Unregistered gas fitters fined after watching on TV how to do it

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An unregistered gas fitter illegally installed a boiler in a home and got a legitimate gas engineer to sign-off his work.

Michael Birch, 50, fitted the boiler at the house in Edgecumbe Road, St Austell in June 2013. After watching a TV documentary on gas installations, the homeowner contacted Gas Safe Register who found the boiler flue was not fitted to the manufacturer’s instructions and therefore could not have been properly commissioned for the purposes of safety.

Michael Birch’s work was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which prosecuted him and gas engineer Peter Hopper, 58, at Bodmin Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard Birch was not registered with Gas Safe and should not have attempted to install the boiler. Mr Hopper illegally commissioned the work, knowing fully that Mr Birch was not allowed to work on gas appliances.

Michael Birch, of Carpalla Road, Foxhole, St Austell pleaded guilty to breaches under Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and Section 3(3) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs. Mr Hopper, of Trevanion Road, Trewoon, St Austell pleaded guilty to a single offence under regulation 33(2) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs.

HSE Inspector Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said: “This was a deliberate attempt to claim the work Mr Birch carried out was safe and legal.

“Both men tried to circumvent gas safety regulations which are there for the sole purpose of protecting the public. All work on gas appliances must be carried out by Gas Safe registered engineers to ensure proper safety standards are met.”