Tag Archives: Building Regulations

What can we learn from the Grenfell Tower disaster?

Dr Hywel Davies Technical Director, CIBSE and Chair of the Expert Group on the Approved Documents

Dame Judith Hackitt’s review, and the associated activity around buildin  regulations in England, is the most significant review in over a generation, since the 1984 Building Act, and is widely recognised as being a once in two generations opportunity to reform building regulations in England. It will also have implications in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which are watching closely.

Moreover, it will extend beyond building regulations, which apply up until a building is complete and handed over, into the operation of the building and subsequent maintenance and minor works. This review activity is being watched closely outside the UK too, with three states in the Australian Commonwealth introducing legislation related to cladding on tall buildings in October 2018.

This paper summarises the activity associated with the review, and also considers where we are likely to see changes in practice as a result of Grenfell Tower. Many have said that the industry must change in order that we reduce, as far as is humanly possible, the prospect of any such fire occurring again. Dame Judith was asked to focus on “High Rise Residential Buildings” (HRRBs), with a twofold purpose:
• To make recommendations that will ensure we have a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future;
• To provide further assurance to residents that the complete system is working to ensure the buildings they live in are safe and will remain so.

Dame Judith was asked to:
• Map the current regulatory system (i.e. the regulations, guidance and processes) as it applies to new and existing buildings through planning, design, construction, maintenance, refurbishment and change management;
• Consider the competencies, duties and balance of responsibilities of key individuals within the system in ensuring that fire safety standards are adhered to;
• Assess the theoretical coherence of the current regulatory system and how it operates in practice;
• Compare this with other international regulatory systems for buildings and regulatory systems in other sectors with similar safety risks;
• Make recommendations that ensure the regulatory system is fit for purpose with a particular focus on multi occupancy high-rise residential buildings.

The review began by calling for evidence from interested parties. As well as contributing to responses by the Construction Industry Council and Royal Academy of Engineering, CIBSE responded with a detailed contribution on façade engineering aspects of the review developed by a working group of the Society of Façade Engineers (Ref: 1). Dame Judith’s interim report was published on 18 December 2017 (Ref: 2), in which she concluded that the current system of regulation of HRRBs is not fit for purpose.

Dame Judith commented on some of her observations during the initial phase of the review, saying: “I have been shocked by some of the practices I have heard about and I am convinced of the need for a new intelligent system of regulation and enforcement for high-rise and complex buildings that will encourage everyone to do the right thing, and will hold to account those who try to cut corners. “Changes to the regulatory regime will help, but on their own will not be sufficient unless we can change the culture away from one of doing the minimum required for compliance, to one of taking ownership and responsibility for delivering a safe system throughout
the life-cycle of a building.”

She gave extended evidence later that day to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee of parliament (Ref: 3). This underlined her concerns and set out a number of reasons for them:

1) Current regulations and guidance are too complex and unclear. This can lead to confusion and misinterpretation in their application to high-rise and complex buildings;

2) Clarity of roles and responsibilities is poor. Even where there are requirements for key activities to take place across design, construction and maintenance, it is not always clear who has responsibility for making it happen;

3) Despite many who demonstrate good practice, the means of assessing and ensuring the competency of key people throughout the system is inadequate. There is often no differentiation in competency requirements for those working on high-rise and complex buildings;

4) Compliance, enforcement and sanctions processes are too weak. What is being designed is not what is being built and there is a lack of robust change control. The lack of meaningful sanctions does not drive the right behaviours;

5) The route for residents to escalate concerns is unclear and inadequate;

6) The system of product testing, marketing and quality assurance is not clear.

In late January there was an industry summit, which was accompanied by a statement which reinforced the interim findings and set out the next steps:
• The current system for ensuring fire safety in high-rise and complex buildings is not fit for purpose;
• A culture change is required, with industry taking greater responsibility for what is built – this change needs to start now;
• This applies throughout the building life-cycle, both during construction and occupation;
• A clear, quick and effective route for residents to raise concerns, and be listened to, must be created. The Report set out six broad areas for change:
• Ensuring that regulation and guidance is risk-based, proportionate and unambiguous;
• Clarifying roles and responsibilities for ensuring that buildings are safe;
• Improving levels of competence within the industry;
• Improving the process, compliance and enforcement of regulations;
• Creating a clear, quick and effective route for residents’ voices to be heard and listened to;
• Improving testing, marketing and quality assurance of products used in construction.

