Skip to main content

Boilers: Safety

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what steps she is taking to ensure that boilers (a) are being fitted to the specifications of building regulations and (b) checked regularly to prevent deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning; (244511)

(2) if she will consider bringing forward legislative proposals to make the installation of carbon monoxide alarms a legal requirement (a) in publicly-owned housing and (b) in the construction of all new homes.

Our priority is to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide in the first place. Building regulations are in place to ensure appliances are safely installed and properly ventilated. Carbon monoxide detectors and alarms will never be a substitute for proper installation and maintenance of combustion appliances.

Part J of the Building Regulations 2000 (Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems) sets requirements for an adequate supply of air for combustion and for adequate provision for the discharge of the products of combustion to the outside air. The regulations in England and Wales are inspected and enforced by building control bodies. My Department has also authorised a number of competent person self-certification schemes which help ensure that installers are aware of the standards applicable to boiler installation and are competent to install boilers to those standards. Competent person scheme operators monitor the work of their members to make sure it complies with the requirements.

Private landlords are responsible for maintaining their properties, including the safety of gas and electrical appliances and the fire safety of furniture and furnishings provided under the tenancy. All private landlords are required by the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 to ensure that all gas appliances are maintained in good order and that an annual gas safety check is carried out by a registered tradesman. This requirement is enforced by the local authority.

We expect to let a research contract early in the new year to look at the changes and developments that have taken place in relation to carbon monoxide detectors since our last review in 2002. The findings of this work will feed into a formal consultation on Part J which we intend to publish in mid-2009.