Void under winder staircase - questions about metal stud removal

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by Ed Morris, Sep 20, 2021.

  1. Ed Morris

    Ed Morris New Member

    We are looking into expanding the storage space options in our 3 story detached house, and have identified a large void under the lower flight of the second swinger style staircase.

    The proposed storage area:

    The void is sandwiched between the lower staircase flight cavity (couldn't think of a better term) from the ground floor, and an existing built in wardrobe from one of the bedrooms (illustrated by the green area in the image below). It can be accessed by either the side wall of the lower stairs (shown by the photo below, taken from the red illustrated viewpoint in the diagram), or through the back wall of an existing integrated wardrobe in one of the bedrooms (blue area, yellow viewpoint in the diagram).


    This is the view from the lower flight of stairs, looking at the void space, as indicated in the above diagram from the red view point.


    I also made a rough drawing of the area with actual measurements made, and I marked out the area of interest the view points as the above diagram to help with reference:


    The questions:

    I have a few questions regarding what we could potentially do, after investigating the space first with an endoscope camera and then with a small viewing cutout (from the yellow vantage point illustrated in the diagram). I have captured some photos from the endoscope but I am not sure how useful they will be to anyone interested, hence why I have also included drawings.

    Whilst gaining entry to the void for viewing by sawing a 5cm square viewing hole from the wardrobe side (yellow position), I noted that the wall was constructed of plasterboard (facing side) and then plywood, probably 12 mm thickness.

    1. Should we be ok to gain entry by cutting entry ways into through the plaster / plywood wall, as there is a small concern that it may be structural?

    2. Is it safe to add a door or hatch of reasonable size to gain entry from the fitted wardrobe back wall?

    Inspection of the void, and looking at the far wall from the wardrobe side, which is the opposite side of the wall shown in the photograph above, it was noted that metal studding was used around the stair Newel posts, to frame out the walls. Furthermore, it was also noted that there appears to be a metal stud somewhere between the Newel posts (as indicated approximately by the yellow marker line in the above photograph). It also looked as this wall, like the one through which entry was gained, appear to be plywood on the inside facing, and plasterboard on the outside facing.

    3. Is it likely these metal studding would be load bearing, or are they simply there for attachment of the wall boards?

    4. If the walls are lined with plywood on the inside, is it likely these materials are structural?

    5. Given the above discoveries, would it be ok to add a door or entry hatch between the above Newel posts for access to the storage area from the stair well?

    Endoscope photos taken from yellow vantage point:

    Looking right, along the wardrobe back wall towards the back wall of the ensuite bathroom (pipes for this visible).


    Looking straight across to the far wall (side wall of well of first flight of stairs):


    Looking across and up at the top of the metal studwork spandrel:


    Attached Files:

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