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Architectural Services Questions

Our expert architects have kindly agreed to share their wisdom on such topics as planning permission, structural surveys, hiring the right architect, architectural drawings, saggy roofs, removing walls, extensions, building plans and much more.

165 Architectural Services questions

Structural calcs for RSJ - Trade advice

Dear all, we have employed structural engineer to do the calcs for the steel lintel to be inserted into boundary wall of our bungalow. We would like to have bi-folding doors installed. The span is 4100mm. What is really confusing me is the fact, that he suggested what RSJ we need for this, but he is also suggesting to use 150x200mm bearing beam and plate one side and 250x200 bearing beam and plate the other side. Is this normal? I thought that the RSJ is normally supported from the brickwork. Thanks for your help

Structural question


I'm doing some renevations to my property and there is a 3 x 9 inch timber across the lounge supporting a brick wall above. The joists of one floor above also rest on this timber. Timber is about 3.5 metres long.

As the picture shows, this timber is resting on half a brick sticking out of the wall. I would like to secure this so I am thinking of extending the brick wall by half a brick so that the timber is supported better. Do I need to support the timber with acrow props whilst I extend the wall. There is also a wood lintel in that brick wall. Should I remove it or can I just leave it and extend the wall?




Smoke smell from neighbours house

Why can I smell cigarette smoke in my built in wardrobe, sons bedroom and sometimes near the boiler in my kitchen from my next door neighbours house. How can I stop it

Would we get planning/building regs for a balcony situated on top of a bay window?

Hello Chaps,

We live in what was the loft space in a converted block of flats. We'd like to knock out the top double windows and create a balcony situated over the (flat roof) bay windows below. If you take a look at the google map link below hopefully you'll see what I mean.


Basically I'm wanting to find out if I would require planning permission/building regs, how easy you think it would be to obtain.

Many thanks for taking the time to reply!

How do I go about converting our extension into a new house?


2 years ago we got built a fully approved(council/regs) extension on the side plot of our house. This used to be an empty carport and now is a 2 storey, 2 bed dwelling with internal staircase and is internally connected to the main house via 1 door. We would like to know the best route possible to get this converted into a house on its own with a front door, no more internal door and have it listed with its own address?

I understand we would need it to comply with regulations, soundproofing, separate electrics meter, gas etc.

On top of this, who would deal with land registry, new ownership titles etc?

First floor flat - is a kitchen door a requirement for building regs?

I have just bought a first floor apartment in a Victorian conversion, which requires refurbishment. Currently there is no door on the kitchen and from a practical perspective, this works well. The layout of the flat means that someone exiting the second bedroom does have to pass the kitchen to reach the exit. My question is not whether this is advisable, but whether it is against fire/building regs? I have searched the internet and there is plenty of opinion - some saying yes, some saying no - but I wonder if anyone suitably qualified knows the definitive answer?

Many thanks.

Steel Beam Design

I'm in the process of renovating my 1st house and intended to knock through a wall to make a kitchen diner. Having taken off plasterboard in another room I found that there were concrete pillars (50mmx80mm) every 400mm along the wall. These pillars have a bracket at the top of them that are used to join 2 steel framed joists that form the 1st floor.

Now knowing this I can't simply remove the wall and will need a steel frame to hold up these beam. My dad works for a company that kicks out steel beams on a regular basis so having it made is no problem but I have no idea what size the beam is going to need to be and therefore need to get this designed.

Question is who does this for me and where do I start looking for them?

Any advice as usual would be much appreciated.

Crack appearing. Advice needed !

Over the last couple of months I've noticed horizontal/vertical (and a faint diagonal) cracks appearing along the plaster on the stairs. Also cracks have appeared where the wall meets the ceiling and around the door jambs to the bedrooms and lounge. Not sure what is causing this or if this is a more serious issue? The house was built in the 70's and there was previous mining activity before the 60s. The surveys when I bought the house 9 years ago stated that any ground movement should have stopped. Can anyone advise or signpost me to who could advise?

Follow up:
Hi Chris.
Thanks for taking the time to respond. A friend has now recommended a structural engineer so I will approach them bearing in mind the suggestions you make and see how that goes. Cheers.

Submitting full plans to LA

Architect is drawing up plans for an extension and we are going down full plans route to get building regulation approval.

Architect is in a different county to to where the house being extended is, but she says it will be submitted to her local authority (because it's easier and they have the contacts there).

Is this a valid way to do it? will I not have to pay two sets of fees (one to each LA). Once to get approval and then again to local LA for the inspections they come out and do?

wall belly

We're interested to buy a flat in Victorian end of terrace house. This property requires refurbishment and we haven't had building survey yet. But viewing this property i've noticed that indoors the external wall is curving and the adjacent floor is bumped (no traces of dump though). My question is how critical this wall belly is, will it affect the wall stability and how likely are problems with wall cracks and floor shifting etc. Can this be fixed within reasonable time and money wise solution?

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