Just before Christmas one of our members pointed out that whilst they were researching ventilation systems online, they discovered that Amazon are offering an extractor fan installation service. Given that you can now buy everything else on Amazon, this should not be any great surprise!
Are Amazon adhering to ventilation legislation?
Whilst I am passionate about ventilation and thought it was great to see a company like Amazon taking the provision of a healthy indoor environment seriously, I am equally, if not more passionate, about it being done properly and correctly.
You may not be aware, but such works are notifiable to building control in advance. The alternative is that extractor fan installation must be carried out by a competent persons – such as those registered on the BPEC Domestic Ventilation Scheme. In addition, the system much be commissioned in accordance with Approved Document F – this is legislation and must be followed.
What does approved ventilation legislation stipulate?
For those familiar with Approved Document F (which must now be my most read technical document, just shortly behind BS 8102), on the inside of the front cover under “Changes in the Legal Requirements”, it notes that “All fixed mechanical ventilation systems, where they can be tested and adjusted, shall be commissioned and a commissioning notice given to the Building Control Body”. The key term in this instance is where they can be tested and adjusted. This term is repeated throughout the ventilation regulations and guidance documents that support them. Not to labour the point, but this must be adhered to in order to comply with British building regulations and therefore the law!
What is Covered in Amazon’s ventilation installation deal?
Looking at the detail of what’s on offer for £95.00 (including VAT):
- Removal of existing bathroom fan
- Installation of 1 new customer-supplied fan of the same size and similar specifications
- Connecting to pre-existing ducting
- Connecting to pre-existing electrical connections and testing unit
- Installation of new ducting, or electrical connections and/or modifying the premises to accommodate a smaller or bigger fan, is not included and will incur additional charges
- Haul-away of old unit and the cost of any additional parts required to make the installation possible, will incur additional charge
However, the keen-eyed amongst you will note that it is not a complete installation. There is no mention of commissioning, competent persons or notification. In my rather humble opinion; surely checking, testing and proving that what you have installed is adequate and fit for purpose…should that not be the case?!?
Will Amazon change to comply with the legislation?
Whilst this might be a simple omission, we feel that Amazon has a duty to ensure that services offered on their website complies with British Law and legislation, particularly in the current climate following the tragic events at Grenfell. Even if this service does comply with building regulations, we feel that Amazon has an obligation to promote the fact that the service they provide meets the necessary requirements.
Letter to Amazon!
Naturally, the topic was discussed at one of our Residential Ventilation Group (RVG) meetings and it was agreed that we should write to Amazon to point this out. Needless to say I have had no response whatsoever, but then I was not expecting one either! I do not think I need to say much about the accountability of these large companies, but it has been brought into question quite a bit recently.
Amazon has a responsibility to set the precedent
Whilst this is just my opinion, what I think this demonstrates perfectly is the disregard for building regulations which Dame Judith Hackitt described in her reports.
Approved Document F seems to be the forgotten cousin compared to the rest of the building regulations and it absolutely must not be when we are talking about the health and well being of occupants. Surely if they want to change culture and trends within the construction industry, companies like Amazon and the government have a responsibility to set the precedent.
- Rising Damp
- Condensation in your property
- Video: The Importance of Ventilation to Tackle Condensation
- Stay in control of damp in the home this winter
- Final call for applications to trade body’s specialist construction programme>