View more on these topics

Chimneys could be a thing of the past, says RICs

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is warning that chimneys could be a thing of the past, because with new homes not featuring one and many older homes not maintaining or restoring their existing ones.

John Reyers, spokesman for RICS, says: “There are three things working against the old-fashioned chimney – an increasing focus on energy efficiency in the home, the space and cost implications of construction and the effort and cost of maintaining them.

“What many people don’t realize is that working open fireplaces with chimneys can add both aesthetic and practical value to a property. But because they take up valuable space and add extra cost to the design of a property they may become the preserve of the upper end of the market.”

Part L of the building regulations due to be introduced in Spring 2006, will place particular emphasis on energy efficiency and keeping buildings draft free. Chimneys open to the elements will go against such legislation and are therefore less likely to feature in the new build homes of the future.

In older properties many chimneys have been blocked up or are in a state of disrepair. Of the 26 million homes in the UK, over 6.7 million are in serious need of attention. Only 17bn is currently being spent each year on repairing and maintaining properties – far short of the 48bn needed to bring these homes up to standard.

Reyers adds: “We need to balance the requirements for energy efficiency with ventilation, practicality with aesthetics. We must not make the mistake of creating properties so airtight that they cannot breath – causing condensation and damp issues. A well maintained chimney and open fireplace can be a bonus all year round, not just a welcome asset at Christmas.”

RICs says people should sweep their chimneys once a year and if the chimney is not in use, a protective cowl
should be put on it.

Chimneys need to be properly ventilated and home owners should check the stability and condition of the chimney stack from the outside of the building.

If there is no live fire (gas or solid fuel) then people should consider keeping the aesthetics of an open fireplace to enhance the appeal of the property.


Indian offshoring set to soar

Indian business services and technology exports are expected to surge by 25% in the next five years.

M2i offers members more

M2i has added LifeQuote, Commercial Mortgage Solutions and Commercial Money Matters to the companies its members have access to. Steve Butler, head of m2i, says: “We opened discussions with these firms after feedback from our members. Acting on their requirements has been fundamental to our success in the first year of regulation.

AMI census reveals brokers rely on existing relationships not leads

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has revealed the results of its November census, which demonstrates intermediaries are committed to maintaining existing client relationships and place limited reliance on lead generation companies for new business purposes.Only 36% of respondents have used lead generation firms within the last 12 months, and 77% of these firms reported a […]

Management restructure at Skipton

Following the early retirement of two of Skiptons executive directors, the society has made several appointments. With the society and its 16 subsidiaries, the position of group corporate development director has been created to ensure the Group remains on target for future growth. Leading in this role will be David Cutter, currently the societys operations […]

Benefits - thumbnail

Global benefits predictions for 2015 from Jelf International

According to Doug Rice, managing director of international services, in 2015, managing their international duty of care will become an increasing focus for UK-based overseas organisations in both managing their short- and longer-term challenges. As a result, strong independent advice and innovative technological solutions will become more important than ever in managing their global benefits.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up