From 2013, homeowners will be able to freely select the chimney sweeping company they wish to commission to carry out most chimney sweeping activities. The company must be authorized under craft law to perform chimney sweeping activities in Germany (see "Prerequisites").
However, the option of commissioning a service provider does not apply to the activities that will continue to be reserved for authorized district chimney sweeps in the future, which are listed below:
- the keeping of the sweep book with the control whether the duties incumbent on the owners according to the sweeping and inspection regulations and the 1st BImSchV are observed,
- carrying out the inspection of fireplaces, including the inspection of the operational and fire safety of the installations,
- issuance of the fireplace notice,
- the execution of inspections related to specific occasions
- issuing certificates for building inspections in accordance with state law, and
- carrying out substitute measures if owners have not fulfilled their cleaning, inspection or measurement obligations.
Until 31.12.2012, all households received a so-called fireplace notice from the district chimney sweep on the basis of a legal obligation. This lists all the chimney sweeping work that must be carried out before the next fireplace inspection. The house and apartment owners must arrange for this work to be carried out by a suitable chimney sweeping company themselves. If the authorized district chimney sweep is not commissioned, he must be provided with proof of completion by means of a form.
If the work to be carried out is not carried out or the authorized district chimney sweep is not notified within the time limit, the authorized district chimney sweep shall report this to the competent district administrative authority (district office or independent city). The authority then issues a second notice, which is subject to a fee, setting a deadline for the missing sweeps, inspections or measurements. If the chimney sweeping work is still not carried out, the authority must initiate a substitute measure, which incurs further costs.
The districts are assigned to so-called authorized district chimney swe eps for a limited period of seven years. These belong to the chimney sweeping trade as tradesmen and, in addition to the tasks assigned to them (see above), are also allowed to carry out the other chimney sweeping work in competition.