If you’re looking to create an open plan space or planning on undertaking some internal alterations you will more than likely need to check if your wall or walls are load bearing before taking any down.
Nowadays within London there are multiple new builds arising and many 1900s structures that have already undergone some type of renovation. These factors can make it particularity tricky to identify if a wall is load bearing for a homeowner. So we’ve put a few key pointers together to help guide you through the process.
Understand your structure:
This may seem pretty straightforward, but it is easy to miss the basics. A good way to apprehend this is to note the load path of your structure starting from the roof and following this through to the foundations.
For example, the weight (load) of your roof maybe transferred through trusses onto the ceiling joists which in-turn are transferring this load onto the structural walls below and so on until the load reaches the foundations.
A key wall to look out for is the spine wall; this would typically have been built throughout the same line along the property also creating a bracing effect on the whole structure.
What to look out for & why!
- The span and direction of joists. Are the joists spanning in parallel or perpendicular to the wall in question? If the joists are parallel it is unlikely that the joists are directly transferring load on this wall.
- Structure directly above. Is there a wall directly above the wall you are intending to remove? If so, this wall is most likely load bearing.
- The structure of the wall itself. After removing the plasterboard and finishes, does this wall have any bracing? Bracing could indicate lateral stability support this wall maybe providing to your property.
AmatrixCE Case-study: Porchester Sqaure, W2
This project based within the City of Westminster is just south of the main railway line out of London Paddington station. We had been consulted to provide structural engineering design for the removal of numerous internal walls, two chimney breasts and a future extension design.
The photo taken during our inspection is a good illustration of key pointers to look out for and also shows the removal of some walls that are not load bearing. Can you spot the clues?
Be sure – Consult a structural engineer
You should always consult a professional structural engineer before removing any walls in your property. Your local building authority will want to see you have taken the right steps to ensure there is no risk to the structure prior to any alterations. Below you can read more about our procedure in helping you identify if your wall is load bearing and the next steps.
- Send in your enquiry or give us a call. We will arrange a suitable time for a site visit to assess your structure.
- Following the site visit, there are several options for the next step depending on our findings:
- The wall is load bearing: We will provide a structural design package which could be used by your contractor to undertake the works and for Building Control approval purposes. This is typically provided within 5-10 working days, with a pre-agreed fee.
- The wall is Non-load bearing:We will provide a signed off observation letter confirming that the wall is non-load bearing and can be safely removed. You can use this letter as your reference for your local building control authority or other stakeholders affected by your project.
If you have any questions or a project coming up that you would like our advice on, feel free to get in touch with our team and we will be delighted to guide you further.