The second and final phase of the Review set out to develop practical solutions that will deliver these areas of change and support the direction of travel set out in the Interim Report. Nothing short of a major overhaul of the whole system was envisaged, and Dame Judith undertook to work with all those who shared her ambition and drive to create a new and robust regulatory framework and system that supports this. Across all sectors of the industry she called for radical thinking about the immediate actions that could be taken to lead to sustainable change.

Industry leaders at the summit committed to work to create a new system that will work effectively and coherently, with working groups formed to develop innovative solutions in the following key areas:

Design, construction and refurbishment: Establishing what industry and regulators need to do to fully embed building safety during the design and construction phase; Occupation and maintenance: Identifying what building owners, landlords and regulators need to do differently to ensure that building safety is prioritised when a building is occupied and throughout its life-cycle;
Products: Determining how the product testing and marketing regime can be improved;
Competency: Establishing how competency requirements for key individuals involved in building and managing complex and high-risk buildings should change;
Residents’ voice: Determining the best way for residents to be given a clear, quick and effective statutory route for raising concerns on fire safety;
Regulation and guidance: Resolving whether central Government ownership of technical guidance is the most appropriate model for complex and high-risk buildings.

An expert group was also formed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to inform the government response to the recommendation to consider how the suite of Approved Documents could be structured and ordered to provide a more streamlined, holistic view, while keeping the right level of relevant technical detail. The author chaired this working group. Its recommendations were submitted in March to Dame Judith and accepted in full in her final report. In response to Grenfell, MHCLG also established a very comprehensive web-based compendium of Grenfell-related information (Ref: 4).

Dame Judith’s final report was published by government on 18 May 20185. In response to her remit, to “make recommendations that ensure that the regulatory system is fit for purpose with a particular focus on multi-occupancy high-rise residential buildings”, the report focuses on “higher risk residential buildings”, defined as residential buildings over 10 storeys. However, Dame Judith notes that a number of her recommendations should extend to multi-occupancy buildings.

This has prompted considerable debate, and current thinking within the Construction Industry Council (CIC), which brings together all the professional bodies in the industry in England, is that her recommendations should apply to all multiple-occupancy residential buildings, regardless of height. The report envisages a new regulatory system, bringing the Fire Service, Health and Safety Executive and Building Control services together in a “Joint Competent Authority” (JCA), which is proposed to oversee both construction and operation of higher-risk buildings, and to take responsibility for the enforcement of the Building Regulations and other relevant legislation relating to HRRBs (see Chapter 1). It calls for a series of Gateways for new HRRBs and major projects on existing HRRBs, which would entail significant scrutiny and sign-off by the JCA. It also envisages a role for the JCA in overseeing a safety case system for existing HRRBs through the whole operating life of the building (see Chapters 2 & 3).

The report calls for radical change in the current Building Regulations and associated guidance (Chapter 6), and for provision of full digital models for all new higher-risk buildings, and for them to be maintained through the life of the building (Chapter 8). However, it is Chapter 5 that sets out the (potentially) most far-reaching recommendations for CIBSE and its members, and indeed for all professionals, relating to competence. Recommendation 5.2 of the Review calls for the professions to come together to provide a new and more robust and effective system for recognising and maintaining competence. The terms used in the Report could not set
a clearer challenge to the built environment professions, and merits reading in full.

Dame Judith, a past-President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, was clear that professional bodies in the built environment and property and fire safety sectors must find a way to work together. She calls on government to supervise the process and, if we cannot deliver, to step in. The message is really clear, and the response was almost immediate, with a working group being formed.

