Alarm over gas, electricity safety in homes

18th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — About 40 percent of Dutch homes have serious faults with electricity and gas fittings due to ageing equipment, wear and tear, hobby handymen and poor maintenance.

18 May 2005

AMSTERDAM — About 40 percent of Dutch homes have serious faults with electricity and gas fittings due to ageing equipment, wear and tear, hobby handymen and poor maintenance.

The claims were made on Wednesday by Peter Coppes, the chairman of a special commission working on a periodic quality control test for houses, similar to the APK test for cars in the Netherlands.

But the association of Dutch municipalities VNG raised doubt about the figures. "We have no figures and can only give estimates," a spokesman said, adding that the VNG is demanding to know whether the figures are based on "sound research".

The equipment faults vary from leaks to exposed electricity cables to temporary emergency repairs, Coppes said

He claimed the poor quality could be traced back to when energy firms were privatised in 1992 and the end of supervision.

Municipal councils are now responsible for supervision, but the commission chairman said it does not carry out its duties adequately.
 
Coppes urged for a system of periodic house inspections, stressing that 40 to 50 people die each year due to faulty equipment. The basic cause of death in these cases is not officially registered.
 
The initiative to introduce a 'measuring stick' that housing corporations and home owners can apply originates with the branch organisation for gas and electricity fittings firms and technical retailers UNETO-VNI and the municipal association VNG.

According to Coppes, Housing Minister Sybilla Dekker is in favour of an APK inspection system, but the Lower House of Parliament is opposed to the plan. Coppes said MPs believe local councils should carry out inspections.

The VNG said the safety of a house is the responsibility of the home owner and that the association has previously indicated it is willing to wear the cost of supervision responsibilities. But it said greater funding will be required.

Proposals for a compulsory quality control system for houses will be now drawn up in greater detail in a joint workgroup appointed by the government.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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