New Year Tips

New Year Tips from HETAS Insurance

The HETAS Insurance team are kicking off the New Year with some new year tips for you and your business. In 2018 as well as protecting your business and your employees with public liability or employers’ liability cover, there are also some simple steps you can take to help avoid anyone making a claim against you.

Click here to find out more about HETAS Insurance Services.

Tradesmen, liability cover and dealing with complaints

New Year Tips from HETAS Insurance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regulatory
HETAS Ltd is an introducer appointed representative of Jelf Insurance Brokers Limited. HETAS Insurance Services, Jelf and Jelf Clarke Roxburgh are trading names of Jelf Insurance Brokers Ltd (Reg No. 0837227), which is part of Jelf Group plc (Reg No. 2975376) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Registered address: Hillside Court, Bowling Hill, Chipping Sodbury, Bristol BS37 6JX (Registered in England and Wales). Not all products and services offered are regulated by the FCA.

Get Refreshed

Get RefreshedRefresher Training

New Year training opportunities and the ideal time to get refreshed. Heating combustion installers across industry are required to refresh their training, demonstrating competence as required by the government every 5 years. HETAS continues to facilitate this requirement through their network of HETAS accredited training centres, located strategically throughout the UK and Ireland.

DCLG described the new CPS regulations in 2013 as aiming to improve “consistency and transparency, enhancing quality assurance and improving the level of compliance with the Building Regulations.”

The leading provider for solid fuel and biomass training, HETAS continues to work closely across the wider industry developing and updating appropriate training, offering guidance at government level so as to ensure standards of education in the sector meet and exceed National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Minimum Technical Competence (MTC). As a HETAS registered installer you will have received regular Technical Bulletins, Technical Notes and monthly e-newsletters providing details on some of the changes since your initial training which will assist in successful completion of your training.

The option to refresh your training up to six months early is available without losing your registration expiry date. This has been adopted by HETAS in the knowledge that at times it may be difficult to undertake training within a specific time frame.

Get Refreshed

If you are aware that your refresher training is due soon or have been contacted by one of the registration team, don’t delay, contact your preferred or nearest HETAS accredited training centre for details on dates and availability by accessing https://www.hetas.co.uk/professionals/training-courses/ or call one of the team on 01684 278195.

HETAS has a network of Approved Training Centres. Find your local centre at www.hetas.co.uk/professionals/training-centres.

 

Tackling Rogues

Tackling Rogues 2018Tackling Rogues 2018

As an organisation our purpose is to promote the safe and effective use of solid fuels, biomass and related technologies. We want to promote the use of professional installers and root out rogue tradesmen for our industry and we really want to hear from about bad installations that you come across. We have a number of routes to reporting this.

HETAS Complaints Process

HETAS is concerned with the safety, technical standard and compliance to Building Regulations of the work carried out by you, our registrants. As installers you are required to undertake specific training and be routinely monitored to be registered with HETAS. This helps us monitor that you are carrying out safe and compliant installations.

We do however understand that complaints can arise from time to time. Where HETAS investigate a complaint, we are aiming to establish whether the registrant is responsible for leaving a safety or Building Regulations defect and if so, to get that rectified by the registrant concerned.

Consumers are able to make complaints to HETAS within a two year time frame from the original installation. However, there are instances where HETAS can extend this two year policy should there be justifiable reasons to do so.

The HETAS Technical Area has supporting documents that can be used by our registrants to make the handling of complaints, checklists and contract examples. It is a requirement of HETAS registration that business have in place systems to ensure where a complaint is received there is a process to receive, record and deal with the complaint. See Conditions of Registration 1.8. Registered Business must ensure they keep records of complaints received for at least six years.

