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Old 08-04-2006, 10:49 AM   #1
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As a result of a home inspection an issue was brought up on our relatively new home.

The inspector's concern was that the lally columns under the main steel beams in the house were not attached to the beams. They have flanges that have been hammered up and around the beam. According to him they should be either bolted or welded to the beam. I got an inconclusive answer after a call to the local building inspector who in the end thought that the wrap around method was ok.

Any thoughts as to which opinion is correct?

Some pictures are below



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Old 08-04-2006, 02:51 PM   #2
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With the style of attachment, I can hardly see what the inspector is beefing about. The load is vertical, not horizontal, and the clips prevent movement in both directions. I am supposing the posts are not loose currently? If you are forced to attatch them by mechanical fasteners, you could use a self drilling (or pilot drill) fastener and place one on either side of the collumn.

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Last edited by joasis; 08-05-2006 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 08-04-2006, 05:01 PM   #3
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I hate inspectors but will do what they want to make them happy. If you kiss their butt on one little thing they will usually let 5 things slide by. Looks like about a 30 minute job to drill and bolt and be done with it.

Just my 2 cents, Dave.
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Old 08-04-2006, 07:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joasis
With the style of attachment, I can hardly see what the inspector is beefing about. The load is vertical, not horizontle, and the clips prevent movement in both directions. I am supposing the posts are not loose currently? If you are forced to attatch them by mechanical fasteners, you could use a self drilling (or pilot drill) fastener and place one on either side of the collumn.
I agree with Joasis. Additonally:
Remember that this is a 'home-inspector' and NOT a town building inspector. There are some 'home inspectors' out there who do not have the experience of individuals actually working in the field and even building these homes.
This kind of attachment plate is new to me. It was probably new to the 'home inspector'. IMHO, the town building inspector would have the higher authority and experience that I would back things on. He doesn't seem to have a problem with it either.
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Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 08-05-2006 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 08-05-2006, 06:56 AM   #5
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I'm sorry, I just reread the first post and realized my mistake. Ignore all that I said and I agree with Joasis and Atlantic.


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Old 08-05-2006, 07:56 AM   #6
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Your columns need to be bolted and/or welded to the support beam by code.

In fact, the manufacturer's instructions on the columns require it. Bending the flanges is not an approved means of fastening metal columns to steel girders, but even if approved, bending the flanges still only assists in preventing some movement across the width of beam and not along it's length. bending the flanges should be used along with welding and bolting and never as a substitute for welding and bolting.

Bending the metal as has been done also weakens the metal at those points allowing the flanges to be sheared off under stress.

Your current situation is structurally unsound and potentially dangerous.

It is NOT correct that loads imposed on columns are strictly vertical... especially in active seismic zones or high wind load zones where lateral loads can easily cause these unattached columns to fail and the house to collapse.

Your home inspector is 100% correct in pointing out this deficiency and was well worth the money for having done so.

Both the builder and local code official should know better.

Last edited by manhattan42; 08-05-2006 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 08-05-2006, 08:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
"Lastly, remember that the usual procedure for fastening lalley column top plates into wood carrying beams, is to drive nails into the 4 plate holes and then to bend them over."
Not true.

Nails are not approved fasteners for attaching metal columns to wooden girders.

Building Codes and the manufacturer's installtion instructions require properly sized lag screws or through bolts when fastening to wood.
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Old 08-05-2006, 08:26 PM   #8
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Actually, Manhattan42, you are absolutely right.

There are alot of homes built with improper anchoring of the main carrying beam columns.. ..too many.

Code is, as you wrote: bolted or welded.
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:07 PM   #9
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I agree, reluctantly, with manhatten...I had to look it up. However, I have one reference I found for a similar collumn top plate that says designed for "lagging" to wood, or using the tabs for "wrapping" to girders. As Dave pointed out, half an hour or work will gain a little piece of mind.

If this were an installation I were doing, welding would have been the method of attachment.

Now, not meaning to start another argument manhatten, have you ever seen a home move enough on the lateral axis to cause lally collumns to fail? The home collapse? If so, did the foundation collapse?
Lally collumns are designed for vertical loads ONLY, expressed in KIPS, not a horizontal load factor of any kind. It would appear that in an active siesmic zone, the movement of the home to this point would cause catastrophic failure, and the bolted/welded lally collumns would not prevent it. I know, I know...the holy bible of inspectors says so...but in reality, come on now. This is why 99% of contractor get to despise building inspectors...private, public, or whatever...just like Dave said, we get to hate inspectors.

Now we all know this is the world we must work in, but it is a pretty sad statement that anyone would kiss an inspector's butt on one to let other issues slide. It is one thing to catch a truly unsafe condition or a mistake that will have serious consequenses...it is another to look at those lally collumns and gripe.

Last edited by joasis; 08-05-2006 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 08-06-2006, 08:10 PM   #10
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joasis asked:

Quote:
"Now, not meaning to start another argument manhatten, have you ever seen a home move enough on the lateral axis to cause lally collumns to fail? The home collapse? If so, did the foundation collapse? "
Have I ever seen a home move enough along the lateral axis to collapse?

