The removal of one or more chimney breasts calls for the services of an experienced structural engineer to calculate and design the correct support to prevent the collapse of other chimney breasts and aligning stacks.

Removal requires structural support, such as steel beams and joists to be calculated before the removal of masonry. Laytoe’s structural engineers will design all necessary support elements to ensure compliance with your local Building Control Body. We also advise on the efficient installation of temporary props.

chimney breast removal needs structural support
  • Analysis, detailed design and calculations
  • RSJ calculations
  • Foundations design
  • Load bearing masonry
  • Designs in steel, concrete, timber and masonry
  • Steelwork connection design
  • Advice on brackets
  • Building Control compliance

Laytoe’s structural design solutions allow you to build your ideal living space with confidence and stability.

Do I need planning permission for the removal of chimney breasts?

If you are removing an internal chimney breast, and it is not on a shared wall, then you don’t need permission. If your property is listed, or in a conservation area, you should contact your council’s planning department before starting your project.

If I don’t need planning permission, why do I need Building Control approval?

Chimney breasts are load bearing; the weight and pressure come from the chimney breast above, all the way to the outside chimney stack. If you remove one, you remove the support for the one above it. Removing support causes the structure to fail. 

Only a qualified structural engineer will be able to design the correct support you need to prevent collapse. Your local Building Control Body will check our drawings and calculations before you can commence structural alteration – temporary props should not be installed prior to approval. Building Control approval is also essential should you wish to sell your home as solicitors for prospective buyers ask for a copy of the completion certificate. 

What are the issues surrounding gallows brackets?

Gallows brackets were commonly used to support the joists and floor above a removed chimney breast. They are triangular brackets bolted to the masonry wall with a lintel installed across the gallows to support the brickwork above the removed breast. Whilst this form of support is cheaper and easier to install not all councils approve of its use; it is highly unlikely that permission will be granted.

You will not normally be allowed to install gallows brackets unless the chimney breast of the other side of your party wall is retained. Permission will also be refused if lime mortar was used in the construction of the party wall or chimney breast as it is too soft to secure the bracket bolts.

A preferred and safer option is to install steel beams instead of brackets. Our structural engineers will be able to confirm that these beams are supported on load-bearing walls. Any steelwork that provides support must be fire protected to industry standards and any remaining flues should be adequately ventilated.

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