There have been a lot of questions regarding this subject and we’ve tried to compile a list of the common questions and issues, along with responses that we believe are appropriate.  Some have been unique situations which legislation has failed to give guidance and Gas Safe Register have also failed to provide a suitable response, as such, we have adopted our best engineering judgement to assist with the responses.

Do I need flue hatches?
Not everyone needs flue hatches, you will only need to get inspection hatches fitted if you have a “room sealed” boiler and it’s flue contains a joint within an area that cannot be accessed.  Access will therefore need to be made with a flue hatch.

I have a commercial boiler, does it apply to me?
Technically, yes. However, the same rules apply as above. The appliance must be of the room sealed variety and very few commercial boilers are of a room sealed nature, please remember that a commercial boiler is one that has a rated input above 70kw, if you are a small office, you may actually have a domestic boiler which will likely be room sealed and as such, the rules would then apply.

How many hatches do I need?
That depends on how long your flue is and how many joints you have in your flue. We require an inspection hatch at every joint. If you was unlucky and had a builder install your flue with 1m lengths and it runs for a prolonged distance, you’ll have a “lot” of hatches, however most builders and installers will often limit their joints and as such, limit the amount of hatches that you need.

How do I know where the joints are and where to put the hatches?
Educated guessing is the business that we’re in. Obviously, you need flue hatches because we cannot see your flue, as such, until a hole is cut in your ceiling, we are guessing where to start – However, if you use Fox & Co to identify your locations, we’ve hit our target joints with great accuracy so far.

What happens when my flue passes through my neighbours property?
Unfortunately, the property belongs to someone else and we cannot force entry, we will try to make access to carry out an inspection, but if we cannot access the property, there is not much we can do. However we do strongly recommend that you consider getting your flue re-routed as soon as possible for both you and your neighbours safety.

I have someone else’s flue running through my property…
This is unfortunately a practice that did take place and is now strictly forbidden. You do not have to give our engineers access, but doing so is for your own safety. As to who is responsible for paying the costs of hatches, that is yet something that nobody really knows. We feel that you should consider installing the hatches as they will allow the engineer visiting your neighbour to ensure your safety as well and as such are a good investment. However, if you fail to fit hatches or grant access, we are technically unable to enforce anything unless we deem that something is not right.

I’ve been told I need to buy a CO alarm for every room.
Yes and no, we strongly advise that a CO alarm is fitted in every room that a flue travels through; however, if the hatches are fitted, we technically cannot force you into providing them unlike the rules in force prior to January 2013. However, for the low investment and the re-assurance they can provide, sometimes they are the right choice.

Who has to pay for these hatches to be fitted…?
You do (Unless you rent, then it will be down to your landlord). If you are in a new build property that is covered under warranty, you should contact the warranty provider as in some cases, they will undertake the update work as technically, the boiler was installed in a potentially unsafe condition.

My boiler has been turned off with a sticker saying it is “At Risk”, can I turn it on again?
The engineer has classified the appliance as “At Risk” because it cannot be confirmed whether or not the appliance is safe to operate after testing. We do not advise that any person operates an “At Risk” appliance, however, if you choose to do so, you do so under your own risk and the consequences could be fatal. Engineers do not turn off appliances without a good reason.

Where can I find out more…?

The Gas Safe Register Website

The HSE’s Website

020 8883 2223   07958 500 900
www.inspection-hatches.co.uk