ABSOLUTELY!

The literature and news is full of lateral load design failures each year... especially in hurricane zones, high seismic zones, and zones subject to tornados such as your own Oklahoma, Joasis...where design for lateral loading is ROUTINELY insufficient.

Entire homes collapse and get blown away from insufficient lateral load resistant designs....including their foundations all the time.

Decks fail just as frequently from such poor lateral loading designs and improper connecting practices.

Joasis further stated:

Quote:
"Lally collumns are designed for vertical loads ONLY, expressed in KIPS, not a horizontal load factor of any kind. It would appear that in an active siesmic zone, the movement of the home to this point would cause catastrophic failure, and the bolted/welded lally collumns would not prevent it."

It is also entirely not true that columns are designed for vertical loads ALONE.

They most CERTAINLY are designed for lateral loads.

And Properly designed structures in seismic and high wind zones resist failure all the time.

Although the labeling, listing and testing criteria by independent testing agencies and column manufacturers themselves normally do not include lateral loading specifications... Column manufacturers installation instructions specifically require that the final connection be made by engineering professionals who can assess the lateral loading conditions and design for them in the field.

For example, you can read this Evaluation Report submitted to the International Codes Council by one such company which manufactures steel residential support columns:

http://www.icc-es.org/reports/pdf_files/BNBC/94-53.pdf

In the Evaluation Report for Dean Lightweight Columns you will find:

Quote:
3.0 CONDITION OF USE. 3.1 "Column plate attachment shall be welded, nailed, bolted or lagged to structural members and the footing below, as determined by the registered design professional." (ie field engineer or architect)
In section 2.2 you will likewise find:

Quote:
2.2 "The numbers of columns, the spacing, connecting details, and the footing are to be determined by a registered design professional." (ie engineer or architect)
You will also find in ALL column manufacturer's specifications that lateral loads shall also be determined in the field by design professionals....and if one would simply READ the installation instruction included with the steel columns, one would know that.

You can read other Evaluation Reports for steel and other type columns and their lateral loadings here:

http://www.icc-es.org/reports/index.cfm


Joasis further complained:

Quote:
"I know, I know...the holy bible of inspectors says so...but in reality, come on now. This is why 99% of contractor get to despise building inspectors...private, public, or whatever...just like Dave said, we get to hate inspectors."
Unfortunatley the only reason 99% of the guys like you end up hating engineers, architects or code professionals is that you do not understand basic construction practice, design, loading, nor the codes you are SUPPOSED TO KNOW...and end up blaming others for your own FLAWS.

First and foremost I am a CONTRACTOR, but I am also a Code Official who has studied structure and design and the Codes to better myself to further serve my customers.

I realize it's convenient to blame others for one's own ignorance, but let's be realistic here:

The fastening requirements in the photos shown above illustrate improper column connecting techniques so basic, that any 1st year novice carpenter knows better not to do them.

That the builder AND code offical missed this one is beyond comprehension.

That those who further "claim" to be professional builders dispute the findings of the home inspector in this thread and have tried to denigrate him for being right only serves to highlight the problem.

Residential construction may not be rocket science, but it IS science, and the fact that so few so called "builders" have the foggiest understanding of proper building practice or what consistutes minimum code requirement is no reason to hate the code official....it is an EXCUSE by the builder to hate himself for being so ignorant....and an EXCUSE to blame someone else for his own shortcomings.

The home inspector didn't screw this one up...

The BUILDER AND the CODE OFFICIAL did.

It's an embarrassment to both professions that this structural failure was overlooked and it's a good thing the original poster hired a competent home inspector who pointed out the inferior work submitted by both the building and code official.

What this is about is not about BLAME..... It is about RESPONSIBILITY and who is going to be big enough, man enough, to accept it.

BOTH the builder and code offical failed in this one.

And that is to their shame.

But it is further to the shame of those who think there is nothing worng here or that it is the code officials who should alone be chastized.

That's simply calling the kettle black.

Either begin to know at least as much OR MORE than the Code Officials, Design Professionals, Manufacturer's Reps, and eberyone else....or just remain the hypocrite and fool that you are...and learn to live with and take responsibility for your OWN hypocrisy and foolishness alone.

And I the ONLY one to whom I point the finger is MYSELF.

There is nothing wrong in being wrong and being corrected.

There IS something wrong with being corrected and still insisting on being wrong!

Last edited by manhattan42; 08-06-2006 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 08-06-2006, 08:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manhattan42
joasis asked:



I have not personally witnessed any homes collapse but I have seen decks fail because of improperly attached columns and ledgers because of lateral movement.

That does not mean that catastophic collapses do not occur from improperly connected support columns such as these. The literature and news is full of examples every year especially in hurricane zones, high seismic zones, and zones subject to tornadic winds such as yours, joasis.

It is also not true that columns are not designed for lateral loading.

They most certainly are.

