NCS: does it still exist?

NCS: does it still exist?

It seems there’s a considerable amount of confusion about whether NCS (Not to Current Standards) is still a thing, and it’s sparked an interesting conversation on social media.

The debate began off the back of polls run by Peter Booth on Twitter and Instagram. In both cases, the majority believed that NCS no longer exists…

The confusion apparently stems from the removal of NCS from the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure (GIUSP) when Edition 7 came into force back in 2015. According to EUA website, the move was designed “to simplify the use of the document for gas engineers and ensure any safety message to the customer is not diluted with reporting of minor defects not constituting a danger”.

What this doesn’t take into account is that NCS does still exist, and that multiple NCS situations could lead to an At Risk (AR) classification. NCS doesn’t appear in the GIUSP because that covers unsafe situations rather than those which are simply non-compliant. NCS scenarios do, however, remain identifiable, regardless of the fact that they do not need to be notified or recorded.

The NCS + NCS = AR equation doesn’t always hold true though, as Peter explains in the video below…

As a side issue, the subject of installers being able to access British Standards freely was raised by Mark Grieves. This is a thorny issue, particularly for sole traders and small companies who could be expected to pay out hundreds or even thousands of pounds in order to stay abreast of current standards. While, as Mark points out, subscription to some standards is available through Gas Safe, the breadth of those standards that installers are expected to uphold surely imposes a monetary burden that should not fall on them.

Our take is this. Ultimately, for a professional to do the job to the best of their ability involves making financial decisions – whether that relates to the tools they use, the products they fit or the time they spend not earning to undergo training. But when your day-to-day work involves safeguarding the lives of others, access to the documentation that dictates best practice should not be an exercise in capitalism.

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