Delays for Plumbers’ Gas Installer Registration Scheme

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has admitted that the new gas installer registration scheme will be introduced nine months later than originally planned.

The Health and Safety Executive has announced last summer that they have set up a competition for a new gas installer registration scheme for the next five years. According to the original plan, a winning candidate was supposed to be announced in early 2008 with the new scheme in place by early summer 2008.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said that the announcement on the winning candidate was now subject to a delay because “effective transition arrangements” from the old scheme to the new one were still being finalised.

The current scheme for gas safety registration, to which many plumbers and heating engineers subscribe, is operated by CORGI. Other organisations running to win the franchise include the National Association for Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT). Last year, the Health and Safety Executive turned down an application from NAPIT to run a separate gas registration scheme.

It is expected that under the new scheme, the franchise holder will coordinate stronger industry action to raise public awareness of gas safety. Other functions include proactive tackling of unregistered plumbers and installers and reviewing the competence requirements for the registration of plumbers and gas fitters in order to simplify the existing requirements and reducing burdens on plumbers and installers.

Due to the delays, a decision on the winning candidate is now expected in summer 2008, with the scheme being in place by April 2009.

Clive Dickin, chief executive officer of the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors, said: “the HSE has had a difficult process to go through” and that plumbers and heating engineers would not be overly concerned about the delay.
“I would much rather see a robust procurement process that gives plumbers and installers a clear timeframe and structure because if the registration scheme were to change now, who would you join?”

“April 2009 is when plumbers’ membership for CORGI will come up for renewal and this seems a natural date for the new scheme to be put in place. I am confident that the successful bidder will be able to fulfil its obligations for a natural renewal process.”