Do you plan on having rolled steel joists (RSJ) fitted on your property? Would you like to know how much different types of RSJ cost? In the following cost guide, we’ll break down these price tags, discuss the pros & cons of various types of RSJ and look at additional topics such as how long it takes to install an RSJ and the steps involved in the installation process.
This article will prove very useful whether you are planning to fit RSJs in the near future or are considering doing so in the long run.
An RSJ or I-beam is a widely used type of metallic beam used for providing structural support. RSJ beams feature an H or I shaped section in a wide range of standard sizes.
RSJs are a popular alternative to timber beams because they are light, tensile, durable and safe.
Let’s first take a look at the various RSJ prices. On average, to have a three-metre RSJ installed in your home will cost somewhere in the range of £1000 to £2500. This includes both the labour and supply cost. The cost will vary depending on the type, size and weight of the beam.
The following prices are based on type and length, but the width times depth measurement is also a cost-affecting factor. These RSJ installation prices also assume an average beam weight.
In terms of the overall installation price, the average cost is about £300 to £600 for a three-metre universal beam, £500 to £1000 for a six-metre universal beam, £500 to £1100 for a three-metre universal column or £600 to £1800 for a 6-metre universal column.
The instalment of three-metre channel beams tends to cost around £300 to £400 while a six-metre long version of this beam would have a price tag of about £350 to £600.
As for t-beams, a three-metre t-beam would cost approximately £300 to £400 to install while for a six-metre t-beam, it would set you back between £300 and £500.
Lintel beam installations tend to cost between £500 and £700 if they are three metres in length or £750 to £1100 if six-metres long. The price of double beams can vary a lot, but it will likely cost somewhere around £400 for a three-metre option or £600 for a six-metre option.
On average, the labour cost will land around £250 to £300 although it will, of course, depend on the scale of the work.
As for the supply costs, it will land around £40 to £90 per metre for a universal beam, £50 to £250 per metre for a universal column, £20 to £45 per metre for a channel beam, £10 to £30 per metre for a t-beam or £80 to £140 for a lintel beam.
When it comes to a double beam, expect an average cost of below £100 per metre although again this can vary a lot.
The RSJ beam installation cost will also be influenced by a range of additional factors. Those include the type and size of your property as well as where in the UK you are located.
The reason that your location matters is down to the fact that contractors charge different rates throughout the country. For example, in the southeast or London, labourer prices are generally higher than the rest of the nation, but the opposite is true in the north of England.
Beyond that, ease of access will also play a role in determining your overall bill. The longer the work takes, the more it will cost, and a range of factors can shape the timeframe of installing an RSJ.
This brings us on to the next section, in which we will discuss how long the work should take and why it may take longer or shorter.
|TYPE OF RSJ||3 METRE COST||6 METRE COST|
|Universal Beam||£300 to £600||£500 to £1000|
|Universal Column||£500 to £1100||£600 to £1800|
|Channel||£300 to £400||£350 to £600|
|T-beam||£300 to £400||£300 to £500|
|Lintel||£500 to £700||£750 to £1100|
|Double Beam||£350 to £450||£550 to £650|
We’ll now discuss the various RSJ beams that exist, what their pros & cons are and how much each type costs.
We’ll also explore how they differ from another, which are the most popular/unpopular types, which one is the easiest to install and which are the cheapest/most expensive options.
Overall, it’s better to have a skip that is too large than too small.
In each of the following subsections, we’ll discuss some of the various sized skips that you could hire as well as discussing aspects such as how they differ, how much they cost and what their pros and cons are. The prices mentioned refer to how much it costs to hire each skip for one week.
The most popular type of RSJ is universal beams (UBs). These can also be referred to as H beams, double beams (we get more into the specifics of this type in another subsection) and I beams. These beams are strong and long-lasting, making them perfect for structural support in a construction context.
