Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • tands
    • By tands 13th Sep 17, 2:05 PM
    • 9Posts
    • 0Thanks
    tands
    Chimney breast removal & stack support
    • #1
    • 13th Sep 17, 2:05 PM
    Chimney breast removal & stack support 13th Sep 17 at 2:05 PM
    Hi all,

    I have an unsupported chimney breast in my Victorian end-terrace. It has been removed on the ground floor, but no support has been put in for the first floor chimney breast and the chimney stack.

    The first builder I spoke to said we would need a structural engineer to calculate how big a steel beam was needed to support the weight, and that we would need to have the work approved for Building Regs.

    I've just had another builder over who has suggested we remove the chimney breast from the room, and support what is left of the chimney stack with a gallows bracket in the loft (we cannot remove the stack completely, as it is shared with next door - we will need a party wall agreement). He says that for this you don't need to worry about structural engineers or building regs, I can just fill in a form to the council for Building Control saying this is what we are doing, and pay a fee.

    This seems too good to be true, is he legit?

    I have looked on the council website (we are in Reading) and they do indeed have a form as he says, and the fee for chimney breast removal is £140 - but it doesn't specify anything about how you support what is left.

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Thanks all,
    Theresa
Page 1
    • wantonnoodle
    • By wantonnoodle 14th Sep 17, 1:28 PM
    • 172 Posts
    • 128 Thanks
    wantonnoodle
    • #2
    • 14th Sep 17, 1:28 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Sep 17, 1:28 PM
    Hi all,

    He says that for this you don't need to worry about structural engineers or building regs, I can just fill in a form to the council for Building Control saying this is what we are doing, and pay a fee.

    This seems too good to be true, is he legit?
    Originally posted by tands
    We had a full reroof done earlier this year, which is also subject to building regs. However, in that case, there is a scheme called the competent roofer scheme, in which case, a roofer can be licensed (by someone in government I think) and as long as they hold this license, (which is subject to regular reviews and inspections by the licensing body) they are able to self certify the work as compliant for building regs rather than needing the council to inspect.

    While this may seem irrelevant, what I am getting at is that there may be a similar scheme in operation for this type of work as well. If so, it is well worth getting it self certified as it saves a lot of hassle. Its possible you may pay more for the work to be done by this person, as they need to cover their admin costs for this signoff, but you do have to think about the avoidance of the inconvenience of having engineers and council inspectors around.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 14th Sep 17, 2:27 PM
    • 2,140 Posts
    • 3,183 Thanks
    EachPenny
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 17, 2:27 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 17, 2:27 PM
    Its possible you may pay more for the work to be done by this person, as they need to cover their admin costs for this signoff, but you do have to think about the avoidance of the inconvenience of having engineers and council inspectors around.
    Originally posted by wantonnoodle
    The engineers and council inspectors are there to protect you - to make sure that dodgy tradespeople don't do things like removing part of a chimney and leave the rest hanging in mid-air.

    The OP says a party wall agreement will be needed and this is likely to be the case. The chimney may be giving structural support to the party wall, so its removal needs to be done with the oversight of someone who has the knowledge to know what structural assessments and measures are needed.

    I would also be speaking to the neighbours about their attitude towards the chimney - if they have no need for it then a better solution might be to get their agreement to demolish the whole stack to below roof level. Redundant chimneys are a great source of damp and water problems and removing the external part and replacing it with a properly executed roof 'repair' would head off future problems. (So long as you don't need to attach a TV aerial to it!)
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 14th Sep 17, 2:47 PM
    • 1,247 Posts
    • 1,802 Thanks
    FreeBear
    • #4
    • 14th Sep 17, 2:47 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Sep 17, 2:47 PM
    I have an unsupported chimney breast in my Victorian end-terrace. It has been removed on the ground floor, but no support has been put in for the first floor chimney breast and the chimney stack.

    The first builder I spoke to said we would need a structural engineer to calculate how big a steel beam was needed to support the weight, and that we would need to have the work approved for Building Regs.

    I've just had another builder over who has suggested we remove the chimney breast from the room, and support what is left of the chimney stack with a gallows bracket in the loft (we cannot remove the stack completely, as it is shared with next door - we will need a party wall agreement). He says that for this you don't need to worry about structural engineers or building regs, I can just fill in a form to the council for Building Control saying this is what we are doing, and pay a fee.
    Originally posted by tands
    From another recent thread on a similar subject - http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5595855

    Gallows brackets are not accepted by many local authorities now.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    If the chimney breast projects more than 340mm in to the room or the party wall is less than 215mm thick, then gallows brackets will not (generally) be allowed. The brickwork of the party wall also needs to be in good condition - As the property is Victorian, it will use lime mortar so quite likely not a suitable candidate for gallows brackets.

    You will need to be compliant with building regs and the work must be signed off by building control - Failing to do so leaves you open to prosecution and could well invalidate any house insurance (your mortgage company wouldn't be too happy about it either).
    Last edited by FreeBear; 14-09-2017 at 2:49 PM.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • jouef
    • By jouef 14th Sep 17, 9:27 PM
    • 85 Posts
    • 40 Thanks
    jouef
    • #5
    • 14th Sep 17, 9:27 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Sep 17, 9:27 PM
    A simple experiment for anyone considering removing a chimney breast or not reinstating a missing one:
    Stand a large flat thin closed book on its edge and blow the front cover gently. Now glue a narrower fat book to the back cover (like a chimney breast) and try and blow it over again. Stick one each side if you want to simulate a party wall chimney. Many structural forces are diagonal or horizontal as well as more the obvious straight down; later buildings without flues are designed to accommodate these forces without buttressing.
    Now repeat the experiment but glue the fat book(s) higher up to show removal of the ground floor chimney breast leaving the upper floor and/or the stack in place.
    The ancients used to wedge wood into cracks and wet it as one way to split boulders; damp or heave will act on your wall in the same way.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 14th Sep 17, 10:27 PM
    • 497 Posts
    • 190 Thanks
    sevenhills
    • #6
    • 14th Sep 17, 10:27 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Sep 17, 10:27 PM
    However, in that case, there is a scheme called the competent roofer scheme, in which case, a roofer can be licensed (by someone in government I think) and as long as they hold this license, (which is subject to regular reviews and inspections by the licensing body) they are able to self certify the work as compliant for building regs rather than needing the council to inspect.
    Originally posted by wantonnoodle
    Be careful, that is how it worked in the Grenfell Tower fire.

    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 15th Sep 17, 5:45 AM
    • 23,147 Posts
    • 88,509 Thanks
    Davesnave
    • #7
    • 15th Sep 17, 5:45 AM
    • #7
    • 15th Sep 17, 5:45 AM
    Most people who like Victorian property wouldn't see the removal of a chimney as an 'improvement!'
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

146Posts Today

1,557Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • RT @iiSteveJonesii: @MartinSLewis After watching you talk this morning about me burning £300 I got on a comparison site tonight & sure enou?

  • In or near York? This Wed the @itvmlshow Roadshow" will be at the York Food & Drink Festival - do come and say hi; St Sampsons Square 11-4.

  • It's the subtle poetry and lyricism of tweets like this that I find so endearing https://t.co/XhSKBCGyXe

  • Follow Martin