Nowadays, it is almost impossible to see a building without lintels. A lintel is simply a structural support over openings such as the doors and windows of buildings. This sort of support is however important because it makes it possible for loads to be transferred to the foundation without necessarily putting stress on the frame. Of course, lintels are also expected to be made with the right material to ensure compatibility with the masonry it supports. In this article, we will discuss what you should know about a lintel building inspection.
First of all, it is imperative for the inspection team to check if the lintel coating has been chipped. That said, one of the essential factors to ensure that the lintel installed does not cause structural damage is to prevent corrosion. Bear in mind that once the smallest area of the lintel coating is exposed to moisture, it will result in rusting, thereby causing the lintel area to expand.
In addition, the inspection team should check to ensure that the vertical leg of the lintel is always the highest. Even though the installation team is expected to make the proper calculations to make sure that the lintel provided for an opening is strong enough to support the load above; however, if miscalculations are made, the installed lintel may not have the right capacity to support the load, and this is likely to visibly deflect over time and result in damages on the building.
Also, it is imperative for adequate bearing to be achieved at both sides of the lintel. Thus, during inspection, you must remember to check on this aspect. A lintel always needs support on either side of the opening and this explains why a certain amount of covering or bearing is always important. Of course, this support goes a long way to ensure that the lintel does not deflect under the load it is supporting.
More so, the inspection crew must always inspect how the brickwork is done. Ideally, the brickwork is expected to have mortar packing between the brick and the steel lintel. The truth is that the best way to prevent the lintel from twisting while in service is to include a mortar packing between the brick and the lintel. Furthermore, the inspection team must also never forget to check the brickwork to ensure that it does not overhang lintels by more than 25mm. The reason is simple, a greater overhang may cause horizontal cracking in the brickwork above.
It is, however apparent that once the lintel installation is complete, it might be impossible to check all the aspects listed above. However, most inspectors have devised means to check both the internal as well as external of lintels to ensure that they are properly installed and in excellent conditions.