Excessive loading has led to split roof struts

A recent roof inspection during a Building Survey on this property revealed that two of the struts had split due to their size and the additional and excessive loading that the roof was exerting. Although not totally visible in the photo above, the splits were deep enough to compromise the struts load bearing ability and the surveyor recommended that replacement should be undertaken with large timbers in the near future.

As the client was planning to convert the loft area into a habitable space, it would be essential to seek advice from a structural engineer in regards to alterations to the roof support timber and also obtaining appropriate building control consent. Building regulations approval is required to convert a loft or attic into a liveable space. This is to ensure the structural strength of the new floor is sufficient, the stability of the structure (including the existing roof) is not endangered, safe escape from fire is not compromised, safely designed stairs to the new floor and also reasonable sound insulation between the conversion and the rooms below is implemented.

The surveyor also noted evidence of distortion of the support purlin on the north roof slope which indicated previous movement of the roof structure due to the loading of the roof covering. However as this appeared to be longstanding it was not flagged as a major concern. However the situation does mar the appearance of the roof slope to a certain extent.

In older properties as the subject property, restraint now required under modern regulations, were not fitted to provide a degree of lateral restraint between the flank/gable walls and roof structure. In extreme wind conditions, pressure on high walls where they are unrestrained, can lead to collapse or distortion. Whilst it would be recommended that straps be provided. In view of the age and nature of this property which has clearly withstood this tendency extremely well, the surveyor did not consider that such work would be warranted at this stage.

Post Author: Frances Traynor