Solid fuel heating – joining the competent person register
Open fires are still popular with many households, but different types of solid fuel appliances have seen demand soar in recent years. Heating engineers who install solid fuel heating appliances need to have the right expertise and being on a competent person register is an assurance to potential customers that you fit the bill.
OFTEC provides training and accreditation to heating engineers working in this field. Alternatively, if you already have the appropriate qualifications, you can apply for registration as a competent person. This means your business details will be listed on the OFTEC register of solid fuel equipment installation and maintenance technicians, making it easier for prospective customers to find you.
Advantages of solid fuel heating
Wood burners, room heaters and other modern solid fuel appliances are currently in demand, partly as lifestyle and interior design statements. One company selling wood burning stoves reported a sales rise of 20% during 2015 with urban areas in particular seeing orders increasing.
Apart from the look of these appliances, another reason for this trend is the fact that solid fuel appliances can be economical to run, saving on energy bills, although the exact cost will depend on the type of appliance and fuel used.
There is a wide range of fuels available, with seasoned wooden logs being a popular choice because they burn particularly well. Other choices include a wide variety of branded smokeless fuels, which are clean and simple to use, and anthracites, which are naturally smokeless. These come in two sizes, small and large, but the larger anthracite nuts are normally preferred.
If your customers live in a smoke control area, they are only allowed to use fuels on the official Government list of authorised fuels for their part of the UK. The only exception to this is if they are using “exempt appliances” which includes some types of stove and boiler.
Registration of installers
It is vital that solid fuel appliances are installed by people who are experts in this technology. If an appliance of this type is wrongly installed, or not maintained properly, it can potentially cause a fire. There could also be the danger of carbon monoxide leaking – a poisonous gas, exposure to which can be fatal.
As well as these serious dangers, there is the risk that badly-installed appliances will not give optimum performance and will be less efficient than they should be. Fortunately, having the right expertise can avoid these pitfalls.
Installation of solid fuel burners must conform with instructions from the manufacturer and with Building Regulations for the particular area. Building Control consent is also required, but this is not necessary if the work is carried out by someone who is on a competent person register.
This means customers are far more likely to choose someone who has this registration, as they will be able to self-certify their own work in regions where this is applicable. This will make the whole process much simpler, bringing cost savings to the home owner.
There are two different scopes of solid fuel OFTEC registration available. One covers installing dry space heating equipment and the other covers appliances which include both dry space and water heating. Both scopes also include commissioning and servicing the appliances. Biomass registration for renewable systems is also available.
To register, you need to have a technical qualification as a solid fuel installer which you have passed within the last four years. This must be a recognised qualification meeting Minimum Technical Competencies (MTC) requirements. If you qualified more than four years ago then OFTEC recommends you take a course and update your qualification before you are able to register.
There are many advantages for solid fuel technicians in being listed on OFTEC’s competent person register. These include being able to use the OFTEC logo on your vehicles and paperwork and having access to technical help, warranties and insurance.
Soild Fuel Competent Person Registration – Click for details of registration as a solid fuel technician.