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Property Surveying Blog
January 4, 2017

Crack in the Party Wall!

Written by Bradley Mackenzie

We had a Party Wall Enquiry from a building owner regarding an issue he was having with his chimney breast.

As the vast majority of homes within the UK will have chimney breasts within them, we thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to post this question as it turned out to be an interesting outcome!

Building Owner Question:

We bought our property a few years ago and it required a complete renovation.

Part of the renovation included the removal of the fireplaces in the ground floor rooms to expose the opening (with the idea being that one day we would install a log burner).  One of the existing fireplaces was an old gas one.

We removed the gas fire and exposed the chimney, in the process removing the bricks from the chimney face to expose the opening.

 Last week the neighbours turned on their gas fire and smoke started coming through into our newly refurbished room.

 Once the neighbours gas fire had been turned off, we had a gas safe engineer conduct a test on their fireplace and the outcome of the test was that the smoke coming into our property was highly likely to be through a crack in the party wall!

 Is this an issue that Party Wall Surveyors assist with?

Party Wall Surveyor Response:

I can confirm that the removal of the gas fire and exposing of the chimney wouldn’t have been notifiable under the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Please note that Section 2(2)(g) of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 confirms:

“to cut away from a party wall, party fence wall, external wall or boundary wall any footing or any projecting chimney breast, jamb or flue, or other projection on or over the land of the building owner in order to erect, raise or underpin any such wall or for any other purpose”

As you didn’t cut away the chimney breast to the face of the party wall, the removal of the bricks to the face of the chimney breast wouldn’t be covered by the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Party Wall Surveyor

 

 

 

 

 

As there is an issue with the chimney flue, the flue will need to be lined in order to ensure the issue is no longer present. I highly suspect this will solve the issue and ensure the leaking fumes are no more.

I would recommend a concrete or thermocrete liner as that will solve the problem and ensure that only one of the owners needs to get their flue lined.

You will likely be able to find an experienced and qualified contractor on the National Association of Chimney Sweeps’ website.

They have an excellent search facility which should be able to help you locate a local contractor.

If you have a Party Wall Question you would like answering by our experienced team of Party Wall Surveyors, give us a call now and we will be happy to assist.