replacing a concrete beam with steel

20 Feb 2009
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United Kingdom
My builder used steel reinforced concrete beams instead of the specified steel I-beams. The concrete beams themselves are strong enough, but only 10cm of the concrete sits on a padstone, and it needs to be at least 15cm. The upshot is they need to come out and be replaced with steel.

The span is small (1100mm) and access is quite straightforward, so I'm sure it's an easy job for a builder (a new builder, not the original). Once the bottom course of brick is removed, there is almost exactly the correct amount of space for the steel.

My question is, how will the builder make sure the steel sits flush and firm against the underside of the bricks? If I see him using metal shims between the steel and the padstones, is this OK? If there is a few millimetres of space above the steel once installed, how should it be filled?

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Some people use slate, our se specified a dry pack with mortar, presumably because it was the whole corner of the house rather than just an opening.
Metal shims would work but are less damp resistant than mortar etc
Why were steel I beams specified for a span of only 1100mm. Over that distance, 10cm support either side on a steel reinforced concrete beam is sufficient.
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1100m could probably get away with a 4x2 or a BBQed hotdog.
Why were steel I beams specified for a span of only 1100mm

I saw one that short in a house over a window once. Three courses of bricks above there was another UB running perpendicular holding up the whole back wall of the house, so I guess it depends on loadings as always

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