"W" Beams throughout loft in new house

4 Apr 2013
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West Midlands
United Kingdom
I'm a real amateur in terms of building and construction. The last two houses I owned (current and previous) have had cavernous lofts. That is to say you go through the hatch and can walk freely end to end. First house was a 1960s brick build 2-up-2-down typical 60s british now-ex-local-authority.

Current house is 1930s suburban detached. Massive cavernous loft. It's a shame I never got to do anything with it-- I would have liked to.

Anyway, we're currently in the process of moving. The house we're buying is an early-1990s four-bed detached, with (when facing the house), the left side is a front-thrust (so basically an L-shaped house). This weekend we popped over to take some measurements and when I went up to the loft I found it was end-to-end filled with beams in a "W" shape from floor to roof. Is that typical, or should I be worried that there was some work done to prop the roof up? If it is simply the building style at the time (perhaps because interior walls are all drywall?) then I'll live with that if all the houses of the period are like that.

If that is the standard construction style, how does that affect converting the loft? Surely if the beams are situated in that way, it's integral in terms of holding the roof up?
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It's the absolute norm these days. They are called rof trusses They do the job, of course, but are an arse when you realise you want to use the loft. The useful ones are referred to as attic trusses, and leave the middle clear.
Why the hell would anyone want to move from a 30s house to a 90s one?
Much better state schools in the area we are moving to. Bromsgrove is mostly 80s and 90s builds. So there's a bit of give and take with the move. We lose the period features on our current house (stained glass front door, textured solid bannister, 20' x 40' garden, high ceilings). But we're in a quieter area closer to the countryside, decent commute to Birmingham, better local schools, energy bills go from £190/mth to £90/mth, more space for your money than in the Brumburbs.
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With a few carefully-positioned steel beams, a modern truss-roof is capable of being converted. Telebeams are OK, but v.expensive.

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