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  • Refurbish/Develop

    Remove shared chimney from flat roof

    Hi has anyone got experience of this?

    Chimney not in use on both sides, 3/4 of chimney appears to sit on my side.

    I have verbal agreement from neighbour to remove and make good their roof, at my own expense.

    wondering if there is anything I can do to protect myself from claims of causing damage to neighbors property during/after works other than employing reputable tradespeople.

    Many thanks

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    Make sure to get their consent in writing. Just a simple plain english statement of what you have agreed is sufficient. Nothing legalistic required. Oral consent is not worth a salt. Best way of protecting yourself from spurious claims is to carry out a schedule of condition of the areas most likely to be affected. Again, nothing complex. A written record of any existing condition noting any visible defects and their extent is what you are after - damp patches/staining, cracks, dodgy plaster etc. Photos are good but often not sufficient to identify fine cracks, hence the written description as well. Make sure to do inside the loft space in case the insulation gets trampled on/covered in soot and someones foot goes through the ceiling.

    Technically you will be 'exposing a party wall hitherto enclosed', s2(2)(n) of the Party wall etc. Act, when you do that which requires notice. However, s3(3)(a) of the Act is interpreted as meaning that if you get written consent from the adjoining owner (your neighbour) you don't need to serve notice. So, to tie everything up, you could just add a note to your written agreement that it is also constitutes consent under section 3(3)(a) of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

    Everything done properly and no surveyors to pay - unless your builder causes any damage of course. Ensure also that your builder allows for, and pays sufficient attention to, adequately protecting your neighbours property, including not letting anything fall down their flues.

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    Should have added: Get the AO to sign and date the schedule to condition as well to confirm its veracity.

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    Thank you for your comments.

    It does make a lot of sense to get something in writing.

    Not sure how easy it will be to get the current condition checked though as next door is tenanted and was hardcenough to get hold of owner to discuss. Obviously would want to limit my liability so getting the internals checked beforehand makes sense.

    Also, just noticed that there is an aerial and dish attached to chimney, not sure who they belong to will need to trace the cables. Would be awkward to reposition those if they belong to next door.

    Do you consider this as an essential job?

    RI can remove breasts from inside and support chimney avoiding the need to remove from roof.

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    The removal of chimney breasts falls under s2(2)(g) of the Party Wall etc. Act and requires you to serve Party Structure Notice on the owner (not the tenant). That too can be obviated by getting consent under s3(3)(a) but if the owner says no, and you have to serve notice to which the owner dissents, you would get surveyors appointed and be looking at, nigh on a couple of grand in fees.

    Taking out the breasts and leaving the stack in would not gain you very much apart from the cost of having to support it - some BCO's won't accept gallows brackets and, in any event fixing gallows brackets to a party wall is notifiable too!

    Not notifying the adjoining owner when you should, makes the 'party wall' work you carry out unlawful (not illegal) which can be problematic if you damage next door in the process. It can also leave you with problems when you come to sell if you have to 'fess up to not having complied with the Act.


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