Author Topic: Boiler, the sequel  (Read 8962 times)

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Offline jamiepage

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #15 on: Feb 23 2015 19:28 »
I guess the fact that the buddy system is 'open to abuse' could be a reason not to use it.
The G3S are perfectly entitled to come to that conclusion (assuming they have) but in return I would make a couple of points-

1. Walker Midgley do not require any annual boiler test, and the boiler will still be insured. I repeat that simply to state the starting point.
However, they do 'recommend' an annual inspection, and both G1MRA and 16mm Assoc have taken that, and 'gold plated' it by  mandating the recommendation. Personally, I entirely agree with that.
However, unlike G3S, they give advice on how to do it to their members, (mentor and educate) then entrust those members with the responsibility of properly carrying out those inspections.
2. Those two organisations represent many thousand members who collectively own many more thousand boilers, so the evidence must exist out there by now to empirically judge how satisfactory their system is.

Assuming the evidence confirms satisfactory boiler conditions across the 'fleet', then I'm unsure why G3S should have specific concerns about its much smaller membership. Indeed,, the boiler testers should find it even easier to properly implement such a system with tutoring and mentoring to get it going properly. Our experts would be able to maintain a certain oversight (but not direct responsibility) and educate us all, whilst making geographical growth easier.

 However, if the evidence now shows an unsatisfactory state of affairs, then no- one should be doing it.

Offline jamiepage

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #16 on: Feb 23 2015 19:43 »
The above post refers to SMALL boilers only.

Offline Steve Cook

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #17 on: Mar 29 2015 13:34 »
I got my hands on Issue 100 of the G3S Newsletter yesterday at the boiler test day. On reading it last night (and its a good issue too) there is a section on boiler testing. Pertinent to some of the discussions had earlier in the year I have copied some of the text here (I'm afraid I am not writing the whole article down):

Boilers greater than 3 bar litres.

The Society will continue to use the Southern Federation 'Green Book' Standard (Edition 2012), for hydraulic and annual steam test.

Boilers less than 3 bar litres.

1. Hydraulic Test.

If a boiler has a commercial certificate, or a Southern Federation certificate, for a hydraulic shell test at twice working pressure then a repeat hydraulic test is not required.

2. Steam Test.

a) The steam test will be carried out by a Gauge 3 boiler tester and witnessed by a Gauge 3 member. In circumstances where a witness is not available, an 'un-witnessed' test certificate will be accepted by the Gauge 3 Society, but it might not be acceptable to some Model Engineering Societies.
b) The Southern federation certificates will continue to be used as this provides a traceable record, since a copy is held by the boiler tester.
c) It is strongly recommended that the loco pressure gauge is checked for accuracy every 2 years.
d) The boiler shall be steamed at the maximum firing rate using the appropriate fuel.
e) The safety valve(s) shall maintain maximum working boiler pressure and that the pressure does not rise more than 10% above the working pressure (Pw + 10%).
f) If fitted, the correct operation of the water level gauge shall be verified.
g) If fitted, the correct operation if the boiler water feed pump shall be verified.

Gauge 3 Boiler Testing and Testers.

It is recommended that Members have their boilers tested by Gauge 3 Society boiler testers. In principle boiler testing can be done at any ME society following Southern or Northern Federation standards. However, for small boilers Gauge 3 is not complying exactly with the 'Green Book'. We do not require a 2nd hydraulic test and there us a relaxation in testing the pressure gauge every year before the steam test, but we will continue to use Southern Federation certificates.

The six boiler testers are identified by name and it is stated that the boiler testers will endeavour to support the majority of society GTG's.

There is a note from Alan Marsden that adds

Would Members please note that when ordering new locos from commercial or private builders, to ensure that the boiler has a blowdown valve fitted to the water gauge.

If a loco has already been purchased without the blowdown, it can still be tested, but a note will be added to the certificate requesting a blowdown to be fitted a.s.a.p.

Having skim read back through the three threads all relating to this subject, the above answers some of the questions raised, does not cover others and reinforces the remainder.
I hope it proves useful, I'm going back to coach building this afternoon  :)
Kind Regards

Offline John Candy

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #18 on: Apr 14 2015 10:11 »
A turn up for the books!

