Most of the time when we want to make improvements to our homes an engineers advice is not necessary.
There are times however when something more substantial is planned and our team of experts are on hand to offer advice and guidance to support you.
Side extensions can be a useful addition and do not use garden space to the rear and single or double-storey, garages are often converted as they are not used to park cars in as long as there is enough space for two cars in the front garden/driveway. It is also common to build over the garage to create additional bedrooms and bigger bathrooms.
The construction is usually simple but the foundations along the boundary need to be carefully positioned to avoid overloading and to avoid building on your neighbours land. A Structural Engineer will design the foundations and the openings into the existing house.
Front Extensions and porches
Porches are a quick and useful addition to the main entrance of a house, it has become common to combine an extension to the front of the house with the porch and provide extra living space.
To open up the front load-bearing wall requires beams to be provided to support the upper floor and walls and requires a Structural Engineer to design the beams and check the masonry walls and foundations for the additional load from the beam.
Roof alterations also called loft conversions, create additional rooms and can be effective in increasing space; however, not all properties are suitable.
Commonly in older properties, tall steep sloping roofs often have enough headroom without the need to extend the roof but have diagonal timber struts in the way of creating an open room. New steel beams and floors are required to provide a useable floor and support the existing roof.
On smaller roofs, a dormer extension built of timber provides useable space. Supporting beams can be required to support the dormer and the existing roof at ridge.
Modern houses have trusses and can be converted as described above.
Chimney Breast Removal
The removal of the chimney breast at ground and first floor can provide extra space for modern living. The chimney is often left within the roof space and above the roof level where as it is part of a joint chimney with your neighbour.
The chimney requires to be supported in the roof space. A gallows bracket is commonly proposed but has limited use and often the masonry is not adequate for the bolt loads. Design of a beam support would be required to be undertaken by a Structural Engineer.
Enlarged opening for bifold garden doors
A single or double-storey extension is a common addition to a house often providing open plan kitchen and family living space, a feature of modern design.
To create the space the rear rooms are often combined with the new extension and the rear wall needs to be removed. Steel beams and sometimes columns are required to support the house above. A Structural Engineer would design the beams and check the supporting walls and foundations and advice if these need to be rebuilt.
In many cases large openings and column free spaces are preferred with long (7m) bifold doors to the rear elevation. The Structural Engineer needs to ensure the design minimises any cracking and movement to the house above.