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In an attempt to crackdown on cowboy builders, illegal gas workers and dangerous DIYers the rules around gas have changed.

Homeowners will now receive a safety certificate (called a Declaration of Safety) from CORGI after a gas appliance has been installed, and if they don?t have this certificate, they won?t be able to sell their house.

Fears that many people are cutting home improvement costs by hiring unqualified tradesmen to fit their gas appliances, or worse are attempting to do it themselves have prompted the change.

CORGI is urging householders to keep the certificate safe as it proves the appliance has been installed by a professional. The certificate will become an essential part of the Home Information Pack, a Government initiative to make it easier for people buying and selling homes. The Home Information Pack will be introduced throughout England, Wales and Scotland from the beginning of 2007 with the aim of protecting consumers when they buy a home.

Tony Lush DIY expert and Brian Adams from Corgi joined us for a live webchat to tell us more about how these new changes will affect us.

The Transcript

Carbon Monoxide - the silent killer

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A new report released by CORGI has revealed that homeowners are still not fully aware of the dangers of poisoning from their gas appliances. More than half of the homeowners questioned admitted that they would not be getting their gas appliances checked before the winter, although the colder season is when many gas-related fatalities occur.

Each year there are around 30 deaths and several hundred injuries from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Raising awareness of gas safety amongst homeowners would play a vital part in reducing the level of fatalities. CORGI’s research shows a worrying number of homeowners in England and Wales are unprepared for the Government’s introduction of the Home Information Pack and the changes this will bring.

Almost half of those questioned weren’t even aware that the home buying process would be affected by the introduction of the Home Information Pack. Essentially the "log book" for every home sale, Home Information Packs will give a detailed assessment of a home's condition. It will place the onus on sellers to make sure their home is up to standard before it is put on the market. A certificate from CORGI (called a Declaration of Safety) will be a necessary part of the Home Information Pack.

How much do you know about the Home Information Pack? Have you got a Declaration of Safety certificate? Are you a gas aware homeowner? If not, find out what you should you be doing to stay safe.

CORGI expert Brian Adams joined us online on Tuesday 27th September at 1430hrs to answer your questions.


Good afternoon, everyone. We’re joined today by Brian Adams from CORGI.


Reg wants to know:

Why do we need these new Home Information Packs and how do I get one?


Brian Adams aid:


The Government have said that the Home Information Pack will be introduced from 2007. The home seller will have to put this together with the help of a solicitor or estate agent. It will contain information on planning permissions, building regulations and other searches, and the CORGI safety certificate will form an essential part of the pack. The idea of the Pack is to speed up the home buying process.


HG Smith wants to know:


How long is the certificate valid for? I worry that given the amount of time it can take to sell a house it can be out of date by the time the property is sold.


Brian said:


The CORGI safety certificate will be issued at the time a gas appliance is installed e.g. boiler, fire or cooker. The certificate will not expire but CORGI recommends that gas appliances be checked annually to ensure that they are safe. You should keep all certificates and documentation safe for inclusion in the HIP.


Johanna Matthews wants to know:


How will CORGI be able to issue a Declaration of Safety unless all gas installations have been inspected by CORGI? What about those householders who have installed their own gas appliances?


Brian said:


CORGI is issuing the safety certificate (or Declaration of Safety) on behalf of the CORGI registered installer who fits the appliance. When notifying CORGI, the registered installer is confirming that the appliance complies with all the necessary standards and regulations. CORGI will be inspecting a sample of these appliances as part of its ongoing inspection process. Householders who are competent to install their own gas appliances (i.e. they hold the relevant certificates of competence that gas installers hold) would need to call in building control in order to meet the new Building Regulations requirements.


JJ wants to know:


How do I know that a CORGI engineer is any better than every other plumber when it comes to testing and certification?


Brian said:


Any business that works on gas must be CORGI registered. In order to register with CORGI they must be able to prove that they hold the right qualifications and experience to carry out gas work and are safe to do so.


Barry wants to know:


Isn't this just a charter for CORGI engineers to make even more money?


