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removal of load bearing wall

Why would you want to remove load bearing wall?

It is possible to change the layout, create a large room, or open up two rooms to create an open space kitchen diner.

However, the first question would be, Is the wall structural? Is it a load bearing wall?

There are some of the factors that would determine whether the wall structural or not a load bearing wall, such as the layout of the house, how the floors and walls above are supported, and the location of the wall within the house.

In period properties, stud partition walls were used to carry loads and to support walls and floor joists above them. Some walls are just separation partitions and carry no load.

What structural factors should be considered when removing walls?

Loads from above could be supported by the walls. Making an opening in a load bearing wall demands the use of a structural engineer to create an alternative method of supporting the loads. The structural engineer can specify a concrete lintel, timber beam, or steel beam to guarantee that the loads previously carried by the wall are securely redistributed.

There are some situations where a frame is required. Document of Building Regulations A  Diagrams 12 and 13 specify that the walls must have a minimum return of 550mm. If the client or architect wishes to deviate from this criterion, the structural engineer must design a goal post or a box frame. The measure is needed to replace the lost stability after the wall is removed. Building Regulations Document A, requires this measure to prevent a failure mode.

What are the steps required from a client before removing a wall?

Before any building works start, please make sure you have the following in place: A visit is required from a structural engineer to inspect the wall and establish if it is structural or otherwise. If the wall is not structural, the customer must obtain a design from a structural engineer that specifies the size of the structural element that is necessary. The Management Company may want a copy of the design report if the dwelling is in a flat or a leasehold property. A structural calculations report will be part of the design. These must be submitted to your local authority Building Control or an Independent Inspector. If the Building Notice route is followed, 48 hours’ notice must be given. If the Full Plans route is followed, 6 weeks’ notice is required. The advantage of this route is to allow the building control body enough time to review the proposed changes and advise if they have any concerns in advance. If fire regulations, access and other compliance issues are raised by the inspector at a later stage, it could cause real issues to the budget and schedule. This is the case when clients want the structural design scope only, not the full building regulations pack. Any issues that the client needs to include in the builder scope would be brought up by making an advance application. We are happy to discuss such issues with our clients. A written quote will be obtained based on the drawings and a notice will be served if applicable. The quote will be based on the engineer drawings.

What are the structural engineer expenses for inspecting a wall and producing structural calculations/design for building control?

To evaluate the building’s layout, we’d have to go to the site and assess the loads on the walls. The cost of a site visits to confirm the wall type is £250 EXC VAT, which includes the formal advice in writing if the wall is not load bearing. When the wall is structural, additional design fees may apply depending on what needs to be built. In certain circumstances, simply an RSJ/steel beam/pad stones are needed, whereas in others, a goal post or a box frame is necessary. Fees might exceed £700 when more than one wall is removed to make room for a goal post or box frame.

The drawings, as well as a design report with calculations for submission to building control and fabrication drawings, would be included in our price. We occasionally work with builders, fabricators, and clients in faraway areas when third parties produce a site survey and we may supply them with a design remotely based on their survey.

How much does it cost to remove a wall?

The cost of removing it would vary, much as design fees do, based on the location and type of wall, as well as the size of the opening. The prices listed below are only estimates and may vary from project to project. The steps of removing a wall are critical for determining the building costs. Water pipes, electrical wiring and switches, and any other services can be removed or re-located. This is not a construction method statement, but rather a list of tasks to provide the client a sense of the logical sequence of activities.

Any built-in furniture or kitchen cabinets that are attached to the wall must be removed. Any loads that are already lying on the intended opening will be carried by acrow props. The floor above the wall, for example, must be propped open before it can open. The wall will be removed from top to bottom to create the opening. We always advise builders that no impact equipment will be used during demolition activities, and that caution will be exercised to manage dust, noise, and vibration. This is the stage that creates the most problems. It is recommended that appropriate precautions be taken to avoid exposure to dust and noise hazards. An experienced builder is needed to manage these risks.

The new structural elements will be installed after the opening. A steel plate or padstone is usually inserted when the wall is being replaced. Adding a concrete base would cause damage to the flooring. When the span is large, there isn’t enough masonry support.

The props can be removed.

The steel members need to be wrapped in double plasterboard to protect them from fire.

The building cost for simple cases would be between £1000 and £1500, while the more involved cases would cost between £400 and £5000.

How can reduce the design fees?

We offer an online service to our clients. In both residential and commercial properties, we’ve worked with builders and clients to remove walls. A measured survey is needed for areas that we can’t visit due to distance. We can help our clients by giving them advice on what information they need to send us. The need for us to visit and charge for the time would be eliminated. If we have all the information, we need to make a conclusive decision on what is required based on the measured survey, we would do so.

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