Shared Chimney Stack | Removing Shared Chimney Breast | RICS Advice

Are you considering removing or repairing a shared chimney stack or chimney breast? If so, there are several factors to consider, including legalities, neighbour relations, and potential structural impacts. In this article, we will delve into the world of shared chimney stacks, the Party Wall Act, and the steps required to remove or repair your chimney. Let's get started!

Understanding Shared Chimney Stacks

What is a Chimney Stack?

A chimney stack is a vertical structure, typically made of brick or masonry, that houses the flue and allows smoke to escape from your fireplace. Chimney stacks are essential for the safe and efficient operation of fireplaces.

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The Purpose of Chimney Stacks

Chimney stacks serve several important functions, including:

  1. Providing a safe passage for smoke and gases to exit your home
  2. Maintaining proper air pressure within the home
  3. Protecting the home from external elements, such as rain and wind

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Shared Chimney Stacks and Your Neighbour

Neighbour's Rights and Responsibilities

When a chimney stack is shared between two properties, each owner is responsible for their portion of the stack. This includes maintenance, repairs, and ensuring the stack remains in good condition. If you want to remove or repair a shared stack, you'll need to consider your neighbour's rights and preferences.

The Party Wall Act of 1996

The Party Wall Act 1996 governs shared structures, such as chimney stacks, in the UK. It requires homeowners to notify their neighbours before undertaking any work on a shared structure. Failure to comply with the Act can result in legal action and potential fines.

The Process of Removing or Repairing a Shared Chimney Stack

Obtaining a Party Wall Agreement

Before you can remove or repair a shared chimney stack, you'll need to obtain a party wall agreement from your neighbour. This document outlines the planned work, the rights and responsibilities of each party, and any necessary compensation. You may need to involve a surveyor to determine the extent of the work required.

Notifying Your Neighbour

Under the Party Wall Act, you must provide written notice to your neighbour before starting any work on the shared chimney stack. This allows your neighbour the opportunity to raise concerns and request changes to the proposed work.

Working with a Surveyor and Builder

When removing or repairing a shared chimney stack, it's vital to collaborate with a qualified surveyor, such as Harding Chartered Surveyors. They can evaluate the stack's structural stability, pinpoint possible problems, and guarantee that the work is carried out securely and correctly.

Important Factors to Consider Before Removing a Shared Chimney Stack

Structural Integrity

One of the main concerns when removing a shared chimney stack is maintaining the structural integrity of both properties. It's essential to consult with a professional who can assess the situation and recommend the best course of action. In some cases, you may need to install a steel beam to support the remaining structure.

Damp and Debris

Removing a shared chimney stack can result in damp issues and debris falling into the neighbouring property. It's crucial to take steps to prevent these problems, such as sealing any newly exposed masonry or installing a protective barrier during the removal process.

Loft Conversion and Roof Impact

If you're planning a loft conversion or making changes to your roof, it's essential to consider the impact on your shared chimney stack. You may need to reinforce the stack, modify the roof structure, or install a dormer to accommodate the changes.

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Chimney Maintenance and Repair

The Role of a Chimney Sweep

A qualified chimney sweep plays an essential role in maintaining the safety and efficiency of your chimney. They can inspect the chimney for blockages, damage, and other issues that may require remedial work. Regular sweeping can also help to reduce the risk of chimney fires and improve the performance of your fireplace.

Common Chimney Issues

Some common chimney issues include:

  • Blockages caused by debris, such as leaves or bird nests
  • Cracked or damaged mortar joints
  • Leaking or damaged flashings around the base of the chimney stack
  • Damaged or missing bricks

Remedial Work and DIY

While some minor chimney repairs can be tackled as DIY projects, it's generally best to consult with a professional for more significant work. They can ensure the repairs are carried out safely and effectively, as well as identify any underlying issues that may require further attention.

Fireplace and Flue Options After Removing a Chimney Stack

Wood Burning Fireplaces

After removing a chimney stack, you may still wish to have a wood-burning fireplace in your home. In this case, you can consider installing a stainless steel flue system to safely vent smoke and gases without the need for a traditional chimney stack.

Stainless Steel Flue Systems

A stainless steel flue system is a flexible, lightweight alternative to a traditional chimney stack. It can be installed in a variety of configurations to suit your property and fireplace requirements. These systems also offer improved performance and easier maintenance compared to traditional brick or masonry stacks.

Shared Chimney Stack | Removing Shared Chimney Breast | RICS Advice, Harding Chartered Surveyors
Shared Chimney Stack | Removing Shared Chimney Breast | RICS Advice, Harding Chartered Surveyors


Removing or repairing a shared chimney stack can be a complex process, involving legal requirements, neighbour relations, and potential structural impacts. By carefully considering these factors and working with qualified professionals, you can ensure the project is carried out safely and effectively. With modern alternatives such as stainless steel flue systems, you can continue to enjoy the warmth and ambience of a fireplace even after removing your shared chimney stack.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need a party wall agreement to remove a shared chimney stack?

Yes, a party wall agreement is required before removing or undertaking major structural work on a shared chimney stack.

Can I remove half of a shared chimney stack without my neighbour's permission?

No, you must notify your neighbour and obtain a party wall agreement before removing any part of a shared chimney stack.

What are the potential risks of removing a shared chimney stack?

Potential risks include damage to the structural integrity of both properties, damp issues, debris falling into the neighbouring property, and potential legal action if proper procedures are not followed.

What alternatives are there for a traditional chimney stack after removal?

One popular alternative is a stainless steel flue system, which provides a flexible and efficient venting solution for fireplaces without the need for a traditional chimney stack.

How often should I have my shared chimney stack inspected and maintained?

It's generally recommended to have your chimney inspected and swept at least once a year by a qualified chimney sweep. This helps to maintain the safety and efficiency of your chimney, as well as identify any potential issues that may require repair.

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Discuss any Shared Chimney Stack Issues with us Today

The decision to remove or repair a shared chimney stack is an important one that requires careful consideration and cooperation between the involved parties. It is essential to assess the structural integrity, safety, and potential costs associated with the chimney stack in order to determine the most appropriate course of action. Furthermore, compliance with local regulations and the need for mutual consent among the property owners must be taken into account.

Harding Chartered Surveyors, with their expertise and experience in the field, are well-equipped to assist clients with any enquiries related to shared chimney stacks. They can provide valuable guidance on the necessary steps to ensure a successful outcome, whether it involves repair, removal, or preservation. By working closely with clients and prioritizing their needs, Harding Chartered Surveyors can help to navigate the complexities of shared chimney stack issues, ensuring a smooth and satisfactory resolution for all parties involved.