Friday, 16 December 2016

Do you know whether your plumbing and heating complies with Building Regulations?

Building Regulations are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to virtually every building. They are developed by the Government and approved by Parliament.

How do you comply with Building Regulations?


Many plumbing and heating jobs in a property need to be notified and approved as being compliant with Building Regulations by a Building Control Body, either your Local Authority Building Control or a private sector Approved Inspector, unless the work is carried out by installers registered with a Competent Person Scheme. 

An installer registered with a Competent Person Scheme is qualified to carry out specific types of work. They are able to self-certify that the work has been undertaken in compliance with Building Regulations, and via their Competent Persons Scheme Operator, such as APHC (Certification) Ltd., can issue a certificate of compliance, the detail of which is lodged with their local Building Control Body.

Competent Person Schemes have the added advantage of insurance-backed warranties and complaints procedures, so if there’s a problem the property owner has an independent party to help resolve any issues.

Competent Person Schemes are generally the most cost efficient way in plumbing and heating to ensure that work complies with Building Regulations.

If you do not use a plumbing and heating installer registered with a Competent Person Scheme then you will have to obtain Building Control approval, as detailed above, which can cost considerably more than having the work notified through a Competent Person Scheme.


Competent Persons Schemes for Plumbers


What areas of plumbing and heating work fall under Building Regulations?


Before commencing with any plumbing and heating related project, it may be advisable to ascertain from a member of a Competent Person Scheme whether the work falls under the requirement to notify your Local Authority.  When dealing with a plumbing and heating installer you should always ask to see their identification to ensure they are a member of a formal Competent Persons Scheme.  However broadly speaking, some examples of the types of plumbing and heating work requiring Local Authority notification include:

  • Installation of gas, oil and solid fuel appliances
  • Installation or replacement of hot water and heating systems
  • Electrical installation work in domestic properties
  • Installation of plumbing and water supply systems and bathrooms and sanitary ware
  • Installation of microgeneration and renewable technologies

What if you do not comply with Building Regulations?


If you do not comply with Building Regulations the work will not be legal and as the property owner, you could be prosecuted and face unlimited fines.  Plus as the work will be unchecked or certified it may not be safe, could cause health problems, injury or even death.

What if you do not notify Building Control?


If the work has not been notified to a Building Control Body or carried out by a Competent Person Scheme registered installer the Local Authority will have no record that the work complies with Building Regulations which will be vital when you come to sell your property as you may be asked to provide Certificates of Compliance.  If the work is then subsequently found to be faulty, your Local Authority could insist you put it right at your own expense.

 

What if you no longer have the Compliance Certificates?


If you have had plumbing and heating work carried out and approval was sought but you no longer have the Compliance Certificate then you can request a duplicate copy either from your Local Authority or from the installer’s Competent Person Scheme Provider (dependent on who provided certification).  If you don’t know who the Competent Person Scheme Provider is, you can contact the installer directly.   Alternatively, a list of all current scheme providers can be found here.

 

How to source a plumbing and heating Competent Person Scheme member


APHC Certification runs a Competent Person Scheme in addition to a Green Deal Certification Scheme and Microgeneration Certification Scheme and you can source members at www.FindAQualityPlumber.co.uk.

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