Installers must protect consumers and notify work, says OFTEC

OFTEC is urging all installers to ensure their work is correctly notified as failing to do so could be a breach of their duty of care – and leave customers in hot water as a result.

Most installers know it is a legal requirement under Building Regulations in England and Wales to inform the relevant local authority about the installation of notifiable heat producing appliances, oil tanks and some heating and hot water services.

Although there’s no mandatory requirement to notify work carried out in Scotland and Northern Ireland, installers can still do so and customers receive a Declaration of Safety Certificate which is often seen as added value to the services provided.

However, with the number of appliances sold each year higher than the number actually notified, it’s clear not all installers are taking their responsibility to notify work seriously.

If an installation isn’t notified, it’s actually the homeowner who has broken the law, not the installer. But with so many homeowners unaware of the regulations, OFTEC says installers must accept their role of fulfilling the legal requirements on behalf of their customers.

Adrian Lightwood, OFTEC’s registration services director, says: “Many homeowners are blissfully ignorant of the need to notify and it’s often only when they come to sell their property and the buyer’s solicitor asks to see the documents, that the true situation is revealed.

“Homeowners are then faced with having to persuade the original installer to notify the work retrospectively, employ someone else to recommission the system or take out insurance against future problems for the buyer – all at short notice which just adds to the cost and stress of the move.”

The ability to self-notify is one of the key benefits of OFTEC registration. Removing the need to involve a local authority saves both time and money, benefitting the installer and customer alike. Notifications can be completed in just a few minutes, either online or by fax, and cost just £2.50 each.

Adrian Lightwood concludes: “OFTEC registration is all about providing homeowners with the reassurance that technicians are fully competent to carry out work and can be trusted. Failing to notify installation work goes against everything OFTEC registration stands for and breaches an installer’s duty of care to their customer.”