While searching for some paperwork (totally unrelated to trains), I came across the (quote)  "Southern Federation of Model Engineering Societies Scheme -  Certificate of Public Liability Insurance" issued to me by the G3S in May 2014 (signed by Ted Sadler) and on a printed form supplied to the G3S by Walker Midgely Insurance Brokers.

Under the section "Loss or damage resulting from boiler explosion" I quote the following:-

"The insurers shall not be liable for injury or damage caused by boiler or pressure vessel explosion unless.........

d) the boiler or pressure vessel concerned is a small boiler namely that it has a capacity of not more than 3 bar litres or the vessel concerned is a gas tank with a capacity of not more than 250ml when cover shall be in force whether or not a valid thorough examination certificate has been issued

That has to be the definitive answer to the controversy over small boiler testing ..... unless the G3S has some twisted reason for wanting to impose unnecessary burden upon its members.

My fellow Members, ask not what your Society can do for you, ask what you can do for your Society.

Offline jamiepage

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #19 on: Apr 14 2015 17:47 »

Exactly. That was the very point of my polite ( I thought) query in the first place. Following the rather hysterical replies to my query on here, I sent that quote to the G3S asking why/how they wanted the more restrictive MELG/SFED boiler schedule when the insurers weren't asking for it.
Still haven't had a definitive answer, but am no longer a member so I guess I don't need one now. I'll just do my own thing with my own insurance - but I will be interested to see whether the insurers themselves raise their requirements for all of us. I suspect they will- Wouldn't you, if your largest customer/ representative body/ self proclaimed flag waver continued to insist on a more onerous schedule than you had been asking for? If so, that would be very irritating to say the least.
(For the record, because I am now in a position to, I was ready to offer my time on behalf of the G3S  investigating the issue, but whatever discussions there were within the society didn't even seek opinions let alone help).
The G3S needs to forge its own identity with its own priorities, and fight its own corner. Bit like G1MRA and 16mm Assoc really.
Anyway, sorry but I couldn't resist a reply, and it's very brave of you to bring it up again.


Offline John Candy

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #20 on: Apr 14 2015 19:02 »

I agree this matter does need a proper "airing".

The effect of the certificate being that (regardless of what the G3S may say), if I allow a non-certificated "small boiler" at a G3S GTG and it causes injury or other damage, then IT IS COVERED BY THE POLICY and the insurers (which from the logo on the certificate appear to be Royal Sun Alliance) will have no alternative but to cover the loss.

The contract is of course between the G3S and underwriters of the policy, the underwriters being obliged to cover the losses arising from specified risks (subject to the policy conditions).
The certificate is unambiguous and, since I have been "named" on the certificate, which extends cover under the policy to my GTGs, then I am entitled to rely upon the stated terms.

Were the G3S to argue that they are not liable because they required a boiler certificate, that does not affect my entitlement to rely upon the stated cover and, even if the G3S were to go into liquidation in any consequent litigation, that would still not release the insurers, since the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act would apply.

My fellow Members, ask not what your Society can do for you, ask what you can do for your Society.

Offline jamiepage

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #21 on: Apr 14 2015 19:52 »
No certification whatsoever is acceptable to the insurer. That's the starting point.
BUT, I readily accept the idea that there is merit in some control. The insurers do for instance, recommend an annual check, and I suggest it would be poor form and potentially awkward not to be seen to have acted on that recommendation.
G1MRA and 16mm Assoc have taken that recommendation and mandated both an annual check and a record of such. That is beyond what the insurers require, but it seems proportionate to me and perfectly acceptable.
What isn't, in my humble opinion, is to go as far as MELG/SFED have, with additional hyd. checks and an annual steam test using only calibrated equipment, and only by nominated inspectors. FOR SMALL BOILERS.
If the insurers were happy, why complicate that much? Aren't they the expert risk assessors? And, as I said, if the leading organisations continue to insist on 'legislation' beyond the insurers requirements, how long before the insurers shrug their shoulders and mandate it. For everyone.
No doubt there will be change, there always is. In fact, there has to be because it's a bit of a mess. But one reason to support an organisation is because you feel it will negotiate in your best interests, and that the outcome will represent their best efforts. MELG absolutely beyond doubt did not do that for SMALL boilers. I believe G1MRA and 16mm Assoc do, and I hope G3S will do the same.

