Chimney breast removal, Structural & Legal advise help needed

2 Dec 2021
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United Kingdom
Hi Guy's

I'm obviously new to this site so be gentle with me.

I'm after some advise my son is just about to buy his Late Nan's terrace house in Portsmouth and it needs some modernising along the way before he moves in. He want to remove the chimney in the kitchen & upstairs bedroom just up to the loft space to open up both rooms to clean unobstructed walls.

He has viewed several info items online with the use of with possibly support using Gallows brackets & concrete for support lintels

My question is, we are unsure if this requires building control approval & a structural survey and if so what type of application and supporting information is required?

I would be grateful if anyone out there in 'Pompey' for any advise, Structural engineers, their Contacts, Fees etc etc would be grateful. Obviously we want to keep cost to a minimum To. So to save on costs, he will along Friends do the removal work, but want to go through the correct 'legal' procedure. So any advise, Structural engineers, Contacts, Fees etc would be grateful to enable us to plan ahead.

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Yes, you will need building regs approval to remove a chimney breast.

Depending on a number of factors and your building control department’s policy, you may not be able to use gallows brackets, so best to check that out with building control before going too far.

Either way you will need a structural engineer to visit the property and calculate forces and what size support, fixings etc you need
It's a load of hassle and spend without a huge amount of gain. Better to spend the money elsewhere in the house and work round the chimney breasts. With or without a fire they add a feature and focus to a room and keep the character of the house. If you want a square box room house, sell it and buy a new house.
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You don't need a structural engineer or structural survey. Building control depts publish guidance on the use and suitability of gallows brackets.

If your son is not sure, then get the advice of a competent person who does not need to be a structural engineer - who will tend to only give very narrow advice limited to the supports.

Use a Building Notice application, you don't need full plans.

If a party wall, find out if the neighbours have removed their breast. If an external wall, consider just removing the chimney too, as this could be cheaper than supporting it - especially if engineers and beams are involved.
In my area the "rules" for gallows brackets are - full brick party wall, adjacent chimney breast intact and no lime mortar.

If you do have to put steel in it's not that difficult, especially if the house is in a mess anyway.

I did mine a good few years ago, my costs were (for front and back) - building control - £190, engineer £100, steels £75, padstones £30, disposal of bricks £30 (but you'll probably need £250 for a skip). PWA - not advice, but no-one seems to bother with it round here so I can't offer anything on that, other that I believe it's highly advantageous that's it's not "disputed"

As Woody says, if it's external or not back to back with next doors (and a lot of terraces aren't) and you can patch up the hole in the roof then probably easier to get rid of the lot - chimney stacks are just a liability on old houses.
Agree with the previous posters, even if it is shared you'll find that 9 times out of 10 they are redundant on both sides. Unless you have a massive wall you won't need approval to remove it from the top down.
We did that on ours and just removed next doors at the same time "at our expense" although compared with the cost of keeping half a chimney it would be a saving overall.
You also lose the hole in your roof for it to go through!

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