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With the aim of supporting its 9000 registrants during the coronavirus pandemic, OFTEC has announced that it will extend all current business and technician registrations for two months, free of charge. Businesses paying monthly by direct debit will also be given a two-month payment holiday covering May and June. The package of support measures applies to all those who maintain their registration and will be reviewed, and potentially extended, depending on the length of time the UK remains under the current restrictions.
OFTEC registrations director Adrian Lightwood, explains: “The current situation is clearly hitting businesses hard and the heating sector is no exception, especially as so many technicians are self-employed or work for small companies. The government support scheme for the self-employed is welcome, but we are concerned that payments through the scheme may not be received for around three months, leaving many in a difficult financial position.
“As well as giving our registered technicians a little breathing space, we are also working hard to ensure all technicians have easy access to the most up to date sector information, including the government support packages available, via a dedicated page on our website. Our registration and technical teams are also on hand to answer queries via email.”
Heating technicians can continue to carry out repair and maintenance work, provided they have no coronavirus symptoms, no one in the household they are attending is isolating (except when emergency work must be completed), and social distancing rules are observed at all times. In addition to the official guidelines, OFTEC recommends that registered technicians also carry out a risk assessment to determine whether they should work in customers’ homes, especially if they fall into the ‘at risk’ category.
Due to current restrictions, all OFTEC inspection work is on hold, while deadlines for outstanding inspection non-conformities have been automatically extended until works can be safely completed.
As training centres are now closed, OFTEC is also extending the qualification period for registered technicians whose qualifications lapse before 31 May.
Adrian Lightwood concludes: “Like so many businesses, OFTEC has had to limit its operations over this period but many of our functions and services remain unchanged and can still be accessed online. The health and welfare of our technicians remains a key priority and we will continue to support them to our best ability during this difficult time.”
Further information can be found at www.oftec.org