A chimney breast is the brickwork which encases the chimney as it rises through a property. Usually the chimney breast is inside the property and takes up space within rooms. With semi-detached and terrace properties, chimney breasts are often built ‘back to back’ between individual properties – where this is so, 4 fireplaces in property will appear as 2 rows of 4 chimney pots on the chimney stack which will be shared by adjoining properties.
The removal of Chimney Breasts by property owners during Loft Conversions, w can open up rooms and provide increased living space, if a fire is no longer required. This can also solve roofing issues resulting in water ingress and damp.
The problem with removing a chimney breast, is that it is usually part of the structure of the house and therefore care needs to be taken in its removal. Unless the whole chimney is going to be removed, a suitable support beams will need to be incorporated in its place to avoid any structural damage. Where the chimney breast is on a party wall with a neighbouring property or where the chimney breast of an upper floor is going to be removed while leaving a working fire in the room below, special care will be needed. Once the chimney breast has been removed, the floor where the chimney breast once was will need to be re-instated.
Generally this will involve a structural engineer, who will come up with a plan of work, establishing if any supports that are required and, if so, specifying their sizes and types. The method of work and designs will need to be submitted to the local building control office for approval prior to any work commencing. Where the chimney breast is on a party wall, the Party your neighbour will also need to be involved and approve the work before work commences.
Once the building control office gives approval, all work should be carried out to the exact designs, and the local building control officer will be invited to inspect the work carried out,, who upon satisfactory completion of the work, issue a completion certificate to be kept with the Land Registry documents for the property so that it is available for inspection upon the sale of the property.
There are 5 main requirements to consider before carrying out the work: