removing chimney

Hello,
I'm about to move house.
In the kitchen, the chimney breast has been removed by the previous owner. In the bedroom on the floor above, the chimney is still in situ.
In the lounge and bedroom above that, another chimney is in place.
I am wondering about removing all of these fireplaces/chimney breasts.
Has anyone done this before? Is it DIY able? I am assuming you just knock it out with a sledge hammer, or these days a powerful sds drill? Do you need to support the surrounding area with props whilst doing this?
We had one removed when I was a child and I remember it being very messy, which is why I thought I might do it now, before I moved in properly.
Do I get a structural engineer to have a look first to make sure the chimney is not load bearing? How would I find a good one: yellow pages?
There is a gas fire in the lounge. I'm not sure whether to keep it. I'm not sure whether that uses the chimney as a flue, so that's something for me to think about. I am tempted to lose the fire and just use the central heating.
What does the group think?
Thanks, Stephen.
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Sorry to reply to my own post: I have had a read of web sites found via a google search and it seems that a structural engineer has to send a report to building control. As it is a semi detached house, my neighbours would also have to give consent it seems.
Has anyone done this? How much did the engineer and building control cost? I suppose it would be cheaper to do all of them in one go rather than one chimney now and the other one later.
There is also a loft conversion, so removing the chimneys may give me extra room on all three floors.
Thanks, Stephen.
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On 21/05/15 16:37, snipped-for-privacy@to.newsgroup.invalid wrote:

Party wall act would come into play I think.
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I did this several years back, after getting a structural engineer in just to be on the safe side. This was also a semi and there was no mention about consulting the neighbours so I didn't. The engineer told me when you rip out a chimney the forces directly above form a protective arch which prevents all the brickwork etc from the breast above (which you probably don't want to remove) from collapsing. So I just put an unspecified concrete lintel in for the sake of completeness. Never had any issues. But I'd suggest you get an engineer in to inspect your particular building in case there's some aspect that differs from my experience.
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On 21/05/15 18:50, Cursitor Doom wrote:

Sounds a bit unusual - I assume the engineer spotted something in your setup that allowed this?
Normally they want a gallows frame in steel under any chimney left that is unsupported - but the best option is to remove right to the top if possible - though that does up course need roof remediation.
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On Thu, 21 May 2015 19:18:49 +0100, Tim Watts wrote:

This was like over 20 years ago so I can't recall that much in detail about it now. He just explained that there's a triangle of forces at work here when you do something like this and the load becomes redistributed from the apex with the mass above it along the diagonals to the outsides of the base (of that triangle). So the area in the middle and below that can be cleared of bricks and whatnot with no need for acros, rsjs or anything like that. But as I say, I would strongly ADVISE the OP to do his own due diligence on his own individual building.
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On Thu, 21 May 2015 16:37:02 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@to.newsgroup.invalid wrote:

Possibly. Is this they typical 1930's semi with 4 flues per side leading to a central 8 pot external chimeny stack at the center apex of the roof?
<http://www.fixmyroof.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Chimney-flue-co nstruction.jpg>
http://tinyurl.com/qhrpefz
A variation moves fire places 1 and 4 inside 2 and 3 and the flues go straight up. The flues from 2 & 3 do the diagonal below 1st floor level and go straight up outside 1 & 4.
2 1 4 3 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ F F ¦ / \ / \ ¦ ¦ F F
There being a brick arch in the large space between 2 & 3, that supports the hearths of 1 & 4 and whole stack. Hearths, you may find a rather large lump of stone or concrete level with the floor forming the hearth of each fire place.
If you take the whole lot down from the pots down away a) it will look odd, b) you'll have a large(*) hole in the roof that will need patching.
Best to leave the external stack and suppport it in the loft space.

So supporting the external stack in the loft space might be a problem.
Personally I wouldn't take the chimenys down, fire places and flues are far too useful when the power goes off. With the vertically aligned fireplaces as per the link I might take one stack down but not both.
(*) Don't under estimate the size of an 8 pot stack. Standard pot is 8" or 9" in dia, leading to a roughly 5' x 3' stack.
--
Cheers
Dave.
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On 21/05/2015 16:37, snipped-for-privacy@to.newsgroup.invalid wrote:

Building control costs will be published on your local council web site. They are normally a sliding scale based on the commercial cost of doing the work (even if you are DIYing much cheaper). So for something like this, I would expect something from say £100 to £300 for a building notice submission.
If going the building notice route, you can have a chat with the BCO about what paperwork (if any) he will want to see. Usually if you give them the feeling you are reasonably well clued up, they are happy to let you get on with it IME.

