Monthly Archives: February 2013

RSJ’s and structural alterations

Taking out walls within a property to open up rooms is very popular with home owners but many are wary of the costs. Removing a wall and inserting an RSJ can start from as little as a few hundred pounds. It is important that you inform your local authority building control department that you intend to carry out these works. This is usually done through a building notice building regulations application which needs to be arranged prior to works commencing. The building control department will require calculations from a structural engineer to show that the proposed RSJ or steel beam will comply with part “A”, of UK building regulations. With smaller openings it can be possible to use lintels and these come with calculations that allow you to use them without the need for structural calculations. You will still need to inform the building control department. Once the works has been done to the satisfaction of the building inspector they will issue a building control completion certificate. These can be checked if a property is sold or re-mortgaged and when a property is surveyed the surveyor will highlight this type of alteration.

Industrial alterations and facilities management

With industrial building alterations and maintenance the important issue is keeping the business running with the minimum inconvenience and loss of production. This of course has to be balanced with the cost of the building works but often the disruption and lack of production is far more costly than the actual building works. So the site or facilities manager needs to weigh up the building contractors based on price, flexibility, speed and quality. It is no use getting a helpful, quick and cheap contractor who causes a break in production if their work does not stand the test of time. It is important that your contractor has experience and understands the importance of working in and around modern industrial facilities. If you ask some trades people for a copy of their RAMS they would just think you have gone mad. More experienced building contractors who are used to dealing with, building and altering commercial property will be able to send you some Risk and Method Statements. The simplest advice when selecting a building contractor is to look at which building contractor asks as many questions about how you work as what work is to be done.

Do I need underpinning?

A surprising number of properties require underpinning or have at some time been underpinned or suffered from some structural defect. Many people are greatly concerned when underpinning or structural issues are mentioned. They can be resolved for a few hundred pounds but can also run into tens of thousands depending on each individual property and the volume of work involved. So what is under pinning? There are two main types of underpinning used, the first and most common simply involves excavating under the existing footing or wall and providing a new concrete footing. The second is with the use of pile foundations these are holes that are drilled under the footings and filled with concrete and steels and are often connected with a ground beam. Ground beams can either be poured on site or arrive to site pre-cast. The process is simple but there is a high level of skill and experience required to make sure that the work is done correctly, safely and will stand the test of time. This is particularly important when you are dealing with buildings or sections of buildings that are dangerously unstable.