How Safe Is Your House? is a new programme from the BBC that looks at all the different accidents that can befall homeowners. Not only does it feature experts uncovering home dangers that you might not know about, it also goes undercover to expose rogue tradespeople and the shoddy work they perform while pretending to be fully qualified. The second episode in the series aired last night on BBC 1, and included was something very important to us here at Access Training - proper gas engineer training and the Gas Safe Register.
It is estimated that there are currently around 7500 unqualified gas engineers working illegally in the UK, installing up a quarter of a million (250,000) appliances in our homes. All engineers should be part of the Gas Safe Register to work legally on any sort of gas appliance, and without that not only are they working illegally but you have no way of knowing how qualified these engineers really are. One simple registration may not be enough either - engineers must have separate qualifications for EACH gas appliance they work on. So if an engineer is Gas Safe Registered to work on boilers, that doesn't necessarily mean he has the qualifications to work on fires. The information as to exactly what your hired engineer is qualified in can be found on the back of their Gas Safe ID card, which you can ask to see at any time.
Operating as a gas engineer without first joining the register can not only result in fines/imprisonment, but it also endangers the lives of the homeowners who are placing their trust in you. A quick phone call is all it can take for a doubtful homeowner to double check whether their engineer is registered, and Gas Safe also provide these records online. With it so easy to be caught out, is it really worth endangering the lives of others and risking facing the law?
Andrew Barnes seemed to think so, as he was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive for not being Gas Safe Registered, fined and given a conditional discharge. Two months later, he was at it again without getting registered. How Safe is Your House went undercover to expose him, eventually confronting him when he continued to claim he was legally registered to work on gas appliances. It was only after this confrontation that he finally registered, but who knows what could have happened in the time he was practicing illegally.
The whole episode is well worth the watch, and can be found on BBC iPlayer for the next 6 days.
If you're training to become a gas engineer or considering a change of career to become a gas engineer, it is vital that you earn the correct qualifications and then become Gas Safe Registered. Here at Access Training we'll be able to help you with this, as we offer intensive gas training courses complete with a work placemebt and ACS assessment. You'll learn the basics from experienced gas engineers before moving on to completing a top quality portfolio working alongside an established engineer. Then you'll return to our centre ready to tackle the ACS assessments, fully qualifying you for Gas Safe Registration.
Having the right qualifications isn't just a matter of being the best you can, it's a legal obligation. Don't risk the lives of your customers, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 and get the correct training.
Charlie Mullins, head of arguably Britain's biggest plumbing firm - Plimco Plumbers, has taken a stand to highlight a serious loophole in current gas regulations.
While it is common knowledge that gas engineers need to become Gas Safe registered once qualified in order to legally install and maintain gas appliances, the same does not apply when it comes to the purchasing of boilers and other gas-related equipment. Although some builders' merchants will check their customers registration before letting them buy such things, an increase in internet-based suppliers is making this something harder and harder to police.
Because of this, rogue engineers can find it far easier to trick customers into believing that they are Gas Safe registered. Not only them, but also unqualified indviduals such as homeowners who may not know the rules and believe they could have a go at it themselves. Should a mistake be made by either of these parties, the results can be fatal and potentially cost people their lives.
Therefor Mr Mullins believes that the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) needs to clamp down on this huge flaw in the system, extending its regulation of the gas market to the purchase of equipment - something that can only be done by altering the law.
The Plimco Plumbers CEO considers it "ludicrous" that buying boilers/gas equipment is as simple as walking into a shop or clicking your mouse. He added that gas "in the wrong hands is a lethal weapon and used incorrectly people will end up dead".
He went on to talk about how once a "cowboy gas fitter or over enthusiastic amatuer" is in possession of these things, the law is powerless to save lives despite it being illegal for them to install it. Certainly prosecutions can follow should that person be found out, but in most of these cases prosecutions only happen after a life-taking tragedy has already happened.
Charlie suggests:"The truth of the matter is there’s only one opportunity to protect people from this dangerous legal anomaly and that’s to make it illegal to buy gas equipment without a Gas Safe ticket. We have built ourselves a pretty decent safety system to protect people from monoxide poisoning, so why do we insist on retaining a great big hole in the net? The law needs to be changed because this is something that will save lives."
