Do I Really Need To Calculate Loadings?

There’s a dark grey smudge that often sits between two distinct environments that causes a certain amount of trepidation among some people, and downright laziness among others. That blurry line is the distinction between your home and a building site. 

A lot of us undertake home DIY; it’s part of owning your own place. Putting up shelves, wallpapering, even fitting flooring is a task many of us will have a go at during a particularly motivated time in our home ownership. Not a great deal of us would try to knock down a non-supporting wall, or replace a lintel ourselves, though. Here’s where the blur tends to occur. 

It’s your home, granted, but if you’re undertaking any kind of work that would be deemed to alter the structural strength of the building, such as removing a wall (any wall – as it’s often difficult to know), or replacing brickwork, that’s when the home becomes a site. 

So it’s a site; so what? Well, it means you have a duty of care towards the people living in the area, including above you, if you have a flat. 

Often, when people attempt to carry out serious renovations, such as lintel replacements, while they correctly realise that shoring is necessary, they fail to fully research the exact requirements to properly support the weight bearing down on them. One option is to over-engineer shoring, with having 1 acrow prop, for example, every 30cms. However, this just isn’t practical. Not only would it take a lot of acrow, it wouldn’t leave any space to navigate around the shoring. 

The sensible way to approach this problem is to hire a structural engineer for a few hours to consult with. They can then put together an estimation of the support necessary to ensure safe shoring, and you won’t be risking the lives of you or your family by ignoring these serious issues. Yes, the cost wouldn’t be cheap, but what’s the alternative? Guess? 

While standard acrow props are great at what they do (easy to use, versatile, inexpensive), their SWL is limited to around 340Kgs. Heavy duty acrow props, can often take much more weight. This is a vital consideration when using additional accessories such as masonry supports which bear weight a few degrees off vertical. These higher working loads ensure that the props are easily able to withstand the work, and will not bend or fail in the process. 

TL; DR:

  • Hire a Structural Engineer.
  • Use Heavy Duty Acrow Props

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