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Who should read this alert?

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Why is this alert being issued?

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What is carbon monoxide (CO) and why is it so dangerous?

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What is the problem?

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Should I be concerned?

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What should I do if I think I'm at risk?

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Further information

When you moved into your property you may have been given the Installation Commissioning and Service Record Log Book for your gas boiler. This should provide details of when your boiler was last serviced. It should also give details of the company that installed the system.

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Additional information for builders/property developers

Key actions needed

Specific guidance on flues in ceiling voids is contained in CORGI Technical Bulletin 200, first published in June 2007, Room-sealed fanned draught systems concealed within voids (TB200). It includes specific mention of the need to install means of access to the flue at strategic locations to allow for visual inspection. In line with this: 

Information to consider

When checking properties you may consider prioritising:

Background

Construction processes may vary between developments, so it is possible that some appliances and flues were commissioned before the ceilings were installed. Some ceilings may also be of a removable tile design, allowing easy access. However, this is less common in residential properties. Certainly, before TB200, gas engineers should have been aware of the need to visually inspect the flue during appliance commissioning and at service/maintenance visits although enquiries indicate awareness of this issue has not been high across the construction and gas industries.

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Additional information for gas engineers

Legal requirements

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (GSIUR) require flues to be suitable for the appliance concerned and to be in proper condition for the safe operation of the appliance. After installation and before the gas appliance it serves can be brought into use, the effectiveness of the flue should be examined.

The installation of a gas appliance to a flue that is not suitable and in proper condition is a breach of GSIUR by an engineer.

Existing industry guidance

Specific guidance on flues in ceiling voids is contained in a CORGI Technical Bulletin, first published in June 2007 Room-sealed fanned draught systems concealed within voids (TB200). It includes specific mention of the need to install means of access to the flue at strategic locations to allow for visual inspection. This is now also a requirement of BS 5440-1: 2008.

If you are a gas engineer or builder/property developer undertaking work in premises where this issue may be relevant you should ensure you have a full and up to date knowledge of the industry guidance outlined in CORGI's Technical Bulletin TB200 "Room-sealed fanned draught flue systems concealed within voids".

As well as covering the initial installation of flues in ceiling voids, TB200 gives advice on maintenance and inspection of existing installations where there is no access to the ceiling space or enclosure.  It directs gas engineers to undertake a thorough assessment of the risk, and outlines a series of factors they should consider (e.g. evidence such as stains in the ceiling/enclosure area that could indicate leakage from the flue). Based on this risk assessment you should form an opinion on whether the gas appliance is safe to continue in use, and what action to recommend to the homeowner, or landlord and tenant.

Before TB200, gas engineers should have been aware of the need to visually inspect the flue during appliance commissioning.  Construction processes may vary between developments, so it is possible that some appliances and flues were commissioned before the ceilings were installed. Some ceilings may also be of a removable tile design, allowing easy access.  However, this is less common in residential properties.

Important note

It is clear that the need to install means of access to flues in ceiling voids/enclosures was neglected in some properties constructed after TB200 was published. Increasingly, it appears that awareness of the requirements of TB200 and the need for inspection points amongst engineers and developers is not as widespread in the industry as HSE would have expected.

If you receive a request from a homeowner/tenant/landlord in relation to this issue ensure as a minimum you undertake the checks required by TB200. However, please note that you may also have other information which should include in your risk assessment to identify the required actions needed specific to that property.

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2013-09-03