Floor Loading Traps: Part 2


IN PART 1, you saw how changing the use of a property can affect the loading requirements — and what it can cost you.

Read on to find out who is actually responsible for determining floor loading, Australian Standards, and how to protect yourself.

Determining Floor Loading

Your building surveyor is the responsible authority who will advise you of the required floor loading requirement if you intend to change the use of a property.

We recommend each and every time you begin a development, you conduct an initial check of the existing floor loading of the building. And the required floor loading for your intended use.

You Must Meet Australian Standards

Never assume that the so called 3 Kpa and 1.5 Kpa are correct in an existing building.

You might find the original designers/engineers had made extra contingencies in their design to increases the strength of the floor. The result could mean the floor capacity is significantly greater than the minimum requirement for its intended use.

A less favourable outcome, could be that the floor is not adequately designed for its current use at all.

This may be due to the age of the building and the Australian Standards that applied at the time of construction. There is also the possibly the use of the building was changed at some stage without adequate strengthening.

If you are going to change the structure, then the floor must be made compliant with current Australian Standards, and strengthened as necessary.

For this you will need to consult a structural engineer.

How to Protect Yourself

There are companies that can test your floor by core drilling and compression testing the concrete.

They can determine an approximate Kpa loading for the structure.

If you have a timber structure, the engineers can work backwards to calculate a floor loading — provided that they can see the existing structural members within the building.

BOTTOM LINE: Never rely on average or expected loading requirements. Always undertake a check with your engineer and your building surveyor to ensure that your floor loadings are fit for the intended use.

Otherwise, the rectification costs to strengthen the building can significantly affect a project cost and feasibility.


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