Residential Property

We offer a variety of services for residential properties. When moving house you will probably need (and it is advisable to get) a Structural Engineering Report (SER) on the property you are buying. A relatively small investment at this stage could save you money in the long run. If you decide to extend or alter your living space in any way - from knocking down a wall between two rooms to putting a gym in the attic or a swimming pool in the basement, consulting us in the early stages of your planning could save you money by designing out hidden costs and problems. 
Once plans are agreed, we provide design calculations and drawings which are submitted for Building Regulations and used by your builder in construction.
Whether you are building your dream house or extending your present one it is advisable to find out what the soil and/or existing foundations are and we can provide site investigations. If your builder comes across problems during construction we can make site visits to advise as the job proceeds.
Neighbours have either legal obligations or rights under the Party Wall Act and we can give advice or act as Party Wall Surveyor should the need arise. 


Design Drawings & Calculations for Building Regulations

If you are converting or extending your property in a way that alters its external appearance you must apply to your local council for Planning Permission. You will need to submit architectural plans showing what the property looks like now (existing plans) and what it will look like after the work has been done (proposed plans). 

Once planning permission has been granted, your architect will submit more detailed drawings to the council for Building Regulations Approval. Building Regulations cover many aspects such as thermal insulation, roof coverings, structural stability etc. If structural alterations are part of your proposed scheme then structural calculations and drawings must be submitted for approval together with the architectural drawings. Rhodes & Partners can provide these drawings and calculationsBesides making sure the alterations are safe, evidence of Building Regulations approval will be needed when you sell your property.

 It's easier to get Building Regulations  approval before you start work. Getting retrospective approval can be expensive and may even mean pulling down what you have built. Once your builder begins work, the council's building inspector will come out to check that the construction is consistent with our drawings - and, we hope, NOT like this house!

Some structural alterations are internal (eg removing an internal load bearing wall) and do not require planning permission but these still require Building Regulations approval. 

  • “Removing or altering a load bearing wall without those loads being properly supported is not only illegal but it can be dangerous and a recipe for disaster. Before planning to remove any walls it's best to consult a structural engineer.” Sarah Beeny - Help my house is falling down! C4 Series 2 episode 4.

We can help at all stages – initial discussion with your architect, providing design calculations and drawings for submission and site visits to discuss with your builder as work continues. 

Structural Engineering Reports

When moving house you may need a structural engineering report on either your own property or the one you wish to purchase - please read further in our services section about what our SERs cover.

Party Wall Advice

Are you building near your neighbour? Or is your neighbour building near you? You may have legal rights or legal responsibilities under The Party Wall Act. We can advise further on Party Wall advice

Site Visits and Investigations

Provided we have accurate architectural drawings which identify structural elements (eg load bearing walls or span of floors) we can produce our structural drawings and calculations without visiting your property. 

Unless we are told otherwise we will assume that your property is built on good strength ground (e.g. medium dense sand or firm clay). If this is not the case we will carry out a site visit to investigate the foundations by carrying out a trial pit investigation: You or your builder will be required to dig a hole adjacent to the foundations at predetermined positions. We visually inspect the foundations and sometime ask for further excavation with a hand augur.
From this we assess the capacity of the sub-soil to support the proposed load without excessive settlement.  If the ground is poor we may need to design underpinning or special foundations (e.g. raft or piled).
When requested we also make site visits to inspect the builders work in order to give a Certificate of Structural Adequacy.


Knock Throughs, Extensions & New Build

Knocking two rooms into one or converting your attic or basement into usable living space can make all the difference to family accommodation. All schemes require structural engineering drawings for both submission for Building Regulation approval and / or for builder to work from.

Accessibility Conversions & Swimming Pools

Adding a swimming pool or gym to your home requires structural analysis of your existing property before design. Some of these projects are for conversions or extensions to an existing building for a client with accessibility needs. This could mean incorporating lifts and/or hydrotherapy pools into an existing family home. 

Underpinning, Basements & Drainage

Our Structural Engineering Report (SER) sometimes recommend further investigation to eliminate subsidence problems which can be caused by a drainage problem and/or inadequate foundations, frequently exacerbated by extremes of weather conditions or removal of nearby trees. We organise trial holes and drainage surveys to identify the exact problem and then prepare a schedule of conditions from which contractors can provide cost effective underpinning solutions and/or drainage repairs. If instructed we can inspect the work and provide a final certificate of Structural Adequacy for your insurance or mortgage provider.

Retaining Walls & Drainage schemes

If your house or garden is built on a slope and you want to extend or re-develop you will need cost effective and simple retaining wall designs – we can design these to incorporate special landscaping features should you wish. As well as advising on replacement drains, we have undertaken the design of drainage schemes for several new build housing and industrial projects. These have included the assessment of flow volumes, pipe size & gradient specification and the design of storm flow attenuation facilities.

Project Examples

  • The alterations to this house combined a rear extension with opening up the existing living area. The design of the supporting steelwork over the large span bifold doors is critical in order to limit the deflection.

  • Another bespoke rear single storey extension together with internal kitchen alterations required our structural design.

  • We were delighted to be the structural engineers working on this award winning new build house incorporating a new conservatory and terrace.

  • This extension required both Planning Permission and Building Regulations approval. Because the existing and new roof had raised ceilings there engineering design was more complicated in order to minimise roof spread.

  • These alterations only required Building Regulations approval. In order to open up 4 small rooms into one large kitchen/family room we designed 3 beams and a column to support the first floor structure above.

  • The work we did for this new build private leisure complex included a pool, gymnasium and games room as well as substantial modifications to the listed manor house itself to which underground access was required.

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