What not to do


These photos are examples of what happens when builders start work before an engineering design is secured; don’t let this happen to you, don’t leave it to chance, contact ARC Engineers to discuss your specific project requirements.



Openings without adequate support

Do not create openings without adequately supporting the structure above and make sure you install the new supporting member as soon as possible.


The photograph here shows a new opening being formed without support which was left for several days with the new lintel, ready to be installed, propped against the wall!

Inadequate supporting beams

Quite often the Architect’s drawings indicate where supporting members need to be designed by the Structural Engineer. We also quite often find that builders start work without fully understanding the structural implications and the extent of what support is required.

The above photo shows the front load bearing wall of the house removed and inadequately supported on temporary props. It was only at this stage we were asked to determine the required size of new supporting beams. Ideally we would have been involved much earlier to ensure the steelwork was designed and ordered so that it ready on site to be installed as quickly as possible.

Basement excavations near foundations or roads

Excavations for basements near existing foundations or roads can be dangerous and expensive and should always be carried out by a competent and experienced building contractor.



If works are attempted without construction drawings for the new structure, or proper consideration and adequate support to the excavation, problems will be encountered during the build.

The implications of starting without the involvement of a structural engineer could be far reaching and include:


  • The health and safety of the builders, the homeowners or members of the public

  • The stability of adjacent existing properties

  • Costly over runs on both time and money

  • Legal implications if the Party Wall Act applies

  • Obtaining AIP (Approval in Principal) from Local Authority Highways where walls support highways or retain material from falling onto highways


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