Whistleblowing

Ultimately HETAS wants to hear from customers where there are instances of non-compliance so we can fully investigate and support them in having an installation rectified or brought up to the expected standard. There are instances where this might not be possible and our whistleblowing policy might be more suitable. Running for a number of years, this process has enabled HETAS to investigate issues with both registrants and where appropriate non-registrants who aren’t meeting the high standards expected in our industry. The whistleblowing process is anonymous, open to registered installers, consumers and non-registered installers to report and has proven successful in gathering information for HETAS to tackle non-compliance. Get in touch with the team on 01684 278170 or via our website at info@HETAS.co.uk if you want to discuss this process in more detail.

Consumer Rights Act 2015

The Consumer Rights Act has minimum standards that apply to most contracts between a business and customer. Customers generally have up to 6 years from provision of a product or service in which to make a claim. HETAS with support from Gloucestershire Trading Standards (via our Primary Authority partnership) provided guidance in Technical Bulletin #6 for our registrants on customer contracts and The Consumer Rights Act. Visit the HETAS Technical Area to download the guidance. Further guidance is available in the Technical Area from HETAS and Which Trusted Traders.

Enforcement

Taking enforcement action applies to registrants who do not meet the standards required for registration with HETAS. A number of businesses have been suspended and removed from the registration scheme last year and we always want to know about installers who aren’t complying with standards.

Misleading Claims

HETAS always wants to hear about businesses who falsely claim to be HETAS registered or appear to be misusing the HETAS brand. As a Primary Authority HETAS works in partnership with Gloucestershire Trading Standards and has successfully supported Trading Standards nationally in enforcement through the courts. Consumer protection regulations specifically ban businesses from displaying any quality mark or equivalent they are not accredited for, or from giving deceptive information. Please get in touch with our team with any concerns you might have.

There are a number of ways you can contact the team:

Tel: 01684 278170

Email: info@hetas.co.uk

HETAS Go Boating

HETAS Go BoatingHETAS Go Boating

HETAS attains Chairmanship of Recreational Craft Committee

The team pleased to announce that they have attained the Chairmanship position within the BSI mirror committee RHE/28, responsible for the development of technical standards and improvements in safety measures for solid fuel appliance installations on recreational craft.

With over 30,000 licensed boats on the inland waterways, a wide number are using renewable fuel sources to heat habitable accommodation. HETAS has seen a rise in enquiries received regarding the effective design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of stoves on boats. HETAS is continually striving to improve installation standards within the solid fuel industry. We offer appropriate support to future industry initiatives and activities amongst installers, manufacturers and other appropriate bodies, as well as aiding to raise consumer awareness on safety and efficient operation of appliances.

To strengthen links within the craft sector, HETAS is looking to form new relationships to promote solid fuel safety on boats, working with The Boat Safety Scheme to increase awareness on appropriate practices. The Boat Safety Scheme is a public safety initiative to help minimise the risk of boat fires, explosion and pollution amongst domestic and commercial waterway users.

The principal standard managed by the RHE sub-committee is BS 8511, whose scope covers the code of practice for the installation of solid fuel and cooking equipment for fitting in small craft from 2.5m to 24m in length, likely to cover installations in narrow boats, wide-beam, converted barges and static houseboats. The standard was last confirmed in 2015, and gives an approach for installers to follow for appliance selection, design consideration installation requirements, inspection and testing, as well as preparing instructions for the end user of the appliance.

RHE/28 Sub Committee

RHE/28 sub-committee for small craft will also have the added benefit of new representation from Stephen Shepherd at HETAS. Stephen has a wealth of experience within the boating sector as a previous BSS assessor, also providing appropriate safety training to boat safety assessors through the local college. This included improved practical knowledge on boat systems such as fuel, electric and gas.

HETAS will be looking to support the sector in meeting its future objectives on increased awareness, through the formulation of additional technical guidance within HETAS training, helpline support, product approval and marketing activities.

For more information contact info@hetas.co.uk or call 01684 278170.

