Q&A Facebook page

We are pleased to announce the new interactive NACE Q&A Facebook page which can be accessed here.

You are invited to use this facility for technical, legal, mechanical, fire risk and/or safety, installation or document interpretation advice.

The NACE Facebook page has been designed for the professional and for those who require further technical and mechanical advice.

Please use the new NACE Q&A system. Although not a forum, you are more than welcome to leave constructive comments on the page or email to facebook@nace.org.uk should you feel these are necessary. We will certainly consider all responses carefully.


Samples of recent posts:

HOME & RENOVATION SHOW

NACE would like to invite its Facebook reader’s to apply for two free tickets to the ‘National Home building & Renovating Show’ Running from the 28th to the 31st March 2019 at the NEC, Birmingham, the event will bring together over 500 exhibitors and 16 free daily seminars and masterclasses.

Product showcase

A showcase of products and services by specialist companies from a wide variety of industries will also be available, including kitchens; bathrooms; doors and windows; extensions and conversions; eco and heating; architecture; design; financial services; planning permissions and many more. People can also interact with real case studies to find out the most common obstacles they might face during their self-build and renovation process.

Project guidance

The Advice Centre, a drop-in clinic for personalised, impartial guidance, is open to people who are keen to run ideas past industry leading specialists with years of experience in their fields. This section will see the return of the Ask the Builder area, where members of the Federation of Master Builders will offer tips to visitors on hiring accredited, highly skilled construction workers.
Visitors interested in finding out more about the design, planning and construction process are encouraged to visit the Ask the Architect area, where chartered specialists from RIBA will provide tailored advice via one-on-one sessions.

Expert consultation

For personalised tips on all aspects of self-build and renovation, the Ask the Expert zone will offer 15-minute consultations via interactive sessions with the UK’s leading property experts. Visitors will be able to discuss their ideas, plans or problems with property experts Michael Holmes and Jason Orme; interior designer and architect Mariana Pedroso; construction expert Peter Richardson and Mike Cruickshank; finance expert Tom McSherry; building experts David Hilton and Bob Branscombe; eco expert Tim Pullen; builder Andy Stevens; home renovator Jo Dyson and planning expert Sally Tagg.

To register for your free tickets please email:
Technical@nace.org.uk
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"WORKMANSHIP WARRANTIES"
A TRANSPARENCY FAILURE REVISITED

In a recent post NACE made it quite clear what CPS providers must declare to their members and in turn their members to the consumer with regard to workmanship warranties. The the number of inquiry's received by the NACE Technical Team on this subject has been considerable in view of a complete lack of transparency.

The NACE Technical Team would like to refer to the following documentation provided by OFTEC on the subject of Workmanship Warranties;

Workmanship Warranty

"Workmanship warranty is a scheme designed to give you peace of mind when you have new heating or cooking equipment installed. Only members of a competent persons scheme like OFTEC’s will provide the warranty and it is one of several important benefits that employing an OFTEC registered technician brings to householders"

The warranty covers any domestic work that is notifiable under England and Wales building regulations, which includes:

• Oil boiler, cooker, storage and supply installations

• Solid fuel stove installations

• Renewable heating technology installations

• Heating and plumbing installations

• Ventilation installations (not including air conditioning)

• Electrical work covered by building regulations Part P.

The workmanship warranty scheme was introduced by Government and is "mandatory" in England and Wales and voluntary in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. All installation work self-certified by OFTEC registered installers includes a workmanship warranty, work carried out will be covered in the unlikely event that it does not meet building regulations and the installer is no longer trading to correct the matter.

Warranty Period

The warranty lasts for six years from the date of installation, providing OFTEC receives the job notification on time, and covers the cost of rectifying any contravention of building regulations directly attributable to the installation.

Note: The warranty is specifically designed to cover the work carried out. It doesn’t include defects that arise as a result of faulty equipment manufacture, which are covered by the manufacturer’s own product guarantees or maintenance work.

The above is an honest appraisal of what we would expect a Workmanship warranty to mean, it is transparent and clear confirming that workmanship warranties are as we have stated a 'mandatory requirement' not only for the registrant to provide but for the consumer to have access to such fund via the scheme provider should a registrant fail to carryout work in accordance or cease trading.

For clarity, a CPS member who leaves or is removed from his scheme's register and continues to trade under another business name carrying out similar and/or associated work in a self-employed capacity will be considered 'still trading' irrespective of how many difference trading names used and legally liable to correct and/or provide financial compensation against any non-compliant work for a period of 6 years. This circumstance will not apply to someone having contravened the Building Regulations in a self-employed capacity who then forms a limited business carrying out the same or similar work, liability would therefore cease with the ‘Trading As’ business.