Offline IanT

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #22 on: Apr 15 2015 09:10 »
Sorry guys - I am getting a bit tired of this.

Jamie - I think I tried to help you but I get it - you didn't like the initial guidance used by the society and you decided to leave rather than wait and see what might develop. I'm sorry you felt that way but it has to be your decision. However, please don't keep harping on about it (especially since in my opinion you are misguided) - other people might read all this and be needlessly put off Gauge 3.

The revised <3B/L policy (yes - the G3S did address some of the issues) given in the last Newsletter was clear and not that complicated.

For a small boiler - only the initial 2x hydraulic test is required (there are no "additional" hydraulic tests Jamie). The only other requirement is that the pressure gauge should be regularly tested but the new guidance allows this to be done every second year. It's not hard to do and is a sensible precaution - so what's the problem in reality?

I understand why 16mm & G1MRA have the system they do - they have very large memberships (and many locos to administer) so need something less than ideal but actually the smaller size of G3S is an advantage in this respect.

We have enough boiler testers to probably have one in attendance at most (if not all) GTGs. So isn't it better to have someone who might have experience doing the inspection rather than a "Buddy"?   What's the problem in practice with using authorised boiler testers?

How many <3B/L engines do the membership currently own? A dozen, maybe tops two dozen (but frankly I'd be surprised - most engines I see at GTGs are >3B/L).  In other words maybe one or two small engines per Society Boiler Tester to look at per annum. Does that sound like a problem to you? It doesn't to me.

And why have a different paperwork (from >32B/L) system for a minority of engines and does it matter to people if they get a trackable document (rather than something signed by a mate) even if the requirement is just a very simple steam test? Will members really care what system is used provided it is available and accepted?

As for any insurance requirements (or not) for <3B/L boilers - if you don't need any insurance for <3B/L, then why do 16mm & G1MRA have any boiler checks at all? It makes sense to have a managed system and I think the one settled on by G3S is actually very reasonable given our particular circumstances. So to me  - a complete red herring.


Nothing's ever Easy - At least the first time around.

Offline John Candy

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #23 on: Apr 15 2015 09:27 »
Just to clarify Ian's last para. regarding insurance, the G3S policy DOES COVER "small boilers" regardless of whether or not they have a boiler certificate (and the certificate contains no "ifs or "buts" in that regard ... a boiler certificate IS NOT REQUIRED for the policy cover to be in force).

So, if I hold a GTG and decide that "small boilers" without a certificate are acceptable, then the G3S policy will still cover any claims for injury or loss arising from a boiler explosion.

I am only concerned with the legal aspects of liability cover here and am not passing judgment on whether or not testing is a wise policy on safety grounds.

In my view, if your safety valve lifts at the correct pressure and your gauge reads accurately (and I can see no objection to such tests) then that is sufficient to demonstrate discharge of the duty of care within the current law applicable to pressure vessels.

My fellow Members, ask not what your Society can do for you, ask what you can do for your Society.

Offline IanT

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #24 on: Apr 15 2015 10:07 »
And to further clarify your statement John.

If you (or anyone else) hold a private running session in your garden and invite others along - how you manage these sessions will be entirely up to you - as it always has been.

But in terms of a Society "GTG" - then all GTG Hosts (and their guests) are expected to abide by the Society's guidelines in these areas - including boiler certificates.


Nothing's ever Easy - At least the first time around.

Offline John Candy

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #25 on: Apr 15 2015 10:36 »
As the final post on this subject, again in the context of insurance, which stands on its own as a contract, distinct and separate from all other "agreements" between Society/members/others, this is the text of the terms upon which the members are covered.

