About our members
Checkatrade runs strict background checks on tradespeople before they can become members. Once they join, members agree to have feedback from their customers put online for all to see. We’ve published 4,280,688 to date.
Members promise to meet The Checkatrade Standard.
No other directory of tradespeople uses this model. The background checks and public feedback ensure that only reliable and trusted tradespeople get work through Checkatrade. They make sure that you can find someone outstanding to get the job done.
All Checkatrade members are thoroughly vetted before they are displayed on our website. Over the years our vetting requirements have been improved and adapted to keep up with government legislation and current laws as well to keep up with our own continuously raising standards. On each of our members’ pages you will be able to see exactly which checks have been carried out and passed.
We interview all our members to ensure that Checkatrade membership is right for them. This also gives us an indication of how they conduct themselves.
Accreditations and Qualifications
Not all trades require accreditations so you may not see this on every one of our member’s profiles. However, any accreditations or qualifications you do see advertised on one of our trader’s profiles has been checked and verified by us.
Public Liability Insurance
All new members must have valid Public Liability Insurance, to ensure you and your property are covered, before they are advertised on our website. We require up to date copies of their Public Liability Insurance each year upon renewal. You can see on each of our member’s profiles whether or not we currently hold a valid, in date copy.
Each new member must provide us with a valid, in date copy of either a photo driving licence or passport so that we can verify their identity.
All members are continually monitored via their customer's feedback. We recommend that all new members supply at least 5 of their previous customers which we personally telephone to find out about their experience. This aids us to establish the quality of the trade.
All new members are required to provide proof of address which is verified by a credible form(s) of documentation.
Which? has been rigorously testing products and services for nearly 60 years - now we are assessing and endorsing local tradesmen and tradeswomen. Like our well known Best Buy logo, the Which? Trusted trader logo is a sign of reputation and trust; helping consumers choose the right trader for them and giving good traders the recognition they deserve.
How we assess our traders
Which? Trusted Traders is an endorsement scheme run by Which? that recognises reputable traders who successfully pass an assessment process carried out by our trading standards professionals. Not just anyone can become endorsed. The assessment process includes:
This is obtained to validate the financial health of a business who applies to be assessed.
The Which? Trusted Traders endorsement team will check a selection of customer references from a trader's most recent work.
A thorough examination of business and administrative procedures to ensure that businesses have consumer interests in mind.
Interview and assessment
Our standard assessment includes a face to face visit and interview carried out by a Which? trading standards professional to fully understand all aspects of how the applicant runs their business.
Businesses receive a report of the assessment, providing valuable feedback from our experienced assessors to ensure that they meet our high standards before they are allowed to join the scheme.
Having passed all these checks, the trader is now able to choose to join the scheme, agreeing to abide by the terms and conditions, code of conduct and pay the membership fees. They can now show their customers that they are an endorsed Which? Trusted trader.
Who makes the grade?
Those who don't make the grade don't get endorsed. Due to the high demands of the assessment, not all businesses that apply get through the assessment process. Only those who meet our high standards can become Which? Trusted traders.
If things go wrong
An extra benefit of using Which? Trusted Traders is that we have an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution service, Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, on hand should something go wrong. This problem solving service provides peace of mind for both consumers and traders.
HETAS is the national organisation working for consumer safety and the wider public interest in safe, efficient and environmentally responsible use of biomass and other solid fuels.
INSTALLER REGISTRATION – Registered installers are trained and approved to UKAS standards and can self certify that their work complies with the relevant building regulations. They have access to free Technical Handbooks, advice and updates, competitively priced insurance, equipment and Prompt Payer membership.
TRAINING – HETAS is the leading training provider for solid fuel, wood and biomass, offering comprehensive courses specifically designed for installers, chimney sweeps, retailers, specifiers, Local Authorities, Building Control officers and those involved in the wood fuel supply chain.
PRODUCT APPROVAL – HETAS operates a third party scheme for approval of solid fuel and biomass appliances. The HETAS Guide is published annually and provides installers and specifiers with a useful list of approved appliances, chimneys and associated equipment.
MICROGENERATION CERTIFICATION SCHEME – The government approved Microgeneration Scheme (MCS) is designed to build consumer confidence in the growing renewable sector. HETAS offers both MCS installer and MCS appliance schemes covering biomass and solar thermal technologies.
APPROVED RETAILERS – The HETAS approved retailer scheme provides kudos for stove shops and showrooms, and aims to increase safety whilst promoting the reputation of good quality retailers. Approved Retailers are listed on the HETAS website.
QUALITY ASSURED FUEL – The Woodsure scheme provides a recognised quality standard for wood and biomass fuel quality. With categories for logs, briquettes, chips and pellets, the scheme provides consumers with confidence in fuel quality and sustainability.
