A stitch in time can save nine!

December 2011

A small error in the calculation of point loading at the design stage is all it takes to ruin a well-executed screeding project. Though often quite under estimated, load and load point calculations are important aspects in floor screeding that should be assessed accurately by a qualified structural engineer.


It often happens that the load bearing capacity of the screed is calculated by architects based merely on the number of people expected to traffic the area. The possibility of the use of heavy equipment such as MEPWs and ‘access platforms’ often go unheeded, with the high point loads ultimately causing serious damage to the screed and the floor and  giving the pre-estimated budget a considerable shake.

It is to be remembered that the impact of any load placed on a screeded floor is carried down from the floor covering all the way through, to the layer of floor screed beneath. In the case of floating screeds, the load is further borne by the insulation layer beneath the screed layer, and these layers together disperse the point load across the floor surface and prevent direct impact.

However, in cases where the loading of heavy weights puts too much pressure on the insulation layer, the possibility is high for the screed to crack due to insufficient support from the compressed insulation layer.

CSC therefore recommends that it is imperative to have the load and load point calculations assessed correctly by a qualified structural engineer right at the estimating stage. It should be ensured that loading requirements for both construction and post construction activities are taken into account and the screed and floor construction are specifically designed to accommodate the heaviest piece of equipment, including the MEWP that could be used on the surface during construction or for future maintenance or cleaning. This can help in choosing the right strength and type of insulation required for the screed, and will go a long way in mitigating unnecessary costs.

A stitch in time could save you quite a few!