OFTEC has marked the 15th anniversary of its industry recognised Competent Person Scheme with the news that registration numbers have hit their highest level since 2013.
Competent Persons Schemes were introduced by the government in 2002 to provide officially recognised installer schemes for a range of building trades. All schemes are authorised by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Welsh Government, which enable registered businesses to self-certify that their work complies with Building Regulations.
Over the past 15 years OFTEC's Competent Persons Scheme has expanded beyond its oil roots to also offer registration services to technicians and businesses working in solid fuel, renewable and electrical trades. As a result, and boosted by a buoyant domestic oil heating market, registration numbers for individual technicians have reached a four-year high, standing at 9,058. OFTEC has also recently welcomed its 150th solid fuel technician, underlining the increasing popularity of this registration option.
OFTEC registrations director Adrian Lightwood said: "OFTEC's Competent Persons Scheme was one of the original schemes receiving government recognition back in 2002 and has grown to become a recognised benchmark of quality, providing consumers with the reassurance that heating technicians have undergone professional training and are competent in their work.
"Encouraged by the ongoing low price of heating oil, the market is experiencing a strong upsurge in fortunes with sales of oil boilers increasing by 15% last year, building on the excellent growth seen in 2015. As consumers continue to stick with oil, there are increased business opportunities for oil technicians which is reflected in our rising registrations. But we recognise that the domestic heating market is gradually evolving and over recent years we have expanded the range of specialised support on offer to technicians who can now take advantage of our complete off-gas registration service covering both renewable and traditional heating technologies."
OFTEC is also looking to the long-term future and, in support of government aims to reduce carbon emissions from off-grid domestic heating, is currently investigating the viability of bringing to market a low carbon liquid biofuel as a direct replacement to kerosene by 2022.