SEO Part 3 – Good Website Design

Good Website DesignSEO Part 3 Good Website Design

Clear Navigation

Try and predict the information your customers will immediately want to see and make sure this is visible when they first visit your site. This information might include:

  • The services you provide,
  • Your business name and location
  • Your contact details and/or a contact form
  • An easy-to-use site menu

Flashy graphics and pop-ups may seem attention grabbing, but they can easily confuse and frustrate your visitors. Similarly, you should only decide to add a fashionable “carousel” or image slider if you can still fit the most important information at the top of your homepage where it is easy to find. If your carousel is able to include text and links to useful pages of your site it can be a useful tool to guide people to where they want to go.

Site Speed

Slower websites will be crawled slower by search engines, which means that any changes you make to your site will take longer to appear in search results.

Additionally, a slower website means your visitors need to wait longer for the information they are looking for, especially if they are using a poor internet connection. There will also be a higher chance that they will leave your site if it is not a pleasant experience to navigate.

Mobile Compatibillity

Google announced at some point in 2018 they will start to index search results giving preference to “mobile first” websites, which are responsive to mobile devices like phones and tablets. These websites will have a better chance at being listed before similar sites which do not react to different screen sizes.

There are plenty of other ways to improve your site’s design; you can get a report of how your website is successful and how it is failing by using tools such as http://nibbler.silktide.com/en_US which you can send to your web developer.

Here are the links to our previous SEO Guides:

Part 1 | Part 2

Industry News

Around the Industry

We know you will all be busy with the heating season in full swing so here is our regular roundup of everything going on around the industry.

Hunter Stoves joining Woodland Trust

As part of their ongoing commitment to preserving the natural environment, Hunter Stoves has announced that they have joined the Woodland Trust, the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity, as a Rowan member for 2017/18.

The Woodland Trust work tirelessly to protect, restore and create woodland across the UK. Their vision is clear – a UK rich in native woods and trees, for people and wildlife. Together with the help of over 500,000 members, they campaign to save threatened woodland, fight to breathe new life into ancient woods, and aim to enrich local landscapes by planting thousands of hectares of new woodland.

It’s great to see organisations like Hunter Stoves demonstrating their commitment to our natural environment. Read the full article on the hunter Stoves website.

On 6 November 2017, on the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest, the new Charter for Trees, Woods and People was launched by The Woodland Trust at Lincoln Castle – home to one of the two remaining 1217 Charters of the Forest. It now rests in the Lincolnshire Archives.

During 2017 The Woodland Trust reached out to all sections of UK society to define this new charter, and to build a people-powered movement for trees. More than 70 organisations and 300 local community groups answered the call and helped to collect over 60,000 tree stories from people across the UK, demonstrating the important role that trees play in their lives. These stories were read and shared, and helped to define the 10 Principles of the Tree Charter, ensuring that it stands for every tree and every person in the UK.

You can sign the charter by clicking here.

BEIS SAP Survey

BEIS has published a response to their consultation on proposed changes to Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). You can view the response in the following link.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/660478/Government_Response_-_Changes_to_SAP_FINAL-v2.pdf?dm_i=1UMB,5AE2L,NMDJ7K,KEBX7,1

Ready to Burn Update

The Ready to Burn initiative is gathering momentum and putting Woodsure and its members at the front end in driving woodfuel standards and contributing to improved air quality. The number of suppliers signing up is increasing and the scheme has even received press coverage in the United States, courtesy of Biomass Magazine and across Europe.

Following the recent announcement from the Mayor of London’s Office the team at Woodsure was keen to meet with the air quality team to discuss how the Ready to Burn initiative could be part of the solution. Discussions are ongoing at this stage and we are finding ways that we can work with them to promote quality firewood to those legally burning wood in London.

Following communications from Defra, Woodsure is pleased to see Local Authorities starting to promote the importance of fuel quality. The team has received calls from consumers on the Isle of Wight looking for Ready to Burn suppliers following a mailshot by the council. Havant Council and Dudley Environmental Health have also been promoting the initiative. We continue to work with Defra to engage a variety of stakeholders to promote Ready to Burn.

