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Old 12-03-2011, 11:32 PM   #1
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Girder help


Hi everyone, I am a new user and first time poster. First i want to give a little background info. I am a journeyman carpenter out of boston ma. My wife and I recently bought a 1950's cape. We are trying to add a shed dormer to the existing 2nd floor and the building inspector is dragging me through the mud. There are already 2 bedrooms up there. All we are doing is creating more head room, reducing the pitch of the back of the roof, and adding a small bathroom in the middle. I need to prove that my existing girders and beams can support the load of the dormer. The new ridge is going to be an LVL and there will be no load bearing walls on the 2nd floor. The first floor was opened up by the previous owner with LVLs and have met the necessary spec's. So there is literally (1) 4' section of load bearing wall on the 1st floor, but there is no load above it. The girder in the basement supporting the 1st floor is the concern. It is a solid 6x8 and has 3.5" lally columns every 6'-5" O.C. The run of the perpendicular joists are 12'-6" and rest on top of this girder/beam. Can anyone tell/prove that this is sufficient for my loads. I know i should see an engineer, but my wife and i just don't have the $$ in the budget to hire one. Attached is a drawing i made to better explain our situation.
THanks,
Nick
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File Type: pdf lloydplan.pdf (65.0 KB, 60 views)

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Old 12-03-2011, 11:45 PM   #2
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The only thing the inspector is going to accept is drawing from an engineer. Internet help is not going to satisfy him.

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Old 12-03-2011, 11:51 PM   #3
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The only thing the inspector is going to accept is drawing from an engineer. Internet help is not going to satisfy him.
If i could show the calculations and show my drawing of what is existing it may suffice. More than anything i want to know if it IS actually undersized. I obviously want to be safe, if i need to bulk it up then so be it. Safety first. What kills me is that i AM NOT adding to the load, if anything i am reducing it. By adding LVLs to the ridge I am in essence eliminating the roof load in the center of the house, and the bedrooms are existing. Nothing i am doing is actually affecting the load on the girder/beam.
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Old 12-04-2011, 12:29 AM   #4
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My only advice is to find the funds somewhere, put off the new bathroom for a year or two, but get an engineer.

Andy.
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Old 12-04-2011, 12:44 AM   #5
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From your description I really doubt that the first floor girt has much to do with your and the Building Departments issue with the build.

They may be more concerned about the roof ridge beam, I am assuming it is a beam that is or was sized appropriately at e time of construction.
And now you want to change it for LVLs or something, is that right?

If it is an actual ridge beam there now changing the pitch of the roof will not effect the loads on the beam, so leave it alone.

You really need a set of plans to take to the city showing the as-built condition and the proposed new design showing how you intend to water proofing, venting, insulating, flashing, wall construction, electrical, etc.
You know what is up with all that.
Then find out from them what the next step will be.
Whether they will want engineering or something else.

Andy.
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Old 12-04-2011, 01:03 AM   #6
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That's what City or as the case here, both City and Private Building Inspectors do. They check compliance with codes, and structural requirements are just one aspect. The codes also cover things like waterproofing of bathrooms, light & ventilation and many others. Andy's spot on, get a designer.

He/she will recommend whether you need a structural engineer as well. By the sound of it, you need both. Can you calculate present and future loads accurately? If not, how do you expect people on this forum to advise you if your beam size is adequate when they haven't seen your house or a full photo explanation of all the conditions, and what loads are transmitted to the existing structure below. Moreover, even an architect or designer would or should hesitate to recommend something structural, and in today's litigous environment, it wouldn't be prudent to do so.

That's why you are rubbing the inspector the wrong way, expecting him to design it for you.

Cheers! from Oz
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Old 12-04-2011, 09:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Npcuzzupe View Post
Hi everyone, I am a new user and first time poster. First i want to give a little background info. I am a journeyman carpenter out of boston ma. My wife and I recently bought a 1950's cape. We are trying to add a shed dormer to the existing 2nd floor and the building inspector is dragging me through the mud. There are already 2 bedrooms up there. All we are doing is creating more head room, reducing the pitch of the back of the roof, and adding a small bathroom in the middle. I need to prove that my existing girders and beams can support the load of the dormer. The new ridge is going to be an LVL and there will be no load bearing walls on the 2nd floor. The first floor was opened up by the previous owner with LVLs and have met the necessary spec's. So there is literally (1) 4' section of load bearing wall on the 1st floor, but there is no load above it. The girder in the basement supporting the 1st floor is the concern. It is a solid 6x8 and has 3.5" lally columns every 6'-5" O.C. The run of the perpendicular joists are 12'-6" and rest on top of this girder/beam. Can anyone tell/prove that this is sufficient for my loads. I know i should see an engineer, but my wife and i just don't have the $$ in the budget to hire one. Attached is a drawing i made to better explain our situation.
THanks,
Nick
The girder in the basement has nothing to do with the drawing you have. The way you have the side view of the drawing will not work unless you have walls underneath the new ridge. Is that dormer going the entire length of the house? I've done many of these dormers. There are many ways to frame them. You have to provide a floor plan of the rooms on the second floor. hat will tell how the walls carry up to support the new ridge and support the existing front rafters.

The way you have it draw with no walls carrying up can be done if you run ceiling joists from the dormer top plate back tying into the existing rafters.
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Old 12-04-2011, 09:53 AM   #8
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Welcome to the world of inspectors, architects, designers and engineers.....
You're not doing anything different than hundreds of builders before you.