APPROVED CHIMNEY SWEEPS – Sweeps who are members of the Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps (APICS), Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) and Sweep Safe and become HETAS Approved Chimney Sweeps are listed on the website search.
Why Choose an ICS Sweep?
If you hire an ICS Sweep, you can be confident that you will receive a professional, courteous and conscientious service from a rigorously trained person, with the back-up of a professional body.
About the Ics
The ICS is a trade association for Chimney Sweeps and Installers. It was established in order to provide the industry with a benchmark for quality and safety
It is now the U.K.'s largest chimney sweeping organisation.
All of our members receive ongoing training to the highest standard in all aspects of flues and appliances. Many offer repair work, regular sweeping as well as installations
Our Sweeps can call upon the support of an internationally recognised trade association, and by selecting one of our members you can rest assure your home or business chimney will work efficiently, while lowering the risk of fire. When an ICS member has swept and smoke draw tested your chimney you will be issued with a Chimney Sweeping Certificate, which is a necessary compliance for your house insurance.
Our membership extends throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe. All of our members have Public Liability Insurance and can provide references, upon request. Customers wishing to locate a chimney sweep in their local area can be confident that we are experts in our profession, providing an excellent standard of service
Health and Safety
Chimney fires can quickly spread to your home or business place, putting property, livelihoods, and loved ones in danger. House fires often cause serious damage to the masonry and brickwork, leaving you with an expensive repair bill. All chimneys need to be swept at least once a year, although if the chimney is used often we recommend twice a year. If you use solid fuel burning appliance you should have your chimney swept at least once a year, preferably before each winter as birds often use chimneys as nesting spots
Falling stonework, rubble, spider webs and leafs can block chimneys and stop or reduce the flow of air. These all combined block previously working chimneys; any blockage can alter the combustion balance or cause carbon monoxide to enter the home instead of being safely vented from the property
Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer: it is colourless, tasteless and does not smell. Even low levels of Carbon Monoxide can lead to permanent ill-health or death, especially in children. The early symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can easily be mistaken for 'flu. They include nausea, headaches, tiredness, dizziness and pains in the stomach or chest. Look out for sooting or staining around your appliance: it is a sign of inadequate venting of gases
It is vital that appliances are properly installed as well as serviced, and are sufficiently ventilated. We also strongly recommend the installation of a carbon monoxide detector in your home, which is also required under Building regulations for new installations
Chimney Sweep Best Practices
What your Chimney Sweep should be doing.
If you have a regular Chimney Sweep you may sometimes wonder whether he or she is doing a good job. The nature of the work means it is often difficult to know what is actually going on up there
This is a guide to some of the basic principles your Chimney Sweep should take in order to protect your home from falling soot and clean the flue to a good standard ensuring there is no obstacles.
The sweep from start to finish should take between 45 minutes and 1 hour as a minimum, anything less than that may meen corners are being cut and the sweep is not complete.
Sheeting up takes around 15minutes maybe longer depending on the circumstances, your sweep must take precautions to protect your home, which means floor sheets and runners from the front door to the fires location, and sheeting to cover the stove or the fire opening. This will prevent any soot escaping from any kind of accidental spillages or falling soot
The vacuum used must be an industrial type with HEPA filter, “Do not except a Henri Vacuum” or any domestic vacuum type, as good as they are, they are not capable of doing the job Chimney Sweeps need to do. This will ensure the Sweeps contain 99% of the microscopic particles entering the vacuum drum. Otherwise with a none industrial vacuum without a HEPA filter those particles will circulate in your home and you will breath them in. Not only polluting the atmosphere but damaging your lungs and everyone in the house
Make sure the Sweep checks the brush can be seen exiting the Chimney Pot from street level, to be sure we advise you also confirm it has exited. This will ensure the Sweep has swept the full length of the fuel system. It does not ensure they have cleaned it sufficiently, and you should take note of the time spent sweeping
Once the sweep has swept and removed the brushes, a smoke draw test must be conducted. A Smoke Draw test with gage the amount of air flowing through the flue. A good draw will translate into a good working fire, as enough air will be flowing through the flue to feed the fire. An adequate draw will translate into an adequate working fire, and a poor draw will translate into a poor working fire
Please note the draw of your flue may be affected by elements outside of the Chimney Sweeps work, such as atmospheric conditions, which can affect the draw.
So, given it takes around 15 minutes to sheet up 10-15 minutes sweeping, and clearing away, removing vacuum, and sheets etc. plus the time spent issuing a certificate anything less than 45 minutes is pushing the boundaries of inefficient sweep