The latest advice from Gas Safe Register is at:
Updated 30 March 2020
Work carried out in people’s homes
The government has this morning said that work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2m distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.
No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.
No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild. Registered businesses should conduct their own assessment of the risks before entering any property.
It is essential that any registered businesses undertaking work still follows the guidelines in terms of:
- Keeping a minimum of 2m apart from other people (who are not from your household)
- Washing hands frequently
- Wiping down all surfaces
- Maintaining their Gas Safe registration.
Full guidance on precautions to take to avoid transferring or contracting the virus can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
Maintaining ACS qualifications
While engineers are expected to take all reasonable measures to maintain their ACS qualifications, including planning ahead where possible, Gas Safe Register appreciates that the current situation means this is not feasible.
If engineers take all reasonable steps to update their expired ACS certification as soon as possible after the restrictions are lifted, and continue to work safely, HSE will permit registered gas engineers to remain on the Register for an additional period during the peak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) measures. Engineers may be required to demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to renew their qualifications.
Engineers must maintain their Gas Safe registration during any extension of their ACS qualification period if they are carrying out gas work.
This is a temporary measure and does not remove the standing requirement for registered gas engineers to maintain their ACS certification and renew certification every five years.
Landlords’ gas safety record checks
Updated 30 March 2020
Gas Safe Register is aware that the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK may make it more difficult for landlords to arrange annual safety checks in some cases, as tenants may need to self-isolate for 14 days, or longer periods, and as registered gas engineers’ availability reduces due to the same measures.
Current guidance from HM Government allows registered gas engineers to undertake essential work in people’s homes where necessary, eg, for reasons of safety, as long as the appropriate on social distancing are followed, to avoid spreading or contracting the virus in a new setting.
Landlords have a legal duty to repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in a safe condition, to ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue, and to keep a record of each safety check.
Landlords are legally responsible for the safety of their properties and have a duty of care to their tenants, as stated in Regulation 36 of The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. This means that registered gas engineers are not responsible for Landlord Gas Safety Checks being in place or out of date.
If landlords anticipate difficulties in gaining access as the COVID-19 situation progresses, they have the flexibility to carry out annual gas safety checks two months before the deadline date. Landlords can have the annual gas safety checks at their properties carried out any time from 10 to 12 calendar months after the previous check and still retain the original deadline date as if the check had been carried out exactly 12 months after the previous check.
Landlords are encouraged to arrange your annual gas safety checks as early as possible, as a contingency against tenants being in self-isolation for a period of 14 days (in line with current guidelines), or gas engineers being unavailable due to illness. The two-month period to carry out annual gas safety checks should provide adequate resilience in most situations.
In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, eg, persistent refusal of access due to vulnerable tenants self-isolating, landlords are expected to be able to demonstrate that they took reasonable steps to comply with the law, and that they are seeking to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are able. This will need to include records of communication with the tenant, and details of the gas engineer’s attempts to gain access.
Common Questions from Landlords:
Gas Safe Register is aware that registered engineers may be contacted by landlords who are unsure of their legal responsibilities during the Coronavirus outbreak. As well as the guidance above, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued further guidance for landlords, local authorities and tenants, including answers to the following questions:
- What does the current situation mean for repairs to my property?
- What about my legal obligations to provide regular gas and electrical safety inspections?
- What about the risk of catching the virus?
More details can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876500/Consolidated_Landlord_and_Tenant_Guidance_COVID_and_the_PRS_v4.2.pdf
Updated 30 March 2020
Gas Safe Register recognises that many registered businesses will be thinking about how they manage financially over the coming weeks. The Register needs to reinforce that you must be registered if you intend to carry out gas work. If you would like to discuss the payment options available to you, including direct debit which can be used to spread the cost of registration to later in the year, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
However, the Register accepts that some businesses may consider discontinuing gas work for the time being and suspending their registration. Gas Safe Register has introduced a range of options for registered businesses based on whether they are choosing to work or not, and finding ways to reduce the immediate cost impact of the registration fees.
- If you don’t wish to continue working at this time, you do have the option to pause (suspend) your registration until you start working again
- If you are about to renew and decide to stop working for now, we will waive re-application fees when you re-register
- If you are about to renew because you want to keep working, we can look at a range of payment options with you that spread the cost away from this initial period.
During this initial period of restriction, Gas Safe Register will only conduct inspections into high-risk scenarios, as determined on a case-by-case basis with the HSE. All other inspections will be held and prioritised to be scheduled once the restrictions are lifted.
Gas Safe Register has paused all its routine Inspection Events for the time being, and is looking at suitable alternatives to attending an event in person. More details of these will be communicated as soon as they have been decided.
Where inspections must take place, inspectors are taking a range of precautions to protect the public and engineers that they come into contact with, as well as themselves. These are based on the guidance provided on Gov.uk, and include:
- Personal protective equipment, frequent handwashing with soap or use of alcohol-based hand sanitising gel.
- Inspectors visiting sites will confirm prior to entering the property whether anyone is anyone is self-isolating, or has been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID19 or has recently gone into self-isolation.
- If the answer is yes, then the inspection will be cancelled and recorded as an aborted visit and held for rescheduling at a later date.
- In addition, if the inspector visiting a site suspects anything that makes them feels uncomfortable with the situation, then they can retreat from site and follow the steps above.
In accordance with government guidance, any member of Gas Safe Register staff residing in a household where another person has symptoms, or is presenting symptoms themselves, will self-isolate for 14 days.
Regulation 36 of the GSIUR relating to Landlord Gas Safety Records does not specify that a signature is required from the recipient, only from the engineer undertaking the safety checks.
Gas Safe Register service
Due to the COVID-19 situation, Gas Safe Register is currently operating a limited service as it has closed its main office (25 March 2020 until further notice) to support efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.
Gas Safe Register continues to operate the HSE Gas Safety Advice line on 0800 300 363. Please be aware response times are currently longer and consumers may need to leave a voicemail message, so that they can call back.
Please check for updates regularly here, at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk and follow us on Twitter: @GasSafeRegister and @RGEMag