What are your thoughts on the matter? Certainly the thought of non-qualified people being able to go into their local branch of B&Q and purchase gas equipment should be alarming to all the Gas Safe registered installers out there, after all the training you have gone through to get where you are today. To become a fully qualified gas engineer, candidates need to go through a rigorous training course - at the end of which they will be able to build up their gas portfolio and pass the required ACS assessments. Only then will you be able to join the Gas Safe register and be legally permitted to work on gas installations and appliances.
To find out more about what it takes to become a Gas Safe engineer and Access Training's range of intensive gas courses, give us a call on 0800 345 7492.
When it comes to gas fitting, there is nothing more important than safety. Not taking the right precautions can cost people their lives, and installers found guilty of negligence could face manslaughter charges and prison sentences. For an example of just how dangerous gas can be when not properly handled, cast your eyes on the story below.
Two houses were completely destroyed with others damaged yesterday when a gas explosion of currently unknown origin occurred in Clacton, Essex. Thankfully no one was killed in the blast but 10 were injured, with two - a man in his 70s and a woman in her 50s, badly burnt but now in "stable" condition.
Taking place around 8:30am yesterday morning, a total of 10 properties in the street (Cloes Lane) needed to be evacuated along with a further nine in the road behind. Victims were needed to be pulled from the rubble as houses were flattened, with debris blowing across to hit those nearby.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), National Grid and Essex Police/Fire Services will now carry out a full investigation into what caused such a destructive blast. A spokesperson for the National Grid has already said that it did not appear as though there were any faults in the pipes leading up to the three badly damaged houses, however more thorough tests would be carried out once demolition work has been completed. There had also been no mains replacement work done in that area recently, further adding to the mystery of what could have caused it.
Houses were cornered off as a reception centre was set up for those evacuated from their homes. A Facebook group has also been set up to offer support and donations to those who have lost their homes. Access Training wish everyone involved in the disaster a swift recovery and hope that they will be able to return to normality soon.
This is the kind of damage gas negligence can cause. ANYONE dealing with gas pipes at any level should be fully qualified, having undergone the correct gas training course, complete their ACS assessment and joined the Gas Safety register. This is a legal requirement of ALL gas installers and non-compliance is not tolerated. The life of a gas installer can be a challenging, exciting and prosperous one, also one that requires focus, dedication and conscienciousness. Would you want to be the cause of something like this?
Story via BBC News
2014 is already shaping up to be a big year for Access Training Academies, and today (the 13th January) marks the first steps we'll be taking to make your training experience here even better. This year ACS gas assessments will be returning to our Cardiff training centre.
Now students that complete their gas training at Access will be able to complete their Logic ACS (Accredited Certification Scheme) gas assessments here. ACS is the industry recognised and accepted route for students to enter into the gas industry, earning their gas certificate which is needed to become a member of the Gas Safe Register. This itself is a legal requirement to be able to work on all gas installations and appliances in the UK. These assessments will not only be available to those who have completed an extensive gas course here, but is also open to others who may have completed a gas course elsewhere.
Students will be able to complete both the written and practical assessments required to qualify, covering the CCN1 Core Domestic Gas Safety module and then any of the additional appliance assessments relevant to your area of work. This includes the CENWAT (Central Heating Boilers & Water Heaters) qualification, CKR1 (Cookers), HTR1 (Gas Fires) and more. For a full list of what we can offer you here at Access, please get in contact.
To find out more about ACS gas assessments, our plumbing training or any of the many other trades training courses we provide here at Access please get in contact with our course advice team on 0800 345 7492 or via the form provided on this website. They'll be more than happy to answer any further questions you might have, as well as arrange of a tour of our facilities so you can get a first-hand look at what we do.
The staff at Access Training would like to wish everyone a happy new year and once again offer our thanks for choosing Access Training Academies as your training provider.
2014 is already shaping up to be a good year with real signs for economic growth in the construction industry that will surely stretch across all trades. Construction growth in the UK continued through to the end of 2013, with more anticipated for 2014. We've previously reported that a construction boom is expected by leading economists over the next few years, and while this is specifically geared toward general construction such as bricklaying and carpentry all trades will inevitably benefit. Think about this scenario - as more houses are built across the UK, who's going to be the one to install electrical wiring and pipework throughout them? This really is a boom all trades can look forward to.
