The Gas Regulations...
Gas work was regulated by law for the first time in 1994. The Gas Safety
(Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 were introduced by parliament in response to
growing concern about the dangers presented to the public by unqualified people
being allowed to carry out gas work unsupervised.
For the first time all people carrying out gas work were required to be
'competent', and legal entities (people OR businesses) charging money for gas
work had to be Gas Safe Registered. Gas Safe Register only accept legal entities for membership
which can prove their gas operatives are 'competent', so passing exams became
compulsory for gas fitters.
Unfortunately the regulations were drafted by lawyers not gas engineers and
all sorts of ambiguities and contradictions have been enshrined in the law,
leading to confusion and doubt in many areas. Interpretation of the law is in
the hands of the HSE, Gas Safe Register, and of course ultimately, the courts.
The 1994 regulations were tightened and updated in 1998, but few of the
ambiguities were addressed. Consequently, any advice on the regulations has to
be 'read them and decide for yourself what they are saying'. The HSE have
published their own interpretation of the regs in the form of a book called
"Safety In The Installation And Use of Gas
Systems And Appliances" which is widely relied upon in the gas industry,
but ultimately the court still has the last say.
If you would like to read the current gas regulations yourself, they are on
the HMSO site here
or I have a local copy in the form of one long, single page here
(easier to search).