The hidden time-bomb – ‘Flues in Voids’

With only months to go before legislation comes into force, the hidden time-bomb of ‘Flues in Voids’ has become a hot topic. Below, we look at the major issues and the possible impact as well as giving a guide to the legislation. The nightmare scenario for housing organisations and residents could be the enforced switching off of gas appliances in a building if the gas engineer cannot inspect or risk assess the flue adequately. For elderly and vulnerable residents this could have a devastating impact, especially during the winter months.

Technical Bulletin TB008 (ED2.1 dated 2 April 2012) – Room-sealed, fanned-draught chimney/flue systems concealed within voids, dictates how flues in voids must be treated and categorised.

Many authorities may still be unaware of either the consequences or indeed the timescales surrounding this legislation, but the countdown has started….

Key points of TB008:

a)     Gas engineers need to be able to see the chimney/flue, which removes the products of combustion away from the boiler, as part of an essential gas safety check in accordance with the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations.

b)     A chimney/flue system must be inspected on every occasion where gas work is undertaken on a boiler, for example, during a service, maintenance or breakdown call-out.

c)     In flats, where all or part of the chimney or flue cannot be seen, the engineer must risk assess the situation to determine if arrangements need to be made for inspection hatches to be fitted before 31 December 2012. As long as the boiler passes a series of safety checks, including having audible CO alarms fitted, it can be used normally up to 31 December 2012.

After 31 December this year, where a chimney/flue cannot be inspected, and the registered gas engineer, cannot adequately confirm the safe operation of flue, he will be required to:

  1. Turn off the gas appliance with the responsible person’s permission
  2. Categorise the appliance as “At Risk
  3. Formally advise the occupier not to use the appliance until the flue can be inspected in accordance with The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations

Problems may present themselves with securing access to properties to make the initial assessment and dwellings in high rise situations will typically be more vulnerable.

CORGI’s team of experts have a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved, and are able to advise you should you have any areas of concern, for more information please contact us at: or 01256 548040

For a pdf of CORGI News May 2012 please click here: