Skip to main content

CROSS Safety Report

Gallows brackets for supporting chimney breasts

Report ID: 481 Published: 1 October 2015 Region: CROSS-UK

This report is over 2 years old

Please be aware that it might contain information that is no longer up to date. We keep all reports available for historic reference and as learning aids.

Overview

A reporter has seen suggestions that gallows brackets are suitable for support after the removal of internal chimney breasts.

Key Learning Outcomes

For domestic clients and builders:

  • It is good practice to consult with building control prior to undertaking works such as removing internal chimney stacks, as these works may need approval 

Full Report

Find out more about the Full Report

Our secure and confidential safety reporting system gives professionals the opportunity to share their experiences to help others. If you would like to know more, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.

A reporter has seen suggestions that gallows brackets are suitable for support after the removal of internal chimney breasts. This is concerning, they say, because many building control authorities no longer accept them as a suitable way of supporting a retained chimney stack. They may give the enthusiastic DIYer or an inexperienced builder a false sense of security.

Expert Panel Comments

Find out more about the Expert Panels

Expert Panels comment on the reports we receive. They use their experience to help you understand what can be learned from the reports. If you would like to know more, please visit the CROSS-UK Expert Panels page.

These issues should be picked up by building control, however where trade documentation indicates to the unwary person that it is suitable, they may be tempted to believe they do not need to involve building control at all. Potential problems include:

  • Fixing to existing brickwork of unknown quality

  • Local forces on the brickwork 

  • The possible loss of stability from removal of a chimney breast

The situation is quite similar to the use of ‘dummy’ masonry chimney stacks on new build residential properties which are often incorporated as a feature to meet planning requirements. Gallow brackets may be acceptable in these circumstances, but only where the bracket and supporting wall have been designed by a suitably qualified engineer to cater for the load and eccentricity. 

The preferred option is an arrangement of horizontal beams in the roof space to provide support to the chimney breast and cheeks. There are a number of items sold to the public which can lead to safety concerns due to inadequate instruction or technical knowledge.

Share your knowledge

Your report will make a difference. It will help to create positive change and improve safety.

Our secure and confidential safety reporting system gives professionals the opportunity to share their experiences to help others.