Gas service technicians, also known as gas servicing fitters, work in customers’ homes and businesses, installing, servicing and repairing gas appliances and systems. They also test controls and safety devices to make sure they are working correctly, and search for and repair gas escapes, using fault diagnosis equipment.
Installation involves fitting items such as domestic, commercial and industrial gas meters, fires, boilers, cookers, central heating units and showers. It entails working with a variety of tools, equipment and materials to connect appliances to gas, water and electrical supplies.
Servicing consists of carrying out scheduled maintenance checks on equipment.
Repair involves diagnosing and rectifying faults, on-site at customers’ premises or in a workshop. Gas service technicians may have to replace or repair parts before testing the equipment and controls for safety and correct operation.
Gas service technicians have to keep work sheets and records of their visits, the parts used and the duration of each job. This may include using a laptop computer or hand-held PDA to record work, order parts or write short reports.
The work also includes giving customers estimates for job costs and timescales, selling additional company services and sometimes dealing with complaints.
The basic working week is normally 40 hours, 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, although some companies offer a repair service on Saturdays. However, technicians may have to work on a roster arrangement to provide 24-hour emergency cover; this could involve working four or five days a week between 8am and 9pm.
Most of the work takes place indoors, usually in customers’ homes or premises. The job can be physically demanding and may involve working in confined spaces or at heights.
A driving licence is usually required to travel from job to job.
To be a gas service technician, you should:
British Gas is the main employer. It is organised nationally, so it is necessary to check with headquarters for details of vacancies. There is also a limited number of opportunities with other companies, including manufacturers of industrial and domestic gas appliances, retailers and specialist servicing and repair companies.
In British Gas there are opportunities for movement into gas engineering, and supervisory and management posts. In a few cases, sponsorship for degree courses is available. Promotion prospects in smaller companies are limited.
Qualified and experienced engineers may become self-employed.
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