Our builder has made an opening between two reception rooms (internal 100mm (4'') timber stud load-bearing spine wall) of an Edwardian upper-ground floor flat.
There is a 225mm (9'') masonry wall directly below this wall in the basement flat. Spine wall also supports the mid-span of the floor above and another load-bearing timber stud wall.
The timber joists are 65mm x 175 deep and are staggered across a timber wall plate above the basement wall. The joists run perpendicular to the wall.
Following Struct. Engineers advice the builder has built two 225 x 337mm brick piers at either end of the opening, upon which a 2.8m long 254 x 102 x 28 UB sits (on concrete padstones).
However, the building control officer has brought to our attention the fact that the brick piers are sat upon floor joists/wall plate and not directly bonded to the 225mm masonry wall below.
Do we need to cut the timber wall plate away to reveal the masonry wall below to bond our piers to?
The joist spacing also means that we cannot sit a 337mm pier length between them. Its only wide enough to put a single 225mm brick. This therefore meant the builder laid brickwork upon the joists.
We have also discovered that the centre of our brick pier does not align with the centre line of the masonry wall below by about 100mm. The pier is therfore partly resting on plaster ceiling of the flat below.
Our engineer has been very unhelpful and the building control officer wants to know if the current condition is suitable.
Any advice please........? We are having sleepless nights worring about it.
A 100mm offset on a 225mm bearing is not structurally acceptable, this is a major eccentric loading so should not be accepted. With regards to the insufficent space for the pier, you should be able to build around the joists so as not to touch them, which may result in the pier being slightly larger.
You really need to get your engineer to look at it. Request his attendance in writing. State that if he does not look at the problem (which is not necessarily his problem) you will have no choice but to commission another engineer and will be sending him the bill. If push comes to shove, you could also threaten to make a complaint to his governing body, ie the Institure of Civic Engineers or the Institure of Structural Engineers.
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