Claim of damage by neighbour due to part chimney removal

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Hi
We removed the part of the chimney in our bathroom last year. (Did inform the neighbours) and the reminder was supported by the gallows brackets etc... neighbour was happy for us to remove the part of the chimney and all hunky dory. Build control passed the inspection and got the Completion certificate from the council.

Last week neighbour sent a picture of a lounge wall (in the bottom) with a hairline crack. This wall is a part of their extension they buolt few years ago and not behine any chimney etc... The claim is it has occurred because of our first floor chimney removal. I am failing to understand if the structure is not even opposite to the chimney why are they claiming for something for redecoration. I was wondering if I can ask them for proof that this has occurred as a result of our chimney removal (which was removed with an angle grinder to ensure there was no vibration etc...) Also they had bathroom renovated on the first floor where the wall is.

Thanks
LK
 
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Your neighbour would need to instruct a surveyor or structural engineer to assess the cause of the cracks.
 
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Your neighbour would need to instruct a surveyor or structural engineer to assess the cause of the cracks.
Thank you Alistairreid. Would it be structural engineer or the surveyor? I am not comfortable with surveyors as they try and milk money from situations like this and once you get the Surveyors you can't terminate their services until they decide. I am thinking I will give the neighbour the benefit of the doubt and will say to them I will appoint structural engineer to assess, however, if the conclusion states that the cracks have not happened as a result of our work, they will be held liable for the costs and will get that undertaking? What do you think. Also someone said that there should have been party wall agreement?. Which I did not know at the time nor the neighbour or building control advised to have in place.
 
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The onus is on your neighbour to appoint an engineer or surveyor not you.
The burden of proof lies with your neighbour.
The party wall agreement or lack of is now irrelevant as the works have been completed.
 
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I am thinking I will give the neighbour the benefit of the doubt and will say to them I will appoint structural engineer to assess, however, if the conclusion states that the cracks have not happened as a result of our work, they will be held liable for the costs
They need to appoint the SE, if you did do it your way (which won't work due to the cost liability thing you moot) then if the SE finds in favour of you then your neighbours will only say the SE is biased in your favour, seeing as you're appointing them.
 
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Thank you freddiemercurystwin. Good point. So who pays for the cost of the SE?
 
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Whoever appoints the engineer is responsible for the costs regardless of their findings.
 
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Do you get along with your neighbour? Either way, I’d politely express my sympathy for their problem and tell them that you understand the cracking must be very upsetting for them.

However, I’d also tell them that you would be happy to pass on to your insurance company the structural engineer’s report that categorically states the cause of the cracking is the removal of the chimney breast.

Inform them that the insurance company would obviously have to send out their own assessor and loss adjuster to come to their own conclusions.

From what you’ve said it’s highly unlikely in reality that the chimney breast removal is the cause of the cracking. More likely shrinkage or thermal cracks, differential settlement of the foundations, or possible structural movement due to the dry summer.

Sounds like it’s only decorative at the moment so I doubt your neighbour will be willing to spend five or six hundred quid on a report that they probably know in reality isn’t going to implicate your building works.
 
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Given the exceptional warmth & dryness we have had this year then there are other factors that can be blamed for this.
 
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Do you get along with your neighbour? Either way, I’d politely express my sympathy for their problem and tell them that you understand the cracking must be very upsetting for them.

However, I’d also tell them that you would be happy to pass on to your insurance company the structural engineer’s report that categorically states the cause of the cracking is the removal of the chimney breast.

Inform them that the insurance company would obviously have to send out their own assessor and loss adjuster to come to their own conclusions.

From what you’ve said it’s highly unlikely in reality that the chimney breast removal is the cause of the cracking. More likely shrinkage or thermal cracks, differential settlement of the foundations, or possible structural movement due to the dry summer.

Sounds like it’s only decorative at the moment so I doubt your neighbour will be willing to spend five or six hundred quid on a report that they probably know in reality isn’t going to implicate your building works.
Thank you Ronnyraygun. We do get along with them so far no issues from last 20 years as long as we agree and say yes to every thing they want and has to be done their way as they have lived all their life here in this property.

They are like 2 year olds if they don't get what they want, the toys and dummies are thrown out of the pram
 
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Thank you Ronnyraygun. We do get along with them so far no issues from last 20 years as long as we agree and say yes to every thing they want and has to be done their way as they have lived all their life here in this property.

They are like 2 year olds if they don't get what they want, the toys and dummies are thrown out of the pram
Ha- I've got a very similar neighbour :) .

Re the content, it is up to your neighbour to prove that his crack was caused by your chimney removal. Ignore it (or rather nod sagely and move on) until he produces a report from a real structural engineer :)
 
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Ahh... mines are not the only ones. They did not like we got the planning permission though and have been building the extension on our land. Their view was we could only extend as far as they have extended and they will be happy. Because they could not stop it its all the hassle I ve been getting from day 1.
 
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Have they removed the chimney breast on their side at all while doing their renovations? Only as as far as I remember when using fallow brackets only one side can be removed
 

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