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Chimney Sweeps in Krakow - experiences of flat owners in central Krakow?

Snowmuncher 3 | 24
7 Oct 2012 #1
I recently renovated a flat in central Krakow about 5 minutes walk from Wawel Castle. One night I woke up at 2 am because of the strong smell of smoke in the flat.

We later traced the smoke to a wood burning fireplace in the flat below. This fireplace happened to be in the flat of the chairperson of the wspolnota (residents).

The 2 chimney sweeps arrived to check out the situation, and immediately said it was not the wood burning fireplace in the flat below, but must be a problem in my flat. I asked him if he'd checked this fireplace and he said no. I asked well how do you know it is not the fireplace?

Later that day I talked to a Polish civil engineer who had recently project managed a period building in central Krakow, that had a lot of problems with its own and neighbours' fireplaces. He sent me the technical conditions that came into force in 2002. For residential apartment buildings of 4 levels or more these technical conditions do not permit any solid fuel fireplaces at all - no exceptions. The building where my flat is is 6 levels. For shorter buildings (< 4 levels), there is an obligation to install a lining in the chimneys if they are brick chimneys, in order to stop the possibility of CO and fumes from leaking into flats.

Even later that day, I again met the chimney sweeps in my flat. I handed them a copy of the technical conditions from 2002 (a long document) and said that solid fuel fireplaces in buildings of 4 levels of more are not permitted. They told me that small fireplaces where the chimney flue is less than a certain number of cm in diammeter are excepted from this. This was a bare faced shameless lie according to wod-kan engineers I have since talked to. When I offered to give the technical conditions to the chimney sweeps they refused to take it, saying they already knew it perfectly. Then they demanded technical documents relating to my air conditioning, and to my gas fireplace (gas is allowed in most cases.)

I spoke to a Polish friend who had had a similar experience and she said that it is a chimney sweep mafia in Krakow. And if you get one who gives a questionable opinion, then it is almost impossible to get another one to criticize the first one.

Has anyone else had such experiences?
inkrakow 1 | 98
7 Oct 2012 #2
Yes - I had one chimneysweep who did a survey of the chimneys in a flat I was renovating and certified that there was nothing connected to one stack. However when we demolished it (it was in the middle of what would otherwise be a lovely open plan living room), it turned out that there was in fact, a boiler connected to it on the ground floor. As a result we had to relocate the boiler and run a new flue up through 2 floors and the attic to above roof level. What I then found out was that they don't have the power to order that something has to be done - all they do is issue a piece of paper that says whether it complies or not. It's then up to the building owners to do something about it (or take the consequences of not doing it).
OP Snowmuncher 3 | 24
7 Oct 2012 #3
That sounds like quite a terrible experience, and an expensive one. Perhaps I am being naive here, but was it not possible to sue them for the cost of running a new flue as a result of the negligent opinion? I presume they have professional insurance?

I can guess the answer though: the hassle and expense of going to a lawyer outweighed the cost of X000 zl?

The neighbours must have been unusually cooperative?

Are you sure it wasn't a scam where the ground floor neighbour needed a new flue and after a quick chat with chimney guy and an exchange of an envelope, the deed was done, and brand new chimney flue provided by foreign investor? Dziękuję bardzo!

Or have I become too cynical knowing Krakow as I do?
LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431
9 Oct 2012 #4
I presume they have professional insurance

I really doubt it .It is not even mandatory for tenants or owners to have property insurance or premises insurance in Poland.

When there were some devastating floods some years ago ( 2 years ago ?) Hundreds of people lost their homes and had no insurance.

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