Blog | Published on 1st Sep 2017

Building Regs compliance

By Stewart Clements, Director, HHIC

In late 2015, HHIC and representatives from across the industry joined the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) at the House of Lords, Westminster to address the important issue of Building Regulations enforcement. The plumbing and heating industry is one of the most regulated areas of construction, non-compliance impacts the business of those who do comply and it puts lives at risk.

The emphasis being that the purpose of the meeting was to improve current standards rather than to replace those already existing- a mantra of mine- and to also establish a range of key priorities to bring about change in this area to benefit bona fide plumbing and heating installers.

As this forum progresses it has become more and more apparent just how ‘easy’ it is to comply with the regulations- notification when a heat producing appliance (boiler, fire etc) is installed in a property.

Registered engineers can notify through Gas Safe Register, both online and over the phone (4% still notify over the phone- I was surprised at that). Over 30% of installations are notified via a third party website; namely boiler manufacturer’s apps or systems.

Not only is notification accessible, completing the Benchmark Checklist is a means of meeting the commissioning requirements within Part L of the Building Regulations and participating in Benchmark will be one of the most straightforward ways to make sure you comply. So you see, compliance is easier than not, when you think about it.

Benchmark is a nationally recognised scheme that places the responsibilities on both manufacturers and installers to ensure best practice in installation, commissioning and servicing of domestic heating and hot water products in line with Building Regulations in England and Wales, and was developed to drive up standards in the industry. It also gives homeowners written evidence and peace of mind that their installation has been carried out to a high standard by an installer who is qualified and committed to providing a service in line with the Benchmark Code of Practise.

To help make completing the checklist even easier, HHIC are currently investigating ways by which installers would be able to complete the checklist at the same time as registering the installation with Gas Safe. Watch this space for updates….and remember…..

…..If you do not comply with Building Regulations the local authority may prosecute you in the Magistrates' Court where an unlimited fine may be imposed (sections 35 and 35A of the Building Act 1984). This is possible up to two years after the completion of the work.

If you have any feedback or ideas about this area of work please feel free to get in touch; stewart@hhic.org.uk