Legal Options for Installing a Wood Burning Stove

Date: 7 May 2015

There is a lot more to enjoying your shiny new wood-burning stove than simply purchasing it from the showroom. Firstly you’ll also need to do your due diligence with regards to siting the stove, together with the ancillary requirements of chimneys, flues and lining.

Furthermore, it is important to understand that fitting a wood-burning stove is classed as a “controlled” activity in the UK, meaning that it is necessary to seek approval from Building Regulations.

Generally speaking, you have two options as the homeowner. Firstly you can self-install the stove, in conjunction with assistance from your local Building Control office. Alternatively, the work can be done by a HETAS-registered installer, whereupon Building Control approval is rendered unnecessary.

Building Control Installation

In situations where you opt to have a non-HETAS approved individual (such as a general builder) install your stove, or choose to save money by doing the work yourself, you will need to seek approval from your local building office.

Generally speaking, this will involve downloading planning permission forms from the local council website and then completing the “Building Notice” section. Return the form, together with the required fee, to your local council.

From here you will be contacted by your local planning office who will most likely arrange a site visit. It is commonplace for local planning officers to visit both before the installation process begins and after completion. In this way, the council can confirm the work to be carried out in advance, and then check that it has been completed to an acceptable standard afterwards.

Once the planning officer is satisfied with the work done they will provide official Building Control approval. Keep this paperwork safe as it may be necessary to submit this in the future when selling your property.

HETAS Installation

HETAS is the official government-approved body for stove installers, sellers and servicers. HETAS devotes much if it’s time to running training courses for retailer and installers, and HETAS-approval should be considered a mark of competence for any installer.

As a result of the care and attention that goes into gaining HETAS approval, having your wood burning stove installed by a HETAS-approved individual circumnavigates the need for Building Control approval.

In many cases, this can be of benefit to home-owners, as it can save considerable time and red-tape. Furthermore, as a homeowner, you can feel confident that a HETAS-approved installer has completed all work to the necessary standard. This offers considerable peace of mind over an amateur self-installation.

On completion of the work, the installer should provide you with a fitter’s certificate. This certificate acts as an alternative to Building Control certification and will be accepted by solicitors when selling your property.


For all but the most experienced DIY-fanatics, using a HETAS-qualified stove installer is likely to be the better option. While local planning rules are typically far from onerous, enlisting the help of a professional can make the whole installation process quicker and more efficient.

Here at Ignition Fires, we work with a range of carefully-vetted HETAS-approved fitters. As a result, should you choose to buy a stove from our extensive range we can help you smoothly navigate the installation process. Please feel free to pop in for a chat at any time, or telephone us on 01306 883201.

Please note: this information is correct the best of our knowledge, however, we would encourage you to consult your local planning office with any questions regarding the legalities surrounding changes to your property.