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One in seven gas projects undertaken illegally

By David Howells, on 2 June 2011

The Gas Safe Register has warned homeowners of the dangers of employing illegal gas fitters.

It is against the law for a tradesperson to undertake work with gas if they are not fully registered and qualified. In doing so could put their health and those of the householders at severe risk.

The warnings came after new research showed that as many as one in seven projects undertaken last year were "immediately dangerous" - meaning that appliances had to be disconnected right away in order to prevent fire, explosions or poisoning. The total comes in at over 100,000 jobs, including kitchen and conservatory extensions, which have left homeowners in danger and potentially unaware.

Representatives from the Gas Safe Register have urged homeowners to check references and only use a kitchen fitter they can trust. They also warned that in many cases, builders have subcontracted the work themselves to illegal gas fitters, so householders need to remain vigilant at all times.

Speaking to the Southport Reporter, National investigations manager for Gas Safe Register Phil Brewster warned, "Handing over a home improvement project, like a loft conversion or kitchen renovation to one builder or project manager may be an efficient route, but homeowners still need to keep a handle on who is working on the job."

"As this study has revealed, homes are under threat from shoddy workmanship as a result of rogue traders."

Adding, Brewster told, "We were alarmed to find so many illegal gas jobs were the result of subcontracted home improvement projects, where the homeowner had simply trusted the project manager to check the credentials of the fitter."

"Our investigations team are often called to inspect new kitchens where dangerous gas work has been carried out and more often than not we find gas escapes and carbon monoxide leaking from the hobs and cookers."

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