Structural issue

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by moss lea, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. moss lea

    moss lea Member

    Hi guys,

    I removed the plasterboard covering my fireplace and underneath was no subfloor and just a wooden beam under the bricks.
    So back in 1985, the flat downstairs removed their chimney and shored ours up with this beam. I assume it will cost a fortune to rectify. I.e structural engineers etc. What is the best way to proceed. Insurance? I can't find planning for it other than the plans to convert the flats and I can't see the removal of chimney on there. Or should I just board it back up and pray!

    Attached Files:

  2. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    How old are the flats? Well first things first, it's not gone anywhere for 32 years, and if you hadn't opened it up, you'd still be blissfully ignorant of its don't panic. It doesn't look anything to do with downstairs, that beam is sitting on your floor joists, supporting the fireplace. If they'd jacked anything up, I would assume it would sit under your joists.
  3. It does look as tho' it's been there all the time! And, as Jord says, it's sitting on top of the joists.

    Yeah, line it so's you have a nice opening - always a lovely feature...

    Don't bother praying tho'; gawd ain't going to keep and eye on it for you - he's too busy giving aids to kids in Africa.
  4. What has happened is,they have cleared out all the material,bricks etc the hearth sits on.

    They have then run joists off the trimmer for the hearth, into the fireplace opening.

    They have then put the flat timber on the joists to "support" the chimmney breast.

    All in all a right bodge,although it was done a long time ago.
    Deleted member 33931 likes this.
  5. moss lea

    moss lea Member

    Is it costly to rectify? Would I need a structural engineer to calculate? The house was built in 1873 and the basement was converted to a flat in 1985.
    My builder said he didn't have indemnity so wouldn't touch it without the say so of building control.
  6. yorkshireboy

    yorkshireboy Member

    Why would you want to rectify something which has been working for 32 years?
  7. moss lea

    moss lea Member

    Is it not illegal to leave it that way. Ie building regs?
    How and who would cover it?
  8. moss lea

    moss lea Member

    Would a general builder take this on or specialist builder.
  9. sospan

    sospan Screwfix Select

    I would call your local Bui,ding inspector at your council. If there is any concern the problem will need to be rectified by the owners of the flat below or the freeholder of the building.
  10. The support for the chimmney breast should all have been done in the flat below, to a Structural Engineers specification.
    This could have been rsj,s and steel plate or gallows brackets and steel plate or whatever he decided.

    The reason it has been bodged the way it has, is to do away with the support being seen in the basement flat,where it should be.
  11. sospan

    sospan Screwfix Select

    Should have been done to a standard but not necessarily.

    Even now posters on this forum think they can remove chimney breasts without notifying building control
  12. moss lea

    moss lea Member

    Anoyed as it sound like it is going to cost me a small fortune. The guy who converted the flat is probably long dead. I know on the original plans it also.showed there should have been a window and there are now French doors. Wonder how he bodged that one. I had one structural engineer quote me £300 for a site visit then £100 per calculation. Think I am going to have to shop around and accept that if I want it done I will have to foot the bill. Grr!
  13. sospan

    sospan Screwfix Select

    The good thing is that the local building control officer is free. He will tell you if you have an issue or not. If you do have an issue, the first place to go is the solicitor that did the conveyancing on your flat. Again this should be free consultation.
  14. yorkshireboy

    yorkshireboy Member

    As said above the steel should be in the flat below,but no one will be judged to be at fault that long ago.How can you possibly think it is unsafe after so long.What do you envisage is going to change from now on compared to conditions over the last 32 years?Ive seen chimney breasts taken out and all the chimney in the loft left in before now.
  15. stuart44

    stuart44 Screwfix Select

    Years ago I used to work with an old brickie who used to take out chimney breasts without putting in any support. He reckoned that the tying in to the party wall etc was enough to hold the rest in place. Not sure how many are still holding up.
  16. moss lea

    moss lea Member

    I guess ignorance is bliss! The house was a whole back in 60''s when my grandparents bought it. In the 80''s my grandmother was forced to sell the basement part to fund roof repair's. The guy who bought it did all the work and the chimney brest was boarded up. It is only no I have discover it. I am not worried so much about it falling down and he may have put a steel in downstairs. I just wondered how to rectify it?
    My builder said he would not do it as he does not have indemnity .
  17. chippie244

    chippie244 Super Member

    Why doesn't your builder have indemnity insurance, does he have PLI?
  18. Bargain Bucket

    Bargain Bucket Active Member

    What are you planning on doing with the opened up fireplace? Use it in some way? If not, just close it up and forget about it. It's a bodge but it isn't going anywhere.
  19. stevie22

    stevie22 Screwfix Select

    Builder is sensibly saying he won't accept design liability.

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