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Installing a rolled steel joist (RSJ) in a wall is not the kind of job you decide to do out of the blue. Apart from when constructing a property, RSJ installation is typically only required when major structural alterations are being made, such as the removal of a load bearing wall.

An important thing to know early on is that installing an RSJ does not come with a single standalone cost. As well as the actual installation, you will also need to pay to hire professionals, clean up after the work and re-plaster the area once the job is finished. You will need to make sure that you budget for all of this.

You should not attempt to install an RSJ without first having a structural engineer do the necessary steel beam calculations for the work. This will also be required in order to get building regulations approval. 

The actual installation should be handled by an experienced local builder. Installing an RSJ correctly requires real time and skill, and any mistakes could seriously compromise the structural integrity of your property. In other words, it is best to pay a fair cost for a good quality Pro, or you could face some seriously expensive repairs down the line!

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Installing an RSJ

Before getting a quote for your RSJ installation, it is important to understand a few things about the job. First of all, this is not something that a DIY enthusiast should attempt. Installing an RSJ correctly requires careful calculations, time and skill. If you make a mistake it could seriously damage the structural integrity of your property, which could lead to serious and expensive problems down the line.

Secondly, the cost of installing an RSJ is not limited to the installation work itself. You will also need to hire a professional structural engineer to inspect your property and perform steel beam calculations for the installation. The work will also create a great deal of mess; not only will this need to be cleared up, but you will also need to think about re-plastering and re-decorating the area once the beam has been installed. 

Rather than handling the labour yourself, the bulk of the work for your installation should be handled by an experienced local builder. Your candidates will likely want to inspect your property before giving you a quote, as this will give them the chance to make sure that the installation is necessary, as well as to check the location of any piping, electricals or other fixtures which could make things complicated. Be sure to collect quotes from several local builders, as having multiple quotes to compare will make it much easier to get a fair and competitive price for the work.

One final thing to keep in mind is that this kind of work creates a great deal of rubble and dust over several days. As such, you will need to make sure that your quote includes the cost of hiring a skip. You may also want to consider finding alternative accommodation while the work is underway.

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How much does it cost to install an RSJ?

The cost of installing an RSJ can vary depending on a few different factors. Your location in the UK will be one of the most important, with trade professionals in London and the southeast charging much more than those elsewhere. Other important elements will include the size of the beam, ease of access to your property and whether any of your utilities, such as electrical wiring or plumbing, will need to be relocated.

Typically, an RSJ installation can cost between £1,600 and £2,500. This includes the price of hiring a structural engineer, having a builder inspect your property, your application for building control approval, hiring a skip to remove building waste, the cost of labour and materials for the installation and the plastering for afterwards.

It will be important when given a quote that you also ask for a breakdown of the costs. This will let you know if any services have been left out; if this is the case, ask your builder to adjust the quote to include them. You do not want to reach the end of a job only for unexpected costs to appear on your bill!

Having said that, there are additional costs which may be necessary, depending on your situation. For example, if removing the wall reveals that the floors either side are not level with each other, this will need to be fixed. Your quote will also rise if you will need to have plugs, switches, radiators or other features relocated as part of the job. Another important cost to consider will be redecorating the area once the beam has been installed. 

Finally, you should take extra time planning your job if it involves making alterations to a wall shared with your neighbour. If your alterations could potentially impact a neighbouring property, you will also need to pay for a party wall agreement.