Gas cert labelled AT RISK but legislation doesn’t condemn?

by Readers Question

10:24 AM, 29th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Gas cert labelled AT RISK but legislation doesn’t condemn?

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Gas cert labelled AT RISK but legislation doesn’t condemn?

I’m having a real pickle with a gas engineer (employed by my agent), who has given me an At Risk status on my cert which as far as I can tell is quite contrary to the legislation.

The point made is that he states there is no secondary control valve to bee seen, and although this may be true the legislation states that a secondary control valve (AECV) is only required on installations post 2008. The British Standard is in fact BS6891 which confirms this, and I know for a fact that the gas installation on this property was well before this time. Gas Safe themselves acknowledge this BS number and it’s contents relating to this issue.

This property has had 2 certs in my ownership before this one and neither had this issue raised. On question, of course the engineer blabs a load of technical ‘BS’ and other points really not relevant so I have to push. The agent is of no help at all and they are just pressuring me to have work done to satisfy the safety cert.

I researched online and found a forum where someone had the same issue, but at least the engineer was reasonable enough to label the cert as “Not to Current Standards”.

On raising this point with the gas engineer he says that Gas Safe have removed the classification of NCS (Not to Current Standards) last year, so he has to write it as AR (At Risk).

I have found Gas Safe themselves to be completely useless, much like a call centre where they just read from a script and won’t divert from their remit and although when I asked a particular question about a legislative technical point I was sited a BS number in agreement to the point, when I mentioned a different BS number back at them they said “we don’t answer technical questions”. And although one ‘adviser’ agreed the cert could be classified as NCS, another just refused to budge on the AR without good reason other than “it’s up to the engineer”.

I confirm that the only issue here is the secondary valve (AECV), the engineer even serviced the boiler so we know it is good. The tenants have 24hr access to the meter cupboard where the main control valve is located.

I have since researched the removal of the NCS classification and there is in fact a Gas Safe paper that confirms this. The wording is –

“In this edition, the ‘Not to Current Standards’ (NCS) classification has been removed as such situations are not unsafe. Engineers can still inform the gas user/responsible person via their job reports or ‘best advice’ but must use their judgement around what advice to give and the likelihood of it being feasible to implement.” https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/media/1774/tb_001_-_gas_industry_unsafe_situation_procedure_-giusp-_edition-71.pdf

N.B. “such situations are not unsafe”. Now how many gas installations exist from before the legislation on secondary control valves in 2008, and how is it that all of a sudden given the new dropping of the NCS classification that all these installations are going to be classified as AR?!

I bet all these gas engineers are just rubbing their hands at the the opportunity of reading the guidance in the way that suits them, and poor old LL Muggins will just tow the line won’t he/she? After all it IS gas, and we know how that put shivers up peoples wallets.

Does anyone know how I am supposed to counter this exploitation of the system? Does anyone know what happens if I just leave it be?

I have asked for my money back from the agent more than once, stating my dissatisfaction but they are not playing ball.

Adam



Comments

Gunga Din

11:53 AM, 29th March 2017
About 2 years ago

I got an "At Risk" tag recently, from British Gas, because in his opinion there weren't enough ceiling inspection hatches to see all the flue. This despite the fact that two previous B Gas safety certificates had been issued for the installation.

The wording on the tag is "In the interests of safety please do not use it until the faults are remedied", which seems calculated to sound frightening. B Gas just need to cover themselves, on a corporate and individual basis.

The installation is either dangerous, in which case it would be condemned/disabled, or its not.

Gunga Din

Chris Clare

11:53 AM, 29th March 2017
About 2 years ago

I see two options here:

1. Fit a secondary control valve as per recommendations.

2. Get another engineer (your own) to carry out a safety check.

The second may not result in the desired outcome but it is worth a try. If the tenant does have 24 hour access to the valve I don't see the issue, but the engineer is probably thinking that this access could be removed and if it was it would be dangerous, so they may have a point.

Chris Daniel

12:05 PM, 29th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Its agreed that Gas Safe are USELESS. - They give similar responses as HSE, -its quite disappointing that regulatory bodies won't committ themselves but happy to condemn others.
I'd change the Agent as well, as they seem less than helpful. Some agents forget they are Employed by and act for that person - The Landlord, and are Not an autonomous body.