It might, although you may find that opened another can of worms. Chances are the floor was strengthened for the loft, however that will have had to go around the chimney. If you now remove it and want to use the space, you will also need to make good the floor support first. (which may be no more difficult that adding one extra joist beside an existing one, or perhaps stringers from an existing one to shoes mounted on the wall).
ISTR when I did a loft conversion, that the chimney in the loft did not really take that much space - removing it would have made the rooms about 12" longer.
--
Cheers,

John.
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On 21/05/2015 16:12, snipped-for-privacy@to.newsgroup.invalid wrote:

When we sold my father's house, we had a bit of trouble as a result of this. He had taken the chimney breasts out and (in fine tradition) supported the base of the remainder in the loft with an old door across the loft timbers. He did it some time ago, when it wasn't subject to building regulations and the buyers' solicitor kicked up a fuss about it not being signed off. Building control said they couldn't sign off something that was done before the rules, so we got into quite a loop. The moral of that is that this is one thing I would look at doing properly, to save trouble down the line. (not that I would ever want to break any rules in places where nobody could see, 'onest guv. Wel not if they were sensible ones....)
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On 21/05/2015 16:12, snipped-for-privacy@to.newsgroup.invalid wrote:

I did this many years ago (about 40) in a detached bungalow.
Put a ladder on the tiles and used that as my support. Using a club hammer I knocked the chimney down from the top, letting most of the bits fall down inside. Used appropriate beams to support tiles, plasterboard and flooring. Got a plasterer in to provide the finish coat.
Don't remember planning or building control being involved but I was doing other things that did involve them at around the same time so they might have been.
--
Old Codger
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Without knowing all the details I cannot add much however I did remove a chimney in our house several years ago and now wish that I had taken the opportunity to fit a sleeve (or duct) down the old chimney. This would have been of great help subsequently in running electrical and telephone cables from ground to upstairs rooms.
"Old Codger" wrote in message wrote:

I did this many years ago (about 40) in a detached bungalow.
Put a ladder on the tiles and used that as my support. Using a club hammer I knocked the chimney down from the top, letting most of the bits fall down inside. Used appropriate beams to support tiles, plasterboard and flooring. Got a plasterer in to provide the finish coat.
Don't remember planning or building control being involved but I was doing other things that did involve them at around the same time so they might have been.
--
Old Codger
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27 years ago, building control were not interested providing you were taking it down from the top and it didn't support anything. My neighbour took down a shared one, which my own surveyor condemmed a couple of years before when I moved in, but I couldn't do anything about it then as the neighbouring house was in the process of going through probate at the time.
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Andrew Gabriel
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     snipped-for-privacy@to.newsgroup.invalid writes:

Get your surveyor to check the condition of the chimney, and ask them to advise on its complete removal.
Sometimes chimneys are used to support joists, purlins, etc, but often they specifically don't, to avoid risk of setting those alight if there's a leak or fire in the stack. You (or your surveyor) will need to find out the situation in your house.

Depends if the chimney supports anything. You may end up with flue channel recesses left up the wall, and ideally those should be filled. Sometimes this is important for the wall strength/stability and might require some bricks stitching in to the existing brickwork.

Didn't you have one look at the house as part of the purchase?

It can be a useful backup if it's in good condition, and attractive.
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Andrew Gabriel
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On 21/05/2015 16:12, snipped-for-privacy@to.newsgroup.invalid wrote:

Yes its DIYable. The key point is that you need to support the bit you are leaving. So you can either corbel the brickwork so that it tapers back into the wall, or you can add a lintel above the ceiling in the room its being removed from.
Sledge hammer and SDS of some description would be the normal way. Once you have a start, taking additional bricks becomes easy.

Yup good choice.

Unless you are removing the whole thing from roof level down, it will be structural.
Also if its on a party wall, then I have a feeling the party wall act will apply.

Fires will quite often use the chimney as a flue. You can get some designed for through wall mounting, and also some of the smaller lower powered ones with catalytic converters that can work without a flue.
--
Cheers,

John.
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