The labeling, listing and testing criteria usually do not include
lateral loading spcifications, but column manufacturer's installation instructions specifically require that the final connection be made by engineering professionals who can assess the lateral loading conditons in the field.
My point exactly...you have not seen it happen with all of your experience. Now these are collumns supporting beams supporting floor joists....lally collumns, not exterior deck collumns, not porch collumns, not antibellum mansion roof collumns, but simple lally collumns. And the example of my area, the tornadic winds /siesmic 2 zone, again....totally something I disagree with...if an F4 or 5 twister is coming, I promise you those collumn connections will not save that home...but they may still be sticking up from the basement, just know home to hold up. Stating you have seen decks collapse is great...I have seen it on the news myself...but we are discussing lally collumns. One thing the great bible doesn't address is every unforseen condition that existed at the time of publication.

I have done a lot of engineering in a steel manufacturing company, and although I am not an engineer, I understand the process. In the buildings we designed, I cannot recall one instance of an interior collumn being used to support a floor (mezzanine) having any "lateral" load factors calculated. In looking on the web and a few product catalogs, I have seen no listing other then KIP loading (vertical) specified, again, interior use. And finally, the manufacturers specifying the field attachment of the collumns is a way to shed liability...and where are these "engineering professionals" that will asses and connect these collumns in the field. I have never seen a PE on a residential job site yet....and very few times on a commercial site...and I don't belive they had any tools in their hands. The language of the bible you live with is enough to make a contractor nauseous, when compared to reality.

In closing, I have read a lot of your posts, and I feel you are very experienced and knowledgable in the constrution trades, but on some issues, you are going against the grain. Have you ever noticed how the "code enforcement official" is recieved? If the advice isn't helpful, resentment is bred that does not go away...and you guys doing code enforcement wonder why contractors get so disgusted with the BS, and then you respond by being totally petty, such as the jerk beefing about the lally collumns.....I wonder if he could even pass HS algebra?
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Old 08-06-2006, 08:50 PM   #12
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I beat your edit manhatten...and I will not respond further..you are making your point why contractors feel the way we do about inspectors....I cannot imagine why on a DIY forum, you would take the position you do when a simple "you should call your local building inspector" would suffice.

I notice you changed from never have seen to "absolutely"...?
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Old 08-06-2006, 08:55 PM   #13
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I just had to add a "thank God" that our local and state inspectors here are pretty decent guys and know their stuff...and they don't walk on the job site with the bible out ready to call thunder and damnation and the mighty red tags to shut down jobs...but then again, maybe its because they aren't professional enough (stupid) or maybe we are doing something right????
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Old 08-06-2006, 09:49 PM   #14
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First of all Joasis,

I had not finished proofreading my initial post before you replied to it.
I put a lot of thought into what I post and find it not possible to cite my sources, edit my mistakes, and link my supporting evidence without doing multiple and continuous changes.

If you want to condemn me for my 'rough edit' then so be it and there is nothing I can do...I am STILL putting the final touches on my intial answer.

But since you insist on your positions let me simply say as one who DOES understand structure that I have seen LITTLE evidence in your postings that you do.
'
You may "claim" some engineering ability but the proof is in the pudding, and your claims have never stood the test of scrutiny....and you have already admitted your didn't know what you were talking about in this very thread.

Although I admittedly have never personally seen a home collapse from a lateral load dysfunction...it is NOT NECESSARY that I personally see a home collapse to know how structural failures occur.
I also do not need to personally experience AIDS or MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS or SCLEROSING COLANGITIS to know these thing are real and do occur and to know how they occur.

I also have never personally seen a platypus yet KNOW they exist as a true animal.

And I don't need to lop off my own fingers to know that the warnings on my table saw to mind the blade cover are helpful and accurate.

Personal experience has NEVER been necessary to prove fact established by other's personal experiences.

The reported experience is either TRUE or it isn't.

If you want to doubt that placing you hand on a hot stove will burn you...go right ahead...put your hand on it and repeat the experiment....After all, that is what science is all about: being able to REPEAT and experiment.

As for me, I BELIEVE I will be burned by placing my hand on a hot stove and will not, and so am spared the ignominy.

It is my opinion, based on your observed answers, that structural proficiency is one of your weakest and frankly non-existant abilites...and you have no sound understanding of structure at all....despite your claims to the contrary.

That said, it is obvious you are not willing to be instructed but would rather continue in your own ignorance and even arrogance.

So be it.

It means nothing to someone like me who actually does know better, but it may still mean something to some other soul who happens to come here looking for some straiht answers and can't even get one from a 'so called' contractor who has to eat his own words.

I am not beyond correction and will willingly receive it anytime from one qualified to give it.

But you're not one of those, though, Joasis.

Not one of those.....

Last edited by manhattan42; 08-06-2006 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 08-06-2006, 10:04 PM   #15
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Eating my own words is stating that you are correct in the attachment, by reference...fine...I am man enough to admit it as I did in the above post. I hardly think that takes away from my abilities, but whatever...if it makes you feel good, go for it.

I think you are as fake as they come...I trust the PE's (professional engineers), not a failed contractor turned inspector...

You still didn't admit your mistake on the lally collumns...so be it...you can BS all the DIYers all you want, and you will breed the same contempt for inspectors that contractors share.

Those that can do, those that can't teach...or become inspectors.

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