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Confusion reigns over workaday engineers’ habits

Building Regulations exist principally to ensure the health and safety of people in and around buildings and apply to most new buildings and alterations in England and Wales, whether domestic, commercial or industrial.

It is evident that there is much confusion in the industry about the effect of building regulations on the everyday working habits of heating engineers. The main impact is that of the notification of controlled works.

During the later years of Corgi’s policing of gas safety, it broadened its remit so that it also covered the notification of building regulation.

The appointment of the Gas Safe Register saw a withdrawal of this extended scope of services through a single Competent Persons Scheme (CPS) provider, with the exception of combustion appliances and heating and hot water systems (when they are connected to a gas combustion appliance).

As of 2009, only 23,000 businesses were members of a CPS scheme and more than 9,000 of those were involved in double glazing.

Many believe that, as the Gas Safe Inspector is only interested in the fuel aspects of the job, the notification of other activities is no longer required.

There seems to be a serious lack of understanding of the legal requirements regarding building works notification.

Self-certifying option

Other than the installation of a gas appliance, engineers have a choice of notifying through the local building control or through ‘self-certification’ via a CPS scheme. Self-certification dramatically reduces the cost and bureaucracy and is the most cost effective option.

The first step to being able to self-certify is to choose the CPS scheme provider that best meets your needs.

Some schemes only cover a narrow scope of work, whereas others allow the business to notify across all relevant activities.
Online aids

The most straightforward way to see which schemes cover relevant areas of work is to check the Building Regulations section of the Communities and Local Government website (www.communities.gov.uk).

To enrol on a self-certification scheme, the provider will require individuals and/or companies to demonstrate that they have suitable insurance and tools/equipment and are fully competent to carry out the required scope of work.

Upskilling programmes allow a business to comply with legal obligations.

As an example, completing a Part P course would allow a company to demonstrate the necessary competence to join a CPS scheme, which will in turn allow them to install additional socket outlets in the kitchen while undertaking a boiler change, or wire up a spa bath and to then notify the work.

Steve Wright is chief executive of Piper Assessment