Let me see... This newsgroup has been here for over 15 years.
You've been here (apparently) for 3 days. We'll discuss what we like and if
you don't like it, you've already had some suggestions what you can do.
Many things here have untold numbers of variables.
I'm struggling to understand how an established builder can think pouring
SLC onto asphaltic floor adhesive is a good idea. Or how the same person
can think balancing a lintel on a single column of celcon blocks (1/2
length) with two weedy screws as wall ties is good workmanship.
The answer is simple. Some professionals are lazy/bodgers/clueless/wankers
or combinations thereof. I'm sure your claimed profession is far from
immune from having its share of lazy/bodgers/clueless/wankers.
What is the span of the lintel and the loading?
What is the size of the block pier and the
compressive strength of the block / mortar? Did
the pier have to be block bonded into the
Is this a residential or commercial/industrial
Who supervised the work? Did the builder have
drawings to work to?
Who did the structural calculations? Did the job
get Building Regulations approval?
Do you understand the difference between trade
membership and professional qualifications?
No I would disagree. Where the question is general - as per the OPs, the
advice can only be general - explain some of the options, what further
information is needed, and where you could go for advice. In some cases
that is all a poster needs.
In this particular example, that seems to be pretty much what he got -
advice where to find out more information, and some explanation that the
key worry he had (strengthening the roof structure), may actually have
been less of an issue that other factors that had not occurred to him
such as the floor suitability. These don't seem to be disproportionate
or irresponsible responses - and I note that you have not provided
substantially different or contrary guidance.
Again no, that makes no sense. When a question comes that is either
sufficiently specific, or it can be refined into one that is by
subsequent questions and answers, then it is entirely possible to
provide as detailed an answer as a paid professional might given the
same information. Whether one would do so for something as broad in
scope for a complete loft conversion is doubtful - since after all, we
don't get paid to work full time on this, however it is entirely
possible that one may seek advice designing a structural element such as
a floor joist or lintel etc for which an accurate answer could be given
relatively quickly and with little risk.
To use your analogy, you seem to be saying that advising how to wire a
plug is ok, but for a consumer unit replacement you need a professional.
The latter is far more complex than the former, but its not black
magic - it can be taught and learnt.
There will always be a risk of misunderstanding regardless of the route
taken to advice. That can happen in newgroup posts (possibly supported
by detailed photographs, plans etc), and direct briefs to structural
engineers. As I said before, you are responsible for deciding how to use
any advice you receive. As a paid professional you are also assuming
that when you answer a specific question that the persona acting on the
answer actually understands it - alas that does not always happen here
or in real life, but I am sure it does not stop you answering.
(odd how houses are now "very simple structures")
I brought in my own structural engineer who reckoned they'd put a
'trainee' on the job and this was part of his thesis. As I said not many
would expect three pages of drawings and calculations for a padstone to
support a steel in a 9" outside wall.
Sadly 'getting a pro in' is no guarantee of finding the very best solution.
As in my case other pros - including the local council ones - disagreed
with his approach. And expected me to mildly pick up the several thousand
*The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
As an engineer (like you), and as someone who has actually built a loft
conversion themselves (like you?), I am probably better qualified than
most to offer guidance.
Regarding my comments above, firstly: "there may be no requirement for
strengthening the roof structure". I said this to highlight that
strengthening the roof structure may not be required, so is not in
itself something to get worried about without further information about
exactly what has been done and how.
Are you suggesting that there *always* will be a requirement? If not
then we are in agreement it would seem. If so then I would have to doubt
*your* knowledge of the subject.
For a simple loft conversion that stays within the envelope of the
existing roof, and where that roof is of traditional joinery
construction (i.e. not trussed) there will be little need of structural
changes to the roof space in many cases. You may need to double the
joists either side of a roof window. You can rely on LABC advice here,
or do the calculations. You are generally adding relatively little
loading by way of insulating and lining the space.
If you start adding dormers, removing purlins, or converting a hipped
roof to gable wall then obviously the situation in different, as would
be the case if you have a "forest of matchsticks" style trussed roof.
Moving on to the floor; I said "however there will be one for
strengthening the floor".
It would be very rare to find a loft floor that was capable of taking a
loading of 1kN/m^2 or 0.8kN/m of distributed linear joist loading (400mm
ctc) without additional strengthening.
perhaps this is a bit too "real world" from your ivory tower? :>)
I've just read this through and I'm not that surprised that your
training etc leads you to that statement...whether I agree with you is
a different matter...
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