Housing Executive NI – Advice on gas safety standards
Natural Gas is currently the most economical type of fuel to use, however badly installed, poorly serviced and non maintained gas appliances can be a serious safety threat in the home, and carbon monoxide poisoning, whilst relatively rare, can be fatal. Landlords of rented properties have a legal duty to ensure that a gas appliance is installed and maintained and that an annual safety check is carried out to the appliance and flue.
Gas Safe Registered Contractors
Contractors employed to carry out annual safety checks, repairs or replacement works on gas appliances in domestic premises must be Gas Safe Registered and competent in that area of gas work. The use of a Gas Safe Registered engineer ensures that all works carried out will be completed competently and safely. All Gas Safe Registered engineers have a legal duty to carry ID cards which show their unique licence number and explains the type of work they are qualified to perform. Upon completion of any safety check, contractors are required to provide a Landlord/Homeowner Gas Safety Report (CP12) which must be retained for at least 2 years as a record of this check. Tenants must also be provided with a copy. Contactors must inform Landlords/Homeowners and their tenants if any appliance is found to be unsafe and agreement will be sought to disconnect the appliance. You must not use any gas appliance or fittings you know or suspect to be unsafe.
Badly installed or poorly maintained gas appliances can produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO) which can leak into your home. This gas is odourless, tasteless and cannot be seen but it can cause serious long term health problems and can be fatal. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections and tiredness. The six main symptoms to look out for are:
- Loss of consciousness
Where a new or replacement combustion appliance, not solely for cooking purposes, is installed in a dwelling, a carbon monoxide detector/alarm shall be provided in the room where the appliance is located. However, if the combustion appliance is installed in a room or space not normally used e.g. a boiler room/cupboard, the detector/alarm shall be located just outside the room or space. This should allow the alarm to be heard more easily. It is important that these detectors should not be regarded as a replacement for regular maintenance and safety checks by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. CO detectors must comply with British Standard EN 50291 and carry a British or European approval mark, such as a Kite mark (CE). CO alarms should be installed and maintained in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you suspect there is a gas or carbon monoxide leak you should immediately do the following:
- Shut off the gas appliance
- Shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve (if you know where it is)
- Open all the doors and windows
- Call the NI Gas Emergency number on 0800 002 001
- General Product Safety Regulations 2005
- Gas Safety (Installation & Use) (NI) Regulations 2004
- Gas Cooking Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1989
- NI Building Regulations
- Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978