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  • FIRST POST
    • Unky Al
    • By Unky Al 17th May 18, 7:31 AM
    • 60Posts
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    Unky Al
    Neighbour's Chimney Breast removal
    • #1
    • 17th May 18, 7:31 AM
    Neighbour's Chimney Breast removal 17th May 18 at 7:31 AM
    Morning all,

    Just after a bit of advise. Our neighbours are having their 2 chimney breasts removed in the upstairs bedrooms. No issues with this, we share the flues and they have let us know work will be going and and between what times and we do get on.

    They have had all the structural surveys carried out and having the necessary steels put in for support but the issue we have is that we came home to a load of rubble and bricks in our dinning room (fireplace is open as we're planning on fitting a log burner). Informed the neighbours and naturally they are mortified as the builder has assumed they there we no working fires as everyone has central heating and he was planning on blocking the flues. The builder is trying to blame them but surely it was his responsibility to find out before he made a start. The main concern is the fire in the living room as it's an inset gas fire and I'm concerned that there is just as much rubble at the back and could have potentially damaged the fire.

    The builder is popping around today to have a look and to see what he can do to minimise any further rubble coming down. Am I within my rights to ask for him to pay for a gas fitter to remove the fire to check/remove and rubble and if the fire is damaged would I have to claim off my insurance or would I claim of the builders?

    Are there any other questions I should be asking him?

    Cheers
Page 1
    • Furts
    • By Furts 17th May 18, 7:49 AM
    • 4,450 Posts
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    Furts
    • #2
    • 17th May 18, 7:49 AM
    • #2
    • 17th May 18, 7:49 AM
    Not a legal response, just a pragmatic one. Your problem is your neighbour, who has obviously engaged a plonker to do the work. This plonker definition is confirmed by this fellow accepting no immediate responsibility for what has happened and similarly offering no immediate solution.

    Next step - you have no Contract with the plonker, and from what you have witnessed be realistic - would you expect plonker to be honourable and offer compensation when they are not even accepting any responsibility for what has happened?

    If plonker is a 100% plonker then they will have no insurance that you can go after - even if you wanted to go down this route.

    Next step, your neighbour has engaged plonker, they hold the purse strings, so they have to sort out matters. This can, and should, be with your co-operation. Get onto your neighbour, state what you require, get things checked, they pay, and move on.

    Also establish where you are with Buildings Regulations - try and intervene and get the work condemned/suspended. Basically meet and discuss here.

    In fairness, and mitigation, your neighbour may not know they have engaged a plonker. But if there is not an obvious Due Diligence explanation here then you cannot have any sympathy with claims of innocence.
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 17th May 18, 8:15 AM
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    Tom99
    • #3
    • 17th May 18, 8:15 AM
    • #3
    • 17th May 18, 8:15 AM
    You should be claiming off your neighbour not their builder or your insurance.
    It sounds like the builder has broken into you flue, either accidentally, or if he was planning on blocking of both flues on purpose.
    Yes any fire at the flue bottom needs to be removed, the flue cleared, repaired and I expect checked for any leaks.
    I am not sure I would trust this builder to do all that. You may want to say to your neighbour that, at their cost, you feel you need to employ an independent expert to confirm everything has been reinstated correctly.
    • Unky Al
    • By Unky Al 17th May 18, 8:18 AM
    • 60 Posts
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    Unky Al
    • #4
    • 17th May 18, 8:18 AM
    • #4
    • 17th May 18, 8:18 AM
    Cheers Furts/Tom, I'm not after any compo just want to make sure that our fire safe.

    The builder has just left. He was extremely apologetic and did claim some responsibility but also said the structural engineer should have pointed out to the neighbours that they needed to find out about the fires.

    He's explained what they will do to prevent further rubble falling and is planning on finishing the chimney with the gas fire on first and then will get a gas engineer (whilst he's still on the job) to remove the fire so it can be check and he can clear anything that has dropped down already.

