As a Guild member I work to the Industry Standard for Chimney Sweeping. This includes issuing a Certificate of Chimney Sweeping for every chimney swept. The wording of this standard can be read below.
NATIONAL CODE OF PRACTICE FOR CHIMNEY SWEEPS
The Approved Industry Standard Code of Practice for Chimney Sweeping:-
Chimney Sweeps must be trained in accordance with the Industry Recommended Criteria of both theory and practical elements of chimney sweeping at an Industry Accredited Training Centre. They shall not practice the trade of a Chimney Sweep until they have been assessed and deemed competent by a trade organisation who meets the Industry Standard National Code of Practice.
1. It shall be the endeavour of such Chimney Sweeps involved, to provide as thorough and as honest a service available, with respect to the dangers of fire, suffocation and ill health caused by the malfunction of such chimneys, flue ways, and appliances.
2. All Chimney Sweeps involved in such work shall by virtue of the hidden nature of the task advise and work so as to keep the occupier, user or property owner aware of such faults and hazards found during working. Under no circumstances shall a person trading as a Chimney Sweep, use any methods which result in a chimney not being properly cleaned or probed by a brush, or suitable rod attachments. Care must be taken to prove a chimney to be venting by the use of smoke pellets.
a. The practice of chimney sweeping shall be deemed to be the passing of an adequate sized and strength brush, appropriate to the diameter of the chimney and flue used, through the complete length of the chimney. The brush may be put through by rods, viper and star, a line and weights, or Rotary Sweeping equipment
b. There is no acceptable method of cleaning a chimney using a vacuum cleaner only
c. A Chimney Sweep must ensure that they carry a sufficient number of rods / line and weights or viper to ensure that the brush will pass the length of the chimney or flue completely
d. Chimneys should be swept thoroughly with a brush or cleaning implement that is suitable to remove the products of combustion within the flue
e. Before any sweeping commences, the immediate floor area and fireplace opening/appliance and/or any access points must be protected using suitable sealing methods, such as sheeting and foam blocks, to keep mess to the absolute minimum before and during the sweeping process
f. All Chimney Sweeps must check there is adequate ventilation and carbon monoxide alarms in all the rooms containing the flues and appliances they have worked on, as defined in Document J (Current Building Regulations)
g. All problems and faults found during sweeping shall be made known to the person with whom the sweeping contract is made, property owner, or the operative of the appliance. All such problems and faults relating to the chimney or heating appliances shall be put in writing
h. All Chimney Sweeps will endeavour to carry out a visual inspection of chimney stacks and flue terminations prior to the cleaning of such flues and appliances
i. The Chimney Sweep must not undertake work on any chimney or appliance that is deemed unsafe or dangerous (in accordance with the current Health and Safety at Work Act). Evidence of the defect will be put in writing
j. Soot from the sweeping process must be disposed of in an appropriate manner and will only be transported with the appropriate local authority’s permission in the form of a waste carriage licence. Current COSHH statements must be carried in the vehicle
k. All Chimney Sweeps must use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) whilst undertaking their work and be trained in its use
l. All Chimney Sweeps must adhere to their Trade Bodies complaints procedure
m. All Chimney Sweeps must hold adequate insurance for the work they undertake
n. All Chimney Sweeps must carry a valid I.D card.
After a chimney has been swept, the Chimney Sweep must issue an Industry Standard Certificate of Chimney Sweeping. Should any defects or dangerous occurrences arise, they must be recorded, an Industry Standard Warning Notice and label be issued, and records kept.
In the event of a complaint concerning the work, it should, in the first instance be referred to the responsible firm or Sweep within seven days. If satisfactory response is not made, contact the appropriate Trade Organisation who will do its best to resolve such a complaint.
Very tarry chimneys present a higher risk of chimney fires even if swept regularly. Loose lining material may continue to fall, no matter how often the chimney is swept. Serious cases will need re-lining. Fire risk indicates a potential danger, which should be acted upon before the fire is lit again. The smoke evacuation check does not guarantee the integrity of the chimney. You should be particularly careful as to the condition of your flue and chimney if using solid fuel, oil or gas, and if you have any concerns in this regard please talk to your Sweep who will be delighted to do all he/she can to help. They will provide advice on smoke testing procedures and what tests may need to be carried out. Regular chimney sweeping is important to protect you and your home safely.
The following information is given as part of the service provided by your Sweep. It is given in good faith, but as your Sweep can only carry out a brief visual inspection and has not investigated any inaccessible and/or concealed areas, the information must not be relied upon in any way. Chimneys are affected by the way they are used, the weather and many other conditions not known to your Sweep. If you have any safety concerns, please talk to your Sweep who will be delighted to do all he/she can to help. This is not a certificate of guarantee or warranty that any fireplace, heating appliance, boiler, flue or chimney stack is safe. Unless your Sweep is qualified to test the inaccessible and concealed areas of the flue, your Sweep cannot warrant that there are no potential defects in the flue or your chimney arising from fair wear and tear, wilful damage, accident, negligence by you or any third party, use otherwise as recommended by the manufacturer of the appliance, failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, or any alteration or repair carried out by you or any third party.
Certificate revised March 2013