Brian said:


No. CORGI is a not for profit organisation who's remit is strictly the enforcement of gas safety. The changes that have been recently introduced with the HIP and Building Regulations are Government initiatives.


Martin Petersen wants to know:


My house is on the market at the moment and I don't have a certificate - what do I do?


Brian said:


The HIP will be introduced in 2007 - so you won't need a pack until then. You should just make sure that if you've had any appliances installed since April 2005 you have all the relevant certificates. If you don't, then get in touch with your CORGI registered installer.


dsa wants to know:


How often do I need to check household gas appliances? 


Brian Adams said:


CORGI recommends that your appliances should be checked annually by a CORGI registered installer.


David wants to know:


How do I know if I'm getting the best person to do this certificate?


Brian said:


Ensure that you always use a CORGI registered installer, and check their CORGI ID card before they do any work.


May wants to know:


What's the connection with the Labour party conference? 


Brian said:


We are here at the Labour Party Conference to ensure that gas safety remains at the top of political agenda.


Adam wants to know:


If we can't see or smell carbon monoxide poisoning, how on earth do you know if you know if you are in danger.


Brian  said:


That is a good question Adam. Carbon Monoxide is indeed a silent killer which is why we must all ensure our appliances are checked annually by a CORGI registered installer and look out for warning signs such as sooting and staining around the appliance, excess condensation in the room or a lazy orange flame in the pilot light.


Tess wants to know:


I just turned the central heating on after several months and I can't put my finger on it but something doesn't seem quite right with my boiler - the pilot light in my boiler looks very flickery and orange, should I get it checked? I only ask, as I don't want to get stung for a callout charge only to find it’s nothing.


Brian said:


If you have any concerns about your gas appliance (and the flickery orange flame does concern me), always get your appliance checked by a CORGI registered installer before you use it.


Charles wants to know:


I read something recently that carbon monoxide detectors are a complete waste of money. Is that true?


Brian said:


Audible Carbon Monoxide detectors are a very useful second line of defence in addition to getting appliances installed correctly and then checked annually by a CORGI registered installer. We certainly do not recommend the use of small patch tests that change colour, or those that do not meet British Standards. A good Carbon Monoxide detector costs around £35 - what price can you put on your safety and that of your family?


Judith wants to know:


I'm about to get a new central heating system fitted, are there particular types of boilers you would recommend to ensure simple maintenance and regular passing of these tests?


Brian said:


You should seek the advice of your CORGI registered installer who will ensure that the boiler installed in your property will be meet your heating and hot water requirements safely.


Mrs C wants to know:


I had my equipment checked a few months back by a plumber; do I have to get it done again?


Brian said:


Was the plumber CORGI registered? If he was, then we recommend you get it checked again after 12 months unless you have a specific safety concern. If the plumber wasn't CORGI registered please contact CORGI. We can investigate this matter and report any illegal gas work to the authorities. If you have any doubts about the safety of your appliance, do not use it until it has been checked by a CORGI registered installer.


Ian wants to know:


I don't have a gas boiler, just a small gas cooker, do I have to go through all this palaver just for that? 


Brian said:


Gas cookers can still emit dangerous carbon monoxide fumes if they don't work properly. So, you must still use a CORGI registered installer to install and check it annually. If you have had it installed since April 2005, you should have received a safety certificate from CORGI.


Estelle wants to know:


What happens if I lose my CORGI Declaration of Safety Certificate? Can I get another one?

Brian said:


You can contact CORGI and we can arrange for it to be reissued.


Millie wants to know:


An engineer checked my home a few weeks ago but my family keep complaining of sleeping badly and headaches. I didn't connect the two until I saw this chat, what should I do?


Brian said:


If you have any concerns, you must stop using the appliance immediately and contact the CORGI installer. If you are still concerned, you can contact CORGI. We can arrange for a CORGI inspector to attend and ensure that your appliance is safe.


Eugene wants to know:


Is the price a CORGI certified gas installer can charge regulated? Some CORGI gas installers seem quite expensive to me.


