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.