We all know we mustn't install a LPG appliance in a basement, cellar or below-ground room, don't we? But can anybody point to the authority for this please?
I've just seen an LPG combi installed in a semi-basement (floor three feet below ground level, but with windows above ground level) which I think doesn't comply. Customer reckons the CORGI installer who fitted it four months ago was unsure about the location too but checked it out and found it WAS ok, but neither of us could find anything written down to support our positions. I called CORGI technical from site but after being kept on hold for 20 minutes with no progress up the queue I gave up.
Now I'm looking through my stuff at home and still can't find a reference to it so I thought I'd ask here and see if anyone can beat me to it.
I'm not LPG registered but the guiding principle as I recall is that there must be a door at floor level.
I have that situation at a local mansion where the swimming pool boiler [NG as it happens] is clearly in the basement as far as the house is concerned but the ground slopes and there is a rear entrance door at basement floor level.
I need to find it written down though because this looks to me as though it's going to go legal.
I Also need to be able to support the Warning Notice I'm about to issue.
See Gas safety (instalation & use ) regulations
6 (8) No person shall install in a cellar or basement -
(b) an appliance fuelled by liquefied petroleum gas which has an automatic ignition device or a pilot light.
The only question remaining how a cellar is defined, but without further notes I would use the common usege, that's to say, floor below ground level.
Looking at my [ye olde*] Gas Safety Handbook section 18 Definitions:
That would suggest my notion of one or more doors opening to external air at basement floor level is not enough.
Best thing that customer can do is invite Corgi in and you monitor their performance. It is Corgi's job to interpret regulations.
* I'll buy a new one when Corgi publish it in loose-leaf format updated FOC monthly, instead of trying to rip us all off.
I knew I’d seen it somewhere.
Page 46 of the Gas Installer September 2001 in their series on IUP. From Table 3 of prescribed unsafe LPG situations:
But it is only AR. Still enough to recommend a turn-off, label and appointment of a lawyer.
Thanks Bernie and Les, just the job.
I found the definition of a basement in my CORGI LPG handbook too, but no reference in it, as far as I could see, to the Gas Reg 6(8)(b) pointed out by Bernie. It probably IS there somewhere, but with no index or search method, fiendishly hard to find, mutter mutter.
I'm going back that way this afternoon and I'll call in while I'm there and cover my butt with a Warning Notice. The real problem is that its a little grade II listed house and they went to considerable lengths to get Planning Permission for the boiler to be fitted in this semi-basement.....
It pays to remember WHY the 'basement rules' exist and why LPG is different from NG.
NG diffuses upwards and will even disperse out of a ventilated basement reasonably quickly.
LPG 'pools' downwards and will NOT disperse unless it can 'flow' downhill.
This is PRECISELY why petrol filling stations have a raised step in the doorway into the shop - to prevent petrol fumes from flowing IN. LPG behaves the same way.
I think it is well past time that CORGI got some teeth and used them (or maybe HSE - don't really care which but they need to get their roles properly defined and understood).
There is absolutely no value in a 'regulator' that postures and poses, and instead of actually regulating and making itself useful, focuses on bleeding it's victims white and conspicuously FAILS to provide useful, consistent information and backup. It's a culture thing - and CORGI's MUST change. The low-cost looseleaf binder versus expensive non-updateable bound books issue is only one example of 'wrong thinking'.
Time for a Cultural Revolution - if possible including 'managers' and 'executives' paraded though the streets in dunces caps!
Wholely agree John. This boiler installation looks instinctively wrong for the reasons you outline. Toruble was, despite being sure it also contravened the regulations I could find no reference easily on the spot, partly due to the absence of an index in ANY of the CORGI handbooks.
My wife is also amazed the CORGI handbooks are not ALL on-line and searchable for exactly this purpose, but I'm not. Doing that would help engineers and hurt revenue so is completely contrary to the internal CORGI company culture that seems to guide everything they do.
Re the referance interlinking via IT, I suspect the problem may be copyright. BS is copyright of BSI, GSR HMgov etc etc.
Perhaps we should try to get gas safety in the public domain.
Second thought: why stop at gas safety. Why not oil & solid fuel too?
I have had a look at various books I have got on LPG and the Calor saftey hand book and they all say that LPG should not be installed in any location that is below gound that cannot not be ventilated at low level to outside.
LPG when it leaks runs like water to the lowest point and then pools and fills up, so if this installation leaked you could be walking round up to your waste in gas.