Brian said:


CORGI's remit is to maintain a register of competent gas installers. That means that gas safety is our main priority and we are unable to get involved with any pricing or customer service issues. We always recommend that you seek alternative quotes and recommendations from friends and neighbours to ensure you are getting a fair deal - just make sure that they are CORGI registered before you use them. Remember to check their CORGI ID card!


Janice wants to know:


This may sound like a really dumb question but I didn't even know gas appliances needed regular checks. I've been in this house 5 years and I don't recall being warned about this?


Brian said:


It certainly isn't a dumb question. We recommend that you get your appliances checked annually, and if you haven't had them checked for 5 years, I urge you to contact a CORGI registered installer who can ensure that they are working safely and efficiently.


Vivian wants to know:


I'm not surprised you say that half those questioned weren't aware of this pack. I'm certainly not, whose idea was it and when does it all have to be done by?


Brian said:


The Government are introducing these changes, which become law in 2007. I am sure that there will be a lot more publicity from the Government soon. For further information you can contact the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.


Tom wants to know:


Can people go to prison or be fined if they are caught charging people to fix their gas appliances without being CORGI registered?


Brian said:


Yes they can. A landlord was recently jailed for manslaughter for 5 years and his handyman (who wasn't CORGI registered) was jailed for 3.


Laurence wants to know:


How do we find out more info?


Brian said:


You can contact CORGI by calling 0870 401 2300 or visit our website


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Cienna wants to know:

Can you tell me more about the Home Information Pack and how CORGI comes into it?


Brian said:


Brian: The government is launching a compulsory home information pack from 2007 and you could get lots of information from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister website. Details of new gas appliances will be an essential part of the pack.


Varina wants to know:


When will it come in - I am planning on selling my flat next year will it be relevant to me?


Brian said:


Brian: It's coming into place from January 2007 but in the meantime solicitors are starting to look for more information on servicing and installation of gas appliances...


Mike wants to know:


How do I go about finding a registered engineer that is going to fit my new boiler safely and within the new guidelines?


Brian said:


You can find a local CORGI registered installer on our website on or by calling CORGI on 0870 401 2616.


Jeff wants to know:


What about a boiler I've just had installed? Do I have to have a certificate for that too?


Brian said:


It's only for appliances you have installed after the 1st of April for which you will receive a certificate.


John Ray has just joined the chat and wants to know:


Will Tony still be able to buy a gas appliance and fit it should he choose so after jan 2007?


Tony said:


I will be able to buy it, but I would always ask an installer's advice before deciding which one to buy. Although I am a qualified heating engineer, I would never work on gas, as I am not CORGI registered and I would be breaking the law.


Tez wants to know


Is it illegal to DIY with gas?


Brian said:


If you DIY on gas you have to prove that you are equally as competent as a CORGI engineer which means holding the right qualifications and training. It's safest to leave it to the experts - a CORGI registered installer...


Ste wants to know:


Tony what are common mistakes people make when they DIY with gas?


Tony said:


Doing it! My advice is don't do it!


Roger wants to know


What exactly does a CORGI person do differently?


Brian  said:


He's trained and takes regular competance assessments to ensure that he understands all the relevant regulations so that he undertakes work to the latest standards. He is also inspected regularly by CORGI to make sure that his work is always safe. He is working legally - anyone who isn't CORGI registered working on gas is breaking the law.


Bobbie wants to know:


My mate's dad is doing up my house for me - not sure about his credentials but seems cheeky to ask! Can I find out from anywhere? 


Brian said:


Brian: You can check he can work on gas by checking with CORGI on our website or by calling us.


BD has a follow up to our first answer about the change in legislation this month


Why has this been introduced now if the home sellers pack is not being introduced until 2007?


Brian said:


Building regulations change from the 1st April 2005 in England and Wales and you will need CORGI's safety certificate. It will isolate cowboy installers and further improve gas safety. It also means that systems will all be in place by the time the home information pack becomes law in 18 months time.


We have had a large number of questions form registered gas installers including Tony who wants to know:


Can you please tell me if the HIP planned for 2007 will be compulsory, if not what is the sense of registered gas installers going to all this trouble?


