We recently became the owners of our first property. It is very exciting times with BIG dreams about how we are going to improve the house to create space and convenience.


Our immediate goal is to convert the roof space into an attic for storage purposes. At first, we were very ambitious and decided to use wood beams as structural building material. However, the more we starting thinking about strength and longevity of wood as a material, the more we started getting less invested in it.


Turning your roof space into a storage space


We decided to use structural steel beams for the work and it will last for a long time. Not so fast!


In modern building techniques, structural steel beams form part of the building fabric to support and provide strength to a building. It also means that when the building was in its planning phase, an engineer knew about it and other prep work was done to make sure that the use of structural steel beams will not cause any issues in later years.


The amount of structural steel beams used will carry with it a weight that needs to be supported not only from a foundation level, but in our case the inner walls also needed to support the weight.


Taking down the roof


The first thing we did was get the input of a structural engineer to inspect the property. Universal structural steel beams weight about 18-20kg per meter on average. Were it does not sound like a lot, it starts to add up if you are looking to cover an area that uses between 60-70 meters of steel. You are now putting an additional 1000 - 1260kg of weight on the outer and inner walls, excluding the weight of the current roof structure and tiles. Now add your wood used for flooring and the items you want to store in your new attic and you soon realize you are not building a tree house anymore.


You can clearly see why our plan was a recipe for disaster. After proper, educated and licensed advise was received, our first goal will be to place a universal structural beam to carry the weight of the roof.


This will allow to reduce some of the weight placed on the load bearing walls as well as remove the cross beams of the roof frame to open up the space that will form the storage area.


For the floor support, we will be using the same technique by placing flooring beams across with the roof frame receiving additional support beams that will be attached to them. To prepare for this future conversion we first had to do some work and have the existing lintels replaced with stronger steel lintels on the inner walls at the door ways and arches.


When it comes to our ideas we are always going over the top. Luckily for us we have Johan of Statewide Building Products always willing to provide give us advise and guide us to which products will work the best for each idea.


As part of this blog we wanted to share our great plans for a bed built using strucural steel. After a few emails and input from Johan we are now going back to the drawing board with it.


Reach out to him and his team by sending an email or calling them directly on (08) 9399 3276 to discuss your structural steel requirements and delivery options available in the Perth and Western Australia region.