Other key recommendations from the report that will impact building services engineers include:
• A clear model of risk ownership, with clear responsibilities for the client, designer, contractor and owner to demonstrate the delivery and maintenance of safe buildings. The project team will be held to account by the new JCA. This new body will have powers during both construction and operation of a building, and for existing buildings;
• A set of rigorous and demanding duty-holder roles and responsibilities to ensure a stronger focus on safety during a building’s design, construction and refurbishment. These roles will be broadly aligned with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations. Penalties for those “who choose to game the system and place residents at risk”, as Dame Judith describes them, will also be more serious.
• Moving towards a system where ownership of technical guidance rests with the industry, with oversight by government. A clearer package of regulations and “truly outcomes-based” guidance which will be simpler to navigate while reflecting the level of complexity of building work. It acknowledges that “prescriptive regulation and guidance are not helpful in designing and building complex buildings, especially in an environment where building technology and practices continue to evolve, and will prevent those undertaking the work from taking responsibility for their actions”;
• A more effective product-testing regime with clearer labelling and traceability because “the current process for testing and ‘certifying’ products for use in construction is disjointed, confusing, unhelpful, and lacks any sort of transparency”. Poor procurement practices to be tackled to ensure high-safety, low-risk options are prioritised and full life-cycle cost is considered when a building is procured;
• A digital record from initial design intent through to construction, including any changes that occur during occupation, is also called for, effectively producing a model similar to one created under BIM Level 2. This digital model will create “a golden thread of information” about each HRRB which is handed over to the owner. The information can then be used to demonstrate to the regulator the safety of the building throughout its life cycle;
• Clearer rights for residents are also proposed, as well as responsibilities where resident activity can create risks that may affect others.

Much of the report is eminently sensible and says a lot of things that have needed saying for some time, although there is still a lot of detail to be resolved. It is not yet clear how the government will proceed to address the full package of recommendations, but the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has already set out what will happen next:
• Government has consulted on restricting the use of desktop studies as a means of assessing the fire performance of external cladding in lieu of an actual fire test. The consultation sought views on whether desktop studies should be used at all, and whether or not they are appropriate for construction products, wall systems, or for any other purpose;
• Government has consulted on clarifications to Approved Document B (Fire) over the summer and on banning the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise buildings. Legislation on this point is thought to be imminent at the time of writing. A full technical review of Part B of the Regulations, and of the Guidance, is also very likely.

The full Government response was promised for “late autumn 2018” and so may have emerged by the time you are reading this paper. In the meantime, Grenfell is not the only high-rise fire to have occurred. In Melbourne, Australia, the Lacrosse Building suffered a significant fire to which aluminium composite panels contributed. There were no casualties, and the sprinkler system helped to control the spread of the fire.

There was also a multi-storey hotel fire in Ballymun, Dublin recently. Thankfully, again there were no serious casualties but the building suffered significant damage. Following a full investigation, the State of Victoria has now introduced legislation to limit the use of such material on buildings in the State. New South Wales has also introduced new regulations. Queensland, which has an unknown number of buildings with potentially-combustible cladding, has introduced legislation requiring owners of high-rise buildings to register them with the State Building Control Commission by next March, and those that appear to be at risk of having combustible cladding will then be investigated further. It is not just England that has the problem with this cladding.

SDAR Journal 2018 Grenfell was an awful event, and has devastated many lives. There does appear to be a resolve to change the way that we build and manage high-rise residential buildings in the UK, but we are now getting to the challenge of starting to deliver change, and not talking about it. In the meantime, it is clear that the problems we have in England are not unique, and those elsewhere are also taking a close look at the way they regulate their buildings in the light of their own experience, and also that at Grenfell.

References
1. www.cibse.org/News-and-Policy/Consultations/Closed-Consultations/
Independent-Review-of-Building-Regulations-and-Fir
2. www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-buildingregulations-
and-fire-safety-interim-report
3. The evidence session along with subsequent correspondence with the
committee is at: www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committeesa-
z/commons-select/communities-and-local-government-committee/
4. www.gov.uk/guidance/building-safety-programme
5. www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-buildingregulations-
and-fire-safety-final-report

Implications of BC(A)R for M&E Consultants and Contracators

Conall Finn, CHief Operations Officer and Assigned Certifier with 13PT Certification

Conall Finn, Chief Operations Officer and Assigned Certifier with 13PT Certification

The Regulations place additional responsibilities and duties on all parties to the building contract. Designers, specifiers, suppliers, specialist sub-contractors, installers and inspectors are seen as “Ancillary Certifiers”. They have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with their obligations under the new regulations. As a chartered engineer and a fire systems specialist with a background in M&E contracting now engaged as an Assigned Certifier with i3PT Certification, Conall Finn is ideally placed to give an insight into how the industry is adapting to the new regulations.

The Building Control Amendment Regulations, BC(A)R or SI9 of 2014, were introduced on 1 March of 2014, in part as a political response to Priory Hall. The regulations apply to new projects and renovation projects with material alterations to Technical Guidance Documents (TGD’s) Parts A, B & M (i.e. alterations to structure, alterations requiring a fire certificate or works affecting accessibility).

