Have your say

Installation Sub-Committee | Have your say……Have Your Say

Last month we introduced the newly formed Installation sub-committee which will support the HETAS Technical Committee. To support this group we want you to have your say, starting with Approved Document J.

 In support of the work within this group and to drive the focus of the work we are asking HETAS registrants for their views on Approved Document J.

What are the three things you would like to change in Approved Document J? What doesn’t make sense, what is confusing or unnecessary? HETAS will collate the top answers back to the sub-committee with the intention of working on solutions and a push for change for the better.

As an industry we have a stronger voice when working together and we really want to hear your thoughts on this issue. Through our newsletters and bulletins we will update you on the work of the installation sub-committee and the wider standards work that HETAS undertakes for industry.

Please complete the suggestion form below with your three ideas and we will work through the most popular answers in our next meeting.

We are always looking for installers who are interested in attending the installation sub-committee meetings. If you would be interested in attending or contributing to such working groups get in touch with calvin.may@hetas.co.uk.

Working with Building Control

Working with Building Control (Appendix A) as part of Approved Document J

A recent roundtable hosted by HETAS revealed a number of issues that are affecting both the biomass and wood-burning stoves markets. One of the key areas of discussion was the issues surrounding the ‘signing off’ or ‘notification’ of solid fuel & biomass installations and the evident confusion over a HETAS installer’s role in assisting Building Control to sign off a job as being compliant to Building Regulations.

When looking to buy a home or secure buildings insurance for example, it is important to note that that existing installations must have been notified to Local Authority Building Control by the homeowner or by the builder/ installer concerned.  This notification, or lack of to some degree, is being recognised as an area of concern which needs legislation and enforcing. The subject was discussed recently at a Government meeting. Those present including the Technical Director of Local Authority Building Control (LABC) and the relevant person from the Ministry of House, Communities and Local Government. As this is a matter that effects all areas where self-certification is an option, MHCLG subsequently wrote to the CEO’s of all Local Authorities.

Mike Harvey, Training and Technical Manager at HETAS says, “If an installer is a registrant of a competent person self-certification scheme like HETAS, and the work undertaken is within their categories of competence, then they will notify through their scheme. However if the work undertaken by the installer is not within their recorded competence at the scheme, they cannot notify through their scheme. The only option is to go through Building Control at the local authority or in some cases via an approved inspector.”

HETAS acknowledges the wide range of skills that Building Control Officers have and the necessity for their continuous professional development. An increasing number of Local Authorities have taken the view that solid fuel and biomass training covering requirements within Approved Document J, its interaction with Approved Document F, other Approved Documents and associated Standards would be needed; upon taking this into consideration they have decided that this area of work would be best dealt with by people with specialist training and equipment.

Mike says, “Where a Building Control Officer is unsure about the safety or compliance of a job, he/she might ask for supporting information from a HETAS registered installer. It is likely that the registered installer would say that they cannot sign off the work of another person. In cases such as these the installer would not be ‘signing off an installation’.

“There is a caution in that neither a HETAS Registrant nor a Building Control Officer can definitively appraise some areas of the work undertaken e.g. around the outside of the chimney liner or in places where there is no real access. Consequently the Building Control Officer would be asking the HETAS Registrant for their best endeavours, ensuring appropriate testing where practical so that he/she can advise the Building Control Officer.

“The HETAS installer would be simply checking as much as they reasonably can maybe visually, plus perhaps flue draft, smoke test or whatever is appropriate and advising the Building Control Officer of their findings.”

“It is then for the Building Control Officer to make a decision based on their own skills and experience, plus the supplementary information supplied by the installer.”

“This combination of skills and checks is considered to be a robust way to address the situation.”

Mike adds, “HETAS has not been involved in discussion about who bears the cost of such an inspection but it seems reasonable that the person having the work done might be responsible.  Things are of course much clearer and simpler when a HETAS registrant undertakes the work and self-certificates to HETAS.”

“Should a Building Control Officer ask for assistance from a HETAS qualified installer to carry out an inspection to ascertain compliance they should use the form stated in Appendix A on page 70 of Approved Document J,  because, ultimately the BCO is signing the job off and not the HETAS installer.”

“Indeed, not all of our registrants will remember that HETAS have an agreement with Local Authority Building Control permitting them to assist a Building Control Officer. Anyone seeking clarity or experiencing difficulties engaging help and support should contact HETAS technical helpline.”

“Installers are aware that whilst the space to fit an appliance is often limited – determined by the shape of the room or location of the chimney breast – there are other factors that must be considered to ensure that the appliance adheres to Part J of Building Regulations.”

