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What Is Chimney Felling?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2016
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Also known as chimney demolition, chimney felling is the process of dismantling and removing a chimney or smokestack from a structure. The felling may involve the removal of chimneys from residences or even from factories and commercial buildings. Typically, the methods used to manage the chimney felling are designed to provide a great deal of control to the activity, allowing the removal of the chimney and all its components without causing damage to the surrounding structures.

There are a number of situations in which chimney felling may be necessary. The decision to remove a chimney may have to do with the fact that the stack has deteriorated to the point that making repairs is no longer practical. In this scenario, the removal is often to avoid the potential of damage to property or human life as the chimney continues to deteriorate. At other times, the reason behind the demolition has to do with remodeling a factory or other type of business setting, removing an old chimney as part of the process for creating new construction.

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A number of different strategies may be employed in chimney felling, depending on the size and type of chimney involved. Residential chimneys composed of masonry are usually removed in sections, using manual processes. Typically, attention is taken to make sure that the home is not damaged by the removal process. Professionals who provide chimney felling may also offer services that include sealing the empty space left behind and altering the structure so there is no sign that the chimney was ever present.

When the chimney felling is part of a larger demolition effort, it is not unusual for explosives to be used as the means of removing the chimney. With this application, the explosives may be placed at strategic points along the stack of the chimney as well as at the base. Upon detonation, the chimney collapses on itself, effectively preventing the possibility of toppling over at an angle and causing damage to nearby structures.

In many jurisdictions, chimney felling is subject to a number of restrictions put in place by local jurisdictions. Many of these restrictions have to do with the use of safety measures to limit the potential damage to people as well as property. There are cities and other types of jurisdictions in which certain methods of chimney felling, such as the use of explosives are strictly forbidden. When this is the case, the incremental dismantling of the chimney is often the only alternative.

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