Our fuel delivery standards

Here’s how we’ll deliver to your tank safely and securely

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To make sure deliveries take place safely, our drivers will follow a series of protocols that keep them and you safe.

These protocols mean our drivers will need to do everything from a pre-delivery safety check to assessing your tank for signs of corrosion or splits. Here’s what we’ll do before attempting delivery.

We’ll assess your tank to make sure all visible sides of your tank and equipment are in good condition and properly connected. If our drivers have doubts about your equipment, the delivery can’t be made.

Plastic tanks

  • Plastic tanks need to be fully supported and installed on a flat surface. If you have a horizontal tank with load bearing shoulders with both the tank and the piers in good condition and supporting the full width of the tank, we can still deliver.
  • If your tank has cracks (discoloured lines), your tank is weak and might fail. In emergencies, like running out of oil during a cold winter, we may be able to carry out a limited delivery. Splits in your tank (where a crack has opened) mean your tank has failed and we can’t deliver oil to it.
  • Plastic tanks can’t be fixed and need to be replaced. If your tank is showing signs of repair, we can’t deliver.

Metal tanks

  • A metal tank doesn’t need to be fully supported, but any supports need to be in good condition. If not regularly maintained, metal fuel tanks can corrode and eventually fail. Unlike plastic tanks though, metal ones can be fixed.

Before delivery, we’ll need to work out the ullage – or the unfilled capacity – of your tank, and if this can’t be done, we can’t deliver.

Before starting the delivery, our driver may do a test fill to see if your tank’s gauge is working. If the driver has doubts and there’s no other way to work out the ullage, we won’t be able to deliver.

  • An offset fill is where your tank is filled without being directly accessed. Where the fill point is connected to the tank by pipework, we’ll need to check that the pipework is properly connected.
  • We can carry out a blind fill as long as the driver can work out the ullage and monitor the delivery, and if your tank has a working overfill alarm fitted.
  • If you have an underground tank, it needs to have been specifically built to be stored underground and correctly installed. If it is a metal tank, it will need to have had a pressure test in the last three years.

Because of the higher risk of spillage, we can’t deliver to houseboats or small pleasure craft.

The smallest delivery we can make is 500 litres. But, if your tank doesn’t have enough space or if continuing the delivery would lead to an incident, this can be overruled.

If your tank is in an enclosed space, the driver will check that there’s enough ventilation for vapours to be removed, and will then carry out an open fill.

Our drivers can deliver to most tanks as long as they are stored correctly and safely. But they will need to do extra checks in some cases. For example, if your tank is stored at height, our drivers will need to assess the risk of falling before attempting delivery. And before attempting to refill at height, they’ll consider whether it’s possible to carry out the delivery from ground level.


If this isn’t possible, then:

  • the driver can use a fixed ladder to reach the delivery point. If the ladder is more than two metres high, safety hoops need to be fitted.
  • the driver can also use a Watson Fuels portable ladder.


We can’t deliver to any tank that involves delivering through a house, living quarters or conservatory due to the risks of a potential hose failure. Instead, our drivers will look for a different route, ask to change the location of the tank or try an offset fill. In each case, a disclaimer will need to be signed by the property owner. Tenants in rented accommodation cannot sign this disclaimer.

Remember – it’s your responsibility to look after your fuel storage tank. Spills and leaks can be extremely costly to clean up and can contaminate ground water supplies and even building foundations. You should also check whether your home insurance covers fuel spills or leaks and whether there are any stipulations or limitations to your policy.

Your tank should be visually checked by a competent person at the same time as your annual appliance service visit. OFTEC also recommends regularly carrying out a visual check between service visits and particularly after extreme weather conditions as this can put your tank under extra stress.


Some warning signs to look out for include:

  • Rust
  • Splits or cracks
  • Bulging
  • Subsidence on the base
  • Sudden increase in usage of fuel
  • Tanks overgrown with foliage
  • Strong fuel smell
  • Sun bleaching
  • Oil stains
  • Damp areas


If your tank has an integral bund, ask your engineer to check if it has filled with water. Apart from your tank, make sure to keep a close eye on any connected pipework, gauges, valves and the oil filter for any signs of wearing.


If you have any concerns, always contact your local OFTEC registered technician.

Frequently asked questions

If you spot a leak, the first thing to do is stop the fuel spillage. This could mean turning the fuel off at the source or catching the leak in a jerry can or spare vat. Use your best judgement on how to stop the leak.

If the leak has occurred near residential and commercial properties or a high traffic area, you should evacuate the area and contact the relevant authorities. Then, and only if you are able to, should you look at containing and clearing up the spillage using the correct equipment. You should also contact your insurer when it’s safe to do so.

If a fuel supplier refuses to deliver to your tank, it’s because your tank isn’t safe enough to receive the delivery. Our drivers will always do their best to complete every delivery, but if your tank is damaged or isn’t suitable for receiving the delivery, we won’t be able to deliver.

We’ll report any defects to you as soon as we spot them. While some defects don’t immediately mean we can’t deliver to you, if they aren’t corrected, your tank could break down or become unsafe.

Your base needs to provide continual structural support throughout the year’s changing weather conditions. It needs to be suitable for the weight of the tank and its contents, non-combustible and level, constructed from concrete, paving or stonework, and extend for more than 300mm beyond all sides of the tank.

The location of your tank needs certain health, safety and fire prevention rules, including being:

  • 8m away from non-fire rated eaves of a building
  • 8m away from non-fire rated buildings or structures like sheds
  • 8m away from openings, such as doors or windows, in fire rated buildings or structures like brick-built houses or garages
  • 8m away from liquid fuel appliance flue terminals
  • 760mm away from a non-fire rated boundary, such as a wooden boundary fence
  • 600mm away from screening (e.g. trellises or foliage) that isn’t part of the boundary

You should check the condition of your tank every six months to make sure it is still working and looking as it should. Some common signs of tank ageing are:

  • rust
  • splits and cracks
  • bulging
  • subsidence on the base
  • gauges not working
  • a smell of oil

You should get your tank inspected at the same time as your boiler. This inspection should be carried out by an OFTEC-registered engineer who will check whether any water or condensation has formed and highlight any observations.

A bunded tank has two skins and is effectively a tank within a tank. If your tank isn’t bunded, it will just have one skin.