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Chimney Breast Removal

1. What is a chimney breast?

A chimney breast is the horizontal projection-usually inside a building-of a chimney from the wall in which it is built

2. Why are Chimney Breasts removed?

The flues are often removed by home owners as part of enlargement alterations. Older houses were constructed with fireplaces in every room to provide heat. These days central heating has replaced the need for fireplaces and the chimney breast is seen as wasted floor space in the room. Although a fireplace does provide a focal point in the room, the removal of the fireplace and the chimney can increase the size of the room.

3. What are the problems involved in Chimney Breast Removal?

The chimney is part of the structure of the house and its removal should be carefully considered before any work is carried out. Removal of these chimneys without providing suitable beams to support the structure over could result in structural distress or damage or even collapse of the building. Pull the wall over. You may also face delayed property sales, re-mortgage processes or prosecution for breach of building regulations.

4. What are the solutions for Chimney Breast Removal?

The service of a Structural Engineer is advised to determine and design suitable supports, safeguarding your property, and any neighboring buildings from damage. Those designs should be submitted to your local council building control office for checking prior to any work commencing. Your builder should then work to the approved Engineers designs, and the local authority building control officer invited to inspect any work undertaken by your builder. The Building Control office upon satisfactory completion of your work, will then issue a completion certificate which solicitors will need to have before any re-mortgage or sale is completed.

5. What are the Rules and Regulations to be followed?

In England and Wales the written consent of the owners of a neighboring house must be received before some projects can begin. Consider taking the advice of a surveyor with experience of this legislation. If the chimney stack is removed to below the roof, the roof timbers must be extended to meet the wall, and matching tiles or slates found to fill the gap. If only part of the chimney breast is to be removed, the remaining brickwork above must be supported with an RSJ (rolled steel joist) supported on gallows brackets; a wooden beam is not normally satisfactory. If a chimney breast is removed in a room, you must decide whether to replace the hearth; if you do this the joists and floorboards must be extended. Damage may be caused to the ceiling of the room below. If any chimneybreast is retained, make sure it is well ventilated at the top and bottom. Any moisture in the wall or flue will tend to interact with the soot remaining and cause staining.