Chim­ney sweep­ers still in hot de­mand

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HUGH COLLINS

The role of a chim­ney sweeper is cer­tainly not ob­so­lete in 2017.

Grey Lynn small-busi­ness Com­plete Chim­ney Care has for the third time taken out the NoCow­boys busi­ness of the year award. NoCow­boys is a New Zealand web­site where peo­ple read and post reviews about trade ser­vices.

More than 80,000 peo­ple a month use the web­site to look for trades­peo­ple from more than 20,000 Kiwi busi­nesses.

Com­plete Chim­ney Care was formed in 2012 and is owned and op­er­ated by Ciaran Fitz­patrick and his part­ner Kim­berly Mun­caster.

Orig­i­nally from Ire­land, Fitz­patrick said chim­ney sweep­ing was still in de­mand in 2017.

‘‘It’s ac­tu­ally more pop­u­lar than it ever was. A lot of peo­ple are turn­ing to wood fires for the heat­ing of the house, even new builds put them in,’’ Fitz­patrick said. Other than send­ing small chil­dren up the chim­neys, Fitz­patrick said his ser­vice is al­most iden­ti­cal to what it would have been 100 years ago.

‘‘I do get called Dick Van Dyk by some of my friends,’’ he said in ref­er­ence to the Amer­i­can ac­tors’ role of a Cock­ney chim­ney sweep in the Dis­ney clas­sic Mary Pop­pins. Mun­caster said the cou­ple of­ten got a funny look when they told peo­ple they had a chim­ney sweep­ing busi­ness.

‘‘It’s kind of quizzi­cal be­cause you don’t meet many chim­ney sweeps,’’ she said. ‘‘The re­al­ity is peo­ple love fires.’’

The NoCow­boys award comes for the cou­ple as a re­sult of con­sis­tently good rat­ings from cus­tomers.

They were judged on qual­ity, re­li­a­bil­ity, value and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. De­spite the suc­cess Mun­caster said they had no plans to ex­pand as they wouldn’t want to lose con­trol of the qual­ity of ser­vice. NoCow­boys’ gen­eral man­ager Bruce Lind­say said the award was out­stand­ing con­sid­er­ing the busi­ness had been op­er­at­ing only four years. ‘‘They’ve demon­strated the abil­ity to con­sis­tently de­liver great cus­tomer ser­vice and it’s a plea­sure to mar­ket their rep­u­ta­tion,’’ Lind­say said. In 2014 Auck­land Coun­cil con­sid­ered a draft air qual­ity by­law which would have pro­hib­ited the use of open fire­places and pre-2005 wood­burn­ers from 2018.

How­ever, the by­law was not adopted so Auck­lan­ders can con­tinue to use open fire­places and wood­burn­ers of any age.

HUGH COLLINS/FAIRFAX NZ

Ciaran Fitz­patrick said his role is not too dis­sim­i­lar to that of chim­ney sweeps 100 years ago.

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