As of April 2018, changes to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 have meant that landlords can now take advantage of an MOT-style gas servicing regime. So, what does this mean for your business? And how is it beneficial?
Gas servicing should happen every 12 months in order to ensure the safety of tenants and the compliance of your business.
Previously, where gas servicing was always carried out early, the expiry date (next service due date) was continually brought forward.
For example, if a service took place on the 24th April 2017, the next would be due on or before the 24th April 2018. So in order to comply with regulations and to ensure they could gain access to the property before the expiry date, the landlord would organise the next service early, on the 31st March 2018, so the next due date would be 31st March 2019. This would be the case year after year, which meant that:
This resulted in many landlords and housing providers seeing higher costs than were strictly necessary for the upkeep of their gas servicing regimes, as more services than necessary were required, and resources were used inefficiently on travel.
This prompted some organisations to request that MOT style servicing for gas assets should be an option for them. Therefore the Health & Safety Executive have made changes to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 that took effect from 6 April 2018. One of these changes gives the option for landlords to implement an ‘MOT style’ gas servicing regime.
This means that landlords are now allowed to carry out the service of gas appliances at a property up to a maximum of two months prior to the next service deadline, whilst retaining the existing expiry date.
For example, if a service is carried out on the 24th April 2019, and the next one is carried out on the 31st March 2020, then the next expiry date would remain the 24th April 2021, because the service was carried out within a 2 month window before the expiry date.
However, the existing expiry date cannot be retained where a service is carried out:
Adopting MOT style gas servicing provides a number of benefits for your business:
Under the previous regulations, assuming you carried out your gas appliance servicing 30 days before the due day, over a period of 9 years you would end up carrying out 10 inspections.
With MOT style servicing your organisation will only perform 9 inspections over 9 years. That’s a reduction in the number of inspections carried out of 11% each year.
A worked example is below assuming a cost per inspection of £35.
Stock size: 9,000
Total cost: £315,000 (9,000 * £35)
Potential saving each year: £34,650 (£315,000 * 0.11).
With MOT-style gas servicing, organisations can benefit from improved flexibility, allowing them to organise gas inspections more logically and efficiently into compact geographical groups. Because of the improved flexibility around when services can be carried out, these groupings are less likely to be disrupted over time, giving benefits in reduced travel time and travel costs.
Finding a time when gas servicing engineers can access properties to carry out a service can be difficult and depends on the flexibility of the tenants within a strict timeframe.
Under the previous rules, landlords would often hold off servicing gas appliances until as close to the expiry date as possible in an attempt to reduce the expense of a shortened servicing cycle. This often resulted in landlords being unable to gain access to properties as they could offer little flexibility to the tenants.
With MOT-style servicing, tenants are now afforded a 2 month period to find a time in which servicing engineers can access the property. This means less pressure is placed on tenants by landlords as they struggle to meet servicing due dates and landlords can afford more flexibility to accommodate tenants’ differing work schedules and availability.
If your business uses online appointment scheduling, with MOT-style gas servicing you can offer more potential time-slots for your customers.
Adopting MOT-style gas servicing has no effect on the existing legislation regarding gas servicing cycles: landlords must ensure that an annual gas safety check is carried out within 12 months of the installation of a new appliance or flue which they provide and annually thereafter by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.
Records for your current check, plus the previous 2 gas safety checks (so three years’ worth in total) must be kept, and a copy of the certificate given to tenants within 28 days of the check being carried out. New tenants should be issued with a copy of the most recent gas safety certificate when they move in.
Records should be kept of the preserved servicing due date as well as the dates inspections were carried out, and your record keeping system should include the ability to reset your due date should an inspection fall outside of the 2 month grace period.
Orchard Asset is a comprehensive platform to help you manage your operations, with a specialist Compliance module to keep track of servicing dates, certificates and inspections so you can be fully confident your organisation is compliant. For more information on how Orchard Asset could help your business, visit our Property & Asset Management page.