New research on cowboy gas fitters in Great Britain reveals that they are doing a QUARTER OF A MILLION gas jobs each year. All gas fitters have to be Gas Safe registered by law. In the right hands gas is perfectly safe, but in the hands of an illegal gas fitter it can kill.
Gas Safe Register estimates that at least 7,500 hard core illegal gas fitters are doing these jobs without the skills or the qualifications to work on gas. They are potentially the most dangerous type of illegal gas workers in the country; and are a prime target of Gas Safe Register’s national investigations team.
More than half these cowboys are sole traders.
As well as carrying out gas work, many also undertake plumbing jobs (90%), bathroom fitting (81%), kitchen fitting (67%), general building (43%) and electrical work (43%).
Beware of where you go to find a gas engineer. Directories such as Yellow Pages and Thomson Local check for registration in gas categories, so few illegal gas workers advertise their services there compared to online and in local papers.
Phill Brewster, Gas Safe Register’s national investigations manager said: “Gas and cowboys do not mix, it’s a fact. One in 10 of the illegal gas installations we investigated in the last nine months have been Immediately Dangerous and we had to disable the appliances straight away to make them safe. Almost half of these had faults that could lead to lethal carbon monoxide exposure. So, with our research showing that illegal gas fitters do 250,000 jobs in our homes each year, it’s worrying to think how many gas appliances out there have been left in a dangerous state.”
Gas Safe Register’s investigation team are searching out illegal gas fitters around the country who are not registered. Phill Brewster explains things you should look for for:
“Different types of gas work require different qualifications. Just because someone is qualified and registered to work on one gas appliance, for example gas boilers, does not mean that they are automatically qualified to put in a gas fire. If they do this, the work is illegal and potentially life threatening. The work that engineers can legally do is listed on the back of their Gas Safe Register card – it’s so important you check this every time you have work done.”
Gas Safe Register is also urging the public to nominate their property for a free gas safety check if they have had gas work done in their home in the last six months.
To report a suspected illegal gas worker or for more advice visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk/illegals or call 0800 408 5500