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    • bestofboth
    • By bestofboth 15th Mar 17, 5:27 PM
    • 2Posts
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    bestofboth
    Non-compliant boiler in recently purchased flat
    • #1
    • 15th Mar 17, 5:27 PM
    Non-compliant boiler in recently purchased flat 15th Mar 17 at 5:27 PM
    Hello,

    I'm currently experiencing a nightmare with my boiler and I thought I'd post my situation on here to see if anyone had had a similar experience and had any advice...

    I recently purchased a flat and my solicitors at the time advised me that the vendor hadn't provided a building regulation compliance certificate for the boiler but that they were satisfied for me to proceed as the building regulation compliance for the property was lodged on the local authority search meaning that it "had been carried out to a legal and satisfactory standard".

    I've since been told by three separate qualified gas engineers that the boiler in my flat does not meet current building regulations as the flue extends through a neighbour's property meaning that they can't reach it to do a full inspection. As a result they have given me an "at risk" notice, which essentially means that they have turned the boiler off and told me that if I turn it back on and use it, it is at my own risk. This status that will remain indefinitely as a result of the flue not being accessible/located within my property.

    In addition, I have been told that there is a gas leak in the pipe from the gas meter to the boiler and as a result have had the gas cut off. Even when I get this fixed (by paying to have the gas pipe re-routed) and have the gas turned back on, my boiler will still remain "at risk".

    I didn't commission a full structural survey of the flat at the time of purchasing because everything I read at the time made it seem like it would be redundant for a recently built flat. I did however pay for a full conveyancing package, and I would have thought that these are issues that I should have been made aware of. The issue with the regulations did come up as I mentioned yet was dismissed by my solicitor. I wondered whether I have any recourse for requesting compensation from the solicitor as a result? If not, how can this kind of situation be avoided in future? The engineers have told me that apparently even a full survey doesn't include a check of the boiler, which seems crazy to me!

    Any advice would be much appreciated
Page 1
    • always_sunny
    • By always_sunny 15th Mar 17, 5:34 PM
    • 3,327 Posts
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    always_sunny
    • #2
    • 15th Mar 17, 5:34 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Mar 17, 5:34 PM
    When you buy a property (and you become the owner) why would there be a need for the boiler to be compliant? Or even working? Did the seller misrepresent the boiler and stated it as compliant?

    For tenants, fair enough, it's not within their remit so must meet whatever requirements.
    Expat with an EU passport
    • kingstreet
    • By kingstreet 15th Mar 17, 5:41 PM
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    kingstreet
    • #3
    • 15th Mar 17, 5:41 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Mar 17, 5:41 PM
    I've since been told by three separate qualified gas engineers that the boiler in my flat does not meet current building regulations
    Originally posted by bestofboth
    That is true of anything not built today.

    Did the surveyor you or your mortgage lender contracted suggest you get an independent report on the gas installation prior to purchase, as a solicitor would not do this as part of any conveyancing "package" you paid for?
    I am a mortgage broker. You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a Mortgage Adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice. Please do not send PMs asking for one-to-one-advice, or representation.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 15th Mar 17, 6:09 PM
    • 1,842 Posts
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    ReadingTim
    • #4
    • 15th Mar 17, 6:09 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Mar 17, 6:09 PM
    1 - you could have insisted on a building regulation compliance certificate for the boiler, but did not. By not doing so, you have accepted that the installation might not be compliant when you purchased the property.

    2 - just because something doesn't meet current standards doesn't mean it didn't meet the standards in force at the time of installation or that it's dangerous.

    3 - do the gas engineers mean that they can't inspect the flue because it's physically inaccessible, or won't inspect the flue because it's legally inaccessible without the permission of the neighbour? I suspect more of the latter rather than the former...

    4 - ultimately, everything is at your own risk. You could still be killed by carbon monoxide poisoning even if the boiler has an up to date certificate of whatever. It's less likely, but you won't be any less dead.

    Sorry mate, no compo here...
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 15th Mar 17, 7:05 PM
    • 14,790 Posts
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    AdrianC
    • #5
    • 15th Mar 17, 7:05 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Mar 17, 7:05 PM
    Building regs change frequently, in a whole number of ways. Insulation requirements are constantly increasing, disability accessibility is becoming more stringent, electrical installations are becoming ever safer.