I would issue a warning, keep written record of the warning and refuse to touch the installation.
I once got a large commerical boiler room converted from LPG to oil at the commisioning stage because of this and no one noticed, the LPG suppliers had even connected up the gas supply to it.
I was once asked by a longstanding customer to install a new LPG central heating boiler serving a small restaurant which already had several lpg cookers water boilers grills fryers etc.
We are looking back several years to the days when you could elect to join corgi, (it was not mandatory). I refused to install the boiler as they wanted to put it in a utility area and the floor of this room was 6" below ground level so you had a step up at all three exits. A "know it all" clerk of works insisted that this was where he wanted the boiler, so I eventuallity got a call from the odd job man who was proposing to fit it.(He had fitted natural gas in a prior job). I warned him of the standards and insisted that if he did proceed then no self respecting service engineer would ever touch the job again. His last words to me were that " it'll be OK! its much the same as ordinary gas"
Three days later I was asked by the owner to meet him at the boilerhouse. "Joe's had an accident and cant finish the job"
When I got there the room was evidently the scene of a fire, and an open flued Ideal Mexico sat neatly at one side of the mess. Joe had purged the gas pipe and the figure of four turns of the meter dial was obviously what he was aiming for. but having no dial he gave it what he considered plenty and reconnected the coupling. He went out for a smoke leaving the back door open to disperse the gas.
When he came back in some five mins later he pressed the grey button for a few seconds then repeatedly pressed the piezo all the time peering into the bottom of the boiler for signs of the pilot. He did not see the sheet of flame coming.
Indeed it was not the flame but the remaining cloud of extremely hot gases which injured him.
He left the room with clothes and hair on fire and if it had not been for a quick witted gardener who hosed him down with cold water then his injuries would have been much more severe. As it was he spent ten days in hospital and it was several months before he was able to work again.
If this is the effect of a six inch pool think of the possibilities if it were waist deep.
Cover your backside thoroughly Mike. I personally would RIDDOR it too.
Just to complete the story the proprietor was by this time easily convinced that this was not the correct site and the boiler was installed properly by me in the room next door.
Interesting and sobering tale John. I returned and issued an AR Warning Notice yesterday, serving it through the letter box as there was no reply when I knocked on the door.
Unfortunately I can't RIDDOR a basement installation it as it is only AR.
However, from memory I think the gas bottle installation might be less than a metre from a door into the cellar, so could also be AR. Two ARs can now make a ID, I believe. Maybe I CAN RIDDOR it after all.
This installer needs to be stopped in my view. Customer suspected it was wrong and voiced their concerns BEFORE the installation was carried out, but he told the customer he had checked it out and it was fine, and went ahead and fitted it anyway.
If you do RIDDOR ensure you get a receipt. The HSE do not routinely act on RIDDOR's so best ask the customer to invite CORGI in.
Monitor CORGI's performance in the situation and record it.
Just been looking at www.riddor.gov.uk, where we can do gas RIDDORs ( and get receipts). It asks for name/address/postcode of the both the customer and the installer of the dangerous gas fitting. Don't we need to obtain permission before divulging this info?
You'd be well advised to. From what you've said I don't think you'll have a problem but most people prefer 'not to get involved' fearing, I don't understand what.
As with GWN [which is not mandatory] people have a prima-facie right to privacy. Do it by the book.
This gets to be a more complicated issue by the minute. Anyone got a handle on the legalities?
Information (Data protection)Act?
Sale of goods act?
Health and Safety?
Help me please!!!!!
There are issues under various headings which I'll tackle later if anyone is interested but the first priority has to be gas safety.
The ideal route would be to get CORGI in and ensure they do their job properly. That includes a RIDDOR if appropriate.
Common sense suggests disconnecting the LPG gas supply from the room altogether. However that could allow CORGI to say there was not an At Risk situation when they arrived; It has happened before.
Can anyone suggest a way of complying with the GSIUR 29, 9 (c)
"Where a person performs work on a gas appliance he shall immediately thereafter examine
(a) the effectiveness of any flue;
(b) the supply of combustion air;
(c) its operating pressure or heat input or, where necessary, both"
when we encounter a pre-mix boiler connected to a LPG bulk storage tank please?
U can only do what u can do,if u dont feel u can comply dont work on it, If it 'hit the fan' & u had recorded correct workin inlet press & FGA was as per manufacturers recomendation,HSE would surely b on your side ?