Two types of regulations — In essence, there are two types of regulations – Building Regulations and Building Control Regulations. Building Regulations cover minimum standards under 12 books of regulations. Building Control Regulations cover how absolute compliance with the building control regulations is demonstrated.

The regulation and its associated guidance document, the Code of Practice for Inspection and Certifying Building Works, are light on detail around the roles and  responsibilities of the sub-contractor/ specialists who act as ancillary certifiers under the new regulations. This is especially noticeable when compared to the detail provided for the other BC(A)R roles (i.e. Builder/Assigned Certifier/ Designer Certifier/Designers and Owner).

It would be beneficial to have additional guidance from the legislators to clarify the responsibilities of sub-contractors and specialist ancillary certifiers. Nonetheless, this ambiguity does not diminish the responsibility of ancillary certifiers to understand their roles and responsibilities under the new regulations.

Mechanical, electrical and fire subcontractors, specialists and consultant professionals must first satisfy the designer and contractor that they are competent to both carry out the work and inspect against those works to validate that the works are Building Regulations compliant. They have a key role in facilitating both the assigned and designer certifiers in delivering a certified building, as their ancillary certificates will be relied upon by the builder, designer and assigned certifier.

M+E contractors on the ground generally have less awareness of the implications of BC(A)R than their consulting counterparts. Sub-contractors generally benefit from a BC(A)R induction and information pack – prior to their commencing works – in order to advise them of their responsibilities and obligations under the new regulations.

Contractual clauses as standard — Contractual clauses describing BC(A)R preconditions are now being included as standard in many contracts between builders and sub-contractors, to explicitly define the contractual obligation of subcontractors and specialists. This is leading in some instances to defensive specifications.

It is recommended that sub-contractors, specialists and suppliers familiarise themselves with the wording of the ancillary certificates for engineers, specialists and sub-contractors. These state that specialist ancillary certifiers should “undertake to prepare a Preliminary Inspection Plan for their element of the works”. As the specialist or sub-contractor is often engaged later than building commencement, an inspection plan for their element may have been pre-prepared by the designer, builder or assigned certifier.

The level of scrutiny and the frequency of inspection may be far more intense than the sub-contractor anticipates. However, they are obliged to adhere to the “Project Inspection Plan”. The inspection regime should take a risk-based approach, focusing on building elements, “the failure of which would be deemed significant”.

Each assigned certifier/designer certifier/ancillary certifier can determine his/her own methodology for applying the Code of Practice. However, their inspection plans should take cognisance of the overall inspection plan. The level of robustness of the inspection regime that is implemented can vary considerably from project to project. This makes it difficult for M+E consultants and sub-contractors to fix a fee for the number of inspection visits that will be required from them on a specific project, as the assigned certifier or design team ancillary certifiers may require substantially more, or less, than the average anticipated number of inspections.

Commencement stage — Project timeline allowances for BC(A)R should be communicated to the client as early as possible in the process, along with the implications for project budgets. Responsibility for this communication is cumulative and should involve discussions with the architect and QS at project planning stages, where practical. For example, a rapid-build school project originally scheduled pre-BC(A)R for 32 weeks, rose to 38 weeks in order to facilitate BC(A)R hold points and inspections.

Critically, the upload to the Building Control BCMS site requires an upfront two-week validation period at commencement and a three-week validation period at completion stage. A two/three-week buffer period is needed to allow for administration, e.g., collation of certificates and documentation. This will cause some anxiety to project planners.

This final few weeks of a project – when building services specialists are busiest with completions and commissioning – now has to facilitate a period of relative inactivity, with only final snagging and noncompliance close-out allowed.

Design — The M+E consultant is usually assigned the role of signing the M+E Ancillary Design Certificates (at commencement and completion stages), along with the Ancillary Inspection on Completion Certificates. Consultants will be required to carry out regular Inspections of the M+E systems to confirm that the design(s) they are responsible for are effectively delivered by the M+E sub-contractor(s) in accordance with the Building Regulations.

Inspections will occur at 1st/ 2nd/ final fix and commissioning stages. Inspectors are required to have the requisite training and experience to inspect against particular building elements. As a company director must sign certificates of compliance for inspection and completion,  they must have a clear knowledge and hands-on understanding of the project that is being executed on site.

Workmanship TGD D & CE Marking — There is a genuine concern in the industry on how to interpret inspections against TGD Part D materials and workmanship. Since 1 July 2013, any products placed on the market under the new CPR (Construction Product Regulations) that are covered by a harmonised EN standard must be CE marked.

