of how important it is to join the Gas Safe Register before commencing any gas installations of your own. Unregistered personnel risk prosecution and hefty fines, but worse still, they risk compromising people's safety. Had the homeowner in this cautionary tale failed to notice the problems with their boiler, the story's ending could have been far grimmer than a mere fine.

How do I join the Gas Safe Register?

In order to join the Gas Safe Register and legally carry out gas installation work, you will first need to complete an ACS assessment. This is included as a component of Access Training's Premier Gas Course, which is open to candidates of all levels, including absolute beginners. More experienced individuals can undergo the assessment on its own.

Click here to browse Access Training's full range of gas training courses, or contact us to discuss the options we offer.

According to new research commissioned by ADEY Professional Heating Solutions, installers and heating engineers might have a huge opportunity at their fingertips.

It seems that millions of homeowners across the UK are failing to maintain their central heating systems properly, resulting in not only a loss of efficiency but a reduced lifespan and an increase in the amount of energy needed to heat homes. Their research looked at more than 1300 homeowners across the UK, with only 55% of them confirming that they have their boiler serviced annually. One in 20 even said that they considered it an unneccesary expense!

ADEY also found that 45% of homeowners claim to have a boiler between 10 and 15 years old, with 25% who have lived in their current home for more than 15 years saying that they have never once had their boiler serviced. Furthermore, almost a third (30%) of homeowners have a problem with their central heating system, with one in 20 suffering from low heat levels. One in 10 people put up with noisy pipework in their homes – a common indicator of debris in the heating system – and 15% of people admitted they turn the thermostat up to try to fix their boiler, burning more fuel than necessary on a healthy heating system.

Consumer/environmental broadcaster Lucy Siegle said: "Boilers are the 'forgotten workhorses' of our homes. We expect them to carry on pumping away without any TLC, but homeowners need to understand that a well-maintained system costs less to run. This is where installers have a great opportunity to use their insider knowledge and help their customers counter rising energy bills by ensuring their heating systems work safely and efficiently."

ADEY’s commercial director Rebekah Howard added: "The results of our research suggest that many people don’t understand the benefits that having an annual boiler service will bring, and worryingly, just let their good old boiler in the corner keep chugging away without giving it any attention.

"The current climate presents installers with a timely opportunity to be telling customers how a well-maintained and efficient boiler can help save money on heating bills, reduce the risk of it breaking down when it’s cranked up to keep them warm, and ensure it’s safe to use. Installers can be assured that many of their customers will welcome this advice, as three quarters of homeowners surveyed wanted to know about the simple changes they can make to the central heating to reduce energy bills."

More findings from the search can be seen in the infographic below:

Via HVP Magazine

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By becoming a qualified heating engineer, you too will be able to seize this opportunity for work. Not only that, but the life of a qualified plumber/engineer is varied, challenging and pays extremely well. You'll find yourself not only with a skill you'll have for the rest of your life, but a career that's never short of new work. But before any of this can happen, you'll need that right training and qualifications. Offering plumbing and gas engineer courses as both separate and combined packages, Access Training Academies is dedicated to helping students attain their goal of becoming professionally qualified, taking those first steps toward a brand new career. To find out more about how our courses can help you, contact one of our course advisers on 0800 345 7492 and book your place today!