The Association of Gas Safety Managers (AGSM) has welcomed the recommendations of a report published by the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) in which it would like to the see the adoption of an MOT-style of servicing for gas appliances in social housing adopted, as proposed by the AGSM and the Gas Access Campaign.
The report ‘Carbon Monoxide: From Awareness to Action. Bringing behavioural insights to poisoning prevention efforts’ addresses the behavioural changes that need to be made to prevent carbon monoxide incidents. The report was compiled from oral and written evidence submitted by industry experts to the inquiry by cross-party Parliamentary Group.
Landlords have a statutory requirement to service gas appliances annually in all of their properties. A key factor preventing these services being carried out is their inability to access some of these properties. Gaining access can take up to four months as the landlords follow procedures including sending letters and engineers to the properties but are still unable to enter to carry out the service.
Claire Heyes, CEO of the AGSM, said:
“The last resort for landlords is to take legal action to gain access. The whole process is expensive and time consuming and landlords find they are starting the process well before the renewal date. To ensure compliance this can mean a ten-month servicing programme which will lead to an extra service being carried out every six years and creates an irregular service date.”
The recommendations are to follow the MOT-style of servicing, so that the Landlord’s Gas Safety Record date is preserved as long as servicing takes place within a six-week window before certification expires.
“Many of the manufacturers have agreed to this in principle and the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council is supporting the initiative. This will mean that landlords can plan their servicing programme to avoid busy winter periods. It will allow postcodes to be grouped together making the process far more efficient and save considerable sums of money for housing providers to re-invest in added value activities.”
Recommendation eight of the APPCOG report states:
“The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 should be amended to introduce MOT-style (13-month validity) appliance servicing rules, allowing the same service date to be used annually”.
Chris Bielby, president of the AGSM, added:
“We support APPCOG in its recommendations and will continue to work proactively with all stakeholders, on behalf of AGSM members, to ensure the changes are put in place.”
Mark Henderson, chief executive for Home Group, said:
“The legal system surrounding gas access is fundamentally flawed. It’s costly financially and it has great potential to be costly in terms of lives, which is why we’re campaigning for the law to be changed. Alongside being granted the same access rights as local authorities, and a consistent way of contacting and working with tenants to gain access, following an MOT-style of servicing would help housing providers make significant savings and reinvest their money more effectively.”