HHIC support MOT style safety check proposal

25th Oct 2016

 

Landlord Gas safety checks are a familiar part of most registered gas engineers work schedule. Under regulation 36 The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, it is a legal requirement for all landlords to ensure that all gas appliances and flues are checked for safety within 12 months of install and at intervals of not more than 12 months since the last check. A gas safety record must be produced by the Gas Safe Register engineer showing the findings of the check.

You understand the supporting regulations which ensure the safety of tenants and the safe working operation of gas appliances. You also understand the annual dilemma of effective timing of the gas safety check.

There is a careful balance between finding a date when both the tenant and the engineer is available, and one which is close enough to the renewal date so that it doesn’t ends up costing the landlord more money in the long run. Sound familiar?

We know from talking to our industry network that it is a common problem, which is why the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council. HHIC is supporting the Association of Gas Safety Managers (AGSM) and the Health and Safety Executive proposal to move to an MOT style of annual gas safety check for landlords.

This work which has been running for some time aims to raise awareness of the benefits of moving to an MOT style of Landlord’s Gas Safety Record (LGSR).

What will it mean for the industry?

A move to an MOT style of servicing is a significant change and would mean that the gas safety check could be carried out with greater flexibility- up to two months before the due date. This would allow anyone organising a series of Landlords safety checks to schedule the checks for properties in a particular area so that there is less driving time between each property. This will have a significant impact on the rented housing sector. Not only does it have the potential to improve safety it offers efficiency improvements and savings for landlords.

HHIC and its members are in full support of initiatives like this. The safety of tenants is still paramount but the need for flexibility is recognised. A simple change to the regulation will help to ensure that appliances are checked at the necessary intervals, and landlords are not penalised for being efficient.

Access to properties is an issue – typically first time access to properties is only approximately 60-75% – many Landlords are running a 10 month servicing programme. This results in seven services in six years, which wastes money and creates extra work.

With the MOT proposal, the safety check date stays the same each year but the safety check could be carried out within two months of the due date, leaving the renewal date unchanged for the following year. This would save money, be more efficient and members of HHIC have shown their support of the campaign.

When will the change take effect?

The Health and Safety Executive, HSE are currently putting in place a comprehensive consultation process and an impact assessment to ensure that appliances continue to operate safely if the service interval exceeds 12 months. Their view is that the proposed changes do not represent a reduction of landlords’ gas safety duties. Landlords will still have a duty to carry out an annual gas safety check but under the proposed regime it will be possible for there to be an occasional gap of up to 14 months between gas safety checks.

 The wording of the proposed amendment to HSE Regulation 36(3)(a) will be words to the effect of:

“For the purposes of calculating the intervals between checks required by paragraph (3)(a), a safety check carried out not less than 10 months and not more than 12 months after the date of the most recent safety check shall be deemed to have been made at the end of that period (“the deemed date”);”

There is a public consultation planned for later this year, and, if the proposals are agreed during this process, it could come into effect in 2017. However this would be subject to Ministerial agreement.

The responsibility will remain with the Landlord to keep and maintain the records, and ensure they comply with the legally binding regulations, and of course the proposal will be optional, i.e. Landlords can continue as is, ensuring appliances and flues are checked for safety at least once every 12 months.

We will of course keep you updated on the proposed changes. HSE are in the final process of completing the review and Gas heating engineers and Landlords should look out for the consultation document that is expected be out for comment in the last quarter of 2016.