<quote> I hereby certify that (name of member) is a fully paid up member of this Club/Society and that the Public Liability insurance evidenced by this certificate extends to include modelling and model engineering activities of all and every kind undertaken by him/her anywhere within the Geographical Limits as detailed above".

Incidentally, for members not permanent residents of the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man, their cover only applies to their activities within UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man.

So, the cover is for activities of "all and every kind", not just limited to G3S "official" Get-togethers.
On that basis, a "private" Get-together is covered and, as Ian has rightly said, how you organize that is your business.

So, all-in-all, the insurance cover offered is very comprehensive, just what we all need and well worth the (very small) subscription paid to the G3S!

My fellow Members, ask not what your Society can do for you, ask what you can do for your Society.

Offline jamiepage

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #26 on: Apr 15 2015 10:53 »
IanT, purely for the record.
The eventual and only reply I had from the G3S stated that after internal debate (between whom by the way, when), the G3S had decided to make no change to their boiler requirements. No change. No distinction between large or small boilers. And no attempt to explain how or why that decision had been made.

I repeat, no change.

So I resigned, not because I was miffed by the decision as such, but because there did not seem to have been any process to get there, nor had there been an attempt to explain why or how; and I see no point in supporting an organisation that was generating unnecessary complications without due process or to explain why.
An attitude of 'it's just the way we do things here' is off putting. By the way, I  have the time and was prepared to do my bit, but the insular lack of communication put me off rather.

You now say there have been changes made after all? Is that right? Not being a member any more I wouldn't know, but it would be churlish not to applaud that.

However, I disagree with your logic that just because the G3S has a small number of Small boilers, then what now is presumably a third way is the right thing to do. That is designing the system around current quantities of Small boilers, not designing a system to encourage expansion in the future.
To quote you '...and I think the one settled on by G3S is actually very reasonable given our particular circumstances...' Maybe so, but the ambition must be to expand, no? (Unintentional boiler pun there).

 Small boilers may  currently be in the minority but the G3S should be actively promoting all aspects of the scale. It seems to me there are many potential members out there in the G1 and 16mm worlds who would be tempted by a small G3 loco if the movement made it as easy as possible.

Both G1MRA and 16mm Assoc have a certification system for small boilers (yes, a certification system) but also have memberships in the thousands, many of whom own multiple live steam locos. Frankly, if that's what G3S aspires to - and it should if it wants to support its manufacturers etc- then it wouldn't hurt to accept that maybe they are doing some things right,
You seem to have no ambition for the G3S to have similar levels of membership, justifying embellished regulation on the basis that the G3S has few members and few Small boilers.

By the way, paperwork wise, both organisations have systems that recognise and cater for both large boilers and additional requirements of some ME clubs.

So, to finish. Unless G3S consider the G1MRA and 16mm Assoc certification systems for Small boilers to be unsafe,  why do G3S  demand something different.
Is there a reason, bearing in mind the G3S aim of encouraging G3 activity?

Potential new entrants to the scale are much more likely to be put off by that mismatch than they are by my ramblings on here, by the way.

Finally IanT, it would help if you didn't pepper every posting you make with a show of exasperation. It's a bit indulgent if I may say so.

PS I don't understand your last paragraph at all. As you well know, nowhere in these conversations has anyone ever discussed having no insurance. But then as you say, that's a red herring. So  why write it?

Offline IanT

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #27 on: Apr 15 2015 11:37 »
Well Jamie - if I sound exasperated, perhaps it's because I am.

I'm pretty sure I indicated that changes were in process to you and frankly I don't understand why a little patience wasn't possible?

As to the rest of your views - well I'm afraid that generally I find it pays to live in the present and deal with our current problems. The solution the G3S has put forward is more than good enough for our immediate and foreseeable needs and they are not onerous. If those needs do change, then I assume the available (geographic coverage, manpower etc.) will also expand too, so things will most likely adjust to suit. I've seen quite a bit of change over my time with Gauge 3 and although we have not (yet) achieved world domination, we seem to be ticking along OK.

