Billing Chimneys is proud to have accreditation from HETAS, but why is that, and what is HETAS? In this article, we talk about HETAS and why it is important to us as a company not only as an indicator of the quality of our work but also for providing confidence and reassurance for our customers.
The acronym HETAS stands for Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme, but its work goes beyond this single statement. HETAS is a non-profit organisation that is not only about the testing and approval of heating equipment but also provides a range of services for companies like Billing Chimneys. HETAS offers expert advice and training to installation companies and offers information to the general public. In its essence, it is about improving safety and air quality by ensuring those who are installing heating equipment are competent and their services meet a high standard.
HETAS maintains registers of appliance installers, service engineers and chimney sweeps who are fully trained and competent. Additionally, they maintain registers of competent retailers. This aims to give confidence to consumers when having heating equipment installed in their homes and businesses. HETAS also provides information on fuels and fuel efficiency as part of their drive for air quality.
Central to this is HETAS’s impartiality. They state: ‘Providing trustworthy information is at the heart of our service, especially through our website and HETAS Guide.’ To do this HETAS undertakes research that provides evidence-based information to influence decision-makers, including the government, on which to base legislation.
Safety is at the heart of everything Billing Chimneys does, from the smallest domestic installation or inspection to a large commercial contract. It was due to one of our larger customers that Billing Chimneys joined the accreditation scheme. Tony Billing, Director said: ‘Initially we signed up as one of our larger customers requested it to be able to go ahead with the job, and after proceeding we realised it would be beneficial to all of our customers.’
As members, Billing Chimneys can take advantage of training schemes run by HETAS. Also, the fact that registration needs to be renewed regularly has the advantage of continuous professional development for staff. Tony says: ‘HETAS registration for each installer expires after 4 years so periodically undertaking refresher courses ensures that our engineers always remain up to date on current installation regulations.’
It isn’t only Billing’s expert installation engineers who benefit from HETAS training. ‘HETAS also provide courses for our non-installers which is great as this provides further knowledge on regulations, standards, legislation and appliance sizing without having to become an installer.’ Added Tony.
Adhering to the relevant regulations is essential to ensure high standards and safety with heating installations, crucially, non-compliance could lead to work needing to be redone. Many installations must be notified to the local council which attracts a fee and this can take time, however, having HETAS accreditation takes care of this. Tony explains: ‘Completing the Certificate of Compliance on an installation and sending to HETAS automatically notifies the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) which is a legal requirement. If we were not registered installers, we would have to notify the LABC, pay the fee and arrange for them to visit which slows down the process for the customer as we would not be able to sign off immediately. Some smaller straightforward installations can therefore be completed in as little as 1 or 2 days.’
HETAS benefits consumers in a variety of ways but the key element is its independence, operating openly and with objectivity and impartiality. Consumers researching companies to undertake a heating installation in their home or business can rest assured that hiring a HETAS registered engineer will ensure high standards and compliance with regulations.
HETAS works with a wide variety of partners to ensure a broad scope of knowledge and input, including government, industry experts and innovators. As a not-for-profit company, it is overseen by an industry body of members who provide guidance and direction. HETAS itself is subject to an annual audit by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
Overall, HETAS provides consumer confidence by:
Most of this information is available through the HETAS website and if you need to speak with one of their experts there are dedicated email addresses for different service areas, including homeowner support. Consumers can search the registers of installers, providers of servicing and chimney sweeps. Leaflets are available for download and examples include advice on wood-burning stoves, solid fuel heating and chimney and flue systems.
Following an installation, a certificate of compliance is issued. This is an important document.
When your installation has been completed you will receive pink copies of the completed and signed HETAS Certificate of Compliance and HETAS Commissioning Sheet. A white copy of the Certificate of Compliance is also sent directly to HETAS to confirm compliance with building regulations and for them to notify the local authority’s Building Control.
The certificate details:
The white copy of the certificate will then be sent back to the customer by HETAS and should be retained for future reference (it may be requested upon sale of the property etc.). Replacement copies can only be provided by HETAS directly at a cost.
Having HETAS accreditation is beneficial to us as a company and to our customers. Through HETAS accreditation, Billing Chimneys’ customers can be satisfied that all our engineers work to a high standard, receive continuous professional development and keep at the top of their profession. Our non-engineering staff maintain the same high standards, ensuring they are knowledgeable and can speak with confidence to customers.
Whilst Billing Chimneys first joined HETAS because it was requested by a client we quickly saw that there were advantages for both ourselves and our customers. We are and remain proud HETAS members keeping us up to date with the latest training and information and providing our customers with peace of mind when engaging our services.
If you want to read more about HETAS see: www.hetas.co.uk
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