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Protect your family when you install a solid fuel appliance 5 December 2008

A week ago, in Peel, a fire was started by a badly installed solid fuel appliance. This was just the latest instance of a house fire started in this manner. The appliance had been installed for less than a year, but hot gases caused a fire and required a call out from the Isle of Man Fire Service.

Building Control Authorities issue approvals for all solid fuel appliances. These approvals are mandatory, and are designed to save lives. It is essential that home-owners wishing to install appliances, such as wood burning stoves, Agas, etc. make a formal application so that an inspection of the works can be made – to ensure their family’s safety.

Application forms can be found on the DLGE website at http://www.gov.im/dlge/planning/build/applications.

If homeowners live in Douglas, Onchan or Peel they should contact their local Building Control Authority – contact details for these Authorities can be found at: http://www.gov.im/dlge/planning/build/contacts.xml

Siamack Rowaichi, Senior Building Control Officer at DLGE said, ‘My main concern is that house owners installing solid fuel appliances in their homes without knowing their responsibilities may be putting themselves, their families and their neighbours in danger, as well as putting their home insurance at risk. We’re not saying families shouldn’t install solid fuel appliances – just that we need to make sure they’ve been installed safely.’

In order to protect families, Building Control will check that a new heat-producing appliance is provided with sufficient supply of air for combustion - to prevent overheating and ensure the efficient working of any flue. This will prevent injuries, fire, and death by carbon monoxide poisoning, caused by substandard installations carried out by those who are not qualified and experienced. A Building Control visit will also assess whether a mechanical ventilation system can be used, as some appliances are not compatible with these types of ventilation systems. All appliances must be able to discharge the products of combustion (for example, smoke) to the outside, and must therefore be fitted with a flue appropriate to the type of fuel used.

Since 1993 it has the responsibility of the homeowner to make an application for Building Control approval under the Building Regulations for installation of Heat Producing Appliances. Those who have installed such appliances without approval must do so by making a Regularisation Application to their Building Control Authority to make sure that works are safe.

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