Since December 2012 Part J regulations governing the inspection of Gas Flues changed. Any hidden flue needs hatches to allow a visual inspection along its entire length to be carried out when the boiler is serviced. Where the flue changes direction it needs to be visible from both sides. Any joins in the need to be within 1.5 metres of an inspection hatch.
Building Regulations state any hatch must not impair any fire, thermal or acoustic properties/ requirements as laid down by building regulations. In most cases this means a steel door inspection hatch with fire board. However in a small number of cases a non fire rated metal or plastic inspection hatch will suffice.
Part J Building Regulations stipulate that Flue Inspection Hatches need to be 300 x 300mm. However where this is not practical to fit a 300x300mm panel a smaller size can be fitted. To give as much versatility as possible we offer 7 sizes of gas flue inspection hatch. 300x300mm, 350x350mm, 450x450mm, 550x550mm, 600x600mm, 600x900mm (hinged longside) 1200 x 900mm. As standard our Flue Inspection Hatches have a twist lock, accessed by a bung and operated with a square ended key. There is an option to have flue inspection hatches fitted with Tamper Proof locks, useful for communal areas.
Why Gas Flues need inspecting?
Leaking Gas Flues can result in Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Part J Building Regulations require all gas boilers with flues which cannot be inspected in full to be treated as "at risk". As a result of new legislation (effective from January 2013) the flue must be inspected and checked for leaks or damage whenever the boiler is serviced. Where the flue is hidden, a Gassafe registered Technician must be able to visually inspect the flue via Access Panels. Part J Access Panels must have a minimum opening of 300x300mm and be constructed to ensure when installed they do not compromise the fire and accoustic properties of the surrounding wall or ceiling. In reality this means metal panels with a fireboard insert. However in a small number of cases other access panels (Plastic or Metal non-fire rated) will comply with Part J guidelines.
Implications for Landlords and Property Owners
Part J Building Regulations state the whole length of a concealed flue must be able to be inspected when the boiler is serviced. Inspection hatches need to allow inspection of both sides of any join or change of direction of the flue.
Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon Monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas given off when fossil fuels are burnt. Ordinarily the levels of carbon monoxide given off when burning gas are nothing to worry about. However if an appliance is faulty it may give off Carbon Monoxide (CO). CO is heavier than air and even a small amount has a drastic effect on the body. When inhaled CO binds with the Oxygen Carrying Red Blood Cells and prevents them from carrying oxygen. As oxygen levels in the body drop a person can slip into a coma and if continually exposed to CO will die.
When independently fire testing our Gas Flue Inspection hatches we always opt for a full test, not just an indicative test. As it’s much more likely a large panel will fail before a small panel we always test the largest version of each inspection hatch. All our panels are tested in walls and ceilings to ensure our Gas Flue Inspection Hatches are safe to use anywhere. Tests are also carried out on picture frame and beaded frame variants of the hatches.