Issue with chimney breast being removed

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Hello,

I've recently purchased my first house, a semi-detached house and had both ground floor chimney's removed, the upstairs one (in both rooms) is still intact.

When the builder initially gave me quotes, he expected a RSJ needed to support the chimney, upon removal of the bricks, he said it wouldn't need one as it was a "fake chimney wall".

I assume he meant it wasn't a structural part of the house and didn't need any support, he continued to reinforce it a bit more by adding more timber pieces connected to the joyce.

I've attached a picture of how it looked when he broke it down (excuse blue lines, just shows the timber support lines) and a close up picture of above .

I had notified the neighbours of the works that will be happening, once everything was finished she called the council to come inspect her chimney as some pieces dropped on her side, could be mortar or something and she was concerned of carbon monoxide.

Anywho I had received a letter from the Building Control Department with them paying a visit already, and after seeing it in person (everything is complete, i.e. PVC the bonding, plastering, painting). They needed proof if there was a support beam in place during demolition of the chimney breast, whether it was a Gallow bracket or RSJ. As far as i'm aware, the builder didn't put neither of those as "it wasn't needed". He also said there wasn't much space to run a steel beam across? So I'm a bit lost here

I didn't realise I had needed to submit a Regularisation application and obtain a certificate prior to any works, didn't even realise I needed approval as I thought you don't need planning permission (Excuse me as this is still all new to me).

What case do I have here, or what can I do? Are the above supports needed in this case for this type of chimney breast? Can a RSJ be fitted afterwards without ruining the current plaster/works done already?

Thanks and sorry for the long post!!
 

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looking at the joists, he might be right, but he appears to have punched a hole through the web into the neighbour's flue.

Have a look at the chimneybreast upstairs, see how deep it is. Take up a couple of floorboards and see what it stands on.

It's possible that your party wall is now only 4 inches thick (plus the neighbour's chimneybreast) and this will allow sound penetration, possibly smoke, and I don't know if it is actually permitted.

You may need to discuss it with Building Control. If you are honest and co-operative it's my experience that they are helpful, not punitive.

IME, removal of a chimneybreast needs BC approval so your builder may have taken some short cuts.

I am not a builder but have had similar work done. In my case BC was easy because they see this job done in local houses just like yours a hundred times a week. I measured and drew my own plans.

Building Control is quite separate from Planning Permission.

if you need gallows brackets and a beam, then yes, you will have to cut out the plaster in the wall and ceiling. But a relatively small patch.

How old is the house?
 
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Thanks for the reply,

Regarding the chimney breast upstairs, both of them are smaller in width and depth compared to downstairs, about 15-20 cm smaller in depth. If I remember correctly they're just being supported by thick timber under the floorboards. (Image attached of the chimney size for upstairs and how the old one looked downstairs prior to renovating)

And understandable about cutting out the plaster to fit brackets/beam, what's the best step for me to take at the moment? I assume it's best to speak to the builder again and see what exactly he's done and if it was the correct procedure and try to explain it to building control? Or is it best to get an Structural Engineer to advise and decide whether those supports need to be implemented or not?

It's a 1940-45 build
 

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as far as i can see no builder did that work, it looks like a kid did it. bricks that are just stacked with no mortar or bonding. lots of other bad news, eg no support for the upper chimney breast or the joists.you need to get BCO and a SEor a proper builderon site togetherand show them your pics and give them a full explanationof whats been donein both rooms chimneys.

if youbroke intoyour neighbours flue then you are at risk of theirfumes not her
.
 
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as far as i can see no builder did that work, it looks like a kid did it. bricks that are just stacked with no mortar or bonding. lots of other bad news, eg no support for the upper chimney breast or the joists.you need to get BCO and a SEor a proper builderon site togetherand show them your pics and give them a full explanationof whats been donein both rooms chimneys.

if youbroke intoyour neighbours flue then you are at risk of theirfumes not her
.


The bricks were stacked and had mortar/cement on them as far as I'm aware prior to bonding the wall, but yes I'll definitely call those guys in to get this checked out, getting worried!
 
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bricks are laid in bond for strength, nothing to do with plaser bonding. im looking at your pics an they show stacked bricks with no bed or perp mortar.
 
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I assume it's best to speak to the builder again and see what exactly he's done and if it was the correct procedure and try to explain it to building control? Or is it best to get an Structural Engineer to advise and decide whether those supports need to be implemented or not?

It's a 1940-45 build

I would not place much trust in what the builder says.

I'd start with BC. You'll need to satisfy them that the job is done safely and correctly.

If the builder starts to argue with them, they'll dig their heels in.
 
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Other than a beam arrangement, you could fit gallows brackets and lintel/ plate to the breast in the bedroom. And then make good with studwork to mimic the existing breast.

This will rely on the wall being sound and able to take the fixings without the bricks loosening.

And you'll need a different/proper builder this time.
 
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