In such cases, CPS managers must provide the consumer with access to its insurance fund and assistance with any claim for non-compliant workmanship or workmanship that is considered dangerous, sadly, in the case of one particular CPS we are informed (on authority) that not only do they have such consumer insurances in place they have made it quite clear that consumers will not have access to this mandatory support and that it is their registrants who must accept liability.

What therefore is the status-quo when a registrant is unwilling to return to a defective and/or non-compliant installation or more to the point returns but is unable to correct his faulty and/or non-compliant work because quite simply the fitter lacks the skills to do so.

Interestingly, there is no reference whatsoever regarding Workmanship Warranties on this schemes web site or evidence of this anywhere within their limited remit of third party training, it would appear they are unwilling and very reluctant (according to our source) to place this information in the public domain or within the grasp of the consumer as we believe that by doing so it would open up a deluge of consumer complaint similar to a flood gate opening (given the level of incompetence NACE register's on a regular basis) and in turn result in a somewhat detrimental effect upon revenue income.

OFTEC on the other hand offer clarity and transparency clearly stating what is expected of a CPS and its registrants, more importantly, what they themselves must provide the consumer, NACE would therefore highly recommend this CPS as an alternative registration system.

If anyone is interested in obtaining reduced solid fuel installer membership status with OFTEC please contact NACE directly.
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CARCINOGENIC THIRD PARTY FLUE CLEANERS - "YOUR SAFETY"

The NACE Technical Team are greatfull and would like to thank those who contributed to our post regarding chemical flue cleaners, the NACE Q&A page is not an open forum, there are plenty of these both secretive and otherwise available for general use, however, we found that it was important that some constructive and technically competent comments were allowed.

Support from professional organisations and those with a broad understanding outside of any limited remit on health, safety and environmental practices were well received, overall, the opinion was that these products according to available manufacturing data must be considered dangerous to use with a negative impact on the environment.

NACE continues to educate and inform in an unregulated and unsupervised industry with self interested parties more concerned with individual status than with safety, it is apparent that even with the inarguable manufacturing information we have referred to these types of product do pose a threat to human life and to the environment with no liability or responsibility accepted by overseas producers, what appears to be undeniable are the following references; (limited warranty)

"Our recommendations for use of this product are based upon tests believed to be reliable"

What tests would these be and where are the documents to support this 'reliability', if 'believed' to be reliable what risks are there to the user/operator given that no reliable test references exist. What level of pollution is therefore introduced when these products are released into the atmosphere? unfortunately our illustrious experts have no idea although the product manufacturer states;

"Use only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area"

and;

"Avoid discharge to the environment"

Which of these ambiguous statements should be followed by the user and which are to be 'believed'

Once the product is used the manufacturer states;

"Dispose in a safe manner in accordance with local/national regulations" and "Avoid release to the environment"

Once again a reference that the product should not be released to the environment. What are the safety disposal regimes of those using these products, where are the empty vessels deposited? given the manufacturer has highlighted concerns in this direction within their safety data information.

The intention is to educate and to bring attention to areas of our industry others would prefer remain in the shadows, to advise on personal safety and the well being of others which appears to be of less importance than status and revenue opportunity.

If it is the choice that dangerous products and activities are employed our illustrious industry leaders owe it to their paying members to be less conservative with the truth and engage in providing suitable information that both educates, protects,informs and helps to mitigate potential liability by giving the end user the choice whether or not to engage .
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CARCINOGENIC THIRD PARTY FLUE CLEANERS - "YOUR SAFETY"

NACE have recently concluded an investigation into a powdered flue cleaner widely advertised and recommended by fitters and chimney sweeps as a method to remove ‘Tar’ from a controlled service. (Flue shaft) In fact many state on their business web-sites that this product “Aids the removal of creosote” but fail to provide a single independent type test reference in support or confirming this status or that this product is safe to use in a domestic environment.

Anyone claiming this product ensures a cleaner flue may well be requested to prove this hypotheses in a court of law assuming there is quantifiable third party test evidence to support such claim. (General Product Safety Regulations 2012 & 2018)

The use of a third party untested and unregulated products used in a domestic UK environment will ‘Null & Void’ any PI insurance claim holding the individual supplier and operator personally liable for damage to health.

The product is not environmentally friendly, the safety advice given is to; “Avoid discharge to the environment”

The use of these chemical compounds will impact directly on the health and well being of not only those using these products but on the consumer, without properly understanding the risks involved these products continue to be used in compete ignorance, the NACE Technical Team have consulted numerous documents relating to this product as well as BSEN’s and wish to share the following information as a ‘duty of care’

BSEN 15287-1:2007+A1:2010 clearly states;

NC.1.4 Cleaning Operation

“The use of chimney cleaners CANNOT be recommended as a substitute for cleaning”

This is not a suggestion that mechanical sweeping should not occur or be considered a substitute, this is a clear statement that powder based cleaners “must not be used” in any sweeping and/or cleaning capacity yet those with little if any chemical analysis experience or qualification continue to use these cleaning powders irrespective of the registered dangers to public health.

