A male gas engineer bending over a gas hob, indicating fixing a fault

What you need to know when you use a sub-contractor

A sub-contractor is anyone you get in to work for you who is not your employee. Using sub-contractors for maintenance, repairs, installation and other work may be routine in your business: however, there are several points to consider before you engage them to carry out gas work on behalf of your business.

At a glance
• You must ensure that all sub-contractors who undertake gas work are suitably competent and registered
• Sub-contractors must use their own registration details on customer-facing documentation
• Your business can be held responsible for rectification of gas safety defects attributable to the sub-contractors that you use
• In cases of dispute where the main contractor and the sub-contractor are both Gas Safe registered, both businesses may be subject to defect resolution and/or sanctions, as appropriate
• Responsibility for work that is notifiable under Building Regulations should be agreed at the outset as part of the contract agreement. Where this is not agreed, the responsibility will be held with the main contractor if it is Gas Safe registered.

The law
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, all gas engineering businesses – including self-employed gas engineers – must be Gas Safe registered, whether they carry out such work as their main or part-time activity. In addition, anyone who undertakes work on a gas fitting must be competent to do so.

The duty to ensure that gas engineers are competent extends to other employers and self-employed persons with control over the work concerned, ie, a main contractor, and those requiring work to be done in a workplace under their control.

Your business is required to make reasonable efforts to obtain evidence that any person you intend to perform gas installation work on your behalf is suitably competent and Gas Safe registered. This may mean that the sub-contract engineer is subject to the same or equivalent quality management process that your business has in place for directly employed engineers.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 applies to ALL work activities. It requires employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees, as well as any contractors working on their behalf. Employers with more than five employees must also have a written, up-to-date health and safety policy.

Gas Safe registration policy
Registered businesses are responsible for all gas work carried out by their employees in the name of the business, whether they are employed directly or indirectly, ie, sub-contracted. They must be appropriately qualified and Gas Safe registered.

Registered businesses must ensure that the engineers under their control, whether employed directly or indirectly, have the legal right to work in the UK, Isle of Man, Guernsey or Jersey, and are certified as competent in the appropriate work categories for the gas work they carry out.

Registered businesses/engineers carrying out gas work as a sub-contractor to another registered business must use their own registration details on any customer-facing documentation. The registration details of the main contractor under whose name the work is done must also be shown on supporting documentation.

For example, where a registered business carries out work on behalf of another registered business (contractor) on a sub-contracting basis and is not listed as an engineer against the contractor’s registration, then all documentation issued on behalf of the contractor business must also include as a minimum the registration numbers of both the contractor and sub-contracting businesses as well as the licence number of the engineer who carried out the work.

By registering with Gas Safe, your business is agreeing to comply with the Rules of Registration and all other supporting policies and guidance. Failure to comply with the rules may result in sanctions being applied to the registration, in accordance with the rules and/or policy.

You can find more information about Gas Safe Register’s policies here.

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