    If, every time they changed, they needed to be applied to every property retrospectively, two-thirds of the British population would be builders, and the other third would work in the building materials supply chain. And there'd STILL be a huge backlog of work.

    So why would you expect your boiler to be up to the latest standards, unless it's brand spankin' new?
    • Typhoon2000
    • By Typhoon2000 15th Mar 17, 7:06 PM
    • 744 Posts
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    Typhoon2000
    • #6
    • 15th Mar 17, 7:06 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Mar 17, 7:06 PM
    A Powermax boiler? It was probably compliant when fitted.
    Last edited by Typhoon2000; 15-03-2017 at 7:13 PM.
    • teddysmum
    • By teddysmum 15th Mar 17, 7:09 PM
    • 8,031 Posts
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    teddysmum
    • #7
    • 15th Mar 17, 7:09 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Mar 17, 7:09 PM
    Unless the neighbour is unco-operative about accessing via his/her property, the order put on the boiler is unreasonable as it can, in fact, be accessed.
    • bestofboth
    • By bestofboth 15th Mar 17, 7:42 PM
    • 2 Posts
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    bestofboth
    • #8
    • 15th Mar 17, 7:42 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Mar 17, 7:42 PM
    That is true of anything not built today.

    Did the surveyor you or your mortgage lender contracted suggest you get an independent report on the gas installation prior to purchase, as a solicitor would not do this as part of any conveyancing "package" you paid for?
    Originally posted by kingstreet
    No they didn't. Is this something that they should have done? It seems to me like someone - I don't know who - among the team of people you hire to support you in your purchase of a property should be responsible for looking out for this potentially huge issue that you would never be aware of if you're not in the building trade.

    Unless the neighbour is unco-operative about accessing via his/her property, the order put on the boiler is unreasonable as it can, in fact, be accessed.
    Originally posted by teddysmum
    They are not uncooperative but there are not enough inspection hatches in their property and the flue is covered in insulation.

    1 - you could have insisted on a building regulation compliance certificate for the boiler, but did not. By not doing so, you have accepted that the installation might not be compliant when you purchased the property.

    2 - just because something doesn't meet current standards doesn't mean it didn't meet the standards in force at the time of installation or that it's dangerous.

    3 - do the gas engineers mean that they can't inspect the flue because it's physically inaccessible, or won't inspect the flue because it's legally inaccessible without the permission of the neighbour? I suspect more of the latter rather than the former...

    4 - ultimately, everything is at your own risk. You could still be killed by carbon monoxide poisoning even if the boiler has an up to date certificate of whatever. It's less likely, but you won't be any less dead.

    Sorry mate, no compo here...
    Originally posted by ReadingTim
    My solicitor reassured me that they were satisfied having not received the certificate, for the reasons I mentioned. As a first time buyer, I took their word for it, as they were the experts. It's a pretty lousy system that allows buyers to shell out so much for companies to do due diligence on their behalf only to be left with no comeback because "buyer's risk".

    The engineers can't physically access the flue due to lack of inspection hatches. I have been in and out of my neighbour's flat all day. That's not the issue.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 15th Mar 17, 8:24 PM
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    G_M
    • #9
    • 15th Mar 17, 8:24 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Mar 17, 8:24 PM
    ..... my solicitors at the time advised me that the vendor hadn't provided a building regulation compliance certificate for the boiler
    not unusual.
    a) how old is the boiler?
    b) did you get it inspected by a gassafe engineer?

    but that they were satisfied for me to proceed as the building regulation compliance for the property was lodged on the local authority search meaning that it "had been carried out to a legal and satisfactory standard".
    So to be clear, was this BR compliance for the building, or for the boiler? Very different!

    ......the boiler in my flat does not meet current building regulations as
    not unusual. Regulations change frequently and there is no requirement to update a property each time. The boiler may well have complied at the time it was installed.

    As a comparison, my 1850 house has very shallow foundations, as was typical in 1850. They do not comply with current regulations (surprise!). Do I have to knock my house down, deepen the foundations, and rebuild? Of course not!

    ....... they have given me an "at risk" notice, ......
    This does not mean the boiler is dangerous.It does not mean you cannot use it. It just means they could not inspect the flu.

    In addition, I have been told that there is a gas leak in the pipe from the gas meter to the boiler ...
    That is more serious, but entirely different. Only an inspection by a gassafe engineer could have discovered this - did you get an inspection done? I guess not!

    I didn't commission a full structural survey of the flat .......
    A surveyor would not have discovered either problem as surveyors are not gas engineers.

