Lintels and beams calculator

By - , Build 110

An online calculator has replaced the paper version of the BRANZ Guide to lintels and beams.

The new lintels and beams calculator allows architects, designers, engineers and builders to work out the options for a range of beam applications and then print out the details and include them in consent documentation.

Applications covered by the calculator include:

  • lintel supporting a roof only
  • lintel supporting roof and wall
  • lintel supporting roof, wall and floor
  • verandah beam
  • floor beam
  • deck support beam
  • roof beam (ridge or intermediate)
  • garage door lintel.

The tool is intended for use in the design of buildings generally within the scope of NZS 3604:1999 Timber framed buildings, but the range of applications, loads and spans goes beyond what is in the standard.

Data entered, options given

The tool is part of the main BRANZ website – Users can go into the site and make a calculation, entering all the required information (wind zone, roof weight, beam span and so on) from drop-down menus or free entry boxes. The calculator then gives the options that match all the requirements. Options may include MSG/VSG8 sawn timber, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), glulam or steel beams. The user then selects their preferred option. Fixing details are also provided.

Users can amend the data they input until the results match their requirements. They can then save the calculation to a schedule. Second or subsequent calculations for the same project can be saved to the same schedule. In this way, all the applications for one building project can be saved together.

It is also possible to print out a stripped-down schedule that just lists the project, the applications (such as garage door beam) and the chosen beam options. This can be passed between client/designer/builder as planning and design of a project progresses, and changes can be made to any of the calculations as required.

Saved for 6 months

Each calculation and each schedule will be saved for 6 months from the time of creation, allowing time for agreement to be reached between the different parties to a building project. Once the final options have been chosen, the calculations can be bought and a detailed printout of the chosen lintels and beams made. This detailed printout can then accompany a building consent application.

The detailed printout includes all the input details (project address, application, span, wind zone, roof weight and so on) that the Building Consent Authority is likely to require.

The calculator includes a full explanation of the engineering basis behind it, which can also be printed out.

Any calculations not bought within the 6-month period will be deleted.

Payment at end of process

Payment for the calculations is not required until they have finally been agreed on by all the parties to a construction project. This means there are no costs to the user during the weeks or months of discussion over a project. Once the calculations have been settled and printed out, the costs can be passed directly to the client in the same way any normal disbursements are passed on.

For more

The calculator is in the Toolbox on the BRANZ website, see

Download the PDF

More articles about these topics

Articles are correct at the time of publication but may have since become outdated.