New rules introduced by the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG) will shake up the way that all competent persons schemes operate, according to OFTEC.

As the specialist scheme for the oil heating industry, OFTEC said it has already started to implement some of the new procedures for its 10,000 registrants, including the introduction of workmanship warranty for registered businesses operating in England and Wales.

Commenting on the changes, Jeremy Hawksley from OFTEC said: “New government legislation will soon mean that all competent persons must offer a workmanship warranty to their customers. With economic times uncertain, the warranty gives householders the reassurance that their work is covered if the installer stops trading by reason of administration, receivership, bankruptcy or retirement.”

Much of the other criteria laid down by DCLG is already in place at OFTEC, such as inspecting new registrants within three months, and checking they have appropriate test instruments and reporting procedures. OFTEC inspectors are also required to check that registrants hold sufficient levels of insurance, and check they have the correct technical reference books.

Regional inspectors are the face of OFTEC, meeting registered technicians on a daily basis. All of the current team have themselves worked in the oil heating industry and appreciate what it is like to run an oil heating business. With both new business audits and periodic inspections now mandatory, OFTEC will be expanding its team with the appointment of two full-time inspectors in the South of England and North West England. In the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands OFTEC will be adding two part-time inspectors.

The OFTEC Inspectors are responsible for auditing business procedures and checking individual technical competence, so they need a good knowledge of industry legislation. Inspections are also a useful way to help keep technicians updated on the latest technical developments, and regional inspectors can often pass on their experience with helpful hints or tips.