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Free Content Assessing the safety of gas installations in buildings

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In general, the public perception of natural gas is that it is a safe and reliable product to use for heating premises. Very few realise how widely it is used in commerce and industry, primarily because they rarely hear of an incident or explosion caused by gas. Nevertheless, the risk of an incident will always be present to a greater or lesser extent. The safety of gas installations is of paramount importance to owners and managers of buildings. Previously British Gas and now The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) spend a great deal of time and effort to ensure that adequate safety advice is available to designers and installers of gas systems. The lack of major incidents due to gas explosions caused by failures downstream of the meter can only reflect well on competent workmanship and adherence to codes of practice, plus qualified advice available from consultants. Nonetheless, incidents do occur and the most common of these is carbon monoxide poisoning from an appliance or flue problem. A small number of explosions also occur due to gas leakage from pipework within buildings. These can be very photogenic and consequently always make bigger headlines. This paper outlines some of the areas of responsibility for gas installations and guidance for building designers.

Keywords: explosions, pipework, risk assessment, gas installations, gas safety, building safety

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Global Energy Associates Ltd St. Johns House St. Johns Industrial Estate Dunmow Road, Takeley Bishop's Stortford CM22 6SP, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2006


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