Blog | Published on 12th Jun 2017

Full Service transparency

In 2016, the consumer organisation Which? carried out an investigation into the standard of gas boiler servicing being provided to consumers in the UK.

Ten providers were targeted, a mixture of large businesses and independents, with the findings including that none fully followed the boiler manufacturers’ servicing instructions, and, worryingly, seven providers failed to carry out the “minimum legal checks”. Whilst there has been some questions raised of how Which? approached this exercise, and how they subsequently engaged with the providers targeted, this clearly painted our industry in a bad light, particularly with the UK consumer.

Since then, HHIC have been considering what can be done to bring greater transparency, quality and consistency to gas boiler servicing in the UK.

One consideration is a minimum “boiler servicing guide”, incorporating a “code of conduct” and elaborating on the basic technical recommendations made by Which? when producing their suggested boiler servicing checklist (consumer-oriented).

As most boilers have common component parts, a guide which outlines agreed industry standards, founded on technical competence, legislative compliance and consumer protection seems sensible?

It would, of course, need to focus on addressing the primary concerns raised by the Which? investigation, i.e. compliance with legal requirements (e.g. GSIUR) and ensuring essential appliance checks, tests and servicing tasks are correctly carried out, and in a safe manner.

Few car owners would expect their vehicle to perform reliably for years without ever checking levels of oil and water or servicing the vehicle. How many of us make sure our cars are running in tip top condition before the annual holiday? That reassurance goes a long way. And we accept the annual service charge and costs involved with care and maintenance.

The difference between the car industry and ours is that there are minimum standards set and customers know about them. They expect the oil to be changed and tyre pressure checked, but how many homeowners expect you to carry out flue gas analysis?

I believe that if we were to have a minimum service standard and it was communicated properly with homeowners then this would go some way to improving industry standards and safety.

I welcome your views on this. You can email me stewart@hhic.org.uk