Coronavirus - information for consumers

Last updated - 26/03/2020

Getting work done in your home

Covid-19 poses significant challenges for heating engineers and their customers. It is clear that visiting homes presents an increased risk of transmitting the virus, both to the tradesperson and to the people in the homes that they visit.

The work carried out by the heating and plumbing industry is essential to maintain the supply of heating and hot water, not only to homes, but to schools, hospitals and businesses. This work will help ensure people are kept safe. 

If you are planning to have work carried out on your heating system, or need to call out a heating engineer because of a boiler breakdown or other problem, what should you do?

We have provided a summary of the current situation below. However, this is a fast-moving situation and advice is changing on a daily basis, so please visit and revisit this page regularly to check for further updates.

Restrictions on work

On 25th March the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) provided the following guidance about work being carried out in people's homes:

Work carried out in people's homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. However, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone's safety.

No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.

No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild. You can view this advice online which includes additional information about what types of businesses are, and are not, open.

OFTEC has recommended that all registered businesses also carry out their own risk assessments to protect themselves and their families. We would recommend that you also consider your own personal circumstances and whether you still would like the work to take place at this difficult time.

It's important to note that many businesses have already decided to stop all routine installation and servicing work and will just be carrying out emergency breakdown repairs.

What may change

Registered businesses that are working will have carried out their own risk assessments and, in many cases, will be adopting slightly different procedures from usual. There are no hard and fast rules on additional procedures to adopt - aside social distancing and hand washing, but technicians may have decided to adopt new procedures such as:

  • Calling you prior to your appointment to check whether you or anyone in your household is in the vulnerable category, self isolating, or experiencing coronavirus symptoms. 
  • Asking you to stay in another room away from the work area.
  • Requesting that windows or doors are kept open to increase ventilation.
  • Adapting their usual payment methods.
  • Introducing an alternative way for you to sign that work is complete.
  • Wearing additional PPE equipment - gloves, masks, overalls.
  • Asking to wash their hands.
  • Bringing their own towel or paper towel to dry their hands.
  • Declining refreshments.

Please do not be offended if your regular heating technician introduces any of these new measures - it's certainly nothing personal, they will have been carefully considered to help keep you, themselves and their other customers safe.

Fuel deliveries

If you care concerned about getting fuel deliveries, UKIFDA the trade body for the fuel distribution industry has an online page that they update regularly with guidance and advice.

OFTEC's services

Our office will remain open but is running with a skeleton staff, either office based or working remotely for essential services.

  • The technical helpline will continue to run as normal.
  • The Find or Check a Technician service is still available online or by phone. However, as registered businesses may be operating with reduced staff or for emergencies only, you may need to ring round more than usual.
  • Our compliance team will only respond to matters where there is a significant risk of harm to people or property.
  • OFTEC Direct will be closed for the next 3 weeks, or until it is safe and responsible to reopen.

Although staff may be reached by phone, we strongly recommend you email your queries through to us. Contact details for those working remotely will be published on our Contact Us page. We appreciate your understanding if it takes us a little longer than usual to respond.

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Specific questions?

If you need more assistance, please email our registration team

As we now are operating with a skeleton staff, we may take slightly longer to respond. Please bear with us during this time.