Fireplace building regulations
Installing a new fireplace is a great way to update your home; however you will need to make sure you adhere to building regulations when installing yours – find out more here.
Whether you are installing a new fireplace, chimney or a flue, it is important that you comply with building regulations to keep your home safe. The easiest way to adhere to building regulations is to get the work carried out by a HETAS registered installer who can self-certify that your fireplace meets regulations. However, if you choose to have the work carried out by an unregistered engineer then you must have the fireplace inspected and verified by a building control officer. Here’s an outline of the relevant building regulations for installing a new fireplace:
Building regulations for chimneys
Condition and suitability: before you go ahead and install a fireplace, you will need to have the chimney inspected to make sure that it is structurally safe and also the correct size for the fireplace being fitted. You should also carry out a smoke test, this will check for gas tightness. If your chimney is leaking then it must be relined – don’t forget to get yours cleaned professionally at least once a year too.
Relining: you can use a flexible metal flue liner to reline a chimney but you should make sure the liner is specifically made to suit the type of fuel you plan on burning. You should also make sure that the flue is installed as one completed length without joints. You can check the current HETAS guide for further information on suitable materials to use – although it’s best to hire a professional for this.
Building regulations for flues
Size: the diameter of the flue used must not be smaller than the size recommended by the fireplace manufacturer.
Height: it is recommended that a flue height of 4.5m would suffice, though this does depend on the height of the building. The outlet from a flue should be above the roof of the building and it should be positioned in a way so that products of combustion can be removed easily, this reduces the risk of fire.
Distances: regulations insist that single-skin; uninsulated flue pipes must be at least three times their diameter away from combustible materials. So, for example, a six inch pipe needs to be at least 18 inches away from combustible materials. You could use a heat shield to reduce this distance to 1.5 times the diameter, providing the heat shield extends at least 1.5 times the flues diameter to each side of the flue and that there is also an air gap of at least 12mm between the shielding materials and the combustible materials. If you want to use a double skin, insulated flue pipe then you can reduce the clearance required to combustible materials to just 50mm.
Building regulations for hearths
Material: a hearth must be made from non-flammable material as it is used to protect nearby combustible materials from the heat of the fire and the hot fuel which could quite possibly fall from the stove.
Size: your hearth must extend a minimum of 300mm in front and 150mm out from the fireplace at the sides.
Thickness: fireplaces that have been tested to have a hearth temperature not exceeding 100 degrees centigrade can use a hearth with a thickness of 12mm. However, if you have a fireplace that is untested then your hearth will need to be either 125mm thick with a 50mm air gap underneath or a 240mm solid thick hearth.
Building regulations for fireplace ventilation
A fireplace uses the air from within a room for combustion. For this reason any solid fuel burner which has an output higher than 5kWs requires a permanently open vent that has a cross sectional area of at least 550mm for every Kilowatt above 5kW.
You could put a vent in the walls or floor of the room with the fireplace in. This can either vent fumes outdoors, or through another room or loft space which has permanent ventilation to the outside.
Fireplace building regulations state that where a hearth, fireplace, flue or chimney is made or altered then a permanent notice plate should be secured next to it, giving details of the location, type and size of the flue and type of heating appliance used.
How much does installing a fireplace cost?
It would cost around £1,000 to install a solid fuel burning fireplace. However if you want to include a chimney installation in that price, then you are looking of costs more around the £3,000 mark. Get at least three quotes from local fireplace installers for more detailed estimates.