    So at this moment in time all is good.
    • Alter ego
    • By Alter ego 17th May 18, 8:30 AM
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    Alter ego
    • #5
    • 17th May 18, 8:30 AM
    • #5
    • 17th May 18, 8:30 AM
    You should have a Party wall surveyor in these types of jobs.
    Ignore me if you like, it's not the real me anyway.
    • Furts
    • By Furts 17th May 18, 8:44 AM
    • 4,450 Posts
    • 2,884 Thanks
    Furts
    • #6
    • 17th May 18, 8:44 AM
    • #6
    • 17th May 18, 8:44 AM
    The builder has just left. He was extremely apologetic and did claim some responsibility but also said the structural engineer should have pointed out to the neighbours that they needed to find out about the fires.
    Originally posted by Unky Al
    The Structural Engineer is bound to have covered this to protect their interests and their PI Insurance. This is because of the ethos of the Party wall Act. Which means your problem lies with your neighbour and their builder together not being competent. Or not caring - you decide here. This means you should have little, or no, sympathy for either but provided matters get sorted then fine.

    But also face the elephant in the room. Your flue/chimney is now ruined - it it still had integrity then it would be impossible for material to have fallen down it. Which means your chimney/flue needs rebuilding or repairing, and/or you now need a flue liner installed. To trust the builder (who wants to minimise expenditure to maximise profits) to rectify this properly and safely is being trusting and optimistic.
    Last edited by Furts; 17-05-2018 at 12:50 PM.
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 17th May 18, 1:06 PM
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    Tom99
    • #7
    • 17th May 18, 1:06 PM
    • #7
    • 17th May 18, 1:06 PM
    He may be extremely apologetic but he does not sound like he knows what he is talking about.
    He is going to finish the chimney with the gas fire on first, but that is your flue, he should not have broken into your flue in the 1st place so what exactly is he doing?
    • Unky Al
    • By Unky Al 22nd May 18, 5:40 AM
    • 60 Posts
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    Unky Al
    • #8
    • 22nd May 18, 5:40 AM
    • #8
    • 22nd May 18, 5:40 AM
    Morning all, thought I would update you all as things have gone a bit wrong. The builder instructed a gas engineer to remove the fire place to see whats what. After filling 2 rubble bags he condemned the fire and flue as the flue is obviously damaged.

    I spoke to the builder and he has said if it is his fault then naturally he will have to claim on his insurance (which I fail to see how it isn't), he's just annoyed that the neighbours are burying their heads in the sand and are refusing to accept any blame as they should have at least sorted a PWA.

    I was in no mood to talk to them last night as I was trying to calm the wife down after she had gone nuclear and after finding out after all this time with my insurance that I don't have legal cover or accidental buildings damage but that is purely my fault for not double checking and assuming I had it and we all know that to assume makes an !!! out of u and me, well not u you me and it's something I have to take on the chin.

    I wrote them very polite note stating my insurance recommended that we need to claim off the third party insurance be it theirs or the builders and I have suggested that we all sit down over a cuppa and discuss calmly where we go from here.

    Cheers
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 22nd May 18, 6:50 AM
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    Tom99
    • #9
    • 22nd May 18, 6:50 AM
    • #9
    • 22nd May 18, 6:50 AM
    Over that cuppa I would tell your neighbours that their builder obviously does not know what he is doing since your flue should not have been broken into in the 1st place and you will be appointing an independent expert, at their cost, to 1st advise you how your flue came to be damaged and 2ndly what action is required to reinstate it.
    Also that if your neighbours or the builders insurance does not pay up you will expect them to, covering all your costs.
    Whatever you do, do not accept some remedy suggested by this builder without independently verifying the problem yourself.
    • Unky Al
    • By Unky Al 22nd May 18, 7:27 AM
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    Unky Al
    Thanks Tom,

    I was on the phone to our works legal advice line at 5am to see what the best course of action to take and they agree the third party is responsible and if they don't play ball then it would possibly be small claims if it's under 10k, so no matter how frustrated I get I will remain calm

    If I'm honest I'm glad it has happened when it has as we are on holiday in a couple of weeks and if they carried out the work then we would have been none the wiser about the front fire.

    Once again thanks for all the responses as the advice is really appreciated and it's kind of therapeutic and calming getting it down here.
    • Unky Al
    • By Unky Al 4th Sep 18, 7:53 AM
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    • 14 Thanks
    Unky Al
    Morning all. Just a quick update and asking for a bit more advice.

    This is still dragging on and we still have no heating. The builders insurance have admitted liability for the damage to the fire etc. but they say that he isn't covered for the remedial work to fix the chimneys (both are now halved in size and unable to have a new flue liner pulled through). The correspondence quoted Tort and nuisance of tort (i.e the blocked flue) and its the responsibility of the neighbours,and in all honesty I think they just tried to baffle me with legal jargon.

