What to look for onsite: Load bearing walls

This week our #whattolook4onsite series puts the spotlight on internal walls.

It is important to ensure that load bearing walls are constructed properly to ensure they do their job.

Can you tell from the two images of load bearing walls what our surveyors would be looking to assess? Think about the following factors:

  • What construction details can you see?
  • Whether there are any issues?
  • What remedial action is necessary to address any issues?

Then check to see if you were right.

 

Answers

In the first picture the surveyor would be looking at the steel beam to see if it has adequate bearing on to a suitable padstone. In this case the beam has not been correctly installed with insufficient bearing onto the padstone and would need to be removed and re-fitted .  The padstone is also wider than the wall it is built into. The surveyor will need to know if the structural calculations require the supporting wall to be wider or the padstone has been incorrectly designed.

We would also be looking at the blockwork to ensure the wall has been constructed properly according to our technical standards.

For more information check out our guide to laying brick and block.

In the second image you can see there is a lintel over the window opening with a point load directly above it from the steel beams. Our surveyors would be checking to see if the window lintel is strong enough to support the point load.

The builder has also constructed a course of brickwork directly under the steel beams which we would be checking the structural engineers design to see if suitable as a padstone.