Plasterboarding over disused chimney breast. Brickwork concerns.

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Hi,

I have a builders opening I plan to seal over with a timber frame and plasterboard, adding a ventilation plate to the plasterboard for ventilation.

The builders opening doesn't appear to have a lintel. Furthermore, it looks like the opening was at one point widened fairly indiscriminately by a previous owner. I'm not sure if they removed a lintel that might have been present before. There is a metal bar to the back which possible could be an old lintel. Generally, the mortar is also loose or missing. A capped off gas supply pipe is also present.

Looking at the brickwork, there seems to be some loose bricks with 2 bricks in particular appearing to be completely unsupported below it. I don't know if this is something to be concerned about, or if it is normal and they are simply corbelled bricks that apply their load to the sides.

The house is a 60s semi detached house, the flue extends upwards and curves toward the party wall up to a shared chimney stack which is in good repair.

Previously, there was an issue with damp from rainwater in the flue, which I've rectified a while back by installing a vented cap on the chimney.

My question is, is what I'm looking at safe to seal up as-is? I'm not experienced with repointing or brickwork construction so would err on the side of leaving be if possible. Looking at the brickwork my gut feeling is that there are only a couple bricks that may be in danger of falling, but that the bricks above them are not supported by them. Could a solution then be to stack some loose bricks below it such that if it did work loose it would not be in danger of disturbing the gas line?

Any input appreciated!

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You could stack bricks, or use expanding foam or 'no nails' adhesive to secure any loose bricks.

Get advice from a registered fitter about leaving that gas pipe hidden like that, but it may be OK to leave it accessible behind the vent grill.
 
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