CHIMNEY BREAST REMOVAL IN ATTIC SPACE
WHEN DOING A LOFT CONVERSION
To get the maximum size out of your disused loft space we can explain to you about the pros and cons of designing your proposed loft conversion either under Permitted Development or going down the planning route to get the shape and style which needed for the internal living space for the new bedroom or ensuite you are looking for. The following article is a guide and can vary from borough to borough as each borough has a slightly different SPD policy so it can be confusing seeing a house with something you like and not get it passed in your particular area.
THE SECOND MOST ASKED QUESTION OUR CLIENTS CALL IN FOR
"John, We would like our Chimney Breast removed entirely to create more space in our proposed Loft Conversion, the reason for this is so to have a slightly wider bedroom, can you do this for us, please?
Chimney flues are shown with old pre-existing gallows brackets for support
In Some instances, it is necessary to remove the entire chimney breast in order to make a proposed Loft Conversion build feasible for that particular property. In some cases, property owners remove them just to create more internal space. Whichever the reason is there is no doubt that these works will course major disruption. This cannot be avoided, the job will be, dirty, potentially dangerous work for the builders, and costly in terms of disposal of broken bricks/rubble, hiring skips, and labor.
Always preparing for these works before and with good planning, using experienced builders, preparing the site makes the project go smoothly with the least disruption possible.
We here at Discount Plans have put together an article to explain the process and work involved in order to remove a typical chimney breast that is joined to a common party wall.
TYPICAL CHIMNEY BREAST CROSS SECTION VIEW
Explanation of the overall structure:
This is a cross section of a typical semi or mid terrace three bedroom house. There are chimney breasts in both rooms on the ground floor and also in both rooms on the first floor. In the loft the two chimney breasts join together to form a single chimney stack which then passes out through the roof. The breasts contain the fireplaces and also the flues (the tunnels which carry the smoke up and out of the chimney pots). The breasts on the lower floor contain just a single flue but the ones on the first floor contain two separate flues, the one for that floor and the one which comes up from below and passes by it. They follow a path like this:
As shown in diagrame you can clearly see chimney breasts are both conduits through which smoke passes and are structural elements of the building. They cannot be removed unless alternative methods of support are found for the remaining structure. Also if you remove a chimney breast above ground floor you will cut off the flue of any fireplaces below it leaving it redundant.
If chimney breasts are to be removed then this is typically done in one of three ways please see below:
In Order of expense
OPTION 1 - £1000 approx.
OPTION 2 - £2000 approx.
OPTION 3 - £3000 approx.
OPTION 1 - Support the Chimney stack at first floor level
Extra steel beams are designed by a structural engineer in the loft floor framework to support the brickwork above. The breasts below can them be removed and remedial work carried out to make good the rooms in that area of removal. This is the most common practice when homeowmers alter their homes as chimneys are no longer used as a sorce of heating being replaced by central heating in most homes of today, chimneys do tend to take alot of space up within the room.
OPTION 2 - Support the Chimney stack at flat roof level
If your loft conversion includes the construction of a rear dormer it may be possible to remove part of the chimney in the loft space. The dormer is usually built in a timber frame construction but in this scenario that will change to include extra steelwork as a steel frame as shown below which will hold the stack at high level.
OPTION 3 - Remove the entire Chimney stack
The third option is to take down the entire chimney from the top down and make good the roof where it used to be. In this example the chimney stack above the roof is shared with the neighbour and so removing it effects both properties. Of course this full removal can only be done if the neighbour wants it to happen as well (for example if they want to undertake a similar project themselves later on or perhaps if they have had problems with water ingress around a chimney they no longer use anyway etc). It is likely that you will have to cover the costs of the work to both properties if this is an option you want to pursue.
CONCLUSION - BREAKING DOWN THE EXTRAS INVOLED
Whichever option you choose above to pursue to remove your chimney breast it is worth remembering that the associated costs can sometimes be more than bargained for because the total cost is not just the demolition work but also a whole bunch of other items which will also need to be done. Typically this would include a lot of things like the follow:
1. Cost to supply and fit additional steelwork for the chimney removal.
2. Cost of temporary supports whilst the demolition work is carried out.
3. Cost to re-site any affected services (electrical sockets, pipes etc).
4. Cost to provide temporary protection of surfaces etc.
5. Cost of labour to carry out the demolition work by the builders.
6. Costs of waste disposal, skips and rubble bags etc.
7. Cost to put in new hearths installed.
8. Cost to re-plaster by the plasterers.
9. Cost to fit new skirtings, covings etc.
10. Cost to re-decorate all around the elements involved.
11. Cost of new carpets/ floor coverings.
I hope you understood this article and find it useful for your proposals we just want you to get the right results and not to make a mistake in doing the build the wrong way around as this could affect the sale to the next purchaser. Regards John. D.
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