Our design team has been busy working on Point of Sale materials to help further promote the Ready to Burn initiative; and Defra will be contacting major retailers to encourage them to sell Ready to Burn wood rather than wet logs.

Some of you have enquired about use of the Defra logo and the Ministers video message about Ready to Burn fuel. We have permission for you to link to the video but not to host it on your sites. https://www.readytoburn.org.

Finally, here is a sample of the recent press coverage relating to Ready to Burn, please feel free to share these articles on your websites and social media channels. Remember to tag Woodsure in your posts and use the hashtag #ReadytoBurn.

Biomass Magazine (USA)

Air Quality News

Fireplace Specialist

Heating & Plumbing Monthly

Business Lancashire  – thanks to Logs Direct for this article.

If you have an article feature in press or online, let us know on hello@woodsure.co.uk.

For information on becoming a Ready to Burn supplier click here.

Renewable Heat Incentive Update

In March 2016, the Government published a consultation on changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. After taking account of the feedback it received, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published its consultation response on 14 December 2016. You can read the consultation response, The Renewable Heat Incentive: A Reformed Scheme in full on the BEIS website. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the changes to the scheme Regulations that were announced in the consultation response are planned to be introduced in two stages.

The first stage of proposed changes to the Domestic Scheme came into effect on 20 September 2017.

These changes include: tariff uplifts for air source heat pumps (ASHP), ground source heat pumps (GSHP), and biomass plants; and the introduction of annual heat demand limits for ASHPs, GSHPs, and biomass plants. The amendments will also extend the scheme’s budget management mechanisms until July 2018.

Subject to Parliamentary approval, the second stage of regulation amendments are planned to follow later in 2017/2018 – these will extend the RHI’s budget management mechanism until the end of 2020/21 as well as introduce the rest of the RHI reform package that was announced in December 2016.

You can view a handy summary of the changes on the Ofgem website.

Win a Christmas Hamper

Schiedel and Specflue are giving installers the opportunity to win a fantastic Christmas hamper that will certainly get the festive season started. To be in with a chance of winning head over to the Schiedel and Specflue Facebook pages and find the ‘Christmas Hamper’ promotion!

T Panel for the future

T Panel for the future

Department for Education logoMike Harvey, HETAS Training & Technical Manager, has been appointed on to the Building Services T-Level Panel; one of the first three new T-Levels announced recently by the Education Secretary, Justine Greening.

T level panel’s role is to co-create technical education programmes with the Department for Education. Each panel will bring together the expertise of industry professionals and employers to provide the outline ‘core’ content of the knowledge, skills and behaviours and ‘specialist’ content, in sufficient detail, for awarding organisations to develop the full qualification content.

First announced in 2016 and backed by £500 million every year in additional funding, the qualifications are seen as a key milestone in transforming technical education in the UK and they extend the offer for young people to study a technical qualification at Level 3 – equivalent to A-Levels.

T level qualifications will provide students with the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to get skilled jobs. It is intended that all T level programmes will also include a substantial, high quality work placement‎ so that students can apply their learning in a real workplace environment. The first of the new technical qualifications will be taught from 2020, with the full set of T-Levels introduced by 2022.

Training and ongoing development are key priorities for HETAS. The current suite of HETAS training courses meet and exceed the Minimum Technical Competence standards for our industry. In order to be registered with a competent person scheme, installers need to demonstrate that they meet the relevant minimum technical competence requirements. HETAS is keen to see these Minimum Technical Competence standards raised and will continue to work on behalf of our registrants to raise standards in training and professional competence.

To find out more about the range of HETAS training courses please click here.

Bruce’s Newsletter Welcome December 2017

Bruce’s Newsletter Welcome December 2017

As we move closer to the Christmas break everyone at HETAS passes on our very best wishes to you and yours. We hope you have a peaceful and happy break.

Its always nice to reflect back on the year as it comes to a close. This year HETAS staff have had a number of charity fund raising events and HETAS tops up the donations to national and local charities wherever we can. This year we have given donations to Children in Need, St Richards HospiceMacmillan Cancer Support and Save The Children.

