What does the law say?

The work of the chimney sweep and the fire safety inspector is primarily based on the Civil Protection Act and the Civil Protection Ordinance, which came into force in 2004. In turn, these regulations are tied to other legislation, including the Planning and Building Act, which establishes, among other things, the rules governing the conversion of existing and the installation of new fireplaces. Such actions must be reported to the municipal building committee. The fireplace may not be used until the building committee has issued its final decision.

Other changes that may affect the chimney sweeping or inspection time limits shall be reported to the master chimney sweep. These include, for example, a change of fuel or altered circumstances concerning use. You can read more about the legal requirements for fireplaces in the “Installation and maintenance” section here.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency’s provisions and general recommendations on chimney sweeping/cleaning (MSB 2014:6) (in Swedish, PDF available here) address sweeping/cleaning and fire safety inspections. These provisions establish the level of knowledge required by the person who is to sweep or inspect, as well as the time limits or intervals that are to apply. The provisions also include recommendations and guidelines, such as what applies to the property owner.

Do not forget the cooker hood!
The legislation governing chimney sweeping and fire safety inspections, and the resultant systematic visits by the appointed chimney sweeping company, do not free the property owner from responsibility. Much still falls to the owner of the building, such as regarding the property’s extractor ducts. In conjunction with the legal changes made at the end of the 1990s, cooker hoods and the associated ducting were removed from the responsibilities of the chimney sweep. This means that the property owner is responsible for ensuring that the cooker hood and associated systems are cleaned in order to prevent grease and flammable deposits from causing or spreading fire.

Your responsibility as a property owner
All property owners have a responsibility to maintain their fireplace. It must be maintained to prevent the risk of spreading fire. Ash and soot must be kept on a non-combustible surface in, for example, a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. There are also guidelines for how fireplaces should be used, that is, what fuel should be used and how much. You can read more about safe fireplace use in the “Wood burning in a fireplace” section, which can be found here.

Remember roof safety!
Another important aspect is the regulations concerning the property owner’s responsibility for chimney sweeps, builders and other parties who may need access to the property. Here there are requirements concerning, for example, devices adjacent to and on the roof to prevent falls and other accidents. If shortcomings in occupational safety prevent the chimney sweep or fire safety inspector from accessing the roof, they cannot complete their work. To avoid a return visit, and additional costs, it is best if you can check a few important points concerning roof safety before the visit. You can read more about what to keep in mind before chimney sweeping and fire safety inspections on the page “Preparing for the chimney sweep”.

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