Check chimneys and flues for:

  • build up of soot
  • crumbling chimney mortar
  • corrosion of flue/cowl/fixings
  • loose fixings.



How often a chimney needs to be cleaned depends on how often the fire is lit, the type of fuel used and the type of chimney. Open fires should be inspected once a year and and woodburners every one or two years depending on use.


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Unsound brick chimneys on villas and bungalows can collapse in a major earthquake – an assessment of structural strength by an engineer may be required. If you want to retain the chimney, an engineer can recommend options for securing it to the structure and strengthening it.

If a dangerous brick chimney is no longer required, it can be removed, at least to below the roofline. Removal of an unsound chimney does not require a building consent for any building up to 3 storeys high as long as the removal does not affect the primary structure, any specified system or any fire separation (which includes firewalls protecting other property). Necessary repair work such as making good the gaps left in a roof after chimney removal can also be done without a consent.

If a chimney of a functioning open fireplace is damaged in a quake, the repairs or replacement may not require building consent. The repair must use comparable materials and the work must not be “complete or substantial replacement of components that contribute to the building’s structural behaviour or the fire safety of the building”.

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