    I did however pay for a full conveyancing package,
    a gas leak is nothing to do with conveyancing.
    ..........The issue with the regulations did come up as I mentioned yet was dismissed by my solicitor.
    He probably rightly realised that building regs change so it is common for aspects of a property to be non-compliant (see my foundations example above).

    What matters to a buyer, is - is the boiler a) working at present and b) safe at present

    I wondered whether I have any recourse for requesting compensation from the solicitor as a result?


    If not, how can this kind of situation be avoided in future?
    By paying for a gasSafe registered engineer to inspect the boiler, gas cooker, gas fire, and gas supply.
    The engineers have told me that apparently even a full survey doesn't include a check of the boiler, which seems crazy to me!
    Why? do you expect a surveyor to be an electrician? and a gas engineer? and a structural engineer? and a ....... etc
    Originally posted by bestofboth
    1) Get the gas leak fixed
    2) switch on the boiler and use as normal
    3) liaise with your neighbour to allow gas engineer access to the flu as best as possible
    4) consider getting advice about re-routing the flu if possible. If not, ignore and live there happily for the next 20 years.

    I've been in my house, with 'non-compliant foundations, for 20 years. It has not fallen down in the night and killed me yet.
    Last edited by G_M; 15-03-2017 at 8:27 PM.
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 15th Mar 17, 9:32 PM
    • 7,378 Posts
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    Owain Moneysaver
    They are not uncooperative but there are not enough inspection hatches in their property and the flue is covered in insulation.
    Originally posted by bestofboth
    Guidance was updated from 1st December 2012 to require access hatches to flues in voids. If the boiler was installed before then it would have been compliant at the time of installation which would be covered by the building regulation registration at the time.

    There is no legal duty on you (or the previous owner) to have inspection hatches or other controls installed. If you choose not to have them, you should continue to have your boiler serviced and checked every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer who will advise that it is ‘At Risk’ Gas Safe

    You can use a carbon monoxide (CO) void monitoring safety shut-off system as an alternative to the installation of inspection hatches in some circumstances.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • jack_pott
    • By jack_pott 15th Mar 17, 10:43 PM
    • 3,924 Posts
    • 4,986 Thanks
    jack_pott
    British gas condemned my water heater as dangerous once because it was placed slightly too close to the CH boiler. When I pointed out that it was British Gas who installed it they decided it wasn't dangerous after all.
    • Chanes
    • By Chanes 15th Mar 17, 11:44 PM
    • 841 Posts
    • 522 Thanks
    Chanes
    1)...and killed me yet.
    Originally posted by G_M
    Yet. What a great word.
    • kingstreet
    • By kingstreet 16th Mar 17, 8:58 AM
    • 31,728 Posts
    • 16,960 Thanks
    kingstreet
    I didn't commission a full structural survey of the flat at the time of purchasing because everything I read at the time made it seem like it would be redundant for a recently built flat.
    Originally posted by bestofboth
    What did you commission?

    I would expect any chartered surveyor to mention gas appliances as a matter of course and suggest they be checked by a qualified professional.

    In fact, I can't remember the last time we did a mortgage on a second-hand property that didn't have the usual caveats on gas and electrical systems.
    I am a mortgage broker. You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a Mortgage Adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice. Please do not send PMs asking for one-to-one-advice, or representation.
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 16th Mar 17, 12:46 PM
    • 3,529 Posts
    • 3,119 Thanks
    Hoploz
    Great link from Owain Moneysaver above. Gas Safe advise that it can be used and may well be perfectly safe, but that it cannot be inspected.

    Unfortunately there's nothing to come back on the solicitor for here, other than it would have been useful if they'd suggested you have a gas inspection - it seems pretty much the norm that solicitors advise this these days - but it isn't actually a requirement.

    If you'd had an inspection the issue would have been raised. Of course, it wouldn't have been solved, only raised.
    • Okrib
    • By Okrib 16th Mar 17, 1:19 PM
    • 84 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Okrib
    As has already been pointed out, building regulations change all the time.

    It is perfectly normal for something to no longer be compliant but to be perfectly safe and also compliant at the time the work was done.

    Common sense needs to be applied.

    The issue you need to fix is the leaking gas pipe. Once you’ve done that it sounds like you’ll be able to have a fully functioning boiler – regardless of what today’s buildings regulations state.
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