Chimney breast removal

Removing a chimney breast and hearth is an effective way of increasing the habitable space in a room. It would add value to the property at a reduced cost.

Chimneys can be removed entirely, including the chimney stack above the roof, or just at a specific level.

When removing the chimney breast at ground floor, the remaining sections in the upper levels need to be properly supported. The works required could be straightforward. However, there are a few issues than need to be considered in advance. Failing to take them into account will lead to important structural problems, possibly requiring repair costs. Since each chimney has its own particularities, RISE recommends always seeking advice from a structural engineer.

At RISE, we have experience detailing and providing with the information required for a correct chimney breast removal. The works must comply with the Building Regulations and an application needs to be submitted. Additionally, if the chimney is part of a party wall between two properties, The Party Wall Act needs to be considered.

Technical Issues

  • Existing joists might need to be replaced to prevent the floor from sagging;
  • Chimney stack and remaining chimney breast need to be properly supported. This is normally done by gallows brackets or by a steel beam;
  • Stability of the wall or stability of the entire structure might be compromised if the chimney is removed;
  • Remaining parts of the chimney need to be well ventilated.

Choosing the right support for the remaining sections when removing the chimney breast at one level. It could lead to instabilities in the wall that can affect the stability of the entire structure. Gallows brackets are normally used for this. However, this needs to be carefully considered since they are anchored to the wall and will add eccentric loads to the wall which could eventually pull it over.