What are the regulations?
About 30 people die every year in the UK through poorly installed or badly maintained gas appliances and flues resulting in deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 impose duties on users of gas systems to ensure they are safe and suitable for use.
These duties would include being responsible for the annual servicing and inspection of all in-service gas boilers, fires, heaters and any other type of gas burning equipment or appliance. Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, employers or self-employed, if you are responsible for gas appliances, this applies to you.
Your lease or a separate contractual agreement can help to set out practical arrangements for ensuring gas safety requirements are met. However, the ultimate legal responsibility remains with the occupier of the workplace concerned.
The owner, or other person in control of the building, may also have duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – such as ensuring heating equipment in common parts is maintained safely. The lease or separate contractual agreement can be used to determine how these responsibilities are allocated.
Whatever the size of the appliance, type or location of the appliances and systems, it is mandatory to ensure that they are serviced at least annually, or as often in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications.
What if I don’t have a Gas Safety Certificate?
In our view, it is simply not worth the risks associated with not having a Gas Safety Certificate. It’s not just the penalty fines or loss of supply; it’s the risks to life of faulty equipment and potential imprisonment if you are responsible.
Severe penalties for non-compliance can be imposed and deaths could result in manslaughter charges for landlords and agents. Non compliance is a criminal offence and courts can impose unlimited fines and custodial sentences. This may also invalidate your property insurance and could subsequently lead to claims for civil damages – awards in these cases have proved to be very high indeed.
How Much Will A Gas Safety Certificate Cost?
These can vary in cost from £200 to much more; it simply depends on the installation. The best and most cost effective time to get a certificate is part of your annual maintenance.
What Does A Gas Safety Certificate Involve?
Gas Safety Certificates can only be issued by GasSafe registered engineers. They will need to attend your premises and carry out a series of tests on each gas appliance, including a visual inspection, functionality, pressure and operation tests. Any appliance that uses an extraction system to remove combustion gases will also undergo inspection to assess the extraction method is suitability or not. Appliances that are being tested will need to be isolated for a short period of time until certain tests are completed.
I have just installed a new gas appliance, do I need a certificate?
After a Gas Safe registered engineer has fitted or serviced your gas appliance, they will often leave you with a report which explains what checks they did. This report may be issued as a gas safety record, sometimes referred to as a gas safety certificate depending on the job you have asked them to do. It isn’t always a legal requirement for your engineer to give you this type of information, but many Gas Safe registered engineers will provide it or similar.
The gas safety information tells you that the gas appliance or gas fitting has been checked to see if it is working safely and meets the correct safety standards. This information may also tell you when you next need to service the appliance.
I am a landlord, what are my responsibilities?
If, under your lease, the landlord retains responsibility for gas appliances, a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate must be given to the tenant on entry and within 28 days of an annual check. A copy must also be retained by the landlord for 2 years.
By law, landlords must have all gas appliances serviced regularly, normally once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The Gas Safe registered engineer will provide a Gas Safety record upon completion of the check.
If you use a managing agent make sure the contract makes it clear who is responsible for managing gas safety checks.
What information does the Gas Safety record contain?
As a minimum, the record of a gas safety check must contain:
- description and location of each appliance and/or flue checked
- name, registration number and signature of the engineer who carried out the check
- date on which the appliance and/or flue was checked
- the address of the property at which the appliance and/or flue is installed
- the name and address of the landlord (or his agent where appropriate)
- any defect identified and any action required or taken to fix it
- confirmation of the results of operational safety checks carried out on the