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Wall Removals - a structural solution to wellness

Removing a wall, or a portion of it, can create a brighter, more spacious living environment which can not only increase the value of your home, but even improve your health and well-being.

According to the latest findings, good lighting and airflow can help improve our health, sleep, productivity, and overall quality of life. [1][2][3]

But before you go out there with a tape measure and start engaging your builder, there are a few important things to consider.

Is the wall structural?

Walls may serve one or more structural functions for the home. They may be load-bearing, supporting the roof/ceiling/floor framing above, or provide lateral stability to the home, protecting the building from swaying or collapsing sideways during strong winds or earthquakes.

What if they are structural?

Removing a load-bearing wall will usually require a new structural beam made of timber, steel or other proprietary products (Ultralintel, Galintel, etc.) depending on the wall type (e.g. timber, masonry), supported structure over, and other forces (e.g. wind). In some instances, when the supported floor over is a reinforced concrete slab, depending on the size of the opening and the resisted loads, the slab may be sufficient to span the extra distance and a new beam may not be required altogether.

In many circumstances, removing a wall may also require additional wall bracing to be provided to the walls nearby to reinstate the lateral resistance provided by the wall being removed. Wall bracing types include diagonal steel straps, plywood panels or steel portal frames. In all scenarios, the cladding will need to be removed so the new wall bracing can be hidden within the wall.

While removing a wall can have many benefits to your home and even your quality of life, it will also require a careful assessment and advice from a qualified structural engineer. At weBETA - Structural Engineers, we not only ensure compliance with all the latest regulations and building codes, but we strive to give you all the structural guidance you need to help you achieve that dream home.

Example weBETA project - BEFORE

Example weBETA project - AFTER



REFERENCES:

1 - Zhang, Z., Beier, C., Weil, T. et al. The retinal ipRGC-preoptic circuit mediates the acute effect of light on sleep. Nat Commun 12, 5115 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25378-w

2 - LeGates, T., Fernandez, D. & Hattar, S. Light as a central modulator of circadian rhythms, sleep and affect. Nat Rev Neurosci 15, 443–454 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn3743

3 - Tamura K, Matsumoto S, Tseng YH, Kobayashi T, Miwa J, Miyazawa K, et al. (2021) Physiological and subjective comfort evaluation under different airflow directions in a cooling environment. PLoS ONE 16(4): e0249235. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0249235


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