is RSJ correctly supported?

26 Jul 2021
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United Kingdom

I have a builder in doing some work for me. He put up an RSJ where there was previously a load bearing wall. Can you comment on the photos? I'm not 100% confident in what's been done.
New RSJ spans 5 metres and also supports smaller pre-existing RSJ.

Areas of concern,
- Pad stone 80mm thick
- RSJ overhanging the engineering brick

I asked for building control pre-installation but builder only started process once RSJ installation/plastering on walls completed.

Any advice appreciated.


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Hi Woody,
It doesn't. The builder has told me not to worry as he's clarified the way the steel has been installed with the engineer.
Originally the column is specified to be 340x340.

The builder also said he's informed BC of the way it has been installed. But that they will only come out to check the work once plastered. I'm dubious of this as why would they need to see it fully plastered, that way they cannot check the steel installation.
Get the engineer to provide you with written updated design details (which need to be approved first by the inspector), if what the builder is saying is correct. Don't let it be covered up before this is clarified

All that the building inspector will do is approve the engineer's design, and then check that the installation is as per the engineers details
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Hi Woody,
Thanks for the quick reply. Any chance you would know if it is normal that Building Control want to see the work fully plastered?
The builder responded by saying they have confirmed works through photos.
Building control do a set number of inspections depending on the job. When you submit your application, they tell you how many inspections they want to do and what they want to look at. Check your application documentation.

Inspectors tend to say that if they do any more than those mentioned, they may charge more. Structural steelwork and supports is an inspection, but photos can be sent/agreed instead if time is an issue and the builder needs to press on

But there is nothing to stop you combining two or more inspections, so if not straight away, leave the beam open until the next inspection.

Is the inspector from the council or private? You need to ensure that the inspector is not the builders mate - which is common particularly with private inspectors.

If I was you as a client, I would want to see the building control application and inspection schedule, and also the structural engineer's [approved] design paperwork - if for no other reason just to verify that they exist.
As above, you need written confirmation from the structural engineer that this variation is acceptable. Bit of a red flag builder saying BCO will inspect when it's plastered- building control aren't interested in surface finishes, they are interested in structural details (which are tricky to see hidden behind plasterboard). Every single steel/lintel install I've been involved with, BCO wanted to see the lintel and bearings etc. before it was covered.
Yeah same. BCO up here is usually happy with pics from me of insulation detailing & other fripperies but structural stuff they come & look always.
If the SE specified a column/pier 340 x 340, and the builder has asked if he can do without the pier, the SE is hardly likely to say "OK, that's all right then".
And inspectors are not interested in looking at plaster - they want to see structure.
I hear alarm bells ringing......
Last edited:
Thanks for all the advice. Loud alarms bells have been ringing for some time.
I checked with SE and they have confirmed no revised calcs have been issued. Obviously builder was trying to fob me off.
BC is being done by a private company, expect it's someone he is familiar with. He also mentioned if I contact them he will leave me to it as no point 2 people managing the application.

Decided to bite the bullet and get someone proper in to correct the work. I did call the original builder but he's not interested as he thinks I'm paranoid. To be honest I wouldn't want him near my house anyway.

Should be an avoid builders register somewhere so people know who not to employ
Builders should be personally liable for not following approved plans, without good reason, at present any breaches of building control are the house owners responsibility.

Good luck in getting a new builder.

Should be an avoid builders register somewhere so people know who not to employ
Unfortunately we live in a society promoting and encouraging criminality.
I consider a "builder" not following plans a criminal, a fraudster at best, endangering lives often.
But they're protected by the snowflakes and one could get in trouble for spreading the news.
Personally I don't give a damn and when I come across rogue traders I write a factual review about them and spread the news locally.
You won't believe how fast the reputation of a rogue trader travels between tradesmen and their customers.
Typically if a builder is working to supplied plans, then the plans are part of the contract (whether a contract is written or verbal) and any deviation from them should only be done with prior agreement of the client. This principle also applies to costs - the builder has priced the work based on the plans, so any deviating which incurs a cost needs client approval - and that means increase or decrease in cost.

Now you can't always blame the builder. I have and I'm sure others have deviated from plans for one reason or another - normally in my case its crap plans and crap design. But problems arise when a builder deviates from plans purely to save time or money - and most times clients are none the wiser. It's a common problem for clients who just want to trust and rely on the builder, and its made worse when the client thinks that the building inspector is there to check every part of the works.

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