We converted an old, disused barn into a modern family home

Project: Converting a barn into a residential unit at Manor Farm Barn, Wraplingham Road in Downham

HA Consulting Engineers was required to carry out a structural survey and report for planning approval, including a full assessment on the feasibility of the conversion work.

The project required that the conversion was completed in such a way to cause minimum disruption to the original building’s fabric and appearance.

Initial Constraints

There were a number of initial problems with the existing structure

  • This L-shaped barn was comprised of an older two-storey large open plan barn with large timber principal trusses and a single-storey barn with a traditional roof and a number of smaller rooms.
  • We found that the trusses in the large barn could not be converted to support a new first floor and that there were a number of inherent defects in its roof.
  • The damage in the roof was due to the lack of horizontal ties in its structure, causing the tops of the supporting walls to be pushed outwards.
  • A large buttress had been installed to accommodate the bowing walls.
  • Defective roof drainage had caused localised subsidence, resulting in cracks and damage in the walls.

Part of the existing barn’s roof was unsecured causing bowing and cracks in the walls preventing the installation of the first floor

Creating Remedial Works

To resolve the issues with the roof and walls we performed the following actions

  • Produced a structural report that detailed all the faults in the building complete with details of remedial works; an instrumental step in achieving planning permission.
  • Created a viable structural proposal for the new first floor level in the large barn, whilst keeping the majority of the timber structure in place.
  • Designed a new steelwork support frame for the large barn roof, providing support and tying back the bowing walls.
  • Rebuilt the cracked walls using the original brickwork and added extra stainless steel ties to reinstate the structural integrity.
  • Despite discovering there was a significant lack of foundations, apart from a couple of courses of corbeled masonry, we were able to prove that the design still managed to transfer the increased loadings into the ground below without the need for underpinning.

We created a steel framework to support the roof and tie back the walls and spread the load using the existing foundations

The Final Results

When the design work had been fully implemented

  • The dilapidated agricultural barn had been fully transformed into a contemporary modern family home, whilst maintaining and enhancing the rural look and feel of the building.
  • The client was delighted with the final finished project, particularly the way in which many of the new contemporary design features married with the original building’s character.

The newly converted barn combined the best in rustic features with modern design engineering and standards

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