Steel Beam Bearer Upgrade

Steel Beams for upgrading bearers and eliminating stumps

There are a several very good reasons we incorporate steel beams into  restumping and other footing upgrade or renovation projects. Steel beams are available in different styles or types and sized to suite various different applications.

Some low set buildings may incorporate steel beams into the restumping project to eliminate stumps in more difficult to reach places. If a building is to close to the ground for safe working or perhaps even to work at all then another solution must be found. In some cases it may be easier to lift the building up to a safer and more manageable height. In other cases if the outside can be reached to install stumps then a beam can be installed to make the centre posts redundant. There is still some work that needs to be done under for instance the beam needs to be fixed or bolted to the bearer. However it saves an enormous amount of work excavating new holes for the stumps fixing the new stumps and a whole lot of concrete. This can also be the case for a high set house where there are a large number of centre posts it may be more cost effective to go this way. 

Many older homes weren’t built to today’s standard and whereas they have passed the test of time weathering the severe North Queensland storms when it comes time to renovating or restoring they will need to meet the current standards. This isn’t usually to much of an issue and something you would probably want in any case for peace of mind. One of the problems that can present itself is bearers can be either inadequate or they may be of a smaller size requiring a large number of stumps to be installed or present. Reinforcing the bearer with steel minimises the need for stumps increasing the span between them and makes the floor more solid.

Floor space is another reason steel beam are used. As we previously mentioned installing beams increases the span between stumps and therefore in a high set scenario the underside of the house can be virtually stump free in the centre of the building. In this case some stumps are still used in the centre of the building however the design is such that they are built into internal walls.

Timber Finishings over Hot Dipped Gavanised Steel

Establishing the balance

Hot dipped galvanised steel in our opinion is without any doubt the best stump that has been produced since concrete stumps were formed. Concrete has stood the test of time still present under some older homes. They look good however are heavy and replacement costs are high. Timber needs constant maintenance and a 20-30 year replacement strategy. Steel prior to hot dipping would also have the same replacement needs however through alloying steel in the galvanising process that produces a product comparable in longevity to concrete.

Steel stumps need not be offensive and there are certain advantages to finishing off with timber or panelling. Although quite often left as they were installed with budgets making the decisions. They serve their functional purpose however appearance of your home is diminished. Appearance is certainly not everything in fact to some it’s of little importance. However it’s not only appearances that are gained by finishings. The timber or panelling have the added advantage of sealing up your home helping to keep vermin and other unwanted animals from access. And also helping to keep the weather out.

With some home styling the long lasting and rigid security of the steel stumps can be combined with timber finishing to provide the look right for your home. Vertical and horizontal slatting will help protect the underside, footings and foundations. Keeping it clean pest free and drywhile providing a great look for your home.

This can be taken a step further and the harwood timbers slating and or panelling can be selected and constructed to give you extra lateral structural support.  Treated hardwood framing between the stumps on a low set house go along way to minimising the damaging movement in your home.

Bracing the stumps onto each other providing a finished timber infills to your home is inexpensive and will help to make your home safer and provide a great look.

The Real Costs of Renovation: Building Subcontractors

Restumping with steel

The building now supported excavations can begin and the structural work can be performed. Depending on your scope once again you and your builder will determine who you need and when. Subcontractors are often preferred by a particular building company over others and sometimes you the owner may have preferences as to who you prefer to use.  Its not usually to much of an issue most contractors and subcontractors are willing to get along to get on with the job so there is freedom to move there. The builder will make their recommendations however you will have more than the fair say here. Whereas the subcontractors has obligations you may over the builder have more responsibility in ensuring they provide to satisfaction what their engaged to do.

Building and Restumping Subcontractors

More commonly stumping subcontractors are contracted for this work. In some cases such as blocking in a brickie or chippie may provide this work in the case of structural build ins over infill wall sections between stumps.

Restumping has several serious tasks at hand. These tasks and in no particular order consist of. The fabrication of the stumps constructed to the engineers specifications and requirements. The removal of the old stumps or supporting structure. Excavation for the new supports or stumps. Installation of the new stumps in readiness. And pouring of the concrete around the stumps at their footing. High set houses can have very deep footings, concrete can be built up around them and where land is not stable old techniques of stabilisation walls were used this needs to be removed. On a low set house there is very little room to move and although the old footings stumps etc are not such a big deal the restrictions in height make it an equally difficult task.


Price Guide – $18 000 – $30 000  A very accessible low set house with less than 20 stumps would be on the low end with the high end representing a very large low  or high set home, or smaller bearers on smaller homes with over 35 stumps.

The Real Costs of Renovation: Building Support Lifting or Lowering

Steel beam for building support systems

With the formalities out of the way and a clear plan the building can be supported to allow for the footing upgrade or re-stump. A supporting steel frame will need to be installed to take the weight of the building off the stumps or structural walls. The frame will need to hold the building securely in place keeping it safe for workman to excavate the foundations for either restumping with the stumps or blocking in.

Building Support Systems

This is where the team at Hydraulift come in. Once again the full scope of the renovations will have a lot to do with how far you go with this and how we go about it. The first consideration or issue will be attachments. Built on sections of the building, split level floors, carports and garages. These are more generally attached to the main building and will either need to be removed if lifting or lowering of the building is desirable. Otherwise if they are to stay then the building will need to be re-stumped at this or the original level.

Aside any issues with attachments the building can be re-stumped at the height more desirable to your taste. Some council restriction do apply to minimum and maximum heights however everything in between is at your discretion. The higher you go the bigger the engineering concern becomes, however if its more room you are desiring or you have some other need including financial gains then its not so much a concern more so a process to work through to build a safe home or building.

Price Guide – $5000 – $12 000 Support for a simple low set re-stump that is staying the same height would be at the low end here and a lift to a council accepted high set height with a small re-positioning being a metre or two would be at the top end.

Th Real Cost of Renovation: Builders Supervision

Builder supervision on renovation projects

Following on from our last post “The Real Cost of Renovations: Plans and Engineering” where we discussed planning and engineering costs, a builder is now required. The builders role in any construction is wide and varying. Primarily they are a legal requirement in any construction valued at more than a few thousand dollars and their roles vary from liaisons with relevant authorities to the on ground onsite activity. The builders ultimate responsibility is to insure everything is done to standard. For the purpose of this discussion and in alliance with modern trends the builder will be distinguished here from their relevant counterpart carpentry. To a greater extent the later is minimal in this type of work with trends to subcontractors and subcontract teams becoming more common place for all trades including the builders own.

Builders Supervision

Prior to submitting your council application, or around this time, a builder is required to be engaged. Depending on your confidence in talking with an architect and  engineering companies your builder may come first or after these two. That is you could employ your builder first and they will guide you through the planning and engineering or take it to this or any point along the way as you feel comfortable.

The builder will in their capacity fill their role as the principle contractor. Regardless of the builders physical involvement with the vary components of the work to be performed, they will supervise and play a key role in the building compliance. Providing the portal for all the subcontractors engaged on the project to liaison with the relevant engineers, the owner and council as required. Its there position to supervise all work performed as they deem necessary to provide warranty and assurance that all onsite work has been performed to specification, and to relevant building codes and standards. Making decisions where necessary for the work to be performed.

Price Guide $2000 – $10 000