OFTEC Regulations – The Must-Know Guide to UK Oil Tank Installation Rules

Installing an oil tank for home heating can seem like a daunting task with all the regulations involved. But don’t worry, our guide will walk you through the key requirements set by OFTEC, the governing body for the oil firing industry, in simple, easy-to-understand language.

What is OFTEC?

OFTEC stands for the Oil Firing Technical Association. They are the trade association that oversees and regulates the safe installation of oil tanks and equipment in the UK and Ireland. Their goal is to protect homeowners and prevent environmental damage from oil leaks or fires.

 

 

Using an OFTEC Engineer is Crucial

The very first requirement is that your oil tank must be installed by an OFTEC registered and approved engineer or technician. This ensures the work is done by someone with the proper training and competence.

 

Our OFTEC certified technicians understand all the technical standards inside and out. They know the installation processes, safety checks, legal requirements, and annual maintenance that oil tanks need. Using an OFTEC pro is essential for keeping your warranty valid too.

 

Tank Siting – The Right Distance Matters 

One of the most important aspects is properly locating where the oil tank itself will be installed. This is to prevent any fire risks and ensure safe access.

The regulations state that tanks must be situated:

  • At least 1.8 meters (about 6 feet) away from any part of a building
  • No closer than 760mm (2.5 feet) from a property boundary line
  • In a position that does not obstruct any exit routes from buildings
  • With enough clearance to allow for oil deliveries and inspection access

 

The Base – Solid, Level and Contained

Next, the base that the oil tank rests on has some very specific construction requirements. This is to provide a solid, level, and impermeable surface.

For a plastic oil tank, the base can be:

  • A reinforced concrete pad at least 100mm (4 inches) thick
  • Interlocking paving slabs laid on a compacted quarry base
  • For smaller tanks under 2500 liters, an approved fireproof membrane over firm ground

 

Steel tanks need an even sturdier full base: 

  • A reinforced concrete base extending 300mm (1 foot) past the tank footprint
  • With tanks over 1365 liters, the base must have an integrated bund/catchment pit

 

Bunding – Containing Any Leaks

Speaking of bunds, both steel and plastic tanks require a form of secondary containment to capture any leaks or spills. An integrally bunded tank basin or catchment pit must surround the tank.

These bunds have to be able to contain at least 110% of the tank’s maximum capacity. So for a 1000 liter tank, the bund would need to hold 1100 liters. The bund must also be waterproof and able to temporarily contain any escaped oil.

Pipework and Safety Equipment 

Regulations also cover the installation of the fuel supply pipework running into the property. These pipes must be:

  • Installed at a continuous downward slope towards the tank
  • Properly bedded if running underground with marker tape
  • All joints must be accessible for inspection 
  • A safety fire valve must be installed near the tank

Tanks over 3500 liters require additional safety equipment like overfill prevention devices.

Building Regulations Approval

For many oil tank installations, homeowners will also need to get building regulation approval from their local authority. The installation needs to comply with building codes for oil storage safety.

LVFUELS, as your OFTEC registered installer can guide you through this process. We can self-certify that the work meets regulations if registered with a Competent Person Scheme.

Ongoing Inspection and Maintenance

Finally, the regulations specify that oil tanks must have regular inspections and maintenance at least annually. This is for detecting any leaks, damage or issues that could cause safety problems.

During this annual service, an OFTEC technician will:

  • Thoroughly inspect all components
  • Make any repairs or adjustments needed
  • Ensure continued compliance with regulations
  • Check remaining tank life

By staying on top of maintenance, you can catch any potential issues before a costly leak or fire occurs.

While all these rules may seem excessive, they are in place to protect you, your home, and the environment. Following OFTEC’s guidelines gives you peace of mind that your oil tank installation is safe, legal and built to last.

So don’t try to cut corners – bring in our OFTEC registered technicians right from the start. They have the specialized knowledge to ensure your tank installation checks every regulatory box. With their expertise guiding the process, you can relax knowing your oil heating system was done by the book.