Listed Building Consent and Chimney/Fireplace Works

Listed Building Consent

Listed Buildings

Historic England defines listed building consent to be “required for all works of demolition, alteration or extension to a listed building that affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest”.

Just like placing a building notice or applying for planning permission, applications are made to the Local Planning Authority and the outcome will be determined by the LPA consulting with Historic England and the National Amenity Societies.

Many owners of listed buildings will already be familiar with Historic England as this is where listed properties are registered, however National Amenity Societies are statutory consultees which must be notified by law of any work that involves demolition to a listed property. Further, many areas in England and Wales also have Civic Societies (some recognised by the LPA) which comment on planning and historic building matters within their local area.

Fire Risk Guidance in Listed/Thatch Properties

Under the instruction of Historic England, The Fire Protection Association researched over the course of three years the relationship between wood burners/stoves and chimney/thatch fires in order to make recommendations as to how the risk could be minimised.

In 2018 they published the results which found that the “heat transfer” theory used to explain many chimney fires was not accurate; with fires starting shortly after a wood burner had been lit or where an insulated flue liner was already in place. Furthermore, it found that in thatch properties that the thatch could be ignited by sparks and embers from the chimney and that spark arrestors did not appear to reduce this risk and may encourage sparks to remain close to the thatch. It was also highlighted that defects in the chimney stack could cause fires to be started flue gases leaking into the thatch. Additionally, some designs of stove were found to be more safe than others.

As a result of their findings, new guidance was issued for thatched properties including “The fundamental recommendation is that wood burning and multi-fuel stoves should not be used in thatch roofed buildings.”

There are an estimated 60,000+ thatched properties in the UK and approximately 75% of these hold listed status.

Where stoves are being used, the guidance lists the following actions to reduce the risk of fire:

  • Sweeping chimneys frequently
  • Sufficient distance between thatch and top of chimney pot (current building regulations stipulate 1.8m)
  • Fitting bird guards
  • Installing suitable flue liner
  • Taking care when lighting the stove
  • Taking care when refuelling the stove
  • Fitting a stove pipe temperature gauge

Please note, in a listed property, before planning/carrying out any changes relating to your fireplace, chimney or flue it would be advisable to seek advice from the LABC. Additionally contacting your home insurance policy provider to check if they have any conditions that would apply to any changes you are wanting to make (i.e. type of flue liner, stove etc.).

Further guidance from Historic England and the Fire Protection Association can be found on their leaflet at the link below:

Most Commonly Used Flue Lining Systems in Listed Properties

Our most frequently used, and in our opinion most effective, methods of flue lining in listed properties include:

  1. Twin Wall
  2. Isokoat
  3. Pumice

1. Twin Wall

This lining system is essentially a flue pipe with another flue pipe inside, with insulation between the two. The insulation layer ensures that the inside of the flue is kept at a high temperature to ensure correct function of the fireplace/stove and to keep the outside of the flue cooler to minimise any heat transfer risk (please note that the exterior of the pipe will still be warm to touch). Billing Chimneys preferred choice of twin wall flue system is manufacturer guaranteed for 20 years*.

2. Isokoat

This lining system is applied to the flue wall throughout its height in 2 or 3 coats to ensure a smooth surface and sealed flue shaft. Applied under pressure, Isokoat is forced into any gaps or cracks within the flue wall bridging them to ensure that fumes and products of combustion will be safely emitted to the outside air. This method allows the largest possible flue dimensions to be maintained which can be vital where the masonry flue dimensions are already small. Depending on the configuration of the flue shaft it can sometimes be necessary to create an access hole into the flue shaft (i.e. on the first or second floor) with the disturbed area made good to a plaster finish once flue lining is complete. The Isokoat flue lining system is manufacturer guaranteed for 10 years*.

3. Pumice

This lining system is made of sectional liners which are highly insulating for better draw and minimal heat loss. The durability and life expectancy of these liners far exceed that of other systems and provide greater protection to the chimney and adjacent structures in the event of a chimney fire.  The installation does involve accessing the flue at two or three positions with the disturbed area made good to a plaster finish once flue lining is complete. The pumice flue lining is manufacturer guaranteed for 10 years*.

If you do have any further questions about listed building consent or require any chimney/fireplace work, please don’t hesitate to contact Billing Chimney’s on 01425 475774.

*Manufacturer conditions apply

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