This can cause issues for specialist systems designed to US standards such as NFPA or FM, where it may not be possible to procure all products and components with declarations of performance and CE marking. This particular topic is worthy of an article in its own right and needs an industry-wide approach.

Project completion — As the project completion stage approaches, the assigned certifier notifies the BCMS of the intended occupancy date. Practical completion can no longer coincide with the occupancy date, as this assumes that the works are complete, inspected, certified and validated on the same day. In reality, a minimum of a week should be allowed for completion information to be lodged on the BCMS and validated by building control.

BCMS administrators and local authority building control engineers are under considerable pressure due to the increased administration burden caused by BC(A)R. Each completion notice validation period needs to be agreed by the assigned certifier and the relevant local authority. Where an ancillary certificate of completion is late from a sub-contractor or specialist for whatever reason, this may have a detrimental impact on the agreed occupancy date. In a worst-case scenario it can result in resetting the validation period of 21 days, making for a very unhappy owner.

Technical Guidance Documents (TGD) — The TGDs which generally apply to M+E installations include TGDs B (Fire), D (Workmanship), F (Ventilation), G (Hygiene), H (Drainage) and J (Heatproducing Appliances) respectively. It is important that consultants and contractors stay abreast of the current regulations.

A number of these have been updatedrecently – TGDs E (Sound), J (Heat-producing Appliances) and K (Stairs). With TGD B (Fire) also due for an updatelater this year, consultants and subcontractors have a responsibility to know how individual TGDs apply to their element of the works. Reliance on design drawings and relevant EN/BS codes and performance requirements for the systems they are responsible for is no longer sufficient.

Sub-contractors and builders — The responsibility to design in compliance with the TGDs is shared among designers, builders and sub-contractors/specialists. Should an installation be installed to a non-compliant design, the onus is on the builder and sub-contractor to rectify the works, otherwise they may be held jointly liable for any resulting defect.

The M+E consultants can no longer rely on the contractor to provide “as-built” drawings. Ancillary design on completion certificates should relate to completion drawings rather than commencement drawings, reflecting what is actually installed on site. I would expect a crosschecking exercise on the part of the consultant to confirm that the “as-built” installation and compliance on completion drawings are consistent.

Design changes on completion  — Ancillary design certifiers are required toprovide the assigned certifier with a schedule of information and details backing up the certificate. They should also provide concise details of how the design at commencement materially differs from the design on completion. An example of this may be where a 7-day Notice FSC or DAC Certificate required revisions to the commencement design to be implemented as a result of input from the fire brigade or local council engineers.

The effectiveness of BC(A)R depends on each party in the process taking responsibility for verifying and validating that their element of the works is compliant, i.e., self-certified. However, the M+E consultant is expected to carry out out regular scheduled inspections at 1st/2nd/final fix and commissioning stages to validate that this compliance is achieved.

Ancillary Certificates — The relevant format of the ancillary certificates depends on the role and qualifications of the certifier. The registered engineer(s) will use the Ed/Ec/Ei Ancillary Certificates and specialists or unregistered consultants will use Sd/Sc/Si format. These correspond to Design on Commencement/ Design on Completion/Inspection on Completion respectively.

The sub-contractors to the builders will sign CIF01/CIF Certificates and sub-subcontractors to the builder will sign CIF02/CIF Certificates, e.g., say a sprinkler contractor who is contracted to the M+E sub-contractor.

BC(A)R was drafted with traditional projects in mind and the ancillary certificates don’t really accommodate direct client appointments for mechanical and electrical or specialist systems, as the wording explicitly states that the contract is between the builder and the sub-contractor.

These certificates require the subcontractor/ specialists to inspect the works and verify that they have installed the installations in compliance with the plans/specifications/calculations/drawings.

In summary — BC(A)R is currently undergoing a 1-year review process by the DECLG and i3PT Certification is contributing to this process. We don’t anticipate a watering down of the regulations. The question for companies is how they can apply their BC(A)R methodology consistently for projects of varying size and complexity.

BC(A)R has led to an increased focus on compliant workmanship and systems. Our experience on large projects indicates a willingness by builders, sub-contractors and design team members to engage with varying levels of commitment to the challenges that BC(A)R presents.

