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Crackdown on DIY Cowboys

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. Although this is now being done away with.

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

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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