Contractor carried out illegal boiler change

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A self-employed contractor who carried out a boiler change has been fined after undertaking gas work on a property whilst not being gas safe registered.

Crewe Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 1 June 2019, Robert Allen, a self-employed contractor trading as A&E Property Services, replaced a boiler at a property in Ledward Street in Winsford. Following the installation, a number of problems arose including loss of pressure and water leaks. In August 2019, a Gas Safe Registered engineer attended the property and discovered multiple issues with the installation including an inadequately sized pipe, which they felt posed immediate danger. The case was reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the form of a Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) report.

An investigation by HSE found that Mr Allen had never been Gas Safe Registered. It was discovered that he had provided himself with a false registration number and had also used the registration number of a completely unconnected company.

On the inspection of the work carried out at Ledward Street, five separate serious defects were found including an unsealed flue, a pressure relief valve incorrectly located, undersized gas pipework, uncommissioned appliance, and corrosion to the gas pipework. These defects could have led to carbon monoxide leakage, scalding, unsafe combustion, and unburned gas release, which could have proved fatal.

Robert Allen of Nixon Drive, Winsford, Cheshire pleaded guilty to two breaches of Regulation 3 (3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and breaches of Regulation 3 (7) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Regulation 5 (3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.  He was given a 40 week suspended sentence, 200 hours community service and ordered to pay costs of £5,263.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Ian Betley said: “This case highlights the dangers of carrying out unregistered gas work.  All gas work must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met in order to prevent injury and loss of life. Installers will be prosecuted if they carry out gas work without the proper qualifications. Householders should check that anyone they allow to work on the gas supply is gas safe registered.”