These two new best practice sections will help social landlords to maintain quality homes in an increasingly challenging economic environment. The Compliance Section has a set of topical guides summarising social landlords’ responsibilities for meeting essential statutory health and safety requirements and explain how to do this economically and efficiently. The Fuel Saving Section explains how to include a fuel saving strategy as a key aspect of an organisation’s business plan. The Guide then sets out how to develop a practical improvement strategy as an integral part of the asset management programme and how to successfully deliver the improvements and manage the risks. There are also best practice training courses which relate to this guide.
HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme) is the official body recognised by Government to approve biomass and solid fuel heating appliances, fuels and services, including the registration of competent installers and servicing businesses. It provides advice on the regulations, such as Building Regulations, governing the new installation of solid fuel heating appliances. Part J of the Building Regulations advises that ‘for combustion appliances to continue to work safely and effectively it is essential that they are adequately and regularly serviced and maintained’. It also lists relevant European and British standards and provides safety guidance, including for chimneys.
Landlords should ensure that solid-fuel appliances installed in their properties are adequately and regularly serviced and maintained. This should include ensuring that any flues are operating safely and swept in accordance with the recommendations in the installation checklist, typically annually. Some landlords have installed smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors near to solid-fuel appliances.
HETAS provide guidance on chimney sweeping for coal fires and sweeping flues to other solid-fuel appliances. While landlords are not required by legislation to check the safety of solid-fuel appliances annually, it is considered good practice and landlords should consider how best to gain access once a year to check safety, sweep flues and maintain appliances.