Safety Regulations / Accreditations for Chimney Sweeps
Although there is no official law in the UK regarding chimney sweeps it is important to take a leaf out of Germany’s book when it comes to the safety of your chimney and its maintenance. It is recommended you get your chimney swept at least once a year (the law in Germany) but depending how much you use it you may need more frequent cleaning. When it comes to the chimney sweep you use you might want to consider what qualifications and accreditations they have.
HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme)
This organisation is government approved for all things related to heating from appliances to fuels. As such they offer membership for chimney sweeps and put together the industry standards to adhere to in the maintaining and servicing of anything in the heating industry. A HETAS backed chimney sweep will have had and passed the correct training to carry out the job giving their customer peace of mind – after completing their work a certificate can be given which is HETAS recognised. HEATAS covers members of NACS, APICS and the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps.
Although not all fireplaces are gas connected it is always better to have a chimney sweep who is Gas Safe registered for that extra assurance that they are working safely and legally. When dealing with fireplaces and gas the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is top of the list so any work carried out in this area should be done by Gas Safe registered trades people.
NACS (National Association of Chimney Sweeps)
The NACS is the professional trade association for chimney sweeps and operates as a trainer to set the industry standard across the UK. With a four day induction course they cover such topics as safety, equipment and regulations
NVQ Level 2 Chimney Engineering/ Cleaning
An NVQ in Chimney Engineering is a good way for a chimney sweep to demonstrate a depth of knowledge in the industry which they have chosen. The course covers conforming to the health and safety standards, working on differing types of chimneys and the plethora of materials involved in the trade.
APICS (Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps)
Another UK based association for chimney sweeps is APICS, who aim to set industry standards to help keep members up to date with safety and regulations. This in turn helps the independent business stay independent by giving them a membership to prove to customers that they are dedicated professionals even if they operate as self-employed chimney sweeps.
So while it may seem like there is no universal regulation there are numerous associations for chimney sweeps to become a part of. With a combination they offer both safety and professionalism to their customers as well as ensuring their own safety. No matter whether they are self-employed or employed as part of a company the chimney sweep can take courses in everything from equipment to chimney safety – and being Gas Safe registered is an extra layer of assurance for customers worried about the risk of toxic fumes.