In order for BC(A)R to be successful, it requires that all stakeholders take ownership for their element of the works. They should be suitably compensated for the additional effort involved. The success of the project from a compliance perspective requires a collaborative approach to be employed from pre-commencement through to completion.

Understanding Current Building Regulations

Pat Lehane, Publisher & Editor, Building Services News

Pat Lehane, Publisher & Editor, Building Services News

Understanding Current Building Regulations and the implications for domestic building services is the theme of a one-day conference being organised by Heat Merchants Group at Croke Park on Wednesday, 12 November next.

A panel of industry experts will advise on the implications of the recent changes to Irish building regulations for the domestic building construction sector. They will discuss new technology, regulations and best practices governing gas, oil and solid fuel appliances, Part J and carbon monoxide safety. Three of the presentations are CPD-accredited.

Full details are as follows:—

Welcome and Official opening by Alan Hogan, Managing Director, Heat Merchants Group.

Regulations Governing Oil & Solid Fuel Appliances, Flue Regulations & Best Practices  — Nicola Barry (B Eng, MIEI), Engineering & Technical Manager for Firebird Heating Solutions overseeing the technical and service teams for Ireland, UK and the global market

Part J and Guide to Residential Carbon Monoxide Safety — Brian Trueman – Sprue Safety Products. In the last two years he has helped the industry in Scotland and Northern Ireland get to grips with legislation changes related to Carbon Monoxide. He is eager to help the Irish market adapt to revisions within Part J of the Building Regulations and the likely further regulation that may follow on from this.

Gas Fired Boiler Technology and Weather Compensation Controls — Richard Green, Baxi Potterton Myson. Richard has been working in the gas and heating industry for 34 years having worked for British Gas as a service engineer then as a self employed gas boiler specialist before joining Cannon as a service engineer. In 1998 he joined Baxi’s technical support team as a technical adviser before joining Baxi’s training team as a training officer in 2002.

Integration of Solar Photovoltaic Systems into New and Existing Buildings — Scott McDaniel, Solar World. Scott McDaniel is the UK & Ireland Manager for SolarWorld, the largest solar producer in the United States and Europe, SolarWorld employs about 3,200 people and carries out production in Hillsboro, Oregon, and Freiberg and Arnstadt, Germany. From the raw material silicon to solar wafers, cells and panels, SolarWorld manages all stages of production including its own research and development.

Air Tightness in Construction – its Purpose and Relevance to Part L — Mark Shirley – 2eva. Mark has a BSc in Energy Management of Buildings has worked as an Independent Energy Consultant since 2008. Mark is a BER assessor, and as such has an in-depth knowledge of DEAP and Part L Regulations, an NSAI registered Air Leakage Tester and a Certified Passive House Tradesman and is the invited Irish representative member of the European TAAC (Tightvent Airtightness Association Committee).

Water Conservation & Fuel Storage Requirements for Domestic Housing — Charles Burns, Kingspan Environmental. Charles has over 15 years technical, sales and consulting expertise in the sustainable water, renewable energy and environmental fuel storage aspects of the Kingspan Environmental business.

Air-To-Water Heat Heat Pump Technology and the Effects on the Energy Rating of the Property  — Vincent Mahony, Panasonic Heating & Cooling. Vincent is General Manager of Panasonic Heating and Cooling Systems for Ireland and has over 34 years experience in the building services Industry.

REGISTRATION — Places are limited and advance registration is essential for each delegate who will be attending. Please send your details, including Name, Company Name, JobTitle, Email and Mobile Number to marketing@heatmerchants.ie. Alternatively, call or call 090-  6442306 to register.

OFTEC Wants Oil Technician Register

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in Ireland recently launched a consultation on revisions of the Building Regulations which will require the installation of CO alarms in all new dwellings, provide guidance on the type of alarm to be installed, and where to locate them. This is similar to legislation recently introduced in Northern Ireland.

However, OFTEC feels it does not go far enough. Damien Keenan, OFTEC Ireland, said: “While this proposal is positive, a CO alarm is only one of a number of preventative measures that should be put in place to reduce the risk of CO poisoning. An alarm, while important, can give a false sense of security and the best protection is to have appliances serviced regularly by a qualified technician.”

OFTEC has also called on Minister Pat Rabbitte to introduce a mandatory registration scheme for oil technicians. This would serve as an additional safety measure for householders, ensuring all technicians, across all fossil fuels, are suitably trained and qualified to detect carbon monoxide and provide competent servicing and installation works.