You know how to build it.
Draw it
Detail it
Make clear notes and specs and don't bog it down with a bunch of unnecessary scribble.

Most inspectors have seen many different ways of doing things.
They just want to see how you propose to construct your project.

Take your time.
Meet with them.
It may take a couple of visits.

You can do this.
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:34 AM   #9
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No, I am not going to design your girder for you over the internet, and I am not going to tell you if your existing girder is undersized over the internet. I have explained many times on this forum why I don't do free design over the internet, I will not repeat it here. I will, however, tell you about a Massachusetts job I did that was similar to your situation, and perhaps you can get something from my experience.

I was asked to size beams for a vertical addition to a house. After I got there, the owner asked me to size a beam to replace a load bearing wall on the first floor as well. In the course of examining the addition, I calculated that the existing beam in the basement would not meet current code strength requirements if the addition were built, although it almost certainly met code requirements at the time it was installed. I informed the owner that installation of an addition was likely to trigger a review of the entire framing of the house, which would be found to be deficient under current code. I recommended against doing the vertical addition due to the high cost of bringing the framing to code.

Installation of a replacement beam on the first floor to substitute for a bearing wall did not change the effective loading in the basement, so the building inspector allowed the installation of the first floor beam without modification to the basement beam. The inspector required a set of drawings (the ones I prepared), plus my engineer's stamp, and a certification from me that the new loading condition was not going to impose any additional load on the framing in the house.

That is how the game is played, at least in that town. In that case, I felt like I earned my money, there are those on this forum who might disagree. In your case, installation of a dormer is not beyond the average DIY, but navigating the building permit process may require a professional. I always recommend getting a local engineer who knows the building inspector personally, this will go a long ways toward accomplishing the goal. If you cannot afford professional assistance, you may need to postpone the process. I strongly recommend AGAINST doing the project without a permit, the consequences of doing so can be serious and expensive.
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:16 PM   #10
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If you get an engineer to stamp what you have drawn then the city will accept that in most cases. The one thing you are going to need is an engineer to take the liability off the city, most cities will not approve a structual change that are drawn by the homeowner. Take the liability off the inspector and city by having an engineer stamp the plans.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:34 PM   #11
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I want to start off by saying thanks for all of the advice, and some of the hostility, haha. I was not trying/looking for someone to take the liability off of my or to spec out a beam for me as mentioned in a few of the posts. I know that this is not realistic. After speaking to a lumber yard's engineer dept, and explaining whats going on and showing them my situation, i was told that i would have to reinforce the beam. I need to add (2) 1-3/4" x 9-1/2" LVLs to either side. This is unfortunate because the basement is fully finished with an owens corning finish system, but what ever. Also i would NEVER dream of doing something like this without a permit, as mentioned in one post, that's just crazy. To clarify some of the confusion. The drawing i made was a rough sketch i made last night, not the actual plans provided to the inspector. I will provide a floor plan of each floor to better clarify the situation.
Thanks again for everyone's posts and knowledge,
Nick
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:49 PM   #12
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Attached is my floor plans to better explain our situation. Again, this is just a rough sketch for reference only. it shows the bearing walls and where they land.
Thanks,
Nick
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:50 PM   #13
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Is the inspector going to accept the lumber yard drawing or do you still need an engineer?
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Old 12-04-2011, 09:00 PM   #14
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Is the inspector going to accept the lumber yard drawing or do you still need an engineer?
ill know on monday. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Its from their engineer dept, so i don't see why not. ill keep the thread posted thought
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Old 12-04-2011, 09:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
No, I am not going to design your girder for you over the internet, and I am not going to tell you if your existing girder is undersized over the internet. I have explained many times on this forum why I don't do free design over the internet, I will not repeat it here. I will, however, tell you about a Massachusetts job I did that was similar to your situation, and perhaps you can get something from my experience.

I was asked to size beams for a vertical addition to a house. After I got there, the owner asked me to size a beam to replace a load bearing wall on the first floor as well. In the course of examining the addition, I calculated that the existing beam in the basement would not meet current code strength requirements if the addition were built, although it almost certainly met code requirements at the time it was installed. I informed the owner that installation of an addition was likely to trigger a review of the entire framing of the house, which would be found to be deficient under current code. I recommended against doing the vertical addition due to the high cost of bringing the framing to code.

Installation of a replacement beam on the first floor to substitute for a bearing wall did not change the effective loading in the basement, so the building inspector allowed the installation of the first floor beam without modification to the basement beam. The inspector required a set of drawings (the ones I prepared), plus my engineer's stamp, and a certification from me that the new loading condition was not going to impose any additional load on the framing in the house.

That is how the game is played, at least in that town. In that case, I felt like I earned my money, there are those on this forum who might disagree. In your case, installation of a dormer is not beyond the average DIY, but navigating the building permit process may require a professional. I always recommend getting a local engineer who knows the building inspector personally, this will go a long ways toward accomplishing the goal. If you cannot afford professional assistance, you may need to postpone the process. I strongly recommend AGAINST doing the project without a permit, the consequences of doing so can be serious and expensive.
Thanks for the helpful advice. I wish that i sought out the advice of a local "known" engineer/architect from the beginning. Unfortunately for me my "buddy" who was supposed to be familiar with the my town has caused more aggravation than help... I noticed your from massachusetts... you don't happen to deal with the town of Tewksbury do you?

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