The onset of autumn has brought about the usual significant increase in workload at HETAS and we have decided to invest in the future to support our ongoing success and growth. Most of the investment is longer term and over 3 to 5 years. This will involve new IT infrastructure and a longer term investment in software and database systems to allow us to work more efficiently and offer a better service to our registrants and stakeholders. A major project is a new on-line work notification system.
In August there were 3 businesses removed from the HETAS register for undertaking dangerous or unsatisfactory work. A further 17 were suspended for a number of reasons including poor work where further investigations were needed and for failing to undertake remedial works after complaints or routine inspections. Some suspensions will have been for more routine matters like not providing evidence of renewing their insurance; or not refreshing training in time. Most of the suspended registrants resolve these issues and are reinstated although a few will inevitably be removed.
We have been asked to clarify who can sign off installation work and the law (Regulation & Statutory Instruments) is quite clear and says that there are two choices for signing off controlled services under Building Regulations. One is by employing a registrant of a competent persons self- certification scheme (HETAS is the only specialist solid fuel, wood and biomass CPS); or to apply for a Building Notice via the Local Authority Building Control Dep’t, where a Building Control Officer (BCO) can sign off the work. Sitting within the Building notice structure is a possibility for some projects like new build housing sites for a licenced “Approved Inspector” e.g. NHBC has some Approved Inspectors who are licenced through legislation. But this is a special arrangement that only licensed approved inspectors can adopt. There are no other organisations that are not BCO’s or CPS schemes who can sign off work under Building Regulations. Any changes to these arrangements would require a change in the law and none is planned.
The vast majority of notifications of installation of solid fuel appliances through CP schemes are through HETAS and its registrants (Government figures say 99%). This says a great deal about the quality and professionalism of our registrant installers and about the support HETAS gives to them.
Benefits of HETAS registration continue to set us apart e.g. the Installer helpline that has full time specialist staff answering tens of thousands of safety and technical queries from our registrants; the regular Technical Bulletins; e-newsletters, representation on the major standards and regulatory committees; the HETAS Technical Committee influencing installation practices, manufacturing standards and all technical/safety aspects of our industry; the ethical debt recovery service has recovered over £100,000 for registrants; specialist insurance services to ensure each business gets high quality insurance advice and policies; access to Trading Standards at a senior level where we report and follow up rogue installers and abuse of the logo; up to date and effective training opportunities; and the list goes on. HETAS is dedicated to safety and standards and also to supporting professional installers. We are always pleased to receive constructive feedback.
We wish you a prosperous and busy heating season from all at HETAS.
Chimney Fire Safety Week 2017
We are now less than a month away from Chimney Fire Safety Week 2017. Once again, HETAS will be supporting the Fire Kills campaign which works with industry and Fire and Rescue Services to promote this positive safety message to consumers. How will you be supporting the campaign?
In 2016 HETAS launched a campaign logo that is available for everyone to use during Chimney Fire Safety Week 2017. The team has developed a campaign pack that can be downloaded via the HETAS Technical Area. We will also be including statistics on chimney fires by county, so you can share chimney fire statistics in your area on your website or through your social media channels. We hope to have the information for April 2016 to March 2017 available from the Home Office before the campaign starts.
In England, Wales and Scotland the overall trend since 2012/13 has been positive in recent years, with chimney fires on the decrease. The figures below demonstrate this trend. Figures run from April to March and are yet to be released for 2016/17. HETAS will make these available as soon as they are published by the respective Fire and Rescue Services.
Regional statistics can be downloaded in the HETAS Technical Area and will enable you share chimney fire statistics for your area.
Make sure you are following HETAS across our social media channels too!
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn
Please login to the HETAS Technical Area in advance of the campaign which starts on the 4th September and do what you can to promote Chimney Fire Safety Week. Let us know if you are planning an event and share the details with us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Independent Retailer Month 2017
HETAS is once again pleased to be supporting Independent Retailer Month. Independent Retailer Month is a campaign that runs annually throughout July to highlight the important role smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve, the local economy they contribute to, and in the retail sector as a whole.
