What to consider when removing a Chimney Breast



What prompts people to remove their Chimneys?

What we have found out is that most home owners who renovate and extend their home, decide to remove chimney breasts in the progress of the work.

Why? This is because many of them either had done their homework or they decided to go ahead with what one of our project managers may have advised mid build.

If you are thinking about getting rid of the chimney breast as you feel it can ad valuable space to the living room where you wanted the Corner Sofa, then you are not alone as its becoming ever more popular house modification in many homes across London.
However its not as easy as demolishing the breast, the stack and plastering the wall without safety assessment from a structural engineer.


So what’s involved when removing a Chimney Breast?

Removing an external chimney stack can be removed from outside the building and, if done with care, need not cause disruption to internal decoration.

Removing an internal chimney breast is far more common. This procedure creates lots of dust and debris, so the room should be cleared and thorough use of dust sheets on furniture in all connecting rooms are a must! even if the doors are closed, dust still finds its way of moving from the affected room to almost the entire property.  Any nearby electric, gas or plumbing fixtures should be isolated and altered first.

If upper sections of the chimney are being kept they should be supported using Strongboy steel props before removing the structure below. This support should be retained until the new permanent support, most likely a RSJ is designed by a structural engineer and is put in place.

The ground floor chimney stack is then demolished down to ground level. You must ensure damp prevention measures are in place to suit the concrete or timbers that are used. A dehumidifier is seen in the picture above to help keep the air moisture levels low.

Any brick holes and cavities in the wall, floor and ceilings will need to be filled and made good.

Once the structural work is complete, the wall will need to be plastered. The flooring may need updating to fill the reclaimed space.

How much will it cost per chimney stack?

It depends on wether the Chimney is part of a house renovation or not.

If you were to seek getting the Chimney breast & stack alone removed then its not worth the amount for the additional space.

Costs include plastering and making good skirting, etc. Additional allowance should be made for making good decoration and floor finishes. Expect the work to take one to two weeks.

  • Building Regulations: The fee is around £200-£220 plus VAT.
  • Party Wall Fees.  Budget £700-800 plus VAT per neighbour affected.
  • Structural Engineer. £500 plus VAT.
  • Labour + Materials. £1900 plus VAT.

You are looking at £3000 plus VAT for a breast & stack removal.

If you were however to carry out a full house renovation this would make the costs more viable as the extra work required would be priced as a relatively small additional as the labour, materials and deployments are already on site.

Also the plans & drawings won’t be analysed from scratch.