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Old 10-18-2013, 04:04 AM   #1
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loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?


I live in the northwest (Seattle), about 4 miles from a major fault line. The house I live in is 95 years old and has survived a couple of earthquakes. The next one is suppose to be major and I'm concerned about the two loading bearing basement posts (photos attached) that basically support the middle of this 2 story house. The specific concerns are that one beam doesn't even make contact with the post first pictured and the second post sits on a couple of bricks (and those bricks appear to just sit on the concrete basement floor). Plus that second post is off kilter on those bricks as if they are falling/slipping off.

Also the house slopes to one corner of the house and the drop off is really felt on the upper floors where these posts are located. Not sure if this is a result of a previous earthquake (or two) or natural settling.



I fear the whole house would collapse inward during a earthquake (or major movement/shifting) as these seemingly important support posts would give out as they don't seem adequately in place.

Should I be concerned or am I overreacting? If the former, what should be my next course of action?
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loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?-2013-10-17-22.06.50.jpg   loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?-2013-10-17-22.07.20.jpg   loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?-2013-10-17-22.08.00.jpg   loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?-2013-10-17-22.09.00.jpg  

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Old 10-18-2013, 07:00 AM   #2
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loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?


You should be concerned. It appears you have multiple things going on: a precariously installed support column, differential foundation movement, and (if my eyes are not playing tricks on me), you have a beam that has been severely compromised with a large perforation (right beam in first pic). Find a structural engineer in you area and have him assess your situation. Do not hire a handyman for this!

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Old 10-18-2013, 07:25 AM   #3
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loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?


not to de rail Cortel's post but I would add/bolt/screw a heavy gauge L angle that attaches the beam to both sides of both posts. bolt it to the beam and to the post on both sides. the weird part is the post you see that is not sitting correctly on the brick footing could have moved because the post is not holding as much weight as it would seem and the post moved effortlessly( this is a guess from the internet world and not real world on the spot assessment) . plumb the post to determine where it should rest in relation to the footing, the footing should be placed directly under the plumb post etc...
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Old 10-18-2013, 07:48 AM   #4
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loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?


I agree with cortell hire the services of a professional engineer. I've re-posted one of your photos with a question.
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:09 AM   #5
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loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?


That floors also going to have to be cut out so a footing can be pored.
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:40 PM   #6
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loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?


I can't second guess what will be the advice of an expert on site. If it were mine, from what I see, I would do as said about new footings through concrete floor, new posts and engineered beams bolted on each side of what is there now.
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:38 PM   #7
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loading bearing posts won't survive earthquake?


The suggestions that have been made are pretty reasonable. A good place to start would be to determine how much dead weight that column is actually supporting. This can usually be done by preparing a careful, dimensioned sketch of the house framing, so you can see where load is being transferred from and to.

As to earthquake survival, there is zero chance that column would survive anything significant as it stands. The most critical factor in building survival during an earthquake is the quality of the connections between major structural elements, and as has been noted, there are not positive connections between the column and the beam above, or the footing (if that is a footing) below. So almost certainly the column would separate from the beam and the footing, which would leave the beam to hold up all the load currently held by the column.

You can of course hire a structural engineer to prepare some options, or you could hire an experienced contractor to fix the problem without benefit of an engineer, or you can start by talking to your building inspector, who may have suggestions on how to handle the problem. Simpson makes a line of moment connectors for beam to column applications, and they make column support brackets. Your engineer or contractor should be very familiar with their products, I have had very good luck with them over the years.

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