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  • FIRST POST
    • clarissam
    • By clarissam 18th Oct 16, 5:47 PM
    • 6Posts
    • 2Thanks
    clarissam
    Unsupported chimney breast
    • #1
    • 18th Oct 16, 5:47 PM
    Unsupported chimney breast 18th Oct 16 at 5:47 PM
    Hi all,
    We were selling our two up two down Victorian terraced house that we've lived in for 13 years. We were due to exchange last week but when our buyers had their survey done there was a query regarding the support of the spare bedroom chimney. The ground floor chimney breast was removed before we bought the property and was not mentioned in our survey when buying. We did not have any paperwork showing what work had been done, and offered to pay for an indemnity policy, however they decided to walk away. I have since taken up a couple of floor boards and there's no sign of any support under the bedroom chimney!

    So we are now in the position where we have lost our buyers and the house we were due to buy, and on top of that, have a potentially expensive to resolve before we can put the house back on the market again
    Has anyone been in a similar position or know where to start in getting the chimney sorted?
    Thanks folks xx
Page 1
    • phil24_7
    • By phil24_7 18th Oct 16, 6:47 PM
    • 1,301 Posts
    • 585 Thanks
    phil24_7
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 16, 6:47 PM
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 16, 6:47 PM
    Get a structural engineer in to look at things. If something needs doing they will be able to provide the calculations and drawings for what needs doing. Also speak with your local building control as any works will need to go through them, they may also say what is acceptable to them.
    • SamboJambo
    • By SamboJambo 19th Oct 16, 2:36 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    SamboJambo
    • #3
    • 19th Oct 16, 2:36 PM
    • #3
    • 19th Oct 16, 2:36 PM
    I had this when selling my old house. The buyers had a survey done and they queried the wall that had been taken down between the kitchen and the back room to make a bigger kitchen, this was done before we bought the house and was never mentioned in the survey. We ended up having to pay our something like £50 for insurance for them otherwise they were going to pull out of the sale.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 20th Oct 16, 6:56 AM
    • 20,838 Posts
    • 83,747 Thanks
    Davesnave
    • #4
    • 20th Oct 16, 6:56 AM
    • #4
    • 20th Oct 16, 6:56 AM
    Phil is right that a structural engineer will be needed for checking what's there/not there now and doing the calculations. Your local authority's building control may have a preferred method, although anything specified by the SE should be acceptable.

    There's also the option of doing nothing and offering the house at a reduced amount to reflect the work needed + indemnity insurance, which is pretty useless in this scenario, since it only covers enforcement by building control = highly unlikely. You won't get the insurance if you speak to BC first and ID the house, but you can enquire anonymously.

    There will be an element of disruption to decorations and it'll be one or two days work if you go ahead.
    'Only the mediocre are always at their best.' Jean Giraudoux
    • clarissam
    • By clarissam 25th Oct 16, 10:44 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    clarissam
    • #5
    • 25th Oct 16, 10:44 PM
    • #5
    • 25th Oct 16, 10:44 PM
    A quick follow up - ive had a structural engineer in to have a look last week and sadly there's no supporting steel. He's drawing up plans and hoping we can figure out a way of supporting without having to take the kitchen ceiling down! Apparently it's self supporting as there's no sign of cracks or movement but the steel is needed to meet building regulations. Doesn't look like we'll be moving house anytime soon until it's sorted
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 26th Oct 16, 12:20 AM
    • 2,166 Posts
    • 2,294 Thanks
    Keep pedalling
    • #6
    • 26th Oct 16, 12:20 AM
    • #6
    • 26th Oct 16, 12:20 AM
    I assume the support it is getting is coming from the chimney breast of adjoining property. Our old neighbour's did the same thing, and if we had attempted the same trick the whole lot would have come down.

    Our new neighbour's had it fixed at great expense, although they choose to remove the upstairs chimney breast as part of the fix.
    • helcat26
    • By helcat26 28th Oct 16, 5:41 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 2,280 Thanks
    helcat26
    • #7
    • 28th Oct 16, 5:41 PM
    • #7
    • 28th Oct 16, 5:41 PM
    Did you have a survey when you bought it? If so is your surveyor liable for not having pointed it out?
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 28th Oct 16, 9:12 PM
    • 20,838 Posts
    • 83,747 Thanks
    Davesnave
    • #8
    • 28th Oct 16, 9:12 PM
    • #8
    • 28th Oct 16, 9:12 PM
    Did you have a survey when you bought it? If so is your surveyor liable for not having pointed it out?
    Originally posted by helcat26
    No, because surveyors never move furniture or take up carpets, let alone floor-boards, so there would be no way to know without an invasive exploration that a vendor wouldn't allow.

    A good surveyor might point out the possibility, but that's not enough to put a mediocre one's head on the block.
    'Only the mediocre are always at their best.' Jean Giraudoux
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