When we look to get our boilers serviced or a fault in our central heating system fixed, we are urged to only use a gas safe registered engineer. But what does ‘gas safe’ mean and what protection does it offer us? We answer all your burning questions on the importance of using a gas safe engineer.
What Is the Gas Safe Register?
The Gas Safe Register is the official gas registration body for the UK, including the Isle of Man and Guernsey and by law, all gas engineers must be on its books. As the official safety body, the register replaced the previous CORGI registration (Council of Registered Gas Installers) in 2009.
An engineer cannot just join the Gas Safe Register in the same way as a membership body, ie. pay a fee to get their name listed. All engineers registered as Gas Safe are fully qualified and trained and this is verified before they are listed and given their licence number.
As well as operating a register of qualified gas engineers, the Gas Safety Register also runs public awareness campaigns to highlight gas safety and the risks of unsafe and illegal gas work as well as the danger to health, such as carbon monoxide poisoning.
How Does It Protect Me?
The central purpose of the Gas Safe Register is to protect the public from the dangers of unsafe gas work and to highlight the need for gas safety. And this means highlighting the dangers of using an unregistered – and so potentially unqualified or trained – gas engineer.
An estimated one million gas works are completed by an unqualified engineer every year, which is why you should always check the credentials of any gas engineer before you allow them to start work. It is actually illegal to operate as an unregistered gas engineer and the Register will investigate all cases so the information can be used to support any prosecutions.
To support its integrity, the Gas Safe Register will also inspect the work of gas safe registered engineers to ensure it records are accurate and up to date.
How to Check an Engineer is Gas Safe Registered
Both word of mouth and the internet are the usual places to start when searching for a gas engineer, so always check their website for the Gas Safe Registered logo. However, this alone does not prove they are actually registered so it is important to dig a little deeper before agreeing to any gas work.
A good place to check an engineer is the Gas Safe Register itself, which holds a full list of registered engineers online. You can either search for a named individual or company by entering their trading name into the search box or search for gas safe registered engineers in your area by entering your postcode.
However, even if this search shows a gas safe registration, the Gas Safe Register team also urges consumers to always ask to see the engineer’s ID card. All gas safe engineers should carry their registration card with them so if they are unable to present it when asked, it is advisable to postpone the work until they can make it available to you.
When checking their Gas Safe registered ID card, you will see all the information about the gas safe registered engineer on both sides, so it is important you check that:
- The photo is the same person
- The start and expiry dates of their registration are still valid
- Their licence card number is embossed
- The Gas Safe security mark is present
- Their qualifications are up to date
Don’t worry about asking to see an engineer’s Gas Safe ID as they are professionals and are used to it. In fact, they should be more than willing as it also helps to safeguard them. But if a heating engineer is reluctant, or something doesn’t seem quite right about their card, make a note of their licence number and suspend the job until you are able to verify them with the Gas Safe Register.
Why Use a Gas Safe Engineer?
Gas work is a specialised business and hiring an unqualified engineer at best can lead to inadequate work and more expense, and at worse, can be fatal. So, the importance of hiring a trained, qualified and experienced engineer should be at the top of your list.
As all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register, using a registered engineer will also mean all your required work – whether that’s fixing a faulty gas boiler, a general service or installing a new central heating system – will be safely and legally carried out.
If you are in any doubt, here are the three key reasons to use a Gas Safe Registered Engineer:
- You know they have undergone the necessary and appropriate training for the job and their qualifications are valid and up to date.
- You are protecting the safety of you and your family. A badly or incorrectly installed gas appliance can raise the risk of a gas leak or carbon monoxide poisoning.
- It is illegal to hire an unregistered gas engineer. Not only that but if you do and something goes wrong, then your insurance provider can deem your insurance policy invalid.
For more information on the Gas Safe Register, go to gassaferegister.co.uk