But while the renewables sector may see a slight increase over this year, as it stands now measures such as the Green Deal are still a long way off achieving the success that is expected of them. Speaking to our plumbing tutors, they've suggested that the government needs to promote far more awareness about the numerous green options that are available to them and just how they can save them money. One example they provided was that many people are unaware that feed-in-tariffs are available on many different forms of renewable energy and not just simply solar PV panels. Whatever the scale though, one thing is certainly for sure - renewable energy is on the rise and now is the time for installers to get in on it and beat their competitors to the punch.
It's a brand new year, and therefore the perfect time for a brand new chapter in your life. Bored with your current job? Tired of working behind a desk and want to do something more physical, challenging and exciting? An Access Training course is only the start. At our state-of-the-art training centre we offer intensive courses in plumbing, electric, gas engineering, plastering, tiling, bricklaying, carpentry and painting & decorating. Each and every one of these will not only provide you with professional skills and qualifications that could take years to build up elsewhere, but are staffed by highly experienced tutors so you can be certain that none of the quality is skimped.
To find out more about our range of courses and to book your place, get in contact with one of our advisers by calling 0800 345 7492 or filling in the information form found on this website.
With the planned building of millions of new homes across the UK well underway, many are also expecting a rise in new buyers over the next few years as Britain enjoys a well-needed construction boom.
With this in mind, OFTEC - the group responsible for maintaining standards across the domestic oil heating and cooking industry, is offering some practical advice to those first-time buyers who may soon begin their search for the perfect home. This advice isn't just aimed at buyers of brand new homes either - it's especially geared toward those who may take on an existing home and not know what to look for in terms of their heating/hot water systems. Heating problems may be difficult to spot with the naked eye, especially to someone who hasn't done a plumbing training course or extensive gas training, but OFTEC offer these handy bits of advice to make sure you can walk into your new home with both buyer's satisfaction and peace of mind.
Be sure to check the boiler
Has it has had any problems in the past? When was the last time it was serviced? Boilers should be serviced annually for a number of reasons, mainly to make sure that is running efficiently and more importantly safely. If you are really unsure, it might be worth asking the current homeowner if you can have it looked at beforehand by a professional gas engineer.
Check the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
These give potential buyers valuable information about the property's typical energy usage and costs. An EPC grades the property’s energy efficiency from A to G and contains two particularly important areas - current features and recommendations for improving the home. The current features section lists the most significant energy-related features of the property and gives them a star rating based on cost. The recommendations give more information about each energy efficiency measure recommended and explains in general terms how it would improve the energy efficiency of the home.
How much do you know about the hot water system?
How is it heated? It might be worth checking the water pressure to make sure it is all up to scratch.
Know the warning signs
Occurances such as stained/smoke damaged areas around the boiler and flue are not to be ignored and should be treated VERY seriously. If any properties you view have these, make sure that a registered gas safe engineer doesn't just look at them for your safety - but also for the safety of the current homeowners. Other telltale signs of bad maintenance include leaks and staining on carpets near radiators.
Getting the house properly checked
OFTEC recommend getting valuations, an RICS homebuyer’s report or even a full structural survey. The valuation carried out by a mortgage company is not a survey, and will not inform you if there are any defects that materially affect the property’s value.
However the most important thing OFTEC recommend is trusting your instinct. if you think there is something wrong with the property, then don't just discard those feelings. However if you get a good feeling this may be the house for you - minor problems can easily fixed by competent tradespeople, but be sure to make sure the costs aren't racking up before you've even moved in!
Despite the advances in electric fires and other forms of household heating, gas fires are still proving to be the number one choice for homes. So if you're looking to go out and get your gas certificate to become a qualified engineer, you'll be pleased to know that business is just as good as ever.
As well as the authenticity and flame effect which prove highly popular among the public, gas is still the cheapest fuel to run. On average, 1kW of gas supplied by British Gas costs just 4.662p (incl VAT) compared to nearly 14.259p (incl VAT) for 1kW of electricity - a number that seems to only be going up these days. Not only that, running a gas fire is actually more beneficial to the environment too, as it delivers half the CO2 emissions of an electric fire.