Reference to this product and its safety data information beggar’s belief, the product is widely used in domestic environments by fitters and chimney sweeps, however, manufacturers warnings should be fully understood and considered before use, the following is a transcript taken directly from the manufactures safety data sheet.

PRODUCT - HAZARDOUS MATERIAL

Skin Corr. - Eye Dam. - Carc. - STOT (Specific target organ toxicity)

(Carc. DENOTES DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE)

Causes severe skin burns and eye damage
May cause respiratory irritation
May cause cancer
Do not handle until all safety precautions have been read and understood
Do not breathe mist, spray, or vapours
Wash hands thoroughly after handling
Use only in a well-ventilated area
Wear eye protection, protective clothing, protective gloves

IF SWALLOWED: Rinse mouth. Do NOT induce vomiting
IF ON SKIN (or hair): Remove immediately all contaminated clothing. Rinse skin with water/shower
IF INHALED: Remove person to fresh air and keep comfortable for breathing.
IF in eyes: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing
Wash contaminated clothing before reuse
Keep container tightly closed- Store away from children
Dispose of contents/container to comply with applicable local, national and international regulation.

If inhaled or swallowed; "Call a POISON CENTER/doctor/physician"

CALCIUM HYDROXIDE (Skin Irritant / Eye Damage
(If you work with industrial-grade calcium hydroxide, ingesting it can result in calcium hydroxide poisoning. This can lead to severe injury or death, accidental ingestion of calcium hydroxide can cause severe throat pain, a burning sensation in the mouth, abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody stool or vomit, rapidly falling blood pressure and collapse.)

FIRST AID MEASURES
First-aid measures after inhalation: In all cases of doubt, or when symptoms persist, seek medical advice. Remove to fresh air and keep at rest in a position comfortable for breathing. Call a POISON CENTER/doctor/physician if you feel unwell.

First-aid measures after skin contact: Wash with plenty of soap and water. Wash contaminated clothing before reuse. If skin irritation occurs get medical advice/attention.

First-aid measures after eye contact: Immediately flush eyes thoroughly with water for at least 15 minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do.
Continue rinsing. Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing and immediately call a POISON CENTER or doctor/physician.

MOST IMPORTANT SYMPTOMS ACUTE & DELAYED
Symptoms/injuries: May cause drowsiness or dizziness. Overexposure may be irritating to the respiratory system. Causes skin irritation. Symptoms/injuries after inhalation: Inhalation of mist may cause mild irritation to upper respiratory tract. May cause drowsiness or dizziness. May cause ‘CANCER by INHALATION’ May cause respiratory irritation. Symptoms/injuries after skin contact: Causes skin irritation.

Symptoms/injuries after eye contact: May cause physical irritation upon direct contact, Causes serious eye damage.

PRECAUTIONS FOR SAFE HANDLING
Precautions for safe handling: Keep out of reach of children. Wash hands and other exposed areas with mild soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking and when leaving work. Provide good ventilation in process area to prevent formation of vapour. Obtain special instructions before use.

Do not handle until all safety precautions have been read and understood.

Avoid breathing dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray. Use only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.

Hygiene measures: Do not eat, drink or smoke when using this product. Avoid contact with skin and eyes. Use good personal hygiene practices.

Wash hands and other exposed areas with mild soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking and when leaving work. Separate working clothes from town clothes.
Launder separately.

Wash contaminated clothing prior to re-use. Wash ... thoroughly after handling. Appropriate engineering controls: Ensure adequate ventilation. Mechanical ventilation is recommended.Positive pressure in interior of occupied buildings during exterior application.
Personal protective equipment: Gloves. Protective clothing. Protective goggles. Avoid all unnecessary exposure.

Hand protection: Wear protective gloves.
Eye protection: Wear chemical splash goggle. Chemical goggles or safety glasses.
Skin and body protection: Wear suitable protective clothing. Wear suitable protective clothing.
Respiratory protection: Wear appropriate mask.
Environmental exposure controls: Avoid discharge to the environment.

HAZARDOUS DECOMPOSITION PRODUCTS
Hazardous decomposition products may be released during prolonged heating like smokes, carbon monoxide and dioxide, SiO2. Heating may cause the liberation of small amounts of flammable hydrogen gas and fume, Carbon monoxide, Carbon dioxide.