JohnCaversham

13:26 PM, 29th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Too much is open to ambiguity for Gas Safe certs, and if the gas engineer is having a bad day... and of course they have to cover their arxxs just in case so they go overboard, plus there is the upside for them as creating more work for themselves..

I had one recently who wasn't happy with the pointing around the flue so the boiler failed and had a sticker placed on it and I received a quote for over £200 to rectify, so I re-pointed it myself much to their distain. On closer examination the pointing was pretty sound, a bit loose at best under the rubber wall gasket so really it was a very very marginal fail.

However just get a isco valve installed and put it to bed....

Adam Withford

19:13 PM, 29th March 2017
About 2 years ago

I guess my main issue here is that we are governed by those who have a vested interest in creating more work.

They assume omnipotence and a backing by their personal version of legislation.

Who do we turn to when an engineer obviously can't remember, or doesn't actually know, or can't read the legislation? Gas Safe of course, but they prove to be as stated USELESS. Lol

I've had another recent issue where an engineer didn't pass a cert because the flue was sticking out too far from the building and was supposedly too close to the boundary. On investigation of the building regs I found him to be completely wrong. The regs say 600mm from a boundary and this is at least 1000mm. When I raised this he said 'oh yeah, umm you are right but umm, I just don't like the look of it so could you cut it back? When I said no, there is no need, he just said he'd refund the charge. Which he did actually.

So how is it that we can be policed by such incompetence? There is obviously not enough control on who can and is able to deal with the legislative side and leaving it to whether a particular engineer 'likes it' or not is surely not acceptable. Point perfectly made by Gunga Din and others above above on the inconsistency we suffer in their work.

I take it as no one sees it as a problem to leave an imnstallation as At Risk, so long as with some common sense it is only so because of a bureaucratic change and not a technical problem, and it's safe (as it has been for 30 years). Otherwise there ought to be a public statement about bringing all installations up to current standard, and then every other property of mine would have to have this work done.

I seem to go through gas 'engineers' every year.........

Paul Green

0:09 AM, 30th March 2017
About 2 years ago

A second valve needs to be in the property ( or outside) if the first valve is so many meters away from the property (I think approximately 10 meters) this usually only effects flats, i.e 2nd floor and above. Gas safe use technical bulletins, for old regulations only as s guide and it's down to the discretion of the gas engineer to either make an advisory note or put at risk. Most will put at risk, because their gas safe licence may be revoked and they could lose there livelihood, in the event of a gas accident, with the last engineers name and number will be all over the gas certificate. Personally I would have a second vale installed as per recommendation, you'll have peace of mind, your tenant can isolate the gas in the home and you won't have this issue rise again next year. I doubt It will break the bank. They will cut an existing gas pipe and install a lever/ tap in between the continuous pipe work nearer the boiler.. Shouldn't take long problems solved.... your then be up to date with current regs...

JohnCaversham

9:05 AM, 30th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Adam Withford" at "29/03/2017 - 19:13":

Bit like the judiciary really, same case two different judges two different outcomes...But very little recourse for the victim when the judge gets it wrong......The wife has the same issue on occasion, some Friday's its fine to go to the pub as she can't wait to see the back of me the following Friday I'm lambasted for going...!

Adam Withford

16:11 PM, 30th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Paul Green" at "30/03/2017 - 00:09":

Hi Paul,

Actually the regs are within 6m from an appliance.

As I said, it now calassifies how many properties in the UK 'At Risk'?

This is just a very badly approached regulatory system which is inconsistent and open for biased opinion.

Mervin SX

20:02 PM, 2nd April 2017
About 2 years ago

My response below is completely out of topic but something I strongly believe in:

Individuals who turn up to install, repair or certify gas systems shouldn't be called Gas Engineers - they are technicians. They do not 'engineer' anything and it leads to the disrespect of many who have struggled through several years of University malarkey to be called an Engineer!

I once wrote to British Gas and their then CEO responded to confirm plans to change the terminology in all their customer-facing businesses. But four years down the road, and they still call them Gas Engineers!!

I appreciate the title is not protected in the UK but if the usage is understood, it will help with those who do end up becoming Professional Engineers 🙂

Colin McNulty

22:07 PM, 2nd April 2017
About 2 years ago

As a Chartered Engineer myself Mervin, I feel your pain. The worst example was this job advert I saw in a FreeAds paper:

"Upholstery Engineer Wanted to repair used furniture. No experience necessary. Full driving license desirable."

!!!

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