for complicated reasons involving dotcom fever we had the plans for the loft done by an architect and a structural engineer and then had to find our own builders, who are a company who also have their own engineers and planners. Structural engineers seem to differ somewhat in their approach; Trigram had suggested pinning steel beams to the top of the front wall, where there are four sash windows in a row and no lintel to speak of on a brick infill wall, and to the top of the lounge wall (which involves taking off the top of the wall and rebuilding and replastering it, horribly messy and I was dreading emptying the room for it (have you seen the walls of built-in bookcases?)). The surveyor looked at the plans, scratched his head and said the builder/project manager would look after it. The builder/project manager looked at it, scratched his head and said he'd look at the roof itself. And when he came to tell me he was off for the day, he explained that having looked at the walls they didn't like it and had called the buildings inspector over for a look and he was happy for them to change it to twin steel beams pinned to the chimneys and spreading the load onto the party walls and no, he didn't want to dig up the foundations or have site meetings with the downstairs flat or keep coming back to check. This will give us pretty much the same headroom - about 220cm, nearly as high as the landing outside the kitchen (tall fans with hats beware!) - with far less hassle, it seems. The builder's ordering the steel beams and tomorrow they'll be building more of the brick wall for the flat roof at the back on the right, then going on to build up the wall on the left (I'll be able to see that from the kitchen window).