Inspection of flats versus houses

As structural engineers, we are often asked to advise on structural works to flats, either within purpose-built blocks or where a house has been subdivided.


As structural engineers, we are often asked to advise on structural works to flats, either within purpose-built blocks or where a house has been subdivided.

This might typically involve commenting on signs of cracking perhaps or the structural feasibility of removing a wall. We also are asked to carry out similar inspections on houses but the process between the two has some key differences. 

The primary technical difference between purpose built apartment blocks and houses is that apartment blocks typically adopt a different form of construction to individual houses and there is less standardisation between mansion blocks.  Structures-Made-Easy have extensive experience of both mansion blocks and houses such that experience stands us in good stead for navigating the potential pitfalls when working on either type of building.

The primary difference for our inspection between the two buildings is access to the floors above and below the areas of concern.  In a house, if we are inspecting to gather information on the cause of cracking or the feasibility of moving a wall then we can readily go to floors above and below to help develop our understanding of the floor construction, which walls are load-bearing wall and so forth. The information obtained from the structure above and below and on the floor structure between the two is often absolutely invaluable.   

In a flat converted from a house or in a purpose-built block, though, this access is not always readily available with the corresponding impact on our inspection.  If possible, it is extremely beneficial if you can gain access for us to the properties above and below.  This will help us compare the wall layout of the properties and hopefully deduce the floor construction. Even then, we will ideally need to see the floorboards or slab on those floors but it may be concealed behind, say hardwood flooring. 

If you are looking to establish the feasibility of moving a wall but the floor structure  surrounding floors is not visible or access is not possible, then intrusive exploratory works would be needed to gather definitive information on the existing structure.  This would typically involve removing the ceiling finishes in your property in the mansion block to enable Structures-Made-Easy to inspect the existing structure of the floor above from underneath.

If you would like to discuss further please feel free to contact us using our email or call us on 0207 965 7376

Case studies

View Project

Acton 02 Ealing West London W3

Domestic conversion and extension.

View Project

Chiswick 01 Hounslow West London W3

Domestic conversion, extension and loft conversion.

View Project

Acton 01 Ealing West London W3

Domestic refurbishment and extension with internal alterations including Chimney removal

View Project

Brent 01 London NW10

Domestic ground floor side extension to outrigger of a terrace house.


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