Illegal work left gas boiler in dangerous state

A Somerset plumber has been fined for illegal and unsafe gas work after falsely claiming to be a Gas Safe registered engineer and leaving a gas boiler he installed in a dangerous state.

Ian Gardiner, 46, from Ilton, trading as Ian Gardiner Plumbing & Heating Services, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Yeovil Magistrates today (1 July) for a series of offences contravening gas safety regulations.

Magistrates were told that Mr Gardiner provided a householder in Yeovil with a quote to install a gas-fired central heating system on headed paper with a Gas Safe Register logo. On completion of the work he also provided further paperwork, including a gas boiler system commissioning checklist which included a Gas Safe Register number.

The court heard how a Regional Investigations Officer employed by Gas Safe inspected the property in October 2013 and identified nine defects in the way the central heating system had been installed, three of which constituted a danger to life or property:

  •  the chimney flue assembly had not been sealed to the structure of the building following the installation and nor was it sealed on internal and external walls;
  • the telescopic chimney flue assembly on the boiler was not fixed at the required length and the telescopic joint within the cavity wall was not sealed with aluminium tape in line with the manufacturer’s installation instructions;
  •  the flue had not been installed to satisfy the appliance manufacturer’s instructions.

An investigation by HSE found Mr Gardiner’s Gas Safe registration had expired on the 18 May 2010 and that the Gas Safe Register number he had provided belonged to an unconnected engineer who had not given permission for his registration number to be used and had no knowledge of the installation.

Ian Gardiner, of Copse Lane, Ilton, Somerset, was fined £2,100, ordered to pay £2,000 costs and £125 in compensation after pleading guilty to five breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Mehtaab Hamid said:

“Ian Gardiner was Gas Safe registered several years ago, but had failed to renew his qualifications or membership. Standards in gas work do change and it is important for gas engineers to keep up to date. The work he carried out put anyone in this property at potentially serious risk.

“Incorrectly fitted gas appliances can be highly dangerous and can lead to loss of life. Gas Safe Register exists to protect the public from people like Mr Gardiner who are prepared to work illegally, despite not being qualified and competent.”

Russell Kramer, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, said:

“Every Gas Safe registered engineer has an ID card which shows who they are and the type of work they are qualified to carry out. Customers should ask to see this and check the engineer is qualified to do the job in hand.

“You can also check your engineer by calling us on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting link to external website.”