On average, this RSJ beam cost will land around £40 to £90 per metre. They contrast universal columns in that their depth is not equal to their width. Universal beams have more depth on average too. They are suitable for a range of heights in the installation area.
✔ Strong and durable.
✔ Highly versatile.
✔ Perfect for most construction projects.
✖ Does not offer precision engineering .
✖ Can be especially heavy.
These columns have few differences with universal beams other than those mentioned in the previous subsection. Universal columns (UCs) are ideal for structural support in renovation works, refurbishment and construction.
You can expect to pay between £50 and £250 per metre for a universal column. UCs can be one of the most expensive types of SRJ.
Universal columns are one of the more popular types of RSJ steel beam. Where there are height issues, universal columns are a suitable choice. They can be used horizontally as a beam or vertically as a support column.
There are, however, limitations due to the scaly nature of its finish. It is not suited to exposed environments with the exceptions of it being grounded, sandblasted or acid bathed.
✔ Strong and durable.
✔ Can be used horizontally or vertically.
✔ Great option if height is an issue.
✖ Specific treatment needed to suit an exposed environment.
✖ Limited product options.
✖ More prone to twisting than universal beams.
This type of beam is comparable to a universal beam. However, in this case, the beam is, as the name suggests, doubled.
The value in doubling the beam is that it adds strength to the RSJ. Double beams are generally used to support the likes of roofs and floors.
It may cost less than £100 per metre or more depending on the size, dimensions and weight of the individual product. Double beams are not used that often and are arguably one of the least used RSJ beams.
✔ Additional strength.
✔ Generally not too expensive.
✖ Sizeable and bulky option.
✖ Prone to rust.
✖ Will conduct plenty of heat.
Channels are C-shaped beams which in most cases involve the back part of the web being mounted to a separate flat surface area.
In the case of parallel flange channels, their flanges come in a uniform size on each end. They also contain no tapering.
They are often used with UBs and UCs for manufacturing and construction projects. Expect to pay somewhere between £30 and £100 per metre for a parallel flange C-beam.
✔ Requires about 50% as much steel as UBs or UCs.
✔ Two of these can be used to build a H-beam section.
✔ Tend to be used with UBs and UCs.
✖ Cannot be used for particularly heavy loads.
✖ More susceptible to flexing.
When it comes to tapered flange channels, these are actually designed similarly to UBs and UCs.
However, the distinction lies in giving them a distinct C-shape. While parallel flange channels may be used as columns, they are generally used as ceiling joists.
They also cost about £30 to £100 per metre. They have an incredibly strong profile and can carry significant loads.
However, they are not well suited to points of load. Instead, tapered flange c-beams should be employed for loads that are uniformly distributed.
✔ Strong profile.
✔ Can be used as a column or joist support.
✔ Great load-bearing capacity.
✖ Should not be used for long timeframes.
✖ Not well suited for standalone use.
Next, we have T beams. As you may have guessed, this type of RSJ comes with the profile of the capitalised letter T.
It’s generally used as a floor joists support and in conjunction with universal columns and beams.
T beams tend to cost only £10 to £30 per metre, making them the cheapest type of RSJ.
✔ Relatively inexpensive.
✔ An excellent alternative to universal beams.
✖ Not many T beam RSJ sizes on the market.
✖ Less strength than UBs and UCs.
✖ Limited uses.
Lastly, there is the option of lintel RSJs. These are designed to stand between two separate vertical supports to offer horizontal support. Lintels may be used for archways, windows or doorways.
While they are generally used for structural reasons, they can be used for decoration purposes.
They also act as a way to support floor, point and masonry loads alike.
There are a range of specific lintel shapes to choose from whether it is apex, bow, bay, concern or arch. Lintel beams cost about £80 to £140 per metre. Lintels are one of the more expensive types of SRJ.
✔ Lighter than concrete lintels.
✔ May be used for bespoke projects.
✔ Thermal bridging may be used with these beams.
✖ Vulnerable to corrosion.
✖ Not as cheap as a concrete alternative.
