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Govt raps British Gas and warns installers there can be no 'opt-out' of Boiler Plus

Company asked to confirm it will no longer offer any services that are not in full compliance with mandatory standards and rectify any such work undertaken since April

The government has asked British Gas to cease providing quotations and services that fail to fully comply with the mandatory Boiler Plus standards that were introduced earlier this year.

A government spokesperson confirmed that British Gas would now be asked to set out a plan to ensure that none of its customers would be allowed to choose services that fail to meet Boiler Plus requirements – even if they are told where additional work is needed.

A statement from the Department for Business Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said, “We have asked British Gas to set out how it will rectify any non-compliant installations carried out since the new mandatory requirements came into force in April, and to confirm that the company will not undertake any further installations that do not meet these standards.”

The government has also published an updated notice that clarifies the mandatory nature of Boiler Plus that must be met by all installers. This applies both to the specific energy efficiency of an appliance and the inclusion of at least one additional control mechanism outlined in the regulations.

Any new or replacement combi boiler lacking at least one of these additional requirements, which includes weather compensation, load compensation, Flue Gas Heat Recovery, or smart controls that offer some form of automation, will be deemed non-complaint with Building Regulations, according to the notice.

The statement added, “There is no provision for anyone to opt out of these standards, and an installer must not carry out an installation that does not meet the standards, even if the customer requests an opt out.”

“Responsibility for compliance sits with the person carrying out the work, and noncompliant installations can lead to action being taken against the installer. An installer is not excused from their obligations by making their customer aware that the work is non-compliant.”

British Gas has faced criticism in recent months over its decision to offer quotations to customers for new or replacement boilers that in some cases fail to fully comply with Boiler Plus. It declined to comment on the government’s latest statement.

The company has previously maintained that a large number of its customers were choosing to have new or replacement appliances that fully met Boiler Plus. However, British Gas added that in cases where its customers decide against boiler services that does not fully meet the standards, it would provide notes outlining where additional work was needed to bring an appliance in line with regulations.

It is unknown what timeline the company will be given to amend any work fitted since the introduction of Boiler Plus in April that fails to fully meet these standards, or how these changes could be enforced.

Enforcement

Under current Building Regulations, there is a limited set of written exemptions for when Boiler Plus compliance is not mandatory. This includes installations that make use of a shared flue.

But in all other cases where the standards are mandatory, it is local councils that have the power to take action where suspected properties may not meet Building Regulations, such as Boiler Plus.

Local authority building control teams in England and Wales are required to investigate any reports it receives of work that does not comply with Building Regulations.

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