Q1. What sort of people would require the beam design service?

A1. Anyone who is thinking about making alterations to, or extending their house. Our clients for the beam design service include the general public, architects, builders and surveyors.

Q2. I want to knock a hole in the wall that separates the dining room and kitchen to create an open plan kitchen/dining area. What do I need to do?

A2. Firstly, you will need to produce some sketches and measurements of the proposed layout and submit these to us to review them. We may request further information depending on the level of data provided and required. However, if you are local to us, we could undertake this service on your behalf. Alternatively, you could engage the services of a local architect to undertake this, and provide us with drawings. We always recommend that structural designs are submitted to the local authority, so the works can be checked/assessed to ensure they comply with Building Regulations. It is unlikely that this exercise would require Planning permission however we would be able to advise on this once we had some further information.

Q3. I am extending my house at the rear and want to install bi-folding doors on the rear elevation. Do I need an Architect and/or Engineer?

A3. Depending on the size of the extension, it may require Planning Permission. If the work is local to us, we could undertake this work for you using our Architectural Design Services. Once the extension work has Planning Permission, we would advise that the Planning drawings are updated for Building Regulation Approval. It is at this stage, that our beam design services would be required to design the beam over the bi-folding doors to support the structure above. So, to answer the question, most alterations to a property should require the services of a Structural Engineer and/or Architect, however in simple design cases only a Structural Engineer is required.

Q4. I have been thinking about converting my loft into living accommodation. Would I need Planning and Building Regulation Approval?

A4. In general terms, if the external appearance to the loft area does not change, it is likely that you will only require Building Regulation Approval. If the external appearance of the property is to change, then it is likely that both Planning and Building Regulations would be required. Most local authorities can guide you through this process. However, if you are local to us, we could undertake the requirement to obtain Planning and Building Regulation approval on your behalf.

Q5. We are having second thoughts about moving to a larger house and thought it might be cheaper to extend our property. We want to extend the side and rear of the property and have the downstairs area as complete open plan. Would this be possible?

A5. This level of extension is possible, and we regularly undertake this type of design work. However, this work would require the buildings stability to be assessed to ensure its integrity/robustness is not compromised. This form or work is more complex than the services offered under www.beamdesignservices.co.uk but could be undertaken by our Chartered Structural Engineers that operate from the web site www.scurator.co.uk. In addition to this, we would also recommend that the proposals are submitted to the Planners and the Building Control Department for their approval.
Q6. We are only at feasibility stage with our proposed extension works. We need some preliminary advice, as to where beams are to be located and which walls can be removed. Can you help?
A6. As consulting engineers, this is something we do on a regular basis. We could undertake a feasibility scheme regarding your proposals to assess the most cost effective design and construct solution for your extension
Q7. My builder is proposing to use a steel beam over a new opening in our property and the building inspector has queried their work. What should I do?
A7. The Building Inspector has a right to ask for calculations to justify that the steel beam proposed by your builder can support the applied loads. The Building Inspector also has a duty to ensure that alterations to your property are safe and undertaken in accordance with Building Regulations (this is to protect you and the people that reside in your property). We can undertake this exercise and produce the relevant paperwork for you to submit to the inspector, and to ensure that the structural works comply with the Building Regulations

Q8. I want to knock down a wall in my house and I am not sure if it is supporting anything above?
A8. This is a question that relates to whether a wall is load bearing or is non-load bearing. A load bearing wall is one that is supporting part of the structure above it. For example, the wall may be supporting the floor and/or the roof above it, together with a further section of wall. In order to confirm if a floor is supported on a wall it will be necessary to establish if the floor joists bear onto it. This could be established by lifting the carpet/floor finishes and checking which direction the floor boards have been laid. If the boards are parallel with the wall, under consideration, it is likely that the wall below supports the floor joists. If the floor boards are perpendicular to the wall under consideration, it is likely that the wall does not support the floor joists. To establish if a roof structure is bearing onto a wall then it will be necessary to enter the loft space and establish if timber elements forming the roof are supported on the wall under consideration. If they are, then the wall under consideration is a load bearing wall. In addition to this, if the wall, under consideration has a wall located directly above it, then the lower level wall would also be a load bearing wall.
The FAQ have been provided as a guide to help you through the process of providing us with information. If you have any doubt relating to what we require, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help you.