Sob story... My (soon to be ex-) wife 'accidentally' got builders to
smash up the fireplace and hearth in a small property I own which I have
never been to, in a remote part of Scotland. Now she has got a local
bloke to restore it off the cards. His work has involved remaking the
fireback and, together with someone else, remaking a hearth. As far as I
know, he has no experience in this kind of work, although he does a bit
of roughcasting, and I was somewhat surprised to hear that he made the
screed block constituting the hearth in separate 'coats', including a
'scratch coat'. I was also surprised that the timber formwork for the
hearth has been left in place and is supposed to be a decorative
surround. It is of course at the same height as the hearth, and the floor
surrounding it is made of crappy chipboard. By 'hearth', I mean the
horizontal rectangular block in front of the chimney breast.
Two questions - I know the tax position, but do I need to notify this
work under the building regulations? There has been no change of use;
there has just been a repair, but this has involved the rebuilding of the
fireback and hearth, use of a jackhammer, and some work which clearly
does need to be done competently for safety reasons.
Second question - a timber surround for a hearth? By this I don't mean
some timber on the chimney breast, but the horizontal formwork
surrounding the rectangular hearth block in front of the fireplace. This
has been left in place and is supposed to be the final surround. Timber
sounds to me like a stupid material for this - I can't recall
encountering it before anywhere else as a hearth surround - but I am not
sure, and maybe it's OK? After all, looked at from the top the timber
just separates the non-combustible screed from the combustible carpet and
floorboard. I am assuming it is at least the regulation distance from the
fireplace, which I think is 500mm?
I realise I need to have a look, but am just asking for some preliminary
Thanks in advance for any help with this!