CARCINOGENICITY: MAY CAUSE CANCER.
Skin corrosion/irritation: Causes severe skin burns and eye damage. Serious eye damage/irritation: Causes serious eye damage. Symptoms/injuries after inhalation: Inhalation of mist may cause mild irritation to upper respiratory tract. May cause drowsiness or dizziness. May cause cancer by inhalation. May cause respiratory irritation. Symptoms/injuries after skin contact: Causes skin irritation. Symptoms/injuries after eye contact: May cause physical irritation upon direct contact. Causes serious eye damage.Waste disposal recommendations: Dispose in a safe manner in accordance with local/national regulations. Ecology - waste materials:

"AVOID RELEASE TO THE ENVIRONMENT"

Acute Tox; (Oral) Acute toxicity (oral), Category 4
Carc; Carcinogenicity, Category 1A
Eye Dam; Serious eye damage/eye irritation, Category 1
Skin Corr; Skin corrosion/irritation Category 1A
Skin Irrit; Skin corrosion/irritation Category 2
STOT; Specific target organ toxicity (single exposure) Category 3
Harmful if swallowed - Causes severe skin burns and eye damage

Classification according to Directive 67/548/EEC or 1999/45/EC "Not classified"
.
The Dangerous Substances Directive[1] (as amended) was one of the main European Union laws concerning chemical safety, until its full replacement by the new regulation CLP Regulation (2008), starting in 2016. It was made under Article 100 (Art. 94 in a consolidated version)[2] of the Treaty of Rome. By agreement, it is also applicable in the EEA,[3] and compliance with the directive will ensure compliance with the relevant Swiss laws.[4] The Directive ceased to be in force on 31 May 2015 and was repealed by Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (Text with EEA relevance)

Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008

The purpose of this Regulation is to harmonise the criteria for classification of substances and mixtures, and the rules on labelling and packaging for hazardous substances and mixtures. It also aims at establishing a classification and labelling inventory of substances.

This Directive shall not apply to non-isolated intermediates, waste, medicines, cosmetics, food and feeding stuffs, and substances and mixtures that are either radioactive, or subjects to custom supervision, or used for scientific research and are non-marketed. (This does not include domestic use)

This Regulation shall not apply to the transport of dangerous goods by air, sea, road, rail or inland waterways except for for labelling of outer packaging, inner packaging and single packaging.

Given these results NACE would strongly advise against the use of any chemical flue cleaner unless safety for both user and operator can be confirmed and that products do not represent a hazard to the environment or a danger to the public.
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MANOMETERS – DO I NEED ONE?

If you are a fitter/installer or chimney sweep acting in a professional capacity installing, cleaning, sweeping or carrying out low level appliance maintenance work where appliances are connected to a controlled service in a domestic environment and where the safety and well being of the occupants are clearly your responsibility the likely hood is, ‘Yes You Do’

A manometer is a calibrated test gauge used to accurately evaluate and measure flue draft, this should be an integral piece of equipment relied upon to confirm appliance manufacturers requirements have been met.

Without suitable flue draught evaluation meeting appliance manufacturers recommendations (whether the appliance is new or otherwise) the operation and performance of an appliance / chimney system is likely to be severely jeopardised, this can have serious adverse mechanical consequences as well as impacting upon the health and well being of occupants in particular the elderly, vulnerable and disabled as well as causing third party issues to neighbouring properties.

Sadly, in almost every case (92%) where non-compliance with the Building regulations had been proven appliance installation work appears to have been undertaken on the premise and simple criteria of,

‘Can I make it fit’

and not;

‘Will it work when I’ve done it’

This is confirmed by the rising number of incompetent installations NACE is called upon to inspect and investigate that fail to operate correctly through poor design, compatibility to the building fabric and a lack of any commissioning information other than the appliance is simply fired up at the conclusion of an installation then assumed to be operating correctly.

To our knowledge, very few if any involved in the cleaning and installation process rely on a calibrated Manometer to confirm the appliance they are cleaning, installing or/and maintaining will meet manufacturers minimum draught requirements before, during or after the appliance is installed and/or cleaned therefore unable to confirm the appliance and/or chimney system is operating at optimum P/A levels.

Draught testing and the use of calibrated test equipment appears to be random at best although P/A confirmation is referred to within all approved manufacturers installation instructions and must be met as part of any pre or post installation work, in particular where existing appliance installations are likely to be cleaned and/or maintained and cannot be confirmed as compliant or safe.

P/A (draught) testing should occur before an appliance is installed, during the erection of a new chimney system or when relining is complete and when commissioning takes place, these results must tally with appliance manufacturers draught requirements, this activity should form part of a recognised audit trail with all test results recorded so that those involved are able to provide such information on request.

Once again liability for correct operation and performance of a controlled service rests entirely with the person installing and/or carrying out a cleaning activity, the issuing of unregulated, non-notifiable audit trail information merely confirms individual liability tying any such activity directly to a registered non-compliance and/or safety failure. This level of evidence cannot be wavered or ignored and may be used in evidence should litigation occur.
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