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The Central Association of Chimney Sweeps

The Central Association of Chimney Sweeps was established in 1932. The association has more than 300 members. The actual members of the association are chimney sweeps who operate as sole traders and chimney sweeping companies. The association has 14 local associations around the country at the moment.

The operation of the Central Association of Chimney Sweeps is divided harshly into two forms of main operations: interest group operations and training.

The superior power of decision belongs to the annual autumn and spring meeting. The persons selected for the positions of trust are made in the autumn meeting in November and the operation and financial plan for the following year are decided. The spring meeting in March handles the financial statement of the previous year.

The association is administered by the board of 7 members that is selected in the autumn meeting, including the chairman, two vice-chairmen and four members. The current chairman of the association is the chimney sweep master Tapio Lehtimäki from Eura. In addition, the organisation of the association includes a training committee and a technical committee, which both have 4 members.

The association has an office with three permanently hired persons: CEO Juhani Jyrkiäinen, office manager Maarit Vepsäläinen and training coordinator Hannu Murtokare. The association owns an office in Katajanokka, nearby the centre of Helsinki.

The most important connection of the association with the members is the 12 membership letters that are sent annually. The association magazine, NUOHOOJAT, is published 4 times a year.

The Central Association of Chimney Sweeps has been a member of the European Chimney Sweep Master Association since 1954. The association is also the member of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, the Finnish National Rescue Association, Palo- and Pelastustieto ry, FiSIAQ and Finbio.

Chimney sweeping in Finland

There are almost 900 people sweeping chimneys in Finland, of which more than 400 are district chimney sweeps who operate as sole traders. There are about 100 part-time district chimney sweeps of the previously mentioned number. There are more than 400 chimney sweeps employed by the district chimney sweeps in the region of the Easter Uudenmaa rescue department and some other municipalities use the so-called contract-based chimney sweeping.

Legislation

The chimney sweeping operation in Finland is based on the Rescue Act.

According to the law, the owner, holder or business practitioner of the building shall see that fireplaces and smoke flues are swept and that the ventilation ducts and devices are serviced and cleaned at regular intervals.

In accordance with the Rescue Act (13 §) ladders, parts of roof passages and the safety equipment of the roof shall be kept in such condition that the chimney sweeping work can be performed safely.

The ministry responsible for the rescue department may give regulations on performing the chimney sweepings, cleaning the ventilation ducts and equipment.

If the property owner or holder does not take care of the chimney sweeping in accordance with the regulations of the law, the regional state administration agency may force the defaulter to follow the law with a penalty payment or with the threat that the chimney sweeping will be made at the defaulter's expense. Further, the defaulter can receive a fine for rescue offense. The same sections regard also maintaining the chimney sweeping database.

In accordance with the 63rd section of the Rescue Act " the chimney sweeping practitioner, an independent chimney sweep worker employed by him/her a chimney sweep employed by the rescue department shall have the chimney sweep's qualification".

The law says (59§) about arranging chimney sweepings that the rescue department of the region decides on arranging chimney sweeping services on its region. The rescue department of the region may

1) produce sweeping services by itself (= regional chimney sweeping operation) or

2) purchase chimney sweeping services from other service providers (= regional chimney sweeping system) or

3) allow the owner or the holder of the building to agree on chimney sweeping with the service provider (=contract-based chimney sweeping ).

When the rescue department of the region arranges chimney sweeping services as described in sections 1 and 2, it will also decide on the fee collected of the chimney sweeping.

Also reporting about any defects is included in the Act. The law (61§) says that if the chimney sweep detects defects or faults in the fireplaces or flues that might cause a risk of fire, he/she shall report them to the representative of the target and to the rescue department in writing.

Additionally, if the chimney sweep detects that ladders, the parts of roof passages or the roof safety equipment are in such condition that the chimney sweeping work cannot be performed safely, he/she shall report them to the representative of the swept target and to the rescue department in writing.

In accordance with 63nd section of the law, the chimney sweeping practitioner shall maintain a list of swept targets and provide the list to the rescue department free of charge when requested. The information shall be kept for 10 years after performing the sweep.

Chimney sweeping decree

In addition to what has been mentioned before, the more exact regulations on chimney sweeping and cleaning of ventilation ducts can be found in the statutes given by the Ministry of the Interior. The chimney sweeping decree entered into force on 1st August 2005.

A fixed fuel, most fuels or heavy fuel operated fireplace with flues that are used regularly shall be swept every year. The furnace of a fireplace without a door (open fireplace) is not swept unless otherwise agreed.

Only fuel oil operated fireplace with flues shall be swept every year. This interval does not concern the furnace of a central heating boiler and fire surfaces.

The fireplaces and flues of a holiday house and its sauna mainly for private use shall be swept every three years. The fireplaces and flues of holiday houses in other than private use that are used regularly shall be swept every year.

The chimney sweeping is performed at an appropriate time.

A fireplace and flue that have not been used for three years shall also be swept before their use.

Chimney sweep qualifications

The chimney sweeps have two qualifications: the chimney sweep's qualification and the special qualification of a master chimney sweep, that are based on the qualifications act. Both qualifications have their own grounds.

The arrangement of the qualifications is the responsibility of a national 4-member chimney sweeping qualification committee, which is nominated by the Finnish National Board of Education and where the association has one representative, who, according to the tripartite principle, represents the so-called employers. Additionally, the committee is represented by employees, whose representative is nominated by the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors and one representative by the Trade Union of Education in Finland and one representative of independent entrepreneurs who is nominated by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises. The qualification committee signs a terminable agreement about arranging the qualification with some institute. At the moment the agreement has been made with the Pirkanmaa Adult Education Institute.

Chimney sweep training

There is no school-like education for chimney sweeps available in Finland, like for the majority of trades.

The association arranges theoretical, course based basic training for chimney sweeps that prepares for the vocational qualification on of a chimney sweep. The further training of the association prepares students for the special qualification of the chimney sweep master. The association also arranges different kinds of further training courses e.g. items connected to air-conditioning, installation of internal chimneys, marketing, accountancy, IT.

The training of the association is mainly the responsibility of the training coordinator and training masters who are also members of the association. The courses of the association are arranged centrally in Laukaa, the premises of the Hotel and spa Peurunka.

Our contact information:

Nuohousalan Keskusliitto ry
Central Association of Chimney Sweeps

Katajanokankatu 3 B 9
00160 HELSINKI

telephone
+ 358 9 6844 160

fax
+ 358 9 6844 1639

e-mail
info@nuohoojat.fi

Internet
http://www.nuohoojat.fi