Brian said:


Brian: Thank you Tony, we have many detailed technical questions about changes to regulations from registered gas installers. Today's chat is for consumers and therefore we are unable to go into technical details here. However, thanks for your questions and we will be broadcasting a specific chat for RGI's in the near future. The government has announced that the home information pack will become legally required from January 2007. So we are working to the government’s instructions in helping consumers and registered gas installers in meeting their requirements.


Benny wants to know:


My gas fire was installed about five years ago - will I have to pay three hundred quid for a certificate when I come to sell my house?


Brian said:


No, but what you will need to provide is a safety certificate which a CORGI registered installer can do for you once he has serviced the appliance. The changes we are announcing today are for new appliances installed after April 1st 2005.


Many of you have emailed in with some general DIY questions for Tony, we will return to the gas issues shortly but Gary wants to know:


"I just got a new porch light, but it says it must be earthed, the old one wasn't and there's no earth wire in the original cable. Do I still need to earth the new light, or can I ignore it and just connect the live and neutral wire same as the old light? Thanks in advance Gary" 


Tony said:


You can't ignore it and you should ask a qualified electrician how to overcome the problem especially if it's a metal light fitting.


Gail Halliday wants to know:


I have just bought a new 3-bed semi house, aged 80 years plus. I am in the process of insulating it. All the upstairs is stripped to bare floorboards. Do you recommend under floor insulation between upstairs floor and ceiling down stairs? And if so, what products?


Brian said:


It is a matter of personal choice. If you want to partially heat for example the bedroom upstairs it would be better not to insulate that space. But the insulation will act as sound deadening.


Anthony wants to know:


Am I able to fit a feature gas fire myself and leave the final connection of the gas box to a CORGI engineer? Would this still get me the certificate I need?


Tony said:


Brian: Providing you are not working on any gas work or pipe fittings. You can do the preliminary work yourself. You must ensure you get a CORGI registered installer to do the gas work. We recommend you speak to a CORGI registered installer in advance of starting any work.


Mike wants to know:


How can you force a customer to disclose their details for their certificate, to a company they do not know and in some cases against their wishes?


Brian said:


Your gas installer must tell CORGI about the work and supply your name and address in order for you to receive the certificate. Under the data protection act your gas installer is allowed to pass this information to CORGI without your permission, but they must tell you they're going to do it. Without this certificate you will not have the evidence you need for the home information pack and to comply to all the necessary regulations. So it really is in your best interest to get your certificate.


Sniffer (theArgipup) has asked us a dozen questions but due to the sheer number of other questions we can only answer one:


What will the effect of not having a certificate have on the sale of one's home.


Brian said:


In England and Wales if the householder does not have a relevant building regulations certificate when they sell their property they may experience difficulties. Any solicitor acting for the purchaser will expect the certificate so the seller may find it difficult to sell their home.


Martyn wants to know:


I have just had a boiler fitted and been given a gas safety certificate. What will CORGI offer as an extra guarantee to that given by my plumber?


Brian said:


The certificate from CORGI will prove that the installer is both registered and competent to undertake the specific work carried out. It is a "declaration of safety" and is a further way to widen the gap between CORGI registered installers and illegal gas workers.


Thanks to Viramati for several questions this afternoon, including:


How can CORGI issue a safety certificate when they haven't inspected the device?


Brian said:


The certificate is issued on behalf of the installer. The installer is declaring that the installation is safe.


Sally wants to know:


Just how serious is it if I don't get my boiler fitted by a CORGI registered engineer?


Brian said:


It could be life and death stuff. Only CORGI registered installers are legally allowed to work on gas. A significant proportion of work carried out by illegal gas workers is found to contain serious safety defects. If an appliance is not installed correctly it can omit deadly carbon monoxide gas which kills 30 people a year in the UK and hospitalises hundreds more.


Brian said:


Thanks for your questions. Gas safety is a really serious issue and make sure you use a CORGI registered installer.


Moderator said:


Thank you very much to all of you who joined us this afternoon we have had scores of questions and we are sorry if Brian and Tony have not been able to answer all of them. And to all of the RGIs who have logged on today and asked questions we will be contacting you shortly with details of a forthcoming webchat to address the industry issues.




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