Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, Noel, Charley, CHJ

User avatar
By No skills
Hi folks,

I might need to get some drawings done for removal of load bearing walls/enlarging existing openings - generally putting lintels/steel work into a house. What sort of price should I be expecting per drawing/calculation?

Also is there anything I should be looking for when picking someone to do them? registered with something/member of etc etc

Thanks for any advice!
User avatar
By Benchwayze
I found word of mouth to be far better reference than any Trade Society, which might or might not be bona fide.

When I needed an extension building I looked around my neighbourhood for people having work done. I knocked on doors and asked folk what they thought of the work. I even got invited in to some houses to see the work. Consequently I found a good firm, and I stuck with them. Although in those days, one didn't need to ask for planning to remove internal walls. The house is still standing BTW!! :D

You could check out Clive Holland of BBC's 'Cowboy Trap'.

Some of his 'good guys' are not quite top drawer, if you look closely at the work, but it's information you need, and there's plenty of it there.

Good Luck.
User avatar
By Harbo
You need Building Regs approval though!

Qualified persons would be MIStruct E or MICE or members of their Technician Grades.

Unless its extremely complicated most of the info can be found from Design Manuals and Material Specs especially if its things like lintels etc.

Again depending on the complexity expect to pay in the region of £200 for a basic scheme?

I'm a C Eng, MICE but certainly did not require those qualifications in designing my extension ( I build roads and bridges).
Contact your local Council, they probably have a list of suitable designers ( incl some folks in their Building Regs section who might do this work on the quiet?)

User avatar
By Oryxdesign
I paid £525 for our loft conversion which was 6 beams and two posts. I've used the same firm for a few years and although I don't get a deal they are up for working with my designs rather than just giving me a standard job.
By RobinBHM
If it can be done without a site visit I use quick-calcs (just google it), Kevin who owns it supplies structural calcs to BCO approval emailed across as a pdf. You will need to send him some images and a simple drawing.
By dickm
Had really bad experience in this area. When we were about to get solar panels, it seemed like a good idea to do belt and braces, and get a structural engineer to check the roof. Used a local company that was recommended by a timber frame specialist in the area. The guy turned up an hour late, took away all the original drawings for the house and after a lot of pestering, sent a letter that just said "the roof will carry the panels". No evidence of calculations, nothing. After several letters and phone calls, still got nothing and had to make special journey to prise the original drawings out of the barsteward. And got charged £300 for the privilege.

I did start going through the Institution of Civil Engineers complaints procedure, having been told by their liaison person, off the record, that the guy ought to have been stripped of his membership. But in the end, it was just too much hassle.

Moral: don't rely on just one recommendation.
User avatar
By No skills
Well first off thanks for all the input =D>

The actual building work will be done by me and the drawings would be for building regs approval.

The website for calculations is something I saw a long while ago but discounted it as it seemed to good to be true, might investigate further. Out of 3 drawings two are fairly straight forward enlargement of existing openings (should just be steel beam and padstones), one is a bit more unusual (creating some usable space over the top of a staircase).

Plenty of food for thought..

Cheers all..
By tsb
Use 8x4 RSJ's - that will be £500 please.

I know this seems a bit flippant but that's basically what I got when I paid for a structural report on knocking out a structural wall into the new extension I built.
I already had some 8x4 RSJ's which I was going to use for the job but I was told by the building inspector that I needed a structural report first.
By phil.p
I was told I needed a structural engineer when my workshop was built, and he duly told me what reinforcements were needed - and charged me a small fortune for it. I had to make a couple of small alterations, so I went to the council offices. Who told you you needed this pillar? said the building inspector, you don't need that. Why have all this steelwork in the floor? You don't need that. Why the pillar on the front? You don't need that. Why such a heavy lintel? If you reduce the width of the door by a couple of feet, you can reduce the size of lintel greatly. (I was going to do that anyway) - saved me small fortune.
I suspect that in these litigious days they are hardwired to over specify.
By phil.p
tsb wrote:Use 8x4 RSJ's - that will be £500 please.

I know this seems a bit flippant but that's basically what I got when I paid for a structural report on knocking out a structural wall into the new extension I built.
I already had some 8x4 RSJ's which I was going to use for the job but I was told by the building inspector that I needed a structural report first.

Had you said you were going to use 36" x 12" RSJs, he would still have asked for an engineers paperwork. They cover their backs.
User avatar
By No skills
tsb wrote:Use 8x4 RSJ's - that will be £500 please.

Your not far off, one of the openings needs a length of 178x102x19kg - but as mentioned building inspectors want their buttocks covered so drawings it is...
By Dibs-h
Depends on how many beams need to go in, i.e. how many openings etc. My mates had 2 shop units knocked thru at ground floor level with some huge steel work that was required. Proper calcs and stuff provided by my other mate (tame SE) - included wind load calcs as requested by BC all for £150 + vat.

But I ended up having to do the measurements & pictures of the site, etc.

Stuff can be done like this - but not for the "average" householder. However if you are doing the work yourself - sounds like an option.



p.s. I know how long it takes to do a set of calcs - because with a bit of head\buttocks scratching, I can do them myself, and £500 or whatever is taking the proverbial.
By Pond
Don't get me wrong; I detest overpaying for services that I deem unnecessary, but:

£500 is well worth it when it comes to structural engineering calcs and specs. All structural engineers should (and I think MUST) have Professional Indemnity Insurance, to cover themselves. This is very expensive.
A chartered structural engineer will give you piece of mind that all the calcs are correct. Your building inspector shouldn't question them.
Your local Council Building Surveyors are not Structural Engineers, they just apply and interpret the latest central Building Regulations.
It makes me laugh that people seem quite happy to pay an architect £500 a day for drawing pretty things, and yet baulk at similar costs for not-so-pretty calculations to prevent your house falling on your family's heads!
I have no connections with any persons involved in structural engineering. :-)
User avatar
By Oryxdesign
I'm with Pond on this, I could have done all the structural calculations I have paid for, but I am uninsured and would not carry out any works on anybodies house without the correct insurance. In the whole scheme of things it isn't really that much money.
By Dibs-h
Goes without saying any calcs, etc. from any structural engineer, should only be from one who is Chartered and has the relevant Indemnity Insurance\s in place.

That said - there is a huge variety in service & costs between them & paying more, doesn't necessarily get you more.


p.s. doing the calcs for your own stuff, I don't have an issue with that. Obviously wouldn't dream of doing them for anyone else.