How to get it right: Removing a chimney the right way

Chimneys were popular in previous years but have seen a big decline in recent years as many are no redundant. One of the two most common internal changes carried out to a home is to create a loft room(s). The other most common alteration is to remove a chimney breast which has become obsolete at the ground floor or 1st floor


There are many building regulations that will apply to this type of work because you are altering the structure of the property. There are structural requirements to ensure the remaining part of the stack is supported properly at the loft level, this could also be affected and altered if your neighbour has already removed their chimney breasts.

The benefit of removing your chimney and chimney breasts is the internal space created as a result. If you are going to remove any part of the chimney then you will need to take professional advice to see the implication of the works. It is very important to acknowledge that the works will also be covered under the Party Wall Act 1996, a Party Wall Act Notice will need to be issued to the property next door by a Party Wall Surveyor. It is important to serve the Party Wall Notice to ensure that shared flues and structural adequacies can be determined before the work begins.

Here is a how to remove a chimney the right way:

- It is important to consult with a structural engineer who will be able to draw up a plan for supporting the load bearing wall before you continue. There are a couple of important requirements before any work should begin. This includes Planning Permission (in some cases), Building Control Sign-off and a Party Wall Agreement.

- You will need to make sure that the integrity of the structure of the property is maintained. The bricks will be removed in a careful manor whilst the chimney stack is supported. The brickwork above will need to be supported with typically a gallows bracket or a rolled steel joist RSJ once you remove the chimney breast. The amount of weight will be determined on how much load bearing will occur, a structural engineer will generally propose a design.

- Building Control will require the steel to be fireproofed; you can use intumescent paint which will expand when exposed to high temperatures. This will create an insulating layer which will protect the structural members.

- You will need to make sure that the walls are covered with plasterboard and skirting board as required.

- You will need to re-plaster the walls and ceiling as required.

Need to remove your chimney but not sure if it will affect your house or your neighbours? Need advice about giving a Party Wall Act Notice? Seven One Associates has Party Wall Surveyor specialists who are more than happy to help you with all your party wall issues.

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