Getting it right first time
HETAS has a message for registered installers: get it right first time. Every job you do right is a valuable advert for you and protects the reputation of our industry. Registration with HETAS enables you to supplement your training with all our Technical Bulletins, monthly newsletters and free access to the specialist technical helpline. Despite that we still get complaints about installers from their customers, and on investigation we still find defects that need correcting.
Every poor job damages the credibility of the installer and the solid fuel industry. If there are regular faults with new installations, that just undermines everyone’s efforts to explain the facts about woodburning emissions and to promote the advantages of new highly-efficient stoves and high quality fuel.
We understand that many of you reading this always ensure your work is completely finished and to a high standard, and may not see the scale of the problem. However, we do want you to be aware of HETAS’s work to target those installers who do not meet the high standards achieved by the rest of you.
It is frustrating that most of the faults reported to HETAS could easily have been avoided by applying the clear guidance available. CO alarms should always be fixed in position, on the right part of the ceiling or the wall. Notice plates should be completed and fixed in place as required by the regulations. Explain to your customers that this is mandatory and is for their safety.
HETAS has a team of experienced inspectors around the country assessing new applicants and doing regular surveillance of our existing registered installers and servicing technicians. . Inspections are a great opportunity for an installer to engage with HETAS and our inspectors. Check out some of our handy tips to be ready for your next inspection.
Besides our regular inspections we have other channels to bring suspect work to our attention. The HETAS whistleblowing process has become an effective tool in enabling installers, sweeps and our own employees to identify causes for concern that we may want to investigate further. Our complaints process, if it is proven that the installer hasn’t complied with regulations, always leads to a review of their registration.
Consequences of defects
When conducting a review of an existing installer’s registration, the primary concern for HETAS has to be safety. Besides defects found on an inspection, other factors we may consider, include:
- Length of registration with HETAS
- Number of installers registered under the umbrella of the business
- Quantity and type of installations notified
- Frequency of previous inspection(s)
- Training record
- Number of complaints received whether these have been adequately resolved.
When it comes to enforcement against our registered installers, we have to make judgements based on safety and raising standards. Is it better for HETAS to continue working with an installer, to address defects, rather than leave them unregulated outside the monitoring of the Competent Person Scheme regime? Where installers simply choose not to co-operate and show no evidence of being able to reach the standards the industry works to achieve, the decision to remove their registration is more straightforward.
Typically a review based on the factors above will lead to some form of enforcement such as:
- Special conditions applied to registration
- A probationary period of closer monitoring
- Additional inspections chargeable to the business
- Increased frequency of routine inspections
- Retraining of some or all staff
- Suspension or removal from the scheme
Many businesses do respond positively to enforcement action and show they can meet the required standards. HETAS does conduct itself fairly and ultimately installers who feel they have been wrongly removed from the scheme do have the right to appeal that decision. However none of that would be necessary if standards were applied correctly from the start.
Right First Time
Please take the opportunity to check every installation carefully and to make sure you leave it right first time. Think how great it will be that:
- Your work is fully compliant
- Your customers are safe
- No defects will be found on a HETAS inspection
- No orders for additional inspections – avoiding potential fees.
The HETAS whistleblowing helpline is available for anyone who has concerns over levels of workmanship. Get in touch with the team on 01684 278170.
Beyond ensuring HETAS Registered Installers get things right, we understand the importance of ridding our industry of rogue installers. Click here to read about how HETAS has been working with Trading Standards to bring about further enforcement against non-registrants.