In this blog, I will aim to answer the question regarding one of the most common types of works that our customers undertake to their properties and whether they require to serve Party Wall Notices.
The removal of chimney breasts is covered under the Act under Section 2(2). As such, the Act requires you to serve Party Wall Notices if you are undertaking this work to your property. However, whilst it is notifiable, the question regarding whether you must serve Notices would first of all depend on the type of property you live in. The requirement would only be if you are removing chimney breasts in a property that is “adjoining” another, for example, semi-detached properties. If you live in a detached house for instance, you would not be required to serve a Section 2(2) notice as there aren’t any Adjoining Owners who require protection from your works.
Would I require a steel beam or gallows brackets?
Now that we have clarified whether you need to serve Notices, let’s answer how you would ensure there is appropriate support for your remaining chimney stack if let’s say you are removing a chimney breast from your first floor room.
Both steel beams and gallows brackets are common and acceptable methods of providing support to a stack, however, the choice would depend on a number of factors and we always advise to consult a structural engineer who would help to make this determination for you.
Gallows brackets are triangular, right angled units that come in pairs. They are used to provide support to a chimney stack to prevent it collapsing. They are usually made from either steel or iron and have a metal plate between them to provide support as well as resin anchored bolts.
They are used in instances when a steel beam is not used and are purchased from builders merchants.
There are instances when a gallows bracket is not suitable and an RSJ should be used instead. For example, if the bricks and mortar of the party wall are in a poor condition then gallows brackets should be avoided. If the chimney stack projects more than 150% than the supporting wall or 340mm then an RSJ is preferred.
Lastly, as mentioned this should always be consulted with a structural engineer. The removal of chimney breasts also require building regs approval which must be dealt with your local council yourself directly.
As always, we are happy to speak with you regarding your works and advise.