Flue and chimney sector under threat as energy regs make it more expensive to put chimneys on new homes.

Chimneys could disappear from many new homes under the latest version of the energy regulations, according to flue and chimney makers.

Clive Pavitt, director of the Thurrock Flue Company, said the latest revision to Part L of the Building Regulations could make it too expensive to include chimneys and flues in dwellings. The rule changes could force flue and chimney makers out of business and lead to job losses.

Pavitt said: “The recommendations in the document will have a calamitous effect on the British flue and chimney manufacturing sector.”

Under the proposed revision, due to be introduced on 1 January, new homes with chimneys will have a lower energy efficiency score than those without. This is because they carry warm internal air out of the building even when they are not in use. To compensate, housebuilders will have to incur the costs of installing more insulation or other energy-saving measures.

Research carried out by the British Flue and Chimney Manufacturers Association in February, estimated that under the proposed changes to Part L it would cost housebuilders about £2000 to install a chimney.

Legislation making it mandatory to install boilers with an efficiency of greater than 86% has already hit chimney makers. The Part L revision, which came into effect on 1 April, can usually be met only by condensing boilers, which do not use a traditional draught chimney.

Pavitt predicted that if industry concerns were not addressed by the government, a large number of businesses would be forced to close.

He said: “We all support energy and emission controls when the proposed controls are practical but some regard must surely be given to people’s livelihoods.”

It is understood that industry negotiations with the government are continuing and further research is being carried out by the BFCMA on the effects of the changes.

The ODPM was unavailable for comment as Building went to press.