lintel problem

23 Jan 2008
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United Kingdom
I have an unusual problem. My kitchen is spanned by a lintel (10') that supports 8 floor joists and a cavity block first floor wall upon which part of the roof rests. This lintel runs from the front of the house along a main wall and was cast in situ (ringbeam?). It is approx 9" high and 7" wide with four 1" steel bars. When building over the attached garage the builder, in making a doorway opening at top of stairs, cut into the lintel for a step - not realising he was partially above the kitchen. He left about 3" depth of lintel with two of the steel bars remaining. As a result the lintel spanning the kitchen was effectively reduced in strength. He built a pillar in the kitchen (under the cut lintel not the intact part) and installed a 6"x1/2" angle iron onto the lintel supported by the new pillar and the rear wall. Is this safe or am I looking at a possible disaster? Any advice appreciated.
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The weakest point of the lintel is the bit just past the bearings, and if he has reduced this to 3" at this point, then it is a concern.

But building the pier and adding the angle iron may help, but its hard to say from text only. If you could post an image then it would help



Hi Woody, Hopefully I've loaded the images correctly. If I have, the image of the doorway shows the position of the kitchen wall (black book), which at a right angle under the lintel and the position of the pier (other book). You can see how the lintel was reduced in height to create a step - without realising that half of the step is projecting over the kitchen. The other images show the pier (painted green with a little blue ceramic hanging) and the lintel in the kitchen. As you can see the lintel forms the edge of the concrete ceiling/garage roof. I've been told that this was probably done in one pour, which should help matters.
Oh, I thought it was just being done - not completed.

One school of thought is that if its been done, is still up, then it may be OK, but anyway ....

Sorry, but I'm still a bit confused on where the doorway cuts the lintel.

If we look at the second image with the lampshade, then where is that bedroom doorway?
I presume the lintel is along the edge of the lower ceiling running behind the lampshade. But is the doorway above the wall with the chequered edge picture, or is it above the lintel (ie between the wall and the lampshade when looking at the picture)?
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I appreciate that it's hard to see what's what from the pictures. The 'wall' with the chequered edge picture isn't actually a wall: it's the side of the quarter landing in picture one and it hangs over the kitchen. The new pillar is alongside it. You are correct in identifying the lintel. It runs from the front of the house all the way to the back and has been compromised to create the step into the bedroom. Put simply, about 1/3 of the bedroom doorway overhangs the kitchen as does 1/3 of the quarter landing. My gut feeling is, as you say, "it's still up" after 3 years. My nervousness has come about because my neighbour is having similar work done and her architect was somewhat alarmed at what my builder had done. However, I have since discovered that a couple of people on the street have done the same thing - without bothering to put in a pillar and steel, and their houses are still standing. Maybe I'm being to cautious.

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