According to the UK Gas Safe Register (GSR), the British people are losing up to £100 million every year on account of illegal gas work carried out by rogue traders. But wait, the stats get even scarier – 20% of the residential addresses surveyed by GSR were found to be in danger due to illegally fitted gas appliances such as boilers and cookers.
The unfortunate thing is that even “word of mouth”, the ever so reliable way to find skilled tradesmen by getting recommendations from friends and family, is no longer safe. The research shows that most of these bad installations have been carried out by a heating engineer recommended to the victim.
Most of the unsafe work (90%) was carried out by sole traders or small companies and in most cases people who offer services related to gas installations also do plumbing or dabble in other related trades.
Spotting fraud is extremely easy, so it’s surprising why so many people fall into the trap. The key to safeguard your home is to only hire tradesmen who can produce a valid Gas Safe Register ID card. There’s an easy way to double-check. Go to the GSR’s website and click through to “Find by name” section. You can check if the ID card is still valid.
Although it sounds like a no-brainer, more and more people are falling victim to fraud, that’s why the President of the Associations of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) Mark Antrobus has pledged to do his bit to fight the rouge traders.
As reported by Installer Online Magazine, Mr Antrobus has said that there was a need for greater enforcement penalising engineers who carry out dangerous gas work. An additional measure would be to ban those found guilty from ever re-registering again.
Back in April 2016 a plumber from Essex was sued for carrying out new boiler installations without a Gas Safe Register certificate. He got away with a community order. Besides, such convictions are relatively rare, meaning that many fake engineers get away with the crime. A concerted action is necessary to address this issue as it potentially jeopardises peoples’ lives.