Solar Avada2023-02-08T15:33:37+00:00

Installing a swimming pool is a complex project, SWJ Consulting understand the structural complexities of swimming pools and ensure they’re sound for installation, maintenance and beyond

Our Video Series

There is a lot of research that needs to be completed before you decide on whether you can have a swimming pool or not. This video from Russell Wrapson, one of SWJ’s directors, talks you through the work that structural engineers need to complete. We have accompanying blogs to help explain your options, so don’t forget to look at those too.

We can advise on the construction of swimming pools and pool enclosures

The structural challenge is in keeping the water in and stopping it mixing with the surrounding ground. There are some unique load combinations to consider when compared to traditional schemes.

When a pool is full the water pushes on the base and sides of the subsoil. The pressure created by the weight of the water pushes back but the pool is invariably heavier and so wants to sink into the ground. Because water is lighter than soil, when the pool is empty the structure wants to float, so the structural design must be able to withstand the uplift. The pressure when the pool is empty can easily cause crazing and cracking, so it’s vital to get structural engineering advice early on in the planning and design stages.

The design of the pool is balancing two extremes; when the pool is full of water and in use and when the pool has been emptied ready for cleaning. A full pool will exert the maximum pressure on the founding soils.

When the pool is empty, hydrostatic uplift of the base slab and design of the pool walls are the critical checks we have to consider.

Emptying the Pool

As with a basement project, the key to successful implementation of the scheme is a thorough understanding of the ground conditions on site through critical checks. We must take into account how the hydrostatic uplift of the base slab and design of the pool walls will impact the structure when the swimming pool is empty.

Pool companies often factor in the weight of water as a counterbalance against the walls caving in, so, an empty pool can pose a structural risk if the right advice is not taken.

Other considerations needed when planning a swimming pool is the drainage for the cleaning the pool, where will the large amount of water go when the pool is emptied and at what rate? Can your existing pipes cope with the discharge? Chlorine also creates a challenge when designing swimming pools as it creates a hostile environment for the steelwork so special paint specifications are required to protect the steel or a solution using materials such as glulam timber to form the superstructure.

Can I fit solar panels to a roof myself?2023-02-03T15:42:41+00:00

DIY solar panels are available, but you still need to be sure your roof can take the additional weight plus a full wind load and snow – it is best to consult a structural engineer to know the capacity of your roof. Installation can be complicated so if you are not competent with electrics then it is best to have a professional install your solar panels.

How much extra weight can I put on my roof with solar panels2023-02-03T15:39:20+00:00

The only way to determine how much extra weight you can add to your roof is to have a survey completed by a structural engineer. If you have as-built drawings for your property these will help but calculations will need to be made to ensure your roof can not only take the extra weight of the panels and fittings but also a full wind load with heavy snowfall.

Are roofs the best place for solar panels?2023-02-03T15:36:23+00:00

The roof is the best place to put solar panels, as opposed to surface or pole mounted panels, as they receive the most uninterrupted sunlight throughout the day. Solar panels on your roof are also out of the way and will not take up any space in your garden or on your property. If your roof doesn’t face south, then there are some alternative solutions;  like adding more or larger panels on the west side. Consult a solar panel provider to find out more.

What side of my house is best for solar panels?2023-02-03T15:35:05+00:00
Can I put solar panels on a listed building?2023-02-03T15:33:01+00:00

You will need listed building consent to add solar panels to a listed building. You will need to contact your local planning authority who will help you. Historic England takes into consideration ‘minimum intervention and reversibility’  – so in order to obtain approval the solar panels must not damage the appearance of the building, cause major structural changes and once removed look like they were never there. Some historical buildings may not have roof materials suitable for solar panel installation like thatch, slate, or lead sheet.

Do I need planning permission for solar panels?2023-02-03T15:28:03+00:00

The Government’s planning portal says that solar panels and equipment on residential buildings may be ‘permitted development’ with no need to apply for planning permission provided the following criteria is met:

  • Equipment on a building should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area.
  • When no longer needed equipment should be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.
  • Panels should not be installed above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney) and should project no more than 200mm from the roof slope or wall surface.
  • The panels must not be installed on a building that is within the grounds of a listed building or on a site designated as a scheduled monument.
  • If your property is in a conservation area, or in a World Heritage Site, panels must not be fitted to a wall which fronts a highway.
How many solar panels can I put on my roof?2023-02-03T15:24:15+00:00

The number of solar panels you can have on your roof will be determined by the additional load your roof can take and the size and weight of the panels you want to install. A structural engineer is needed to complete these calculations so you can then work out the number you can put on your roof.

How can I demonstrate my roof is strong enough for solar panels2023-02-03T15:21:33+00:00

If you know the number, weight, position, and array of the solar panels you want to have on your home a structural engineer will be able to calculate if your existing roof has the load capacity.

How do you fit solar panels to a roof?2023-02-03T15:36:53+00:00

There are typically two ways of fitting solar panels to roofs, depending on the angle of the roof. If it is a flat roof then a ballast system will be needed, where the panels are on frames that can be elevated, and the frames are held securely in place with ballast. On a pitched roof, a direct fixed system can be used. Panels are positively fixed into the underlying roof structure. Structural calculations will be needed for both types of fittings to ensure the roof can support the additional loads.

Is my roof strong enough for solar panels?2023-02-03T15:37:11+00:00

The only way to determine if your roof is strong enough for solar panels is to have a structural engineer calculate the loads your roof can take. This will determine the number of solar panels you can have, or what you need to do to strengthen your roof to improve its capacity.


Call us today to discuss your project on 01993 225085

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