our 1960 semi in woodley, reading has a wall dividing the downstairs kitchen / dinner.
I want to ascertain if the wall is loadbearing.
I Have put a request on the FMB website for help from a structural engineer but not been contacted.
The joists for the floors above run the width of the house. The lounge area has no dividing wall so no support but don’t know if the kitchen/diner wall may be provided extra support needed for above.

  • Adam

    Hi Simon,

    It should be straightforward enough to ascertain if this wall is a supporting wall by process of elimination and observation.

    Firstly does the wall stop at first floor level or does it continue up into the roof space? If it continues up into the roof space you will need to go up there to investigate further. For the purposes of this answer I am going to assume that it does not and move on. If it does then post another message and we will deal with it.

    You mention that the joists for the floors run the width of the house. (I assume you have seen this for yourself or can see that the wooden floors upstairs run front of house to back ie perpendicular to the joists!)

    If the joists run adjacent to the wall then this can be the first indicator that it is not a load bearing structure. That does not mean however that the wall is not serving an important structural purpose.
    Depending on the method of construction of your home that wall might be serving another function and that is one of lateral strength/support.

    Even it the wall is serving one or even both of these purposes it does not rule out the possibility it’s removal. It simply makes it a slightly more odious task with slightly more heavy engineering involved, usually in the form of steels. If it’s a supporting wall you will need a chunky, engineer specified steel to support the weight above it. If it is supporting vertically and laterally you will have to install a "picture frame" set of steels. A set of 4 steels bolted together to make a box which is then resin fixed to the exterior walls. The more steel the greater the cost!

    Speak to your neighbours to see if they have had the work done. If so you can glean what was involved from them and chances are yours will require the same.

    Ask if they or anyone else you know can recommend a good builder who can come and advise you on the process. Any kosher builder will know and work regularly with a structural engineer who will need to do the calculations for any steelwork for submission to the council prior to any work taking place.

    It might sound daunting but the reality is that with a good builder it is not an unusual task to undertake. As ever, good planning and communication early on will ensure the process runs smoothly.

    Best of luck. Feel free to message me if you have any further questions.

  • Post a comment
    You must be logged in to comment. Log in