HETAS is proud to champion independent retailers who can offer consumers a personal and individual service along with expert guidance. We rely on our Approved Retailers to advise and educate end users about the importance of buying HETAS Approved appliances, getting them installed by Registered Installers and maintained by an Approved Chimney Sweep. Retailers play an important role in the consumer journey. Those who have registered on the HETAS Approved Retailer scheme can help ensure more consumers follow the right steps when buying a stove or boiler, which not only benefits the consumer but also the industry and indeed, the environment.
According to the campaigner behind Independent Retailer Month, the results of research about the value of £1 spent locally were compelling, sufficient to convince most people that when they shop locally they are genuinely having a positive impact on their community! For every £1 spent locally around 50p – 70p of that money recirculates back into the local economy. For the same £1 spent out of town or online only 5p trickles back to the local community. When people appreciate the impact that their choice of where to spend can have we believe that more people will make more effort to spend more with local independent businesses.
What will you be doing to promote yourself this Independent Retailer Month? Let the HETAS team know on email@example.com.
You can find your local HETAS Approved Retailer at www.hetas.co.uk/find-retailer.
Interested in joining the HETAS Approved Retailer scheme? Speak to the team on 01684 278170, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to read more.
A Busy Heating Season
As we head towards the end of the heating season, we are pleased to see HETAS installers remaining busy with installation work, with searches on the HETAS website also remaining high.
Despite a challenging year with lots of uncertainty in the UK, it is pleasing to see HETAS installers remaining busy during the heating season. HETAS installers are responsible for 99% of solid fuel/biomass installations carried out by competent persons in England & Wales.
More than half of the notifications made to HETAS are online notifications. If you would like to notify online and want help, please contact our team on 01684 278170 or email email@example.com and we can guide you through the process.
Complaints about HETAS registered installers have decreased in comparison to previous years. We continue to take complaint issues seriously and want to hear from consumers who have issues with their installations so we can support all concerned towards a safe and compliant installation. Alongside this, some of you have been reporting non-compliance and concerns through the HETAS whistleblowing process. If you have concerns about an installation we really want to hear from you and the process can be completed anonymously. Contact the team on 01684 278170. Take a look at our article on tackling rogues and the work HETAS is doing.
January was another busy month on the HETAS website with an increase in site traffic compared to the same time in 2015. Many of the searches were for installers and there was also a big increase in searches for retailers in January. We had record visits to the website during November, with nearly 60,000 visits. Over 60% of visitors are new to the website, usually searching for installers, sweeps, retailers, appliances, fuels and advice from HETAS.
Our range of advice leaflets can be ordered from the HETAS Shop, with a number of the advice leaflets also available free of charge.
Please ensure you keep your contact details up to date with us so consumers can contact you via the HETAS website. Check your details on the HETAS website at www.hetas.co.uk/find-installer, click on the ‘Check Business’ and enter your 4 digit business registration number. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to update your contact details with us.
HETAS Guide 2017 is coming
The 2017 edition of the HETAS Guide will be launched at Ecobuild at the start of March. Ecobuild is the UK’s largest and number one event for specifiers across the built environment and takes place at ExCeL, London from 7th March.
Speaking about the new Guide, Bruce Allen says “We are committed to achieving industry best practice for our registrants, and most importantly, our customers. We receive lots of positive feedback about the benefits of using the Guide and will continue to improve the Guide and the online search facility.”
“The new format of the Guide is more accessible allowing all users information in a clear to understand way.”
In addition to the new Guide, the HETAS interactive search facility has been enhanced. This search also includes appliances that have been verified on the new Ecodesign Ready Scheme. Take a look at the upgraded search facility at www.hetas.co.uk/find-appliance.
Copies of the HETAS Guide 2017 will be sent out to our registrants over the coming weeks, with additional copies available via the HETAS Shop from March.
Find out more about HETAS, MCS and SIA product schemes at www.hetas.co.uk/professionals/manufacturers.