OFTEC has announced the first OFTEC-approved training centre in Northern Ireland to offer training and assessment for OFTEC's Solid Fuel Installation, Servicing and Commissioning (Dry) certification.

The centre has opened at Micon Distribution in Lisburn, which is a distributor to the fireplace and stove industry throughout the UK and Ireland. It is offering the new course to technicians to provide greater support for retailers and installers within the industry.

In conjunction with North West Regional College, the specialist course aims to provide candidates with the knowledge and understanding to install dry stoves that meet the requirements of Building Regulations and standards.

Managing director Michael Farnan said: "The next step for us was to ensure we had the support in place for our retailers and installers within the industry. Becoming an OFTEC Approved Training Centre enables us to provide recognised training and assessment of installers."

The new training centre in Lisburn brings the number of centres in Ireland offering solid fuel training to two, with METAC established already in County Laois. The courses are open to technicians wanting to demonstrate their competence to customers and offers a recognised qualification and trade association registration.

David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland manager, said: "We are delighted to welcome Micon as an OFTEC training centre in Northern Ireland. Their offering of the solid fuel course will complement the current oil courses being run by centres locally and fills a welcome gap in the solid fuel market along with METAC in the Republic of Ireland.

"For too long there has been a limited offering of solid fuel training in Ireland and we are delighted to be associated with proactive providers like Micon and METAC. For OFTEC registrants who have completed a solid fuel course in recent years they can add on the solid fuel scope of registration from just £50 (€65).

"With trendy solid fuel stoves in vogue at the moment, it is important that technicians are fully qualified to correctly install and properly maintain these appliances, and to comply with regional building regulations and manufacturer’s installation instructions."

Registering with OFTEC and becoming a ‘Competent Person’ means a technician can demonstrate their competence to consumers. This certification allows consumers to have peace of mind as the technician has been trained, assessed and inspected in the field and is deemed competent to work on their heating system.

Additionally, technicians have full insurance and are part of a trade association with a proper complaints procedure in place, should something go wrong. The technician also has access to free technical advice seven days a week, the support of local inspectors on the ground and the use of control documentation for the benefit of consumers.

Micon will initially offer installers the OFT15-108(D) - Installation, commissioning and servicing of solid fuel burning appliances (dry space heating) and propose to offer the OFT15-108(W) – Installation, commissioning and servicing of solid fuel burning appliances (dry space heating and hot water heating) later this year.

Under each scope of registration technicians can install, commission and service solid fuel fired stoves, room heaters and associated equipment and systems in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, industry practices and standards, and legislative requirements.