    They have sent out a loss adjuster to speak with us about ideas how to go forward and one of the suggestions is to have central heating fitted at the cost to the insurance. Now if this is accepted are we still able to get the neighbours to put right the damage? The reason I ask is that one of our fireplaces was opened up for the sole purpose of having a stove fitted and the wife would still love to have one at some point.

    Thanks
    • paddy's mum
    • By paddy's mum 4th Sep 18, 8:15 AM
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    paddy's mum
    Still got no heating as we move into autumn!

    I think you are being too calm and too polite and too willing to avoid offending the neighbour.

    I'd be seeking a good solicitor with a definite aim of taking legal action against the neighbour.

    You want the damage corrected for your own perfectly sensible reasons, and I don't believe there is a loss adjuster, solicitor, insurance company, reasonable adult or county court judge in the land who would think that months after the original damage, you and your family are supposed to shiver through the oncoming winter without protest or recourse!

    Good luck.
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 4th Sep 18, 8:47 AM
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    teneighty
    Why have the flues halved in size?
    • Unky Al
    • By Unky Al 4th Sep 18, 11:55 AM
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    Unky Al
    Why have the flues halved in size?
    Originally posted by teneighty

    It's halved due to him building into the flue when he bricked up their wall. I'll try and post a pic later if I can.
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 4th Sep 18, 12:03 PM
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    teneighty
    It's halved due to him building into the flue when he bricked up their wall. I'll try and post a pic later if I can.
    Originally posted by Unky Al
    So the remedy is very simple. Reinstate your flues and make good all damage.
    • Unky Al
    • By Unky Al 4th Sep 18, 1:05 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    Unky Al
    So the remedy is very simple. Reinstate your flues and make good all damage.
    Originally posted by teneighty
    Easier said than done. This has been going on since May and the neighbours are burying their heads in the sand and aren't interested as they have got what they wanted (flat wall) and have decorated. We have told them that the builder isn't covered for the remedial work to put it right so it's down to them, but like I said they're not interested and are still blaming the builder.
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 4th Sep 18, 2:48 PM
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    teneighty
    The neighbours are burying their heads in the sand because you have let them.

    You need to enforce your rights. Just because the neighbour ignored the Party Wall Act does not in anyway rescind your rights. It just means you have to take charge and possibly incur some expense out of your own pocket to employ a professional and possibly instigate legal proceedings against them.

    Sounds like a clear cut case that you would win easily and recover all you legal expenses plus damages.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 4th Sep 18, 3:32 PM
    • 1,881 Posts
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    FreeBear
    The neighbours are burying their heads in the sand because you have let them.
    Originally posted by teneighty
    And as the neighbours contracted the work to the builders, they are ultimately responsible. Don't waste time chasing the builders, it is the neighbours that should be putting the problem right - i.e. Your flues should be returned to the same size as they were before the builders made a pigs ear of it.
    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.
    • paddy's mum
    • By paddy's mum 4th Sep 18, 4:50 PM
    • 3,561 Posts
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    paddy's mum
    Dear Mr and Mrs Plonker.

    I am sorry that no real progress has been made with reinstating the damage done to my chimney and flue by your contracted builder (Messrs Bodgeit and Leggett) in May 2018.

    I have waited patiently for the issue to be resolved by you or your insurers. However, with winter approaching, I do not see why my home should continue to be disadvantaged in this way nor my family denied the basic right of warmth.

    Accordingly, I am writing to let you know that I am now seeking formal legal advice. I fully expect such advice will be closely followed by an action against you in the Courts, where I shall be seeking both damages and costs against you.

    In an effort to resolve this issue with the least upset to both families/properties, I am happy to allow 14 days from the date of this letter for a formal response. However, I must also warn you that if no such response is forthcoming, I shall have no hesitation in instigating proceedings forthwith and with no further reference to yourselves.

    Yours faithfully

    Job Smith
    • Unky Al
    • By Unky Al 5th Sep 18, 7:21 AM
    • 60 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    Unky Al
    @teneighty, I think you are probably right, I've been to patient in waiting for the insurance to sort it so it is time to step it up a gear so regardless whether or not the Insurance play ball and fund the central heating I would still like working chimneys.

    @paddy's mum, thanks for the letter
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