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Commercial Gas Safety FAQs
Posted by: Richard Firth on: 17 August 2021
Gas safety is not only a health and safety concern, but a commercial gas safety inspection and certificate is a legal obligation for any UK commercial business. When commercial companies and other commercial buildings use gas, set precautions have to be in place, maintained and monitored.
Gas explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning are the two significant reasons for commercial gas safety:
Accidental gas explosions can happen in private residences and commercial businesses. When such an unfortunate situation occurs, a building could be completely destroyed, worse case it could kill the people present in the structure and do serious harm to people and facilities in close vicinity to the blast.
The poisonous gas called carbon monoxide has no taste or smell. Each year approximately 60 people in England and Wales die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
A Commercial Gas Safety Certificate is legally required in the UK for commercial businesses under the Commercial Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 2018. (Amendments for the regulations came into law on 6 April 2018.) If you install, service, repair, or maintain gas appliances or gas fittings, you fall under these regulations, and that includes Landlords.
A registered gas engineer issues the certificate to ensure that equipment that produces gas in a commercial enterprise is safe, and a gas safety engineer must renew every 12 months. Engineers will check equipment for gas leaks, check the boiler, a flue gas analysis, and more.
There are a variety of Commercial Gas Safety Certificates. They include Commercial Boiler Gas Safety Certificate (CP15), Commercial Gas Installation Testing and Purging (CP16), Commercial Gas Installation Safety Report (Non-domestic) (CP17), and Commercial Catering Gas Safety Certificate (CP42.) Our focus is on the CP42 certificate.
Commercial properties are legally required to have regular gas safety checks and a Commercial Gas Safety Certificate for their commercial gas appliances (permanent or portable) if the property is occupied, rented, or open to the general public. Homeowners, however, are not legally required to have regular gas safety checks or such a certificate if they are residing in their own properties. (However, homeowners are strongly encouraged to ensure their gas appliances, etc., are in good working order.)
The kinds of commercial situations that would require regular gas safety checks and a Commercial Gas Safety Certificate are varied. They include landlords, housing associations, hotels and B&Bs, local associations, boarding schools, colleges, hostels, etc. If you provide a structure that services individuals and groups, you are responsible for maintaining any gas appliances and machines and keeping the people in your building safe.
Failure to have a positive gas safety check which results in a Commercial Gas Safety Certificate can lead to your insurance being invalidated. Furthermore, there can be additional fines and penalties, and these fines and penalties can be severe.
If you do not follow the law and don’t have a gas safety certificate, you can be jailed for up to six months and be fined £6000. Furthermore, suppose you fail to have your property checked and a certificate issued, and your failure leads to the death of an individual or individuals. In that case, you will be criminally charged for manslaughter and prosecuted in the crown court. If you are convicted of manslaughter, the UK can put you in prison for life.
We can’t cover every situation that would fall under the CP42, but here are some common examples:
If you own a property and you have a sub-letting tenant, you are responsible for gas safety checks. It is not your tenant’s responsibility, and, therefore, you can’t transfer the commitment to your tenant. If your tenant is wholly subletting, the contract between you and your tenant must clearly show who is responsible for the gas safety check. Furthermore, the original landlord must make sure the gas safety checks are met. Subletters who are tenants are not regarded as landlords and are not obligated for the gas safety checks. In other words, when a tenant lets others share the space in return for rent, they are not seen as the actual landlord.
If you have a family member who is staying in your home rent-free, the homeowner rule applies. In other words, a gas safety check is not required. However, as we previously mentioned, you are strongly encouraged to properly maintain your gas appliances as your manufacturer recommends.
If you have a student or some other lodger staying in your home and paying you money for staying there, even for just a short period, even if it’s something like a student paying you for food, you are classed as a landlord. Therefore, you are responsible for regular gas safety checks and getting a certificate.
When a gas safety certificate is issued, it lasts for 12 months from the date of issue. After 12 months, there must be another gas safety check. As long as the new gas safety check is approved, another gas safety certificate will be issued. If you are a landlord, again, you must have a gas safety check done every year. In addition, if a new lease is to start, you must ensure that the checks are done within one year before the lease begins. So as a landlord, you are not allowed to have a tenant or tenant with an expired gas safety certificate even if you intend to get a new gas safety check soon.
You cannot have just anyone issue you a gas safety certificate. Only a Gas Safe registered engineer can test, report on, and give a certificate that proves your gas systems (appliances and flues) are safe.
You’ve been an excellent commercial property owner or an excellent landlord, and you annually have your property checked for any problems with gas. However, what happens if an annual gas safety check reports an issue? This can happen, especially with older properties.
The next step is to immediately rectify the situation if the gas problem is not corrected at the time of the safety check. Furthermore, no matter how long it takes to fix the problem, you should not use the gas appliance or machine under question until the issue is completely fixed.
Gas safety awareness should be on everyone’s mind, even if you are not required to get a gas safety check because you don’t own commercial property or you are not a landlord, it is highly recommended that you ensure that your property passes a gas safety check.