Fighting for a gas safe nation
To support Gas Safety Week 2017, a team of industry advocates toured Wolseley Plumb Center branches in a Vaillant demo van, with a giant Gas Safe card in tow.
The road trip team consisted of Peter Booth, heating installer of the year (aka @PBPlumber on Twitter); Tim Pollard, head of sustainability at Wolseley; Simon Whysall, sales director at Vaillant; and the mysterious industry figure who goes by the name of @GasManGod on Twitter.
Last year, the #RegardTheCard campaign launched on Twitter to raise more awareness of the Gas Safe card. This year, the road trip team took an oversized Gas Safe card to Plumb Center branches in Ilkeston, Nottingham, Mansfield, Tamworth, Burton and Derby.
“The welcome we received was great,” says Booth. “It made me feel privileged to be encouraging my peers to promote their skills to home owners. A skill that only they can do legally and should be commended for.”
On the tour, Wolseley Plumb Center quizzed installers on whether they think home owners are aware of the risks of using an unregistered gas engineer, to which more than half of respondents said people were not aware.
Worryingly, 87.5 per cent said they were hardly ever asked to show their Gas Safe card, and the remaining 12.5 per cent said this was only on a monthly basis. A quarter of installers said they correct poor workmanship and disaster jobs daily, and the team also heard horror stories of uncovering homemade boilers and incorrect or corroded flues.
“The Gas Safety Week initiative is really important for awareness for both consumers and installers,” says Whysall. “We came up with the idea for a road trip as we felt that meeting with and talking to installers directly about gas safety is invaluable.
“It was great to meet so many installers who are really passionate and conscientious about what they do, and how they proudly comply with gas safety best practice and regard the card. The fact that we also had a laugh with the gas engineers and counter staff that we met was a huge bonus, and gave us a great feeling about the industry we work in. Everyone was a winner.”
Wolseley’s Pollard also felt the road trip was a worthwhile exercise. “The blend of branch visits and outbound calling to installers was both great fun and highly effective in raising the profile of important issues,” he said. “Personally, I would love this to become an annual pilgrimage!”
GasManGod, who remains anonymous, adds: “Let us give thanks and praise to Thy Holy Installer community for helping us raise the profile of Gas Safety. Thou can expect bigger, better and holier things next year! Amen!”
For more about Gas Safety Week, visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk/gassafetyweek
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