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September 21, 2009

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Dangers of cowboy gas-fitters highlighted

Illegal gas-fitters in Great Britain are conducting a quarter of a

million gas jobs each year, including fitting and servicing appliances,

according to a study by Gas Safe Register, the safety body that

replaced CoRGI in April to oversee the work carried out by registered

gas engineers.

Published on 17 September, the study estimates that 7500 illegal gas-fitters are carrying out jobs without the necessary gas-safety skills or qualifications. The research has enabled the watchdog to build an accurate profile of those most likely to be involved in illegal gas work.

It is estimated that more than half (57 per cent) are sole traders, and a third work in companies employing fewer than four people.

As well as carrying out gas work, 90 per cent also undertake plumbing jobs, 81 per cent fit bathrooms, 67 per cent install kitchens, and 43 per cent carry out general building or electrical work.

Gas Safe Register’s national investigations manager, Phil Brewster, commented: “One in 10 of the illegal gas installations we investigated in the last nine months have been ‘Immediately Dangerous’ and we had to disable the appliances straight away to make them safe. Over a third of these were leaking gas, and almost half had faults that could lead to lethal carbon-monoxide exposure.

“So, with our research showing that illegal gas-fitters do 250,000 jobs in our homes each year, it’s worrying to think how many of these were also left in a dangerous state.”

Brewster is urging householders to check engineers’ Gas Safety Register ID cards to make sure they have the right qualifications.

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