✖ Less thermal efficiency than composite lintels.
Before having an RSJ fitted, you need to choose the right option for you. Weigh up the pros & cons, features and price tags of the various types before picking the best RSJ for your preferences. Once you’ve done so, you’ll need to hire a professional.
You may need to notify building control in accordance with the building regulations before having an RSJ fitted. You can contact your local council to check whether your project needs signing off by building control.
According to the building regulations, the beam ought to be designed such that it can support the loads that the wall was initially carrying.
The beam must be supported on two additional supports such as walls. These supports need to have the capacity of carrying the loads to foundations. A new beam should come with a minimum of 150mm bearing on either side of the opening.
In addition, the current wall that exists below the bearings will probably require strengthening to avoid being crushed. A dense concrete area may be needed to spread the load, whether it is pre-cast or cast in-situ in the form of padstones.
The size that these padstones should be will depend on the situation. It would be best to talk to a surveyor or structural engineer prior to the installation work beginning.
In terms of planning permission, it probably won’t be necessary. Still, you should contact your local council just to be on the safe side as some RSJ installation projects can vary significantly from others.
Once all is in place, a contractor can come by to install the RSJ. You may have purchased this yourself and already have it delivered, or the contractor may have sourced it for you.
Each type of RSJ is installed differently to some degree or another. Either way, the installation generally involves the use of anchor bolts. A template is generally employed to position the bolts with each hole correctly of the steel plate.
Continuing with this common method, a steel bearing plate should be placed atop the anchor bolts. Then, it can be fitted using nuts above and beneath the plate. This applies to each individual bolt.
After this point, the beam must be placed atop the bearing plate. It can then be welded into position. An appropriate grout may then be used to pack the area beneath the bearing plate.
Universal columns may be used vertically or horizontally while universal beams are generally fitted horizontally. Lintels are designed to fit in areas such as doorways and windows. C-beams are often installed alongside universal beams or columns.
Once everything is in place and checked for structural soundness and safety, the clean-up can begin.
You may wish to have some extra jobs performed after having an RSJ fitted at your home. For instance, you may wish to hire a structural engineer prior to the installation. This will set you back about £400.
If you require that a wall be removed, this will likely land between £1500 and £2500, depending on where you live. Other fees may come in the form of planning permission and building regulation expenses.
Unfortunately, RSJ beam installation is not something homeowners should generally undertake by themselves. It’s a complex and risky job for anyone who is not qualified. You can, of course, deal with any preparation work and re-decoration.
Unless you are a qualified professional, then you should hire an appropriate contractor to perform this work. If you are a professional yourself, planning permission may still apply, and building regulations approval will be required as discussed in the prior section.
Building control will need to sign off on this project one way or another.
Undertaking an RSJ fitting as a DIY project would come with a whole host of risks and hazards. For one, structural beams are strong objects which could fall on top of you, causing serious injury or even death.
Beyond that, moving or carrying these beams could result in injury also. Of course, the more likely problem to arise is that the installation will be performed incorrectly, leading to long-term structural and safety issues.
Even if you hire a professional, there are downsides to RSJs and their installation worth considering.
In addition, there are other problems that may arise. For instance, if you fail to get planning permission or building regulations approval, you may need to change the project design to a certain extent or take a completely different approach to your property’s structural requirements in order to gain approval.
Cons of RSJs and their instalment:
This will depend on the installation area, the length that the beam must be and the strength required. There are online calculation guides to help with this, or you could contact a professional.
They are a common type of steel beam used for structural support purposes.
Often, RSJs can last for a century before they need to be replaced! However, if you have any concerns about their structural soundness at any stage, you should hire a professional ASAP to take a look.
T beams are generally the least expensive type of RSJ.
There are a whole host of websites that sell RSJs, including Steel Beam Suppliers and RSJ Steel Beams Online. Some sites are more local to others. To find the best options in your area, try Googling ‘Buy an RSJ near me’.