“Signing off” someone else’s gas work is Illegal, stupid, and needs to stop

“I’ve done the work myself, can you just come in and sign it off?” is a phrase many installers will have heard during their time on the tools.
People looking to cut costs will always want to have a go at doing something themselves, but when it comes to gas work, DIY is stupid, life-threatening and illegal.
The issue has come to light again recently when this video from Kingston Gas was shared on Twitter.

The clip was from Homes Under the Hammer, a BBC property auction programme, originally shown on 3 May 2016, and shows a builder called Andy claiming he “fitted the boiler and central heating system”.
In the video he also says he “has a plumber who tests all the gas for me, and commissions it, and gives me a certificate for it”.
According to the Gas Safe Register: “It is not acceptable for someone who is NOT Gas Safe registered to fit a gas appliance or do other gas work and then have the work checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Both parties would be breaking the law.”
So understandably, many installers were shocked that this admission of illegal gas work had been broadcast on national TV.
Gas Safe did respond to the video online, saying it would be investigating the case: “You may have seen Homes Under the Hammer yesterday. We’re aware of the concerns about unregistered gas work and we’ve approached the BBC to see how we can potentially work together to tackle illegal gas work and promote gas safety.”
However, there are big concerns that this undermines the importance of Gas Safe Registered installers, and gives the public the very wrong impression that it’s OK to fit your own boiler.
An added worry is that the property was being renovated to be sold, so new buyers could have been buying a home with a potentially dangerous heating system.
A BBC Spokesperson told Installer: “This was a repeat of an old episode of Homes Under The Hammer and will not be shown again. As a programme, we are fully aware of the regulations and are in the process of planning a meeting with The Gas Safe Register as a refresher for all members of the team.”
This issue does highlight the frustrations felt by frontline engineers. We often hear from the Health and Safety Executive about unregistered builders or private landlords being prosecuted for illegal gas work, but the punishment is usually small fines and suspended prison sentences.
Many in the industry (including Installer Mag) think more should be done to let the public know that ONLY Gas Safe Registered engineers can work legally with gas appliances, and tougher punishments should be dished out to those that break the law.
As John Thompson, the CEO of the APHC says, illegal gas work is unacceptable: “The law around gas safety is clear and from what I have been shown in this case it appears that both parties are working outside regulatory requirements. It is simply not acceptable for a non-Gas Safe registered person to fit or carry out work on a gas appliance and then have the work retrospectively commissioned by a Gas Safe registered engineer.”
Finally, A Gas Safe Register spokesperson has responded to our request for a comment on the matter, saying: “Gas Safe Register is the only official register of gas businesses and engineers who are deemed qualified to work safely and legally on all gas appliances. Anyone who is planning on working on gas appliances in their homes must be on the Gas Safe Register. You can check an engineer is registered by asking for their Gas Safe ID card or by checking their details on www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk.”
Now it’s over to them to take the appropriate action.