There is nothing worse for a service-based industry’s reputation than when a company fails in its maintenance duties because its personnel lack the necessary qualifications.
Not only does it result in clients feeling angry and unsatisfied, but it invariably leaves them wondering who to turn to next. So news that an official register has been created to help end-users locate properly-certified catering equipment engineers is a real step forward in helping drive transparency among the wider industry.
The online register, devised by CEDA, should, in theory, make it easier for operators to identify companies with qualified engineers closest to their location — assuming they are a CEDA member, of course.
This is particularly useful when it comes to gas safety, as not all operators will be up to speed on the regulations that govern gas equipment maintenance in kitchens and the various best practice guidelines that are recommended.
Many will probably even make the mistake of thinking a Gas Safe-registered engineer is qualified to carry out all gas work when the reality is that COMCAT accreditation is required to work legally on commercial catering equipment. CEDA’s register should add some much-needed clarity to the situation given its potential to become a reference point for users.
There is one discrepancy that currently remains overlooked, however. While it is possible for CEDA to verify those engineers that have got their gas badges, there is still no legal requirement as far as catering equipment engineers and electrical qualifications are concerned.
Existing qualifications tend to be more general, relating to wiring a building rather than fault finding and repairs on catering equipment.
CEDA is attempting to bridge this by asking engineers to submit any details of general electrical qualifications or provide evidence of formal training, which will at least count for something.
But given electricity can be just as lethal as gas if work on appliances or kitchens is carried out unsafely, it seems absurd that there is still no qualification specific to the commercial catering equipment industry.
Whether CEDA or anybody else is thinking of addressing this issue remains to be seen, but there is no doubt it’s long overdue.