“This section of Building Regulations, which outlines requirements for combustion appliances and fuel storage systems, is often referenced during our helpline conversations. For example, questions around the use of Chimneys and flues relate to the requirements for discharge of products of combustion (J2) and protection of building (J4). These regulations and other relevant guidance including manufacturer’s instructions serve to ensure that products are installed compliantly, assuring end users in the use of the installation”.

“It’s great to see our installers are paying such close attention to these requirements and  taking them seriously by phoning for advice if the requirements are not clear for them,” says Mike.

HETAS is proud to have the support from various sectors and organisations in the industry. Working alongside influential organisations such as BFCMASFA and the SIA allows the technical team to provide the most up-to-date information and educated advice.

“Ultimately our aim is to be recognised as the go-to resource for any domestic heating related queries so that we can continue to encourage the improvement of products and promote high standards of quality, design, safety and efficiency.”

Contact the HETAS Technical Helpline to discuss this further, technical@hetas.co.uk or call 01684 278194.

Flue size update

doc_jIn October 2010 our Technical and Training Manager Andy Mathews issued an update on flue sizes, the issues highlighted by Andy remain prominent and can be read below. Andy writes: Through the ongoing HETAS inspections process we are realising that there are a number of installations that are failing in respect of the flue installation. One of the more common areas of non compliance has been recognised by our inspectors and these concern flue sizes and those associated flue connection arrangements. It has been observed that 125mm flues have been fitted instead of the required 150 mm flues. There is clear evidence in failure to observe the appropriate Building Regulations in force controlling the installation of flue liners.

All appliances up to 30kW

The Building Regulations 2010 state that appliances burning any fuel and rated up to 30kw would require a minimum 150mm diameter flue liner. The Building Regulations are more stringent than manufacturers’ instructions; therefore, the Building Regulations must be abided by unless the manufacturers’ installation instructions state a larger diameter. The quoted flue liner size should be as per manufacturer’s instructions but in all cases should be at least 150 mm diameter or larger where appropriate. The following extract confirms this: The Building Regulations (2010) Approved Document J: page 30, 2.6, that “For multi-fuelled appliances, the flue should be sized to accommodate burning the fuel that requires the largest flue.”

Smokeless Fuelled Appliances: and Defra exempted Appliances up to 20kW rated output

A DEFRA exempted appliance is one that meets the standard for burning non-authorised fuels in accordance to the Clean Air Act. The Building Regulations, Approved Document J, Table 2, suggest you may line the chimney with a 125 mm diameter liner for burning only authorised smokeless fuels or the fitting of an exempted appliance burning one of the fuels listed in the exemption record for that appliance. This assumes that the appliance manufacturer does not specify a
larger diameter flue is required.

Note: This is not to be confused with connecting flue pipes, where the connecting flue pipe should have the same cross sectional area as that of the appliance flue outlet, and should not be smaller than the size recommended by the appliance manufacturer. Where possible the Connecting flue pipe should be kept to the shortest practical length.

Registered installers should also refer to Chapter 11 of the HETAS Technical Handbook.

Andy Mathews
Technical and Training Manager

Heat Producing Appliance Ventilation

Heat Producing Appliance Ventilation

Rytons Building Products have released the following update on ventilation for heat producing appliances, the article can be found on the Rytons website by clicking here.

In October 2010 the Building Regulations Part J changed – but some manufacturers still have not. The changes meant all ventilators for heat producing appliances should be tested by an accredited independent company for equivalent area. This is the air that actually passes through the product not (as previously) geometrical free area which is simply the measurement of the most restricted openings. The old style of measurement was felt to be less accurate due to the more modern designs of ventilator which tend to incorporate changes in shape, complex baffles and cowls which limit performance (air that can pass through).

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If you look at the image above it’s easy to appreciate how simply measuring the gaps between the baffles would not be a true reflection of how much air actually flows through the vent as a complete system.  That’s why it’s so important to purchase products which declare an equivalent area.

Being at the forefront of ventilation we realised this was the safest and most accurate way to measure airflow many years ago and have been publishing only equivalent areas for our boiler, stove and fire ventilators for over a decade.

Rytons are currently the only manufacturer to have products approved by HETAS and the BBA.  We also have our own on-site testing facility for research and development of our products before sending them away for independent testing. Next time you go to purchase a ventilator for a fire, boiler or stove ask for the equivalent area to ensure you comply with current Building Regulations.

To view all the permanent ventilators in the HETAS Guide click here.

Rytons Heat Producing Appliance Ventilation Brochure is available to download by clicking here. For orders and enquiries contact 01536 511874.