Gas fires are also far more efficient than they were back in the 80s, with developments in technology making them capable of delivering heat efficiencies of over 80% and heat outputs of 4.0kW - more than enough to heat your living room! But most of all a gas fire is reliable - if by chance your boiler were to break down over the winter (say, due to condensation freeze), you'll still be able to keep safe and warm until everything is back up and running.
Gas heating is just as vital now as it was 20 years ago, and Britain will continue to need engineers who have received the proper gas training. At Access Training you'll be able to learn all about the gas trade on one of our intensive training courses, eventually going on to complete a guaranteed work placement and subsequent ACS assessments. After that you'll be able to join the Gas Safe register and legally work on all forms of gas installation and appliance in the UK. Reckless gas maintenance can cost people their lives, so we're sure to make sure ALL of our students are training to the required professional standard.
To find out more give Access Training a call on 0800 345 7492.
New figures from the Gas Safe Register have warned that around 900,000 homes could be at risk from a gas explosion, fire or leak resulting in carbon monoxide poisoning.
The UK's official gas safety authority has been inspecting nearly 43,000 homes nationally since January last year, and found that more than one in five (22%) privately rented homes were at risk. The 900,000 figure is an estimate of when all 4.1 million privately let homes are taken into account. This figure was noticeably higher than homes privately owned or rented through a local authority/housing association, which were at 16% and 12% respectively.
As per the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, landlords are legally required to ensure that all gas appliances and flues at safe in the properties they let. This involves arranging annual safety checks from a registered gas engineer. The legal requirement doesn't stretch to homeowners, but is also highly recommended by experts. A registered gas engineer is one who will have completed all the relevant gas training and gained the necessary qualifications, and then joined the Gas Safe Register - something which is also a legal requirement for gas engineers.
To combat this alarming figure, the Gas Safe Register is urging tenants and landlords alike to sign up to a free annual gas safety service reminder at StayGasSafe.co.uk, where users will receive an email telling them when their appliances are due for a check. In addition to these checks, landlords are also responsible for any repair work required to appliances or pipework. Should they not fulfil these obligations then they face prosecution, resulting in fines or even imprisonment in extreme cases.
Sarah Hill, Stakeholder Relations manager for Gas Safe Register, said: "Signing up for an annual gas safety reminder can help landlords stay on the right side of the law and most importantly, keep their tenants safe."
Are you an existing gas engineer in need of renewing your qualifications? Or alternatively a beginner looking to start a new career in the gas trade? Joining the Gas Safe Register is a legal requirement of all engineers, and this can only be done after earning the proper qualifications. Access Training Academies' instensive gas course will provide you with all the training you require, including a guaranteed work placement where you will be able to gather evidence of your work for the required gas portfolio. To find out more about the course and book your place, please call us on 0800 345 7492
The last few days have been a reminder that winter is well and truly here, with the temperature dropping and the country getting its first innings of both frost and snow. Even with energy bills on the rise, it's important to keep warm during this time of the year and make sure that your heating system is working properly. According to Government statistics, the 2012-13 winter period saw the largest excess mortality rate since 2008-09, with deaths coinciding with influenza, RSV and the cold weather.
The run-up to Christmas can be a busy time for plumbers and gas engineers, with consumers coming with all kinds of problems including broken down boilers and frozen pipes. For the tradespeople reading this it'll be good for business, but for the rest of us here is a few pieces of advice to keep away any unwanted costs as well as making sure your home stays warm.
The UK had a pretty good summer this year so it's likely that you haven't turned the heating on for a while, so it'll be good practice to check it regularly to make sure it's all in working order. Suddenly starting it up in a cold snap could result in it freezing up and potentially breaking down. Regular boiler checks by a professional plumber and gas engineer are important and should be done once a year, including servicing according to the manufacturer's instructions. Not doing so not only puts you at risk of forking out for repair costs, but in the case of gas boilers also puts you and your family at risk of possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
Another handy tip is to bleed your radiators. If you can feel cold patches on them it may be due to some air trapped inside that's blocking the system. It's easy to do and won't require the help of a plumber, but should that fail it might be blocked with something else. In this case the radiator might need a chemical flush and you will require a Gas Safe engineer to get the job done.
