Heating engineers launch new federation for the trade

Published:  30 April, 2012

A new trade organisation - the Heating Engineers & Allied Trades Federation (HEATFED) has been launched, which its founder said will help the '"views and feelings of rank and file heating engineers to be heard".

Engineers across the UK are being invited to join a new trade organisation this month, which its founder says will help the '"views and feelings of rank and file heating engineers to be heard".

The Heating Engineers & Allied Trades Federation (HEATFED) was launched on 1st of May to provide a collective formal voice on behalf of heating installers, technicians, engineers and allied trades operatives.

Chairman and founder Neil Rose set up the new federation with the support of independent consultant Alan Black (former technical manager and technical director of OFTEC, president of the IDHEE, and a heating Engineer by trade), and Glen Rae (former OFTEC registration services manager and director).

It was formed in response to the disbanding of the Registered Technicians Committee that reported to OFTEC and in the face of proposed changes to the 2012 consultation on building regulations in England.

Last year the committee of 12 were replaced with one engineer to advise the association and represent all the registered engineers in the UK.

Chairman and founder of the federation Neil Rose said it was unfair to expect one man to represent the views of so many people with so many different specialisms.

"There are many political issues which face the industry and will cost the trade money, despite our customers not wanting to comply with them. The impact on the small-to-medium business can be catastrophic in these hard times. How many decisions are made and rules laid down that we the engineers have to comply with which are set by people who have never even had a spanner in their hands – is it any wonder that they often end up being impracticable and unworkable?” said Rose.

Commenting on CLG proposals to remove the mandatory warranty from independent approved inspectors while, at the same time, making competent persons provide warranties for their work, Rae said the additional requirements would "make absolutely no difference to the ability of an engineer to carry out works which are compliant with the building regulations.

"All it does is increase the cost to the consumer for using a registered competent person as opposed to having their work carried out under a Building Notice. In procedural terms this means that under a Building Notice only the building work on site is inspected but under a CP scheme CLG are forcing the inspection of the engineers, technician’s, offices, staff, businesses and procedures. It also raises the question of how competent are the CP Scheme operators inspectors? Are they competent to review a company’s health and safety policy?"

The advantage of being registered is that technicians don’t have to go through Building Control to have their work signed off, they can do it themselves.

But Rae said that due to poor implementation of regulations it has become more onerous to be a member of the scheme than it is not to be.

The federation will represent the views and interests of engineers with organisations and businesses from the European Commission, through national and devolved government, CP scheme operators and manufacturers.

Its aim is to work with government and those who create legislation in communicating the practical and commercial challenges faced by the heating and associated engineering trade.

“My hope is that the scheme operators and government will actually listen to the technicians,” said Rae.

Owned and run by members, the group will have an elected council to act on its behalf.

“With collective membership and representation as a federation that encompasses all the heating and allied trades engineers and technicians, we hope to achieve a membership of such magnitude and influence that the legislators who bury us in onerous rules and paperwork, and the organisations that profit from our misery will be able to do so no more,” said Rose.

Individual annual membership of the HEAT Federation costs £49.50 per year, and more information can be found at www.heatfed.co.uk.