Standard fireplace width?

Hi all, We're in a 10 yrs old detached brick house with a coal-fire in the lounge. The fireplace has a brick chimney, and a capped gas feed about 6" to the left of the hearth. The current fire itself is "standard" size - around 2 feet across.
My wife and I would like to fit a trendy new wide (panoramic) gas fireplace from B & Q (598 down from 1000). This fireplace however has an aperture of around 3-3.5 feet, here it is: http://www.diy.com/bq/product/product.jhtml?PRODID 4959
I know I've got to remove my current fireplace, but can I expect there to be a lintel above the current opening?
And will the lintel be wider than the current opening?
And if I'm going to open up the space beneath the lintel, how much supporting brick has to be left under either end of the lintel for it to stay safe?
I'd be really grateful if anybody can help me forward with this problem.
Cheers, Ian
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On Tue, 30 Sep 2003 13:44:36 +0100, "ian mayo"

How wide is the "chimney breast" from side to side?
I rebuilt mine after removing an old back boiler/solid fuel fire and the opening is no where near that width. I would have thought it would involve some engineering to have the opening that wide and not make the chimney stack unsafe/unstable.
Mark S.
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Cheers for that Mark,
(I've top-posted in order to keep my original message - it didn't appear in my newsreader so it's difficult to follow the thread.)
Hey, now that's caused a panic! Engineering? Stack unsafe?
Well, I've just measured it and the chimney breast is 135 cm (4 1/2 ft) across (external dimensions). Allowing for a couple of rows of bricks on either side the internal dimensions (re-calculated after trying to measure off the web image) of 90 cm across may just be ok.
This just leaves me wondering about the lintel. Is is likely that the lintel reaches the whole way across the fireplace, or just a portion of it?
Cheers,
Ian.
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On Thu, 2 Oct 2003 08:02:17 +0000 (UTC), "Ian Mayo"

Mine had been rebuilt without any lintel when the boiler was installed hence the floor to roof crack in the stack. ;-)
I put one in from B&Q, concrete - I've put a picture of the rebuilt fireplace on Yahoo for you to have a look at.
http://uk.photos.yahoo.com/marknicesenior
I'm not sure of how little support you can get away with, someone with a bit more knowledge needed I think. :-)
Mark S.
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Thanks Mark - congrats on the nice handywork.
Yes, I'll have to "probe deeper"..
Ian
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