This winter is the busiest we have experienced since the industry boom leading up to 2014/15 and we hope this means that the reduction in activity since the boom is levelling out and returning to normal levels. Certainly, the number of jobs being notified to HETAS suggests that the stove market in particular has picked up lately despite press attention on air quality and wood-burning.

HETAS and Woodsure have been working with Defra on the air quality issues and we can report that there is no plan to ban stoves or any of those drastic measures suggested by some news reporters. The move is definitely towards better modern clean burning appliances and dry wood fuels like good quality logs and wood briquetted “fire logs”. We are in close contact with scientists at Leeds and Manchester Universities where extensive testing is going on.

Early reports show that dryer wood reduces particulate emissions and Woodsure has taken on board the scientific evidence in setting the maximum moisture content for logs at 20% wet basis. The average kiln dried wood that is sampled from suppliers is 12.8% and for seasoned wood it is around 18%. It is also worth knowing that stoves are designed and tested on wood that is 16% + or – 4% and wood log fuel burns at its best in these parameters.

We are in the process of writing an Air Quality issue of our regular technical bulletin. It will contain the information you need when talking to your customers about appliance and fuels. The good news is that Defra supports the Woodsure Ready to Burn scheme and the drive to advise customers to buy new clean burn appliances, replacing open fires and old stoves where possible.

Click here to view our latest news.

Seasons Greetings

Season’s Greetings

Seasons GreetingsIt’s a little over three weeks until Christmas! We want to make sure your business needs are covered over the festive period before we close the office for our annual Christmas break.

The HETAS office will be closing at midday on Friday 22nd December and will be open for business as usual on Tuesday 2nd January 2018. We will endeavour to post out orders made via HETAS to arrive with you ahead of Christmas.

Clothing Orders

If you’d like to place a clothing order to arrive for Christmas, our clothing supplier has advised that orders will need to be placed by the 5th December. We will of course do our very best to complete as many orders as possible for everyone.

The Royal Mail website has guidance on last recommended posting dates, but to be safe get your orders in early via the HETAS Shop.

The HETAS team is on hand over the coming weeks to help out with all your enquiries, get in touch on 01684 278170 or email hello@hetas.co.uk.

The whole team at HETAS would like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Bruce’s Newsletter Welcome November 2017

Bruce’s Newsletter Welcome November 2017

As with last year there will be newspaper stories about smoke and in particular about emissions from wood burning across the UK, with a particular focus on London. Some customers may be nervous about these issues but this is an innovative industry and we have good reason to say that we are part of the air quality solution not the problem.

The next HETAS Technical Bulletin will be shared between HETAS and Woodsure and will give more in-depth information about the technical aspects of reducing particulate emissions through the right choice of appliances and fuel. We already know that using the right “Ready to Burn” dry fuel in great clean burning appliances can reduce particulate emissions by 80% over the emissions from burning wet wood in old open fires and stoves. The scientists working at Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle Universities have been studying emissions from wood and their data  has helped Woodsure in making a decision that logs for domestic fuel must have a moisture content no greater than 20% (wet basis) for the Ready to Burn firewood scheme. High quality wood pellets and clean wood briquettes have moisture contents of 8% to 12% and the European standard for stove manufacturer requires appliance testing at 16% plus or minus 4% (so 12% to 20%). The science confirms these moisture contents as clean and efficient as well as being effective in reducing particulate emissions. There is interesting work asking if logs can be too dry for effective, efficient and clean combustion and we hope to have the results ready for the technical document that we are writing.

Keep a close eye on your inbox for the next HETAS Technical Bulletin or give the team a call to discuss further.

In this edition we also update you on a new guidance document for solid fuel fired catering equipment, the approaching deadline date for the Energy Labelling Directive for roomheater stoves and much more. You can access this newsletter along with all our archives in the HETAS Technical Area.