Choosing to have gas work done in your property by someone not qualified or registered? The main reason is to save on costs but there can be serious financial and safety concerns with this. Here, we look at the many dangers of illegal gas work.
Dangers of illegal gas work
Illegal gas work can lead to deaths or serious injury, especially resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning. There is also a risk of explosion with incorrectly fitted gas connections to appliances. Other issues include high energy bills from faulty workmanship, reduced life span of appliances and voided warranties. The public is also put at risk by illegal gas work.
What is Illegal gas work?
Registered Gas Safe engineers come across illegal gas work often. This is when work has been carried out to any gas appliance or installation by someone who is not qualified or registered to do that kind of work. Illegal work can have serious consequences for the safety of people’s lives and property.
Even if an engineer is registered with gas safe, they must be suitably qualified in the appliance they are working on, for example, someone fixing a gas fire must have the HTR credentials, similarly CKR for cooker work. This is known as working within the scope of your qualifications.
Illegal gas work can take place in various circumstances: someone not qualified or registered at all; someone qualified but not with the appliance they are working on; someone working for a company and who isn’t allowed to carry out private work and even someone who hasn’t renewed their registration after it has expired.
Common defects found in unsafe gas installations
Incorrect sized pipework
Although jobs are different, there are some defects that are widely noticed: Wrong sized pipework so the boiler doesn’t get adequate gas to heat radiators and water sufficiently, pipework not run correctly to save on costs so some radiators are cold most of the time or hot taps only warm, boiler flue (chimney) installed in the wrong location or not supported.
Emissions not recorded properly
If some of this work was to be checked with a flue gas analyser, you could also find the emissions readings to be out risking an unsafe situation. Many illegal gas jobs may not even use an analyser to check everything is safe. In some cases, the boiler is not even secure on the wall.
When work is carried out following regulations, for example installing a boiler, you will be given documentation by the company. A new boiler will have the commissioning benchmark checklist with all the readings and you will receive a confirmation with a building regulations certificate, warranty confirmation and details etc. You are not likely to get any of these with illegal work.
Boiler not installed correctly
The boiler is usually the most powerful and widely used gas appliance in your property and faulty installation of this can be serious. There are many checks and procedures to follow which is why a registered gas safe engineer is unlikely to install a boiler incorrectly, knowing it will be recorded under his details.
But someone doing illegal gas work can cut corners knowing that nothing is registered back to them. Once the money is handed over, they won’t feel obligated to come and fix any faults they created.
How to report illegal gas work
You can report illegal gas work to the Gas Safe Register which replaced CORGI as the registration body. They have the official list of gas businesses that are registered to work legally on boilers and other gas appliances.
On their website, you can fill in an online form providing as much detail as possible.
You can also call them on 0800 408 5500
Gas safe investigation
Once you contact the gas safe register, they aim to investigate the illegal gas work within 10 working days and visit the property, compile a report on the findings and forward it to you the customer and relevant bodies including the Health and Safety Executive. If any action is required the enforcement agencies will take over.
Examples of illegal gas work
- Cooker installed by someone who does not have the scope for the installation
- Gas pipe installed by builder that isn’t registered to do so
- Gas safe engineer signing off gas work done by someone not registered or qualified
- Plumber fitting gas pipes or final connections to boiler without being registered
- Kitchen fitter disconnecting live gas supply without qualifications
- Landlord doing gas work in rental property without being qualified to do so
Check the gas safe engineer’s ID
Every engineer will have a Gas Safe ID card whether working as self-employed or for a registered business and you should check this card before having any work done. The card includes details of the license number (check with Gas Safe Register), types of work they are eligible to carry out and validity dates as well as a photo.
Potential consequences of illegal gas work
- Risk of gas leaks, fires and explosion. From faulty appliances and workmanship.
- Risk of injury to health.
- Voided warranty. Because appliance that should be registered hasn’t been.
- Lifespan of appliance reduced. Or not running efficiently causing higher bills.
- Loss of income for qualified and registered gas safe engineers. Those who have done things the right way.
*The information in this article should be used for general guidance only and not as financial or legal advice, and every attempt has been made to provide accurate information Full details are on the link in the footer to our disclaimer page. Always discuss your requirements with a competent and suitably qualified professional before undertaking any work.