Most importantly, and this really goes for any sort of DIY maintenance work - KNOW YOUR LIMITS! If there's something you know that you can't do, don't try and do a botched job of it anyway as you'll end up having to pay even more to get it repaired properly.
With plumbers and gas engineers needed more than ever during these winter months, now if the perfect time to qualify as a plumber and/or gas engineer with an intensive Access Training course. We not only offer comprehensive training for beginners, but also ACS reassessment to those needing to give their qualifications an update. To find out more contact one of our course advisers on 0800 345 7492.
Those that have completed their gas training and gone on to become a fully qualified gas engineer can now save even more money thanks to CORGI's VAT Saver.
According to their website CORGI VAT Saver works on an extremely complicated algorithm that allows you to calculate your VAT taking into account the 'energy saving' element of the job being subject to the lower VAT rate. All you need to do is enter the details and they handle the rest.
Now, to bring the scheme in line with new legislation they are offering even more savings - an additional £142 for every boiler you install. What you choose to do with this is entirely up to you - you can keep it yourself or alternatively pass it on to your customer to ensure even more business in the future.
Corgi VAT Saver registration is absolutely free and can be used by any Gas Safe registered engineer (you will need your ID number when signing up). All you need to use it then is access to the internet, so it'll be available to you at home, in the office, out on a job and anywhere else you may need it. You can register online or call them at 0800 612 8490.
Before you can take advantage of such a great offer, you'll need to be a member of the Gas Safe Register - something you won't achieve without the proper training. Here at Access Training you can gain the skills to become a fully-qualified gas engineer in our state-of-the-art centre. Work alongside like-minded students and experienced teaching staff to kickstart the next stage in your working life. To find out more call our team on 0800 345 7492.
Easy Safety Cert are offering registered Gas Safe engineers a free trial of their gas safety inspection software, available as an app for iOS devices such as an iPad or iPhone, with an Android version due to launch within the next six weeks.
Engineers will be able to complete, send and store gas safety inspections while on the go. They will also be access their own secure online database, which stores completed certificates along with client and job details and automatically sets 12-month inspection reminders.
The trial allows three free inspections; beyond that, engineers can purchase inspections on a pay-as-you-go basis. There are no subscription fees or extra charges for multiple users, devices, support or updates.
Bianca Dainty, director of Easy Safety Cert, said: "We’ve always had a key focus on usability and quality. The new features found in the iPad and updated iPhone apps are examples of our commitment to bringing the best technology to our customers."
The app can be found by searching "ESC GasCert" in the App store.
Just over a month after the announcement that the start of the Renewable Heat Incentive would be delayed until Spring 2014, the UK Government has also delayed the introduction of proposed "smart meters" to 30 million homes until Autumn 2015.
The £11.7 billion project has been considered vital to getting householders to cut their energy use as the country faces having to import more energy in the future. These smart meters record consumption of gas and electricity in hourly intervals, regularly communicating the information back to the utility provider for monitoring and billing purposes. While the project is set to start in 2015, its estimated that the move to install these into every home won't be completed until 2020.
Angela Knight, chief executive of Energy UK, noted that installing these meters is going to be a "complex task" and this delay will allow the changeover to happen more efficiently. She said: "We welcome the government's prudent decision to allow an additional 12 months to complete the smart meter programme. This recognises the scale of the programme and the need to prepare carefully."
Energy Secretary Ed Davey added: "Completing the national rollout will be an enormous logistical and technical challenge for the industry. Getting this right for consumers is the government's priority."
However the Government will be taking measures to speed up the introduction despite delays. From the end of 2013, when a customer switches from a supplier who has provided them with a smart meter, the new supplier has to either rent the previous supplier’s meter or install their own smart meter, helping to gradually phase out old equipment. This also makes sure that suppliers don’t lose out when they become early adopters. There are also proposals to require energy suppliers and network operators to comply with the Smart Energy Code and ensure their smart meters really perform their advanced functions and supply data to customers.
Further reading: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22480068