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CIPHE seeks broader industry input for fake parts campaign

Institute hopes to expand partnerships with more manufacturers working in heating and plumbing to curb use of counterfeit components

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is talking to a broader number of manufacturers around an ongoing campaign to tackle the use of counterfeit parts for appliances such as boilers.

The institute has already partnered with Baxi to try and improve understanding around the implications of fitting parts that do not meet safety standards to heating systems. Ensuring the authenticity of parts, even when packaged and branded as if genuine was identified as a particular concern in this work.

CIPHE’s campaign has focused on the issue of the legal obligation on installers or manufacturers to ensure gas heating solutions contains safe and genuine parts as part of a collaboration with law firm Emms Gilmore Liberson (EGL).

CIPHE technical director Paul Harmer said that the organisation was looking at building on this work by partnering with different manufacturers that are working across the plumbing and heating industry. It is hoped this will improve awareness over the importance of ensuring the authenticity of parts being used in the industry.

An infringement of patents, whereby a manufacturer may seek to avoid paying licensing money by producing their own components to resemble branded goods is among the issues to try and ensure safe heating appliances.

Mr Harmer said that counterfeit components that may not have undergone the same levels of product testing required of official goods before they can be fitted.  This in turn creates a safety risks for users.

In some cases, counterfeit goods may still be packed with branded packaging and instructions adding to the difficulty of determining if parts are counterfeit.

Mr Harmer said a key focus of future work on counterfeit parts would be to initially raise awareness among fitters that the liability for a potential death or harm to individuals as a result of illegal components would be on them.

CIPHE is therefore looking to set out clear messages on how to ensure better awareness of where a component part for a boiler or other heating appliance originates. This includes factors such as whether a part has a certificate of authenticity.

Mr Harmer accepted that businesses were under a range of cost pressures, but said it was important to emphasize the legal obligations of ensuring parts met with health and safety regulations.

CIPHE said it had been working to engagement government around the issues. However, at a time where building regulations are set to come under an independent review following the Grenfell Tower fire, Mr Harmer said the key challenge to prevent counterfeit parts was a need to police compliance.  

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