Most older houses were constructed with fireplaces in every room to provide heat. These days central heating has replaced the need for fireplaces and the chimney breast is seen as wasted floor space in the room. Although a fireplace does provide a focal point in the room, the removal of the fireplace and the chimney can increase the size of the room significantly.
The upper floors, walls and sometimes the roof of a house are supported partly by the ground floor internal walls. Removal of these walls without providing suitable beams to support the structure over could result in structural distress or damage or even collapse of the building.
If a ground floor chimney breast is removed and suitable beams are not provided to carry the weight of the stack and chimney breast on the first floor the resulting eccentric loading of the stack and breast could eventually pull the wall over.
The chimney is part of the structure of the house and its removal should be carefully considered before any work is carried out.
The work must comply with the Building Regulations 2010. A submission is required.
Where the chimney is part of the party wall between two properties, the Party Wall etc Act 1996 places certain burdens on the person intending to carry out the work.
Updated: 30 September 2010