The Industry Standard
The work of a professional chimney sweep is not generally well understood, even within the solid fuel industry. They obviously clean chimneys but there are many kinds of chimney and many appliances, different kinds of soot and a wide range of professional tools to master. A great variety of situations may be faced on a daily basis. Some situations will require good underpinning knowledge of building regulations and installation requirements. This knowledge is obviously vital when identifying and advising on dangerous situations. Others will test the sweeps understanding of the inter-relationships between the multiple factors that influence chimney function. This understanding is vital in situations where a customer has a problem as a professional sweep is the best person to identify the reasons and offer correct solutions.
Professional sweeps regularly advise consumers on the most suitable appliances and fuels for their situation. Advice on how best to use an appliance and fuel is often required due to a lack of good basic awareness by users. This is valuable in terms of reducing fuel waste thereby saving money, reducing deposits in chimneys which increases safety and reducing air pollutants which benefit us all.
Access to this specialised knowledge and working practices is available to sweeps via training and support offered by professional trade organisations. There is however, no requirement for someone calling themselves a chimney sweep to have undertaken any training whatsoever or for them to register with any professional body. This most certainly puts the public at risk as it is not always easy to tell if the sweep is a trained and registered professional. Indeed, there is such a lack of consumer awareness surrounding many aspects solid fuel appliances and chimney sweeping, that the reasons as to why a customer should engage a trained professional in the first place are not well understood.
For these reasons The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps and The National Association of Chimney Sweeps were compelled to work together to improve the situation.
There are currently two organisations in the UK whose members automatically meet the requirements of the Industry Standard, members of The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps and members of The National Association of Chimney Sweeps. Many of these members will have areas of expertise far in excess of the Standard.