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Gas pipes should be inspected every five years, says federation

16:27 17/01/2018
Following an explosion in Antwerp that killed two people this week, a utility installers federation has called for regular inspections of gas metres, pipes and appliances

Techlink, a federation representing gas and electricity installers, has called for the federal government to regulate inspections of gas installations. The request follows the explosion in Antwerp this week that killed two people.

Currently, there is no requirement to follow up on the working order of gas installations in homes or businesses. Techlink says that once metres and connections to gas appliances are installed, there is no requirement to ever check them in the future.

“People alter gas installations in their homes, often without the help of a professional and often in a way that leads to an unsafe situation,” Kris Van Dingenen of Techlink told VRT. “Appliances get moved, pipes are subject to vibrations, or a hole is drilled in the wall near a gas pipe. All of this can lead to a malfunction.”

24 explosions last year alone

Last Monday, two residential buildings and a restaurant collapsed following an explosion. Fourteen people were injured, one critically, and two people died. Although Antwerp authorities have not confirmed a cause of the explosion, they did say that was “likely” the reason. One resident also reported that a “gas smell” hung in the air that day.

Inspection of gas installations could be carried out fairly easily, said Van Dingenen. Currently, the federal government inspects new installations. They should carry out inspections of them every five years after that, he says.

Gas explosions, he said, happen much too often in Belgium. “Last year there were 24, which damaged 34 buildings, injured 32 people, and killed four people.”

Photo courtesy Angelo Lemahieu

Written by Lisa Bradshaw