Q&A: Structural issues with chimney breasts

Q: “I recently moved into a house where the chimney breast in the kitchen has been removed, and as a result the chimney breast in the spare room upstairs does not seem to be supported. This was pointed out during the survey but, as it has been in this state for about 20 years, our […]

Q: “I recently moved into a house where the chimney breast in the kitchen has been removed, and as a result the chimney breast in the spare room upstairs does not seem to be supported. This was pointed out during the survey but, as it has been in this state for about 20 years, our view is that maybe we should just leave it. The house was built in 1907 and our next-door neighbours chimney has also been removed downstairs. Should we arrange to have the chimney stack removed completely or is it safe enough to leave it as it is (bearing in mind that we will eventually use the bedroom as a nursery)?”
Kirill, Bristol

A: “You may be able to leave the chimney as it is, but you will first need to establish that it has been sufficiently supported. You should first check the full details of your original survey, and it may be necessary to go back to the original surveyor who carried out the survey.

chimney-removalThe main point is that the load transferred down is supported – you will need to expose the floor to check this is the case. If in any doubt, ask an expert, either the original surveyor or go to RicsFirms.com to find a RICS surveyor in your area.”

Alan CrippsAnswered by Alan Cripps, RICS associate director of the built environment.

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