Many homes feature chimneys, even if the chimney has been disused and redundant for decades.
While a disused chimney might pose no issues, removing the chimney stack is a popular option if it becomes damaged and repairing it is not cost effective compared to removing it altogether.
Removing a chimney stack or breast is reasonably straightforward.
This is article will review how much it costs to remove a chimney in the UK, factors that affect the cost and other common questions surrounding removing a chimney.
Average Cost of Removing Chimneys
By collecting data from 7 primary sources and 11 secondary sources, we found the following costs of removing chimney stacks and breasts.
|Job Description||Cost||Job Duration|
|Removing Chimney Breast Only||£2,500 - £5,000||2 - 3 days|
|Removing Chimney Stack Only||£750 - £1,500||1 - 2 days|
|Removing Chimney Stack and Breast||£3,000 - £6,000||2 - 4 days|
|Engineer’s Calculations||£300 - £750||1 day|
|Party Wall Agreement||£0 - £750||Days - Months|
As we can see, removing the stack only is the cheapest job. This involves simply removing the stack and capping and sealing the chimney. The roof is then repaired and sealed up using the same materials as the existing roof (as reasonably possible).
Removing a chimney breast is more complex. The upper range of the cost applies when structural strengthening is required, e.g. in the form of an RSJ beam or gallows brackets.
If engineer’s calculations are required for more complex projects, then this will cost around £500 to £750.
It’s certainly possible for chimney breast and stack removal to cost more than £10,000 or so for complex projects, e.g. Listed Buildings or buildings with weak brickwork.
Overall, £3,000 or so is a reasonable expectation for a fairly modern home.
Factors Affecting The Cost of Chimney Removal
There are several factors affecting the cost of chimney removal:
- Chimney Type: Some chimneys are much wider or taller than others. Tall or extra-large chimney stacks are harder to remove and will cost more. Some chimneys over 2m tall may even require extra scaffolding.
- Chimney Material: There are several types of chimneys ranging from pre-fab to brick and masonry. Masonry chimneys are among the toughest to remove.
- Planning Permission, Party Wall Acts and Building Regulations: Requirements from project to project. Reputable contractors will point you in the right direction and should be able to sign off work at Building Control on your behalf if they’re enrolled in the Competent Person Scheme. Planning Permission costs around £200. If you need a Party Wall Award, budget around £1,000 at least.
- Access: Access to the chimney is very important and will dictate how much scaffolding is required. Scaffolding is a significant cost factor too, and will vary depending on the house and access to the chimney.
- Repairs and Roofing: The roof will need to be tiled or repaired to look like the original roof, and costs will vary depending on the extent of the work and the materials needed.
- Structural Support: If you’re removing a chimney breast, RSJ beams and/or gallows brackets might be needed to strengthen walls and ceilings. This might add £500 or so to the cost, not including engineer’s calculations that might cost some £750.
- Plastering: The new walls will need to be plastered and finished, which could cost extra.
- Location: Finally, jobs in London and the South East usually cost more.
Why Remove The Chimney?
The chimney stack is the part of the chimney that protrudes from the roof of a house. The other exterior component of the chimney is the chimney breast, which is generally found in a bedroom and living room (for two-story homes).
Removing the chimney breast is not the same job as removing the chimney stack, but doing both simultaneously is certainly possible.
So, first, let’s delineate two different jobs that come under “removing the chimney”.
- Removing the chimney stack.
- Removing the chimney breast.
What is a Chimney Stack?
The chimney stack is the part of the chimney that protrudes from the top of the roof. The chimney stack sometimes leaks and causes damp issues in the loft. On rare occasions, leaks can percolate through into the ceilings and foundations of a home.
Also, chimney stacks aren’t particularly stylish, and some might wish to remove conspicuous stacks to boost their home’s aesthetics.
Finally, the stack can become damaged in strong winds, which could be potentially dangerous if left unchecked. Often, removing the stack is more sensible than repairing it, provided the chimney is unused.
What is a Chimney Breast?
The chimney breast is the part of the chimney that houses the flue. This takes the form of a large rectangular or square-shaped protrusion from the wall of a home.
Chimney breasts are often found in the loft, in an upstairs bedroom, and on the ground floor, where they house the fireplace.
Removing the chimney breast unlocks space for a home, which is great if the chimney itself is disused. Removing the chimney breast may also be necessary for loft conversions, extensions, or other home renovation projects.
So, both the stack and breast can be removed, albeit for different reasons. You may wish to remove just one or the other or both at the same time.
Do You Need Planning Permission To Remove a Chimney?
This is a tricky one to answer, and there are different interpretations of the rules. Again, the answer depends on which chimney component you want to remove.
Removing a Chimney Breast
The chimney breast is inside a home and will not require Planning Permission. However, removing a chimney breast certainly involves Building Regulations and may include the Party Wall Act.
The chimney breast supports the weight of the chimney itself and may also bear weight from the second floor or roof.
It’s not possible to remove a chimney breast without a proper survey, which a quality chimney removal contractor will carry out before liaising with the local Building Control.
In some situations, it might be necessary to fit an RSJ beam or gallows brackets to support the chimney breast and provide structural stability.
Other Building Regulations apply to the new wall, which must feature certain fire protection, damp proofing, insulation, and soundproofing.
Chimney breasts are often constructed on shared walls in semi-detached and terraced homes. If removing the chimney breast interacts with a neighbour’s wall in any way, you’ll also need permission from the neighbour.
While removing a chimney breast on a shared wall is unlikely to disrupt your neighbours, you still need consent.
If you can’t obtain consent or don’t hear back from your neighbour, you’ll need a Party Wall Award, which will come at a extra cost.
Removing a Chimney Stack
Chimney stacks may fall under Permitted Development, which means you won’t need Planning Permission.
Specifically, Class G, part 1 of Permitted Development, permits the “installation, alteration or replacement of a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe on any dwellinghouse.”
However, many have pointed out that removing the chimney isn’t “installation, alteration or replacement”. Information from various councils is also quite vague.
For example, Maldon Council says, “Planning permission is not normally required to remove a chimney stack or a chimney breast from a dwelling as long as it is not a listed building or located within a Conservation Area and any repairs/infilling to the roof is done using materials which match those already used on the property.”
In short, you’ll need Planning Permission if you live in a conservation area of any kind or other Article 2 designated land. Then, check to see how your local Planning Authority interprets chimney stack removal.
Also, like removing the chimney breast, chimney stack removal will likely require Building Regulation sign-off.
How to Choose a Chimney Removal Contractor
Chimney removal specialists might also fall under the roofing category. While there are plenty of specialist chimney installation, removal and repair contractors around, some roofers may also handle chimney removal jobs.
Try reputable chimney installers, repairers and renovators as well as roofers. Look for a strong track record and plenty of reviews, and specific experience in removing chimney stacks and chimney breasts.
It’s important to find out if you’ll need a structural engineer to examine your project. Building Control may request this before permitting you to remove a chimney stack or breast.
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We’ve done our best to give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay to remove a chimney.
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