Gas installations are potentially dangerous for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is a gas leak resulting in an explosion. However, the biggest danger to life is poisoning from carbon monoxide gas and other fumes produced by a gas fire or boiler. Normally all the fumes will be vented safely away, but if the appliance's flue is not properly installed, then these poisonous fumes can build up in the room. As they often have no smell, the situation goes unnoticed, resulting in the occupants feeling drowsy and in extreme cases can cause death. Problems can also occur with 'balanced' flues which terminate too close to windows, resulting in fumes finding their way back into a room.
The government has taken these dangers seriously. It is illegal for anyone to carry out work on gas installations unless they are registered with an approved body - normally CORGI (Council of Registered Gas Installers). It is also a legal requirement that landlords have a gas safety check carried out every 12 months on let properties. If a potentially dangerous situation is discovered with a gas installation, the gas engineer is legally required to switch off the mains supply or to disconnect or isolate the dangerous appliance.
A report on the gas installation for a homebuyer would normally involve a visual check on the installation to determine if there were any obvious faults. In particular the flues of the boiler and any fires would be closely examined to check if they were sealed from the room, and to check that they terminated sufficiently far away from any windows. Ventilation of rooms with cookers or gas fires is also an important requirement. A number of specific tests would normally be carried out, the main one being the 'tightness' (or soundness) test - this checks for any leakage of the installation. Subject to the above checks being satisfactory, an operation check would be carried out on each appliance.
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1st ER SURVEYS LIMITED
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