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My gas meter is in the garage and is apparently illegal!

(7 Posts)
chicaguapa Fri 13-May-16 22:07:31

Through some fluke an NGN guy looked at our gas meter last night and told us it was illegal. Our neighbour was having problems with his gas pressure and called them out, so they asked to test ours. Then pandemonium broke out! <exaggerates slightly>

Our garage was built as an extension to the house and whereas the meter was originally outside the house, the extension then made it inside. Apparently the plastic supply pipe to the meter is illegal inside a house and I was told that had there been a fire, our house insurance would have been void.

They came back first thing today and have been digging up the driveway and they've moved the gas meter and replaced the plastic supply pipe with a metal one. They've done it for free as I was able to prove that we didn't have the extension work done and it was like that when we bought the house.

I dug out the Buildings Regs certificate from 2000 from the conveyancing paperwork and phoned the Council to speak to a surveyor. He was adamant that this doesn't come under Buildings Regs and that they don't look at gas supply as the meter was already there. The NGN guys disagreed and said that the building work changed the location of the meter from outside to inside so they should have.

I did a quick google and it says that a plastic supply pipe is in contravention of Building Regulations and the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (Regulation 5(2)), which states that internal gas pipework must be made from metal.

It's been really disruptive today as I had to take a day off with no notice. We've had to clear out half the garage, we have a huge hole in our driveway which will be made good within 5 days and there's also an electrician due to come out to move the earth wire which will need taking more time off work.

I'm a bit shocked that we bought our house believing that the extension complied with Buildings Regs (and thinking that we were adequately insured). So I'm a bit pissed off about the whole thing tbh. Should I phone the Council back and argue this with them? Does anyone know anything about Buildings Regs and whether the extension was incorrectly signed off because of the plastic pipe?

PigletJohn Fri 13-May-16 23:14:08

I don't know, but I would expect that gas pipes upstream of the meter will be governed, not by building regs, but by some kind gas regulations.

That's what happens with electricity. The British Standard for domestic wiring does not apply to the distributors' installation. You often find, for example, that the wires are thinner, and very old, and may or may not be earthed.

Several houses near me were built with plastic pipes inside, and SGN (as it is here) cut off the street, dug up and replaced them all in a day when they found out. They did quite a neat job of reinstating the block paving. There are probably about 20 houses built at the same time by the same people, most of them have an external meter box. The problem is that the polypipe might melt if there was a fire inside the house, and the stopcock is next to the meter, so you couldn't turn it off. In older houses I have seen them replace lead pipe for the same reason. On the "house" side of the meter it is the householders' responsibility.

I expect the house owner at the time the building was done had a duty to inform the gas operator, and didn't.

chicaguapa Sat 14-May-16 09:57:10

Thanks PigletJohn.

Some guys turned up today and apparently made good the hole. But it doesn't match the rest of the driveway and we're pretty pissed off.

Seems odd that something which is potentially so dangerous isn't actually checked by anyone. It was a fluke it was discovered at all!

Autumnchill Sat 14-May-16 10:45:57

We've had the same situation except for the immediate action after discovery.

Side extension onto the drive and now pipe work is in utility room. We had a smell of gas last year so got them out and he went outside to see where it came into the house at which point I showed him into the utility room and he said that wasnt right. He explained its so they can turn it off before entering the house whereas now if we had a leak the potential for it to be under the house and not be able to be turned off is greater. Makes sense.

We explained that prior to building, we rang the Gas Board and was told it was okay. The guy was really helpful but said he had to report it as buried services.

We got a letter in September for an appointment for them to come and assess late October. Took day off, then day before got cancelled as other jobs took priority. Not heard from them since!

Assuming when they do the smart meter they'll raise it again then and it'll get sorted.

Threefaries Sat 14-May-16 23:14:39

Unfortunately building control in England and Wales have no knowledge of gas regulations. If during the exstention work there was no gas work carried out, then no gas safe/corgi registered engineer would of visited the property and raised the issue.
The builder would of not wanted to get the gas meter moved because of the cost involved.

Autumnchill Sun 15-May-16 09:06:37

Not wanting to hijack the thread but ours was a complete refurb and extension so plumbers, electricians, builders and at no point did the guys doing the boiler and central heating say anything about the gas into the house. It would have been no hassle to have done it as everyone was being dug up anyway.

Only person that mentioned it was a guy who came to quote and he suggested we rang the Gas Board and ask if there were any plans replace the meter and if so, do it prior to work commencing. That's when we spoke to the GB and explained everything and they said it wouldn't need moving.

I wish we had known as now it looks like they are going to have to rip up the utility room / garage floor

chicaguapa Sun 15-May-16 09:38:45

It's interesting, isn't it?

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 state:

5.—(2) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1) above, no person shall install in a building any pipe or pipe fitting for use in the supply of gas which is—

(a) made of lead or lead alloy; or
(b) made of a non-metallic substance (...)

8.—(1) No person shall make any alteration to any premises in which a gas fitting or gas storage vessel is fitted if that alteration would adversely affect the safety of the fitting or vessel in such a manner that, if the fitting or the vessel had been installed after the alteration, there would have been a contravention of, or failure to comply with, these Regulations.

I guess in our case it was the builder who failed to comply with these regs but as the work was carried out 16 years ago and we don't know who by, we have no recourse. Just seems very dangerous to me that no-one checks this. hmm

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