By using Acre Design to produce your architectural plans, our in-house structural engineer will be involved in the design process from inception. They can offer experienced advice on the structural design, implications, cost-effectiveness and buildability. Which Acre Design pride itself on achieving for each and every one of our clients.
The complexity of modern building designs and building regulations often requires a great deal of creativity from our engineer in order to make sure the structural elements support and resist the loads applied to it.
When you extend or alter your home to create the perfect space for you and your family, it may be necessary to undertake structural alterations to open up or convert spaces to create the house you have always dreamed of.
This could be on the ground floor for an open plan kitchen diner, or in the loft to get those extra bedrooms in.
To prove compliance with the building regulations, and to show the house will remain in its current upright position, we will need to prepare structural engineering calculations and a subsequent report.
A structural engineering report is a mathematically calculated design and summary. It lists the engineering issues specific to the individual case, from the foundations upwards, including material usage, joints, fixings and sizes of every structural component that is to be used.
What are structural calculations?
Structural calculations are produced by our in-house structural engineer when building control needs proof of the adequacy of any beam, column, foundation or pier (plus an array of other structural components, and a mixture of any number of them on any one site). Whether they be made from steel, timber, glulam or composite etc.
How do you work it out?
There are always a number of loadings on any structural element, and these need to be worked out before checking that the chosen beam size (in this example) passes the stringent British standards, and subsequently approved by building control. Below we are using the example of an I-beam or RSJ and we will discuss the 2 types of load that Acre Design are required to include when assessing a structure and producing the structural engineer’s report.
- Dead Load is the weight of the structure being supported, this includes the square meterage of the bricks and blocks sitting on a beam.The weight of any floors resting on the bricks,blocks and the roof (the timbers, felt and the tiles or slates are all included) that also sits on the walls. These are all calculated independently and added together to work out the dead load that any structural member needs to support. Included in dead loads is the assumption that one day 3 feet of snow will fall too, and the structure needs to deal with that.
- Imposed Loads are the weight of human activity on the structural beam. The example we use is when you are having a big party to show off your new extension that Acre Design has helped you create. The music goes on, the floor joists be strong enough to support 30 people all jumping up and down at once? Those floor timbers upstairs rest on an RSJ that has been put to open up the ground floor for your new kitchen.Can the beam take all those party goers giving it their all without so much as a hairline crack to the plasterwork? The beam needs to rest on a padstone which spreads the weight through the wall, is the padstone big enough too? All these need to be calculated and to be taken into account.
In-House structural engineer
Some architecture firms will outsource this to a dedicated structural engineering company, and Acre used to do the same. It had worked fine, but the process was disjointed, and at times costly. It was overly time consuming going back and forth, therefore, with the structural solution only being produced after the design had been agreed.
Acre Design can also include the price of the calculations when we quote, helping us to be as open and honest as possible about our pricing. So there aren’t any hidden costs through the design process.