Load-bearing walls and partitions

Load-bearing walls and doubts to be clarified


In my professional experience, I have often witnessed discussions concerning the difference between a load-bearing and non-load-bearing masonry.

This difference, unfortunately not clear even to some insiders, is the main cause of illegal building interventions and more, poorly executed and responsible for even serious damage.


In the short notes that I am about to write below, I intend to do a little clarity in this regard, without going into in-depth studies of a specialized nature, which certainly cannot exhaust the topic here.

Let’s begin immediately to clarify that non there are walls non bearing.
In fact, even masonry without superimposed load must in any case bear its own weight. Therefore, it goes calculated adequately by virtue of the area of ​​influence of the loads to be supported, its geometric characteristics and the materials with which it is intended to be built.

Load-bearing masonry for different stresses


In light of the above, it is clear how all the walls are in fact load-bearing, even if they are distinguished from each other mainly by the type of stress they must oppose.

Therefore, regardless of the materials with which they are made, there are walls that mainly contrast thrusts horizontal and loads vertical.

Masonry buttresses supporting perimeter walls
As an example, we can cite the retaining walls of the slopes, or the buttresses of many constructions created for to contain the out-of-plane thrusts of the damaged walls.

A masonry construction consists of several structural parts, which to be in Balance they must be dimensioned appropriately between them, in order to withstand static operating loads, as well as dynamic ones, resulting from exceptional stresses such as earthquakes, shaking, etc.

Once built, a masonry construction reaches its static equilibrium over time, which allows them to to bear the operating loads, foreseen following the calculation carried out by a structural engineer.

Structural changes and consequent dangers


When taking action for change the configuration of the interior spaces of such buildings, frequently theerror to consider the demolition of small sections of masonry of little importance, or even worse, its complete demolition.

This conviction derives from the fact that in experiences similar to the one we have carried out, everything went well and therefore it is useless to worry as well as it is useless to contact a professional on the subject, in order to plan an adequate intervention.

Demolition of load-bearing masonry
In doing so, in addition to committing a Building abuse, you run the risk of triggering the onset of a static instability, with very serious consequences.

A error very common that non-experts commit in deciding if a masonry is important from a static point of view, is to consider the importance of its static function by virtue of the material with which it is made.

Therefore, as a consequence of this, it is thought that a brick infill, or a brick partition, are easily eliminated, as they are built with not very resistant materials.

Masonry and new technical standards on the subject


This conception is also a harbinger of many consequences of a static and legal nature, for those who, without adequate authorization and static design, proceed in this direction.

To clarify the concept, it is necessary to remind the reader that there are Ministerial Rules of a technical nature, which indicate the procedures to be performed and the related checks to be carried out by a qualified professional, in order to be able to build from scratch or modify an existing building.

In fact, the new ones also express themselves in this sense technical standards Ministerial of January 2018, which also concern the seismic checks required for the elements secondary non-structural.

Displacement of load-bearing masonry compartment
The aforementioned standards have mainly encompassed in two groups these secondary elements, to which a static function is in any case assigned, in the context of the static equilibrium of a building.

Such walls are distinguished between elements that affect behavior overall of the structure thanks to their stiffness, mass and strength, and masonry that does not affect the structural response, but which in any case must be taken into account in the analysis of the structure with their mass, in order to correctly determine the gravitational and seismic loads.

Tompagnature and partitions not to be overlooked


As you can well understand, even the neglected tompagni and I also add some types of partitions, are part, according to new technical standards of the structural parts to be considered.

What does the above entail in practice, if works have been carried out without the necessary authorizations, which involved movements of rear-end collisions and partitions?

Structural system with tompagno panels
Well, if the building in which the modification took place was built considering the contribution of these elements in the calculation, in order to remedy the abuse it will also require a new verification structural of the entire structure.

However, it is necessary to consider how the structural system, in which the tompagno walls influence the structural response, does not represent a very recurrent system, especially in not recent constructions, also due to the fact that it is difficult to find such walls without holes and other elements of interruption of continuity that alter its resistance.

Structural changes and necessary authorizations


By virtue of the aforementioned considerations, the construction legislation allows the designer to take more into account simplified of these elements, once they are distributed in a different way with respect to the original setting.

In relation to their function from the point of view of static importance, the changes to be made on these walls involve a series of obligations on the part of those who want to make them.

Therefore, in order to move or modify the geometry of a partition, it will be necessary to produce a CILA, that is a simple one communication sworn start of work, to be followed by a cadastral update of the housing unit.

Structural modification intervention
For interventions on parts structural other aspects must also be taken into account for the purpose of the authorization request.

In fact, a structural change within a condominium building, non it can be requested without the consent of the other condominiums.

This factor is frequently overlooked, considering that intervening inside one’s home does not require any other consent.


Therefore, the presentation of the SCIA together with the necessary authorizations followed by structural verification and cadastral updating, it represents the process indispensable to be able to carry out what is necessary in compliance with the relevant laws.

I want to draw the reader’s attention to some situations frequently present in old buildings, which they put in prominence also the importance of partitions as elements of stabilization of the floors above.

Partitions and special cases to consider


The case is frequent in the presence of floors with rather large spans with relative reduced thicknesses. This condition, especially for floors made with steel poutrelles and bricks, would be greatly affected by the removal of the underlying partitions, especially if carried out in correspondence with the central part of these rooms.

The removal of partitions, which does not take these situations into account, may result in damage to the part estradossale of the floor above, which flexing more than usual, can produce cracks in the flooring, detachment of skirting boards, malfunctioning of openings, etc.

Floor deformation due to the overall displacement of the underlying partitions
In light of the foregoing, it is understandable how it is not absolutely advisable, take action without before having carefully examined the state of the places by a professional in the sector. The latter will be able to prepare the technical documents necessary to guarantee the feasibility of the intervention without causing damage to others.

I also remember theimportance of the curbs to be carried out on top of partitions, especially in constructions in masonry, which, in addition to constituting an element of Union of the vertical parts, are extremely useful when it is necessary to move rooms or parts of partitions, without causing damage to the walls.


Source: LAVORINCASA.it by www.lavorincasa.it.

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