3 Things You Need To Know
About Removing A Chimney Breast
Learn how to get your Chimney breast removed by a team of highly experienced tradesmen who have over the years excelled individually
Diligent Developments offers Chimney breast removal with RSJ beam installation
What You Need To Know About Removing A chimney Breast
A chimney breast is the portion of the chimney that is visible on your interior wall and once a very important central part of the home, as this is how the entire house would have been heated. With the onset of central heating, however, many home owners look into a chimney breast removal since they find that these chimney breasts take up space along the wall that could be used more efficiently or for better design of the room’s layout.
Removing the chimney breast, however, requires more than knocking out the bricks and mantle to slap on some paint. In fact, there is much more than meets the eye and a few things you will need to know before beginning demolition and redesign of the space that the chimney breast currently occupies such as chimney breast removal price, structure support and chimney breast removal building regulations.
A few of the considerations to keep in mind before knocking out bricks are proper chimney breast removal planning permission and building regulations to make sure your structure regains adequate chimney breast removal support, and of course, safety issues.
First, there is more involved than a cosmetic renovation. Think about that lies beneath the surface of your walls behind the chimney breast. Inside is the hearth and the flue, and up above in the loft area is where you will find the stack. Sometimes, you may need to also look into chimney stack removal.
You have a lot of options here so long as you fall within local codes, unless your home is attached to another property. This is especially true in the case of two or more adjoining residents, some with as many as four units sharing a central chimney system. In this case, you will need to consider how the chimney removal is going to effect your neighbours, and weigh the expense of chimney removal cost.
Keep in mind that removing a chimney breast is not a one-step process. Once you deconstruct the chimney breast, you are going to need to be ready to put something else in its place. It is also going to require proper installation of a steel beam or other reinforcement to make sure your structure is solidly supported.
Obviously, make sure you take all of the steps to ensure safety throughout the entire process. Since a chimney breast removal is a dusty job with debris to work around, safety measures need to be taken.
Determine chimney breast removal planning permission, regulations and codes
Planning saves time
Before you begin, the most important step to take is to make sure your intended design and construction fits within any planning rules, regulations and codes.
Once you have established that you are well within your legal building code limits, and have addressed any party wall agreements, it’s time to consult with a structural engineer who will be able to establish a plan for supporting the load bearing wall before you continue.
There are a couple important requirements to consider before any work should begin. These considerations include planning permission and regulations compliance, party wall issues, and safety.
Planning permission and regulations compliance
Before you remove the chimney breast, you will need to get building regulations approval for the work you want to have done and the method of support once the chimney breast is removed.
The steps to take to acquire this permission or whether or not you need it will depend on where you live. Unless your property is located in a Conservation Area, acquiring special permission is probably not going to be a problem.
However, it is always a good idea to ask about local codes and requirements before you begin. Once you are certain that you have permission to remove the chimney breast, ensure that you adhere to all building regulations and especially that you have proper structural components in place, use sound insulation, and damp prevention measures.
Party wall issues
If you do live in a building that shares a chimney stack, the chimney stack removal is going to be a bit more work as you will need to carefully adhere to the Party Wall Act of 1996. In some locales, the Party Wall Act will need to be followed. When you remove a chimney breast from a party wall you will need to obtain written consent of the owners of the neighbouring property before any work may begin. There are also neighbour chimney maintenance issues to take into consideration.
Hiring a structural engineer
Any major work that affects the structure of your home will require consulting with a structural engineer. A structural engineer is crucial to the planning stage since there is more to this project than meets the eye and involves a major structural change to your home. Any expense you spend in proper planning will be money put to good use.
What is the best way to support the load once the chimney breast is removed?
Chimney breast removal support keeps your structure strong
In any construction or demolition project, you will need to make sure that the structure of the building is secure and strong. Once the bricks are removed, the remaining chimney stack will need to be supported. When you remove the chimney breast, you will need to support the brickwork above with either the use of gallows brackets or a Rolled Steel Joist RSJ which will be determined based upon how much load bearing occurs.
Gallows brackets for support
The most common support means, but not necessarily the most sound, is the use of gallows brackets. Gallows brackets have been used since the 1800s when they were named as such due to their shape resembling a hanging gallows with their right-angle steel support. They are often used to sustain the load of the remaining chimney stack once the chimney breast is removed and are attached to the wall with brackets and Rawl bolts.
Gallows brackets work best when they are being affixed to a thick brick wall that is in sturdy condition. For this type of support to work properly, there are limits to how thick the chimney breast and bracket height can be.
Rolled Steel Joist RSJ for support
Most structural engineers prefer using Rolled Steel Joist RSJ steel beams for support. RSJ provides a solid support for load-bearing walls. The RSJ is a strong steel I-beam that will support a wide span across a gap and provide solid support.
Safety steps always need to be taken seriously during chimney breast removal
Once the project begins, safety should always be your first concern. Be sure to adhere to building regulations of structural strength, ventilation and fire safety. Of course, take the necessary precautions in using and wearing protective gear when doing any kind of construction, but especially if your chimney used or is using gas, you will need to consult a knowledgeable Gas safe expert to ensure everything is properly turned off or vented. During chimney breast removal work, you will be cutting away bricks that have bonded to the wall, so dust and debris will be kicked up into the air and into any adjoining owner’s flue. Whoever is around the de-construction will want to wear long sleeves, gloves, safety boots, eye protection, and a mask. During the work, you will want to make sure the area is sealed off with plastic to contain the dust. If you hire a contractor, they will usually take care of making sure the entire process is done as safely and neatly as possible and will handle the clean up and haul away of the debris as well.