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.

While most tradespeople are hardworking, honest people, there are always going to be some out there who try to spoil it for everyone else. These "cowboy builders" are the kind that don't complete a trades training course and try to get by on their own knowledge, not only breaking the law but also putting their customers in serious danger. Here's just one example of what happens to people who pretend to be a professional electrician without the relevant qualifications or electrical training course. This foolish contractor has been fined for fraudulently claiming to be registered with certification group NICEIC while at the same time carrying out dangerous electrical work.

David Taylor, trading under the name DT Property Maintenance and Electrical Contractors, was found guilty by Snaresbrook Crown Court of leaving electrical jobs unfinished - making homes unfit for human habitation. This included leaving dangerous electrical rewiring that needed to be put right as well as leaving leaking roof which needed replacing. All instances required other contractors to come in to fix the shoddy workmanship, costing residents in excess of £10,000 in addition to what they had previously paid Mr Taylor.

Action was taken by Hackney Council's Trading Standards, who worked closely with NICEIC to reveal that he was falsely using the NICEIC, Trustmark and Part P logos in his business. Mr Taylor pleaded guilty to 12 separate counts under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, landing him a sentence of eight months. In addition to this, in November 2013 he had also been found guilty at a trial in Isleworth Crown Court for committing fraud against an employer. This case was brought to court by the Metropolitan Police and resulted in an additional 12 month prison sentence.

NICEIC's CEO Emma Clancy said that the group take misuse of their logo "very seriously and welcome this latest prosecution". She went to on say how the NICEIC logo is associated with quality and it was their duty to protect the honest contractors associated with them. It also sends out the message that anyone found to be misusing the logo will be caught and dealt with appropriately.

After hearing Mr Taylor's story, does working as a cowboy builder and falsely using Competent Persons Scheme/qualification logos sound worth it to you? I thought not. The only way to become an electrician is to do it properly, and that's by completing an electrical training course and EARNING the qualifications properly. From here you will be able to properly join a Competent Persons Scheme and join the ranks of the honest electricians working hard across the country. Our electrician courses here at Access Training will get you well on the way to starting your new career, offering high quality teaching in an unbeatable time frame.

Just give Access Training Academies a call on 0800 345 7492 to find out more.

Government proposals for tougher sentencing on rogue traders has been welcomed by TrustMark, the Government endorsed quality mark for reputable tradesmen.

Following the Sentencing Council's consultation on fraud, bribery and money laundering, a revised framework has been put forward that will affect trades who falsify registeration marks, commit fraud and in some instances even bribe the public.

"The Sentencing Council’s new proposals will hopefully act as a deterrent to those cowboys who give tens of thousands of great law-abiding tradesmen a bad name," explains Liz Male, chair of TrustMark. "These criminals put their victims at risk and rip them off. The new guidelines are tougher on those who commit multiple offences, especially when the victims are particularly vulnerable."

In addition to this TrustMark is also pushing for even tough penalties on rouge traders fraudulently winning work involving electricity, gas and other potentially fatal substances such as asbestos.

"Tougher, simpler, sentencing guidelines will help us get the message across to rogues that their activities are unacceptable and have no place in our industry," she continues. "Ripping off the vulnerable and putting safety at risk must be deterred and we believe the Sentencing Council’s guidelines go some way to help doing that."

To coincide with this news, TrustMark has introduced a new logo download system this month in an attempt to reduce the risk of fraudulent misrepresentation. Each of its 14,500 registered firms will now be required to use their personalised logo in all of their website and marketing activing, detailing the trades that they have been inspected and licensed for by TrustMark. 

"The new TrustMark logo will provide a more transparent environment of trust for consumers as they will now be able to immediately see if a TrustMark firm has been inspected and is licensed for a particular trade. And tradesmen will be able to give themselves a competitive edge by demonstrating to customers that their work has been inspected and they offer warranties." said Liz.

This year alone TrustMark has had to take action against almost 100 firms that have been found to be misusing its logo, and regularly liaises with Trading Standards and the police when rogue traders are found. It then details each succesful legal action taken on its "Fakes and Forgeries" webpage, in an attempt to warn other homeowners about which business names to avoid.

You can keep up to date with the developments at TrustMark by visiting their official website.

Via Installer Online

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Have you considered stepping into a brand new career and becoming a fully qualified tradesperson? Here at Access Academies we offer a full spectrum of trade courses including plumbing, gas, electricity, carpentry, tiling, plastering and painting & decorating. By training with us not only will you enjoy our state-of-the-art facilities and experienced tutors, but also gain exactly what you need for a long and prosperous career. To find out more please get in contact with our course advisers on 0800 345 7492.