01 Sep Do Business Owners Need A Commercial Gas Safety Certificate?
Every building that uses gas appliances requires a gas safety certificate to ensure they will not pose any threat to the people operating them.
Therefore, as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stipulates, landlords, housing associations, colleges, boarding schools, hostels, hotels, B&Bs, local authorities, and homeowners all need regular gas safety checks.
The question is whether you need a domestic gas safety certificate or a commercial one.
Is your building a commercial premise?
Commercial buildings are defined as somewhere businesses activities are being held. For instance, a shop, healthcare services, factories, warehouse, office, catering kitchen, restaurant, cafe or bar are all classified as commercial buildings.
This should not be confused with commercial properties, such as apartment blocks. This is because while these buildings earn money for the owners, commercial activity is not taking place within the premises.
If your site falls under the definition of commercial building, you will need a commercial gas safety certificate, pertaining to the Gas Safety Regulations of 1998.
This is necessary as a means to avoid gas leaks and explosions, which would not only severely damage the building, but also injure, or even kill, those who are inside it.
There are still 30 accidental deaths from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in England and Wales a year, in addition to the 200 patients who are admitted to hospital annually.
There could be even more cases of people who are treated for CO poisoning but are not admitted. Therefore, the true number of men and women who are exposed to CO is not known.
If gas appliances are not adequately checked by a professional engineer, there is a higher risk of gas leaks and people suffering from health complications due to CO exposure.
What does a gas safety certificate include?
To receive a certificate saying all your commercial gas appliances are safe to use, gas safety engineers will thoroughly check your boiler, fireplaces, and cookers.
They will make sure each appliance is clean, functions appropriately, and that the gas flow and pressure are operating as they should.
Each certificate will detail the appliance that was checked, the results of the inspection, and whether any repairs or upgrades were advised.
It will also include the name and registration number of the engineer, the date the check occurred, and when the next inspection is due.
Gas safety checks need to occur every 12 months, and failure to arrange another within this timeline could result in a fine for the commercial business owner. The inspections can be arranged between the tenth to twelfth month following on from the last check.
What if you don’t get a gas safety certificate?
Businesses that do not organise a commercial gas safety certificate or keep theirs updated will likely have to pay a fine worth thousands of pounds.
The severity of the penalty depends on how much damage was caused or whether anyone got hurt as a result of the negligence.
Recently, a takeaway owner was fined over £5,500 for not having a gas safety certificate.
Restart Yilmaz, 41, breached the laws between November 2020 and February 2023 for his Speedy Pepper premises in Workshop, the Nottingham Post reported.
After not having the obligatory inspections, Bassetlaw District Council conducted a gas safety check and discovered a gas leak, which posed “serious risk” to the public, surrounding houses and businesses, and members of staff.
Councillor Alan Rhodes, cabinet member for Corporate and Financial Services at the local authority, commented on the incident.
He told the publication: “We would like to remind all licensed businesses that should you put the safety of your staff, customers and the public at risk in the same way as Mr Yilmaz, we can and will take the necessary and most appropriate action.”
Not having a valid gas safety certificate also poses a risk of a prison sentence and the business being shut down, as gas engineers might deem it unsafe to staff or the public for it to remain open.
Therefore, not having an up-to-date gas safety certificate is not worth it, regardless of the price of the inspection or the cost of upgrading one or more gas appliances.
Who can you book for a gas safety inspection?
When arranging an inspection, it is essential to book someone who is on the Gas Safety Register.
This official registration body of gas businesses was introduced in 2009, providing an industry-wide standard for gas safety.
Only engineers who are on the register are able to get a licence enabling them to work for registered businesses.
If you choose an unregistered engineer, even by mistake, this will mean the certificate you received will not be valid. Therefore, you will be in breach of the Gas Safety Regulations of 1998, and are at risk of a hefty fine.
Before allowing a gas safety engineer to carry out the inspection, it is wise to check their identity, as all businesses on the Gas Safety Register should have a Gas Safe ID card.
Check for a personal licence number, the start and expiry date of the membership, and a photo that matches the engineer in front of you.
There should also be a hologram with the Gas Safe Logo on, while qualifications of the engineer are listed on the back.
Booking a gas safety inspection
Once you have established your business requires a gas safety certificate, it is imperative to book one at the earliest opportunity.
This way you can make sure all your gas appliances, pipes and networks are safe to use, and you can open to the public as soon as possible.
Do not forget to look for registered companies with highly-skilled engineers that comply with Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations.
This will ensure your insurance will be valid, as failure to have the right certifications will void insurance policies, which would pose significant financial, as well as legal, repercussions if a gas leak or explosion did occur.