So I'm sorry you are not happy but perhaps instead of keep telling us why G3 is doomed (and not everyone shares your views) perhaps you could give us a comparison of the practical problems involved in the G3S <3B/L scheme as opposed to the 16mm/G1MRA one that you seem to admire?  Because I don't see too many real problems in practice, which it seems to me is what actually matters.

John - one more thought for you. You are in the process of building what looks to be one of the most interesting G3 garden railways in recent times. Hosting even a 'private' event can be quite a busy time for a ‘Host’ - especially at a popular venue (such as I hope yours will be). Do you really want to be worrying about safety valves and water gauges as people turn up?  Wouldn't it be easier to work with G3S and simply ask for current steam/boiler test certificates (and perhaps even arrange for a BT to be there for those who don’t currently have one?) - rather than try to do everything yourself?


Nothing's ever Easy - At least the first time around.

Offline AllWight

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #28 on: Apr 15 2015 13:44 »
I think we are all a little bored of this topic now its only you three who discuss and read each others comments thus flaring hte others up.


Offline jamiepage

Re: Boiler, the sequel
« Reply #29 on: Apr 15 2015 13:54 »
The reply I had from the G3S - in January, so not long ago really -  stated categorically there was to be no change. With respect, I thought that rather trumped a counter indication from you.

As to your next point I completely disagree. To explain-
The G3S seem now to have invented a new system that probably does deal with the present small numbers, won't argue with that if no-one else is.

However, it's role is to promote more activity, not just maintain the status quo, isn't it?

You eloquently made the point yourself that G1MRA and 16mm Assoc have systems that cater - safely- for large numbers of boilers. 

So rather than hope that available manpower will increase in the future to satisfy a rising demand under the new G3S scheme, I think the onus is on someone to explain why G3S have adopted a system optimised for small numbers rather than large, rather than on me explaining why I disagree.

However, and gnoring your sarcasm, I will take up your offer of explaining my point of view further..
The G1MRA and 16mm Assoc between them - safely- certify thousands of small boilers. So I would see them as expert, with an extraordinary accumulation of data and experience concerning Small boilers by now.
Their system should therefore be a benchmark UNLESS there is a good, sound and logical reason otherwise.

In practical terms, I can purchase a boiler from Roundhouse, say, and install it in a 16mm chassis, or a G1 chassis, and run immediately. Each year, I will  check it, and have a duplicate inspection by a 16mm member or a G1 member. This will be fully recorded. Both societies fully recognise each other's certificates. The boiler has a traceable history.
If I put it in a G3 chassis, I did (you say not now?) need at least one if not two hydraulic checks before use. I do still then need to find a G3 inspector with calibrated equipment annually for a steam test. Has that also changed?

If one takes away the superfluous hydraulic tests- and has the G3S advertised such a significant change? (Good, if it has) - the difference is no doubt manageable with current levels of members and inspectors. But the difference is tangible.
I cannot  use a G1 or 16mm member- or inspector- , or another G3 member,  even though one may be local to me, even if it's a boiler he is familiar with, and even if they are all covered by the same insurance.
I think the onus is on the author of a restriction (G3S) to explain why a restriction is in place, no matter how small. Or get rid of it.

To align Small boiler policy with the other two scenic organisations would allow access to a large pool of knowledge and make it easier to access annual inspections almost irrespective of membership levels. (Future proofing. Ugh). It would however, not prevent anyone from showing their boiler to an official each year if they wanted to, but nor would it mandate it to those who didn't. It changes nothing for large boilers. It changes nothing for anyone who wants to continue under a more restrictive regime, or who needs to to access an ME track, say.

So I see advantages but no disadvantage. Is there a reason? And I would not characterise the G1/16mm environment as an ill-disciplined mess, would you?

Yes, paperwork probably needs amending, but that is not difficult if everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

So in summary, I agree with you that the G1/16mm systems safely service large numbers of boilers. I agree with you the current G3 third way presumably works with the G3S at its current size.

What I do  question is why G3S  has invented a new system, one optimised  for small numbers rather than large, rather than align more directly with the other operators of similar/ identical Small boilers who operate under the same insurance criteria.

What makes the G3S system better? What was wrong with the established alternative?

It is not a sinister question, I would like to understand the answer.