Every year, just over a hundred thousand wood burning stoves are installed into homes in the UK. Fitting a log burner in your home is a fantastic way to add warmth and ambiance to any living space. But what are the rules around installing a log burner? If you hire a professional to install your wood burning stove, can they sign off their own work? What if you fit your stove yourself? Who can certify that your log burner is safe?
What If a Professional Installs My Stove?
As you may imagine, most homeowners choose not to play with fire, and opt to have a professional install their log burner. This will almost certainly be a HETAS certified engineer, as HETAS is the largest professional body for stove installation in the UK. Due to their qualifications and experience, they will be able to sign off your log burner themselves, with no need to contact building control.
What if I install My Log Burner Myself?
If you choose to install your log burner yourself, you will need to contact Building Control (generally part of your local council) to sign off and certify that your log burner is safe. Whilst this saves a considerable amount of money on labour, we would always recommend hiring a professional if possible. Fitting a log burner is a complicated, and difficult process, that could have dire consequences for your property and your safety if things go wrong.
However, if you do choose to go ahead, applying for sign-off from Building Control is generally quite an easy process. The first thing you’ll need to do is find the website of your local Building Control department, and search for a downloadable form, which should be called something like “Building Notice Application”. Once you’ve filled the form in, you’ll need to pay a nominal fee of around £150-200.
What Happens After Contacting Building Control
Once you’ve filled in the application and paid any fees required, you’ll be contacted for a visit from Building Control prior to any work commencing. At this appointment, you’ll tell them what you have planned; e.g. “I’m going to fit a flue liner down my chimney, then fit X stove along with a closure plate and air vent.” After this, the Building Control Officer may wish to re-visit partway through the process, or may only visit to inspect the final product. You may be asked to take photos of the progress of your project.
Somebody from Building Control will contact you (you may have to contact them to prompt them) and will arrange to visit you PRIOR to the job starting. At this visit you will tell them what you plan to do (e.g. “I am going to slide a liner down my chimney and fit model “X” stove as well as a closure plate and an air vent").
Regardless, ensure that you notify Building Control at least ten days before you plan on installing your log burner, and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to ensure your stove complies with the regulations. Should everything go to plan, you will receive paperwork stating that your stove installation is safe and legal.
Do I Need to Certify My Stove Installation?
In England and Wales, installing wood burning or multifuel stoves is controlled under Building Regulations. This also applies to any solid fuel appliance, or relining/installing a chimney flue. This is not required for homeowners living in Scotland. Certification is also not required if your property is not defined as “habitable”. This means wood burners installed in sheds, garages, caravans etc.
What If My Stove Installation Isn’t Signed Off?
Whilst there is no immediate consequence to not getting your stove certified, you may be putting yourself and your property at risk if the installation was done incorrectly. You may also run into issues if you come to sell your property, as your buyer’s solicitor will want to see evidence that your log burner complies with Building Regulations. You will then have to either apply for retrospective Building Control, or remove the stove before selling your home.
We hope this article on the sign-off process involved in installing a wood burning stove has been helpful. Further resources you may find useful include Building Regulations Approved Document J, which details all Building Regulations that apply to the installation of a log burner.