Is ACS out of date? The Secret Installer gives their view 🕵

In the latest edition of the monthly column, the Secret Installer takes a looks at ACS and asks, is it out of date?:
I recently re-sat my ACS, for the fourth time – I did the old ACOPS before that, so I’ve been around a little while now. So here’s my day-to-day review of how the week went:
Day 1: Refresher training
Basically this comprises of being given a book, going through it, and highlighting certain areas that ‘may well come up in your exam’.
To be fair, we did work through some gas rating work and pipe sizing work. The pipe sizing formulas had changed from five years ago, but otherwise nothing much was new.
Day 2: Practical exam
So after going through the rules of the exam room, it was into the workshop to be assessed on practical knowledge. It wasn’t really too tricky – there are only so many faults that can be put on a hob or a pre-cast flue. And if you weren’t sure, the assessor kind of guided you in the right direction. Plus you had your workbook from the day before, so you could always look it up. Practical exam all finished by 4pm.
Day 3: Written exams
The fun bit! All the questions were open-book so, given enough time, anyone can pass this, which I’ve always found a bit wrong really.
I was moving through the questions okay – cross-sectional area of precast flues, ventilation requirements of flueless water heaters, location of register plate on a flue liner – all the stuff that you literally will not use from one five year exam to the next.
Done by 4pm again and the whole lot has taken three days. Now I’m good to go for the next five years.


Overall, I wonder if the whole thing is out of date? Something needs to happen to get it brought up to modern times. I had one question about how to run a condense pipe, one about flueing with a plume kit, but loads more questions about appliances you never see, let alone install.
Why are there still questions about installing flues to open flue boilers, and vertex flues in lofts, for example?
ACS needs continually updating and, to my mind, it’s still lagging behind. Hopefully next time things will be more in line with modern standards.

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