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4 Feb 2022

Do I need Building Regulations approval to remove a chimney breast– Ask Anna Question of the Week

Chimneys & flues
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Dear Anna,

I want to remove a chimney breast in my home, do I need to submit a building regulations application for this and what should I consider?

The chimney breast is the visible part of the chimney that you can see on every floor in your house (unless any have been removed). It provides important structural support in your home, carrying loads from upstairs floors as well as your loft and roof..

Removing a chimney breast might be an option to create more space in your living areas. Chimney breasts can be bulky, but some prefer to keep them even if they do not have a real fire or woodburner to conserve a period feature.

However, removing a chimney breast does have its issues. If done badly, it can cause serious structural damage so the support must be properly designed and installed by competent experts. Your builder may suggest using gallows brackets rather than steelwork, but these still need to be properly designed and are rarely sufficient.

You must also make sure that the chimney is not shared and still used by a neighbouring property. If your home is semi-detached you will need to have a Party Wall award in place before you start any work.

You will need to submit a building regulations application to remove a chimney breast. Your structural engineer’s designs will need to be submitted to building control prior to commencing work. A Full Plans application may be better than a Building Notice because you will need to submit calculations and have them approved before you start work. (View building regulations FAQs for details).

For sound insulation, make sure the recess is filled with brickwork that’s the same thickness and density as the rest of the wall.

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