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Chimney Breast Removal

Bit of a niche question -
A property developer brought adjoining property (a semi-detached house).  1940's and chimney breast running up the lounge and dining room, through bedrooms and attics in each.  Fires in both the lounge and dining room. 
The developer took out the chimney breast in both bedrooms to maximise space as no fires in either bedroom. 
However, have noticed he's finishing work - decorators in etc - and has left open fires in both lounge and dining room.  They're the original fires. 
I spoke with decorators re: when new buyer lights fires where does smoke etc go? They had no idea.
I did pop over when some of the work was ongoing - many months ago - and noticed in upstairs they'd 'accidentally' knocked through the party / back wall i.e. behind their original chimney breast. I was told this would be filled in. 
I'm no builder/expert and just wanted to check if it is possible they might have re-routed into our chimney space for smoke/fire exit?
My question: is this allowed as no party wall notification was served or agreement made.  Is there any way of checking on this? I'm confused as to how they can still have open fires (are original and the previous neighbour did used to light them) if they've taken out the bedroom chimney breasts in both bedrooms on their side?
I'm not sure if this is an issue or not. As the property developer is never there I have no contact to ask and don't want to find an issue when it's sold and the new neighbour decides to light their fire etc.
Grateful for any thoughts on how to check or proceed - if necessary. Thanks.  

Comments

  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,225
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    Too late for a party wall agreement - That would only have been effective whilst the work was taking place.
    If your flues are unused, you could have them capped - Stops rain getting in and causing problems.
    You should also contact the local council and ask if Building Control have been informed/involved with the work as any substandard workmanship could affect your property.
    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.
  • pramsay13
    pramsay13 Posts: 1,917
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    So there were 4 fireplaces in the next door house? How many chimney pots do they have?
    It's possible the chimneys are completely separate all the way to the top so it won't matter that the upstairs ones have been removed. 
    You can do a chimney smoke test to see where it goes although you will need the neighbour to do this.
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,573
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    pramsay13 said:
    It's possible the chimneys are completely separate all the way to the top so it won't matter that the upstairs ones have been removed. 

    I'm no expert, but I would think they have to be separate - if they weren;t, then if you lit a fire on the ground floor surely the smoke would come out of the first floor hearth ?

    But I'd expect there to be some evidence of the ground floor chimneys on the first floor....
  • stuart45
    stuart45 Posts: 3,797
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    I would think it's unlikely they have gone into your flues. There's a lot of work in moving a flue in brickwork. The easiest method would be to drop a flexible liner down your flues from the top and bring them over below the floor. It would seem a pointless thing to do as once you cap off yours their fireplaces would be out of action. 
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,225
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    edited 14 December 2023 at 12:01AM
    pramsay13 said:
    It's possible the chimneys are completely separate all the way to the top so it won't matter that the upstairs ones have been removed. 

    I'm no expert, but I would think they have to be separate - if they weren;t, then if you lit a fire on the ground floor surely the smoke would come out of the first floor hearth ?
    Yes, flues go from a single fireplace all the way up to the pots at the top of the chimney. A flue should never serve more than one fireplace as smoke and carbon monoxide will come escape via other fireplaces. if the builders have knocked through in to the neighbour's flue for the ground floor fireplace, they need taking outside, tarring & feathering before branded as bodgers. A public flogging would be too good for them.
    If @Ju@JuliaMary_2 puts a handful of smoke pellets in each fireplace, lights them, and covers the opening, any smoke coming out next door should alert everyone to a problem. Better still would be to get a HETAS engineer or chimney sweep to do a pressure test of each flue, but this would cost a fair bit of money.. If this "developer" fails to rectify any problem, he could find himself open to a criminal prosecution from the HSE.
    if there is a leak between two flues/fireplaces, setting off a few smoke pellets whilst a prospective buyer is doing a viewing should focus the developer's attention 9as well as ruining a sale).

    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.
  • stuart45
    stuart45 Posts: 3,797
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    This drawing should give you an idea of how your flies could be set up, although it might have the 9 inch party wall continue through.
    You can see how much work is involved in moving the flue.

  • Curiosity: how is the space betwen the party wall and the leftover of the chimney breasts supposed to be filled? With bricks or is it just covered with some plasterboard?
  • Eldi_Dos
    Eldi_Dos Posts: 1,489
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    @JuliaMary_2

    If they have removed the chimney breast in both bedrooms it is important that chimney stack is suitably supported and I would not rely on developer or builders assurances.

    If you want a check done on your flues would a roofer be able to lower a mobile phone down from top and video the interior of your flues.May be able to see if any disturbance has occurred.

    At the very least I would get two or more CO alarms placed in your house.Seek advice about best place to position them.


  • stuart45
    stuart45 Posts: 3,797
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    pieroabcd said:
    Curiosity: how is the space betwen the party wall and the leftover of the chimney breasts supposed to be filled? With bricks or is it just covered with some plasterboard?
    The gap left is only a couple of inches, so would normally be built out with coats of sand/cement. In practice, when you take an upper floor chimney breast down, like the one shown above, next doors flue gets damaged.
    Although the masonry looks quite solid in the drawing, the inner brickwork known as the mid feathers are often really unstable and bits of masonry fall down the flue. A property developer is probably not going to worry too much about next door.

  • sevenhills
    sevenhills Posts: 5,786
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    Bit of a niche question -
    A property developer brought adjoining property (a semi-detached house).  1940's and chimney breast running up the lounge and dining room, through bedrooms and attics in each.  Fires in both the lounge and dining room. 
    The developer took out the chimney breast in both bedrooms to maximise space as no fires in either bedroom. 


    When the house is put on the market, you could book a viewing?
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