Sure Fire training services

2013 is a big year for anyone who installs solid fuel heating domestic appliances. New Government legislation means that, from June 2014, any engineer who hasn’t completed a HETAS assessment or refresher course in the past five years must undertake a re-assessment or risk losing their Competent Person status.
Changes to legislation can seem daunting, but Sure Fire Training Services, a leading accredited HETAS training provider, aims to make the process as time-efficient and straightforward as possible.
Michael Waumsley, MD of Sure Fire Training Services comments “In the past, there has been no follow up provision after an installer has gained their original training qualification in solid fuel heating system installation. The new initiative will help to ensure that engineers undertake follow-on training and keep up to date with the latest regulations and safety directives.”
At present, HETAS is the first of the solid fuel heating governing bodies to run this initiative but others are expected to follow very soon.
“From June 2014, the changes mean that HETAS registered installing engineers must have completed a relevant HETAS course or refresher course within the previous five years. Refresher courses will be available from Accredited Training Centres like our own from February 2013.
“The assessment system has a number of options that allow installers to meet or bring their individual competence and knowledge to a standard that meets the requirements,” adds Mr Waumsley.
HETAS is the official body recognised by Government to approve biomass and solid fuel domestic heating appliances, fuels and services including the registration of competent installers and servicing businesses.
It is responsible for overseeing the new regulations which came about after the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) put in place authorisation for Competent Persons Scheme (CPS) operators and their members. These requirements come into full force from June 2014. One requirement of the conditions is to ensure HETAS Competent Persons Scheme (CPS) registrants are kept up to date and maintain their Minimum Technical Competence (MTC). The current and relevant MTCs require technical qualifications to be renewed on a five-year cycle.
HETAS has already started to advise registrants of their obligation to carry out refresher training, initially for those trained prior to 2008. After that, it plans to capture all those with training older than five years by 2014.
HETAS has created a refresher course that is designed to cover all changes to the Building Regulations, Health and Safety, BS EN Standards legislation and technical standards within the last five years. The course must confirm the installer’s competence through practical and theoretical assessments.
The assessment comprises a choice of one and two day refresher courses, or the option to take the full H003 course again.
“The courses have been designed to be flexible so that people with different training requirements can work towards achieving the standards,” says Michael Waumsley.
“They have a modular and practical format, giving installers the chance to be tested and undertake a refresher course if necessary, in a one or two day visit to the training centre. This means installers need only spend the minimum amount of time away from the workplace while meeting their obligations.”
Course Options
To accommodate those installers who have genuinely kept themselves compliant, the HETAS courses offer at least two options to prove competence:
Current H003 Dry Installation Course (originally named the Dry Solid Fuel Awareness Course without practical assessment.)
Candidates can make a decision from the following two options:
Option 1 – One day assessment
Where an installer perceives themselves to be fully competent, they must pass a preliminary test in advance of an assessment. If the test is successfully completed, candidates may then continue directly onto assessment. (This assessment is the current HETAS H003 exam and assessment.) If candidates are unsuccessful they must continue to Option 2.
Option 2 – Full two day training
First day is room based, covering relevant changes to the Building Regulations and/or BS/EN standards or technical standards, using the current H003 training manual. Second day comprises a theoretical and practical assessment as per Option 1.
H004 Wet Course (originally named the Engineer’s Course without practical assessment.)
No options – but to complete the current one-day H004 course.
Training centres
Sure Fire Training Services is a HETAS accredited training provider and was the first HETAS approved centre back in 2009. The Sure Fire Training Services HETAS Training and Refresher Courses are run at a conveniently located training centre, a few miles from junction 28 of the M1. This centre has unique facilities for HETAS and other practical courses on any subjects related to the solid fuel and domestic Biomass industries.
The centre contains specialist equipment with live appliances, chimney products and fuel displays so delegates can see and experience a wide range of equipment from different manufacturers in one location for both HETAS Training Courses and the specialist Sure Fire Training Courses such as chimney surveying and working at heights.
Sure Fire Training Services offers the assurance of qualifications and expertise gained over 20 years in this field. Many of its courses are approved by a recognised trade body such as HETAS, NACE and The Guild of Master Sweeps giving certification from a recognised authority via an independent training company.
In a first for the wood burning and solid fuel industry Sure Fire Training Services also offers practical training for new entrants to the industry with the opportunity to install an open fire, a stove and a flexible flue liner in a safe and supervised location rather than practising in a customers’ home.
“New regulations are always going to be viewed as a challenge by some but the changes are designed to raise safety and competence standards in the solid fuel heating industry. Legislation, products and regulations are continually developing and Sure Fire Training Services welcomes the introduction of the regulations and the flexible structure of the refresher course. We would encourage all installers and employers to contact us if they need further help and advice on HETAS training courses” commented Michael Waumsley.
For more information contact Surefire on 0845 2600 166, or visit