Gas is potentially a very dangerous substance. It is toxic and leaks can be fatal as well as cause fires and explosions. So you want to be sure that who ever fits, repairs and services your gas appliances is suitably qualified. That means never, ever have a bash at it yourself. Gas is not a suitable DIY subject!
How do you know? Do gas fitters go to gas school, do they have certificates, how do you know their qualifications are real?
We all used to know that if you wanted someone to work with gas they had to be CORGI registered. No one was entirely sure what it stood for or what it meant – but we knew we had to have one! In 2009 & 2010 CORGI was replaced with a new body called the Gas Safe Register.
Gas Safe Register
UK law requires gas engineers or anyone working with gas in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Guernsey to register with the Gas Safe Register. This organisation does several important things;
- It makes sure all those registered with it are qualified.
- It investigates incidents where potentially unsafe gas work has been performed.
- It actively searches for unregistered and illegal operators.
So if you are going to get anyone to work on any gas appliance or you gas pipes then they must be registered with this organisation. The Gas Safe Register maintains a database of companies and individuals who are registered with it which you search for free! You can call them, use their website or use their text service.
What To Check
Before you agree to any work ask the company or individual for their Gas Safe Register licence / registration number and check they have an up to date registration. Call the Gas Safe Register free on this number 0800 408 550 or just use their website; www.gassaferegister.co.uk.
When you engineer arrives, before you let him in ask to see his Gas Safe Register ID card and check it. don’t be embarrassed to ask. Your engineer pays for their qualifications and registration so they should be happy to see that their investment is worth while. If they do not have a card or have forgotten it – do not let them in, they might not be who they say they are or they might not still be qualified. If the engineer works for a company that is registered they still have to have their own individual ID card.
Look to the left on the image above – this is the front of a card. Check the picture is of the person who has arrived at your house and check there is hologram to the bottom right. There is also a start and expiry date on at the bottom left – check the card is valid.
There are different types of work that can be carried out on gas pipes and appliances so an engineer who is qualified to work on one type of appliance might not be qualified for other work. The Gas Safe Register vet each of their members to determine which areas they are qualified to work in. They issue each member with an ID card, on the back is listed the specific types of work they are qualified to do. Look to the right in the image above to see what the back of a card looks like. All engineers must have pipework listed as this is the minimum qualification.
The video below is a really helpful summary of how and what to check, it only lasts 1.5 minutes so watch a quick recap.