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Old 10-18-2012, 11:09 PM   #16
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Structural Beam Support/Bracing Question


Hi, I'll look tomorrow at the beam to see if it says anything. The original contractor is NOT returning my calls. I would think he wouldn't want this to escalate. This is our very first remodel and did not understand the way things go. I know shame on us... I did not know that you first get an architect (thought you only need one when adding or brand new), who then sends it to a structural engineer and once okayed THEN we get the builder. The contractor said it was okay since the size of the beam is about the same size that he replaced and pushed up to have the ceiling all the same height. That he talked to a structural engineer but I'm guessing there isn't anything in writing and that's why he isn't calling me back. I'm am so frustrated at this point.

Well, I had another contractor come out today who looked at the original house plans, foundation plans, roof plans and all that. He said the beam size is probably right but the tie-ing of them together/to the floor/etc. is not sufficient. He knows a structural engineer who is coming out within the next day or two. So hopefully it will be an easy fix and then I'll go to the city and see what happens.

I'll look at the building supply website and see what we need too.

Hopefully I don't have too many other questions but I sure know where to go! Thank you!!!

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Old 10-19-2012, 12:55 AM   #17
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Structural Beam Support/Bracing Question


Thanks for the feedback! Many good thoughts on this thread. Let us know...

Gary
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:05 AM   #18
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Structural Beam Support/Bracing Question


Knowing how hard it is to deal with the city, if you are almost done with the remodel, then I would suggest you not get the city involve. The cities are money hungry right now and will first fine you for doing an illegal remodel. Then they will snoop around to get you on every little thing possible and drag it on too. This is what I am experiencing with a few cities up here in LA.
PT sill plates are required when the sill is touching concrete, doesn't matter if it is an interior or exterior wall.
As for the beam connection, I would never let the contractor get by without putting in a column cap. Base cap, it would depend on the situation. It is an easy fix any normal contractor can do. The question is if the wall sitting on top of the beam a lateral resisting wall (shearwall) or just a bearing wall. If this beam and column is supporting a shearwall, then for sure it is not adequate or done correctly.
Good luck!
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:52 PM   #19
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Structural Beam Support/Bracing Question


So we had a stuctural engineer out yesterday. He looked at the original plans, took measurements, suggestions was there quite awhile and very informative. He said he can do the drawings as it is fairly straight forward and he has the original plans to work off of. We received an email from him saying the following "Regarding the existing wood beams that
were installed (3-1/2”x11-7/8” and 3-1/2”x9-1/2” PSL)…I ran calculations on them too….the numbers just don’t work, they both should have been 5-1/4” wide instead of 3-1/2”. Don’t panic too much…..we can nail on a 1-3/4” LVL beam to the existing beams and that will make them adequate…you’ll need to cut back the floor joists and reinstall the hangers…The posts and footings will be ok as-is.

The first contractor said that the beam was correct (we have the original beam in the garage they took out - I'm going to measure it tomorrow when I am there) to see what the difference is. He said the the glue lam beam is a lot stronger than the original beam so we are a bit confused if it is too small.

We are going to get another SE in for their opinion/quote as we learned our lesson (too many at this point) with the first contractor to make sure we are correct.

My question though is how would it work by just nailing on a 2" (approx) beam to the existing one. Should we get another beam the correct size? It seems that since we have to do a support wall and cut back the floor joists that why wouldn't we just put in the correct size? Basically starting all over. Do I have any recouse with the first contractor?

We are looking into a steel beam but would need a W10X45 he said and the footings would need to be beefed up - but we are going to see what the cost difference would be.

I'd like to not get the city involved but at this point I want to make sure everything is done to code - not their own code but the cities code :-) plus the neighbor to the right and behind me are like the Hatfields and McCoys with each other through the city so it's just a matter of time they are over there and they look in my door and wonder what is going on... I don't like living like that.

Any input would be appreciated. We are in South Orange County, CA
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:01 PM   #20
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Have you met with the city yet? Did the original contractor have any structural plans that you were able to get and use to get an after the fact permit?
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:04 PM   #21
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Structural Beam Support/Bracing Question


There will probably be as many different solutions are there are engineers.
Everyone is different, the city engineers will look at your engineer's solution and calculations to make sure it will be a viable solution and if they have corrections or clarifications the engineer will take care of those.

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Old 10-22-2012, 02:19 PM   #22
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The engineer's proposal of sistering on another LVL to each side of the existing PSL is correct if the existing beam is not adequate. It is a normal practice. The installed beam is failing in bending. By adding on more pieces, it makes the area bigger and therefore will not fail. My initial concern was the connection as the (2) sistered on members would not have a support. However, they can probably slide on a new column cap since there isn't one to begin with.

I suggest you not open up the wound and go to the city now. Document everything well and with pictures. And if the day comes, then you can show them.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:59 PM   #23
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I wouldn't get another SE. What yours told you is reasonable. Too many cooks spoil the broth
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:13 PM   #24
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Structural Beam Support/Bracing Question


Luckattack - believe me I'd rather just get it right and forget about it butttttt I have wing-nuts living next to me and behind me that are continually fueding via the city. If this was the only thing I was doing I'd just finish and be done but we are doing the roof (permit) stucco (permit) windows (permit) and with all being permitted they will see - especially with the windows that we have done something. We just bought the house in June so the pictures of it are on the internet still. The city knows this house because they have been by it sooooo many times... I'd rather take my lumps and hopefully get them on a good day and go from there.

Anti-wingnut (love that tag) - I guess we are a little "gun" shy right now since the guy who put the beams in in the first place said he spoke to a structural engineer and the beam size was "overkill" as he put it. Obviously that was not correct. Just one more and we will go from there. :-)

Andy - yes like you said each one will have their own way of fixing the problem (wish there wasn't any to fix) but thank you for pointing out that really the city has the last word on it doesn't it truly?

Is $880 a decent cost...I know I know you guys aren't supposed to say but is it in the ball park? That is for the calculations/report/changes/etc. As my husband keeps point out to me...he isn't Rockafeller, he's the other fellar.... :-)

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:06 PM   #25
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The first contractor said he had engineering, but until you see a stamped set of plans, it doesn't count. If your SE gives you a stamped engineered solution, I see know reason not to accept it. If there is a problem, he is legally liable, as is his E&O.

The city doesn't really have the last word, they must comform to (usually) national codes and standard engineering practices
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:04 PM   #26
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The first contractor said "he spoke to a structural engineer" nothing about a report or anything - at that point we did not know we needed one. Though my husband and I just looked through his paperwork he had given us and there was an item in there that he would be responsible for all permits/structural reports. Also he had on the same paperwork that his work is guaranteed for three years. So once we have a SE report/stamp we will be contacting him to have him fix this.

What is an E&O? Sorry for my lack of knowledge on this but I am learning.

I am going to go to the city this week to get all my permits. Beam/framing/windows/stucco/electrical/plumbing I don't think there is anything left... Oh the roof but the roofer is getting that one for sure. :-) I'm glad the city actually isn't the last word! Necessary pain in the butt I guess after all of this.

Thanks again,

Tina
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:18 PM   #27
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E&O= Errors and omissions (insurance).

I don't think you will be able to have the initial contractor fix anything. For all you know, he does have engineering. So you may not be able to compel him to correct anything. And you both agreed to forego the permitting process. Before you go to the city, write a demand letter, requesting him to complete the job, correct material defects and supply engineering as per your conversations.

But blind siding him with your engineers solution won't go anywhere
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:44 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anti-wingnut View Post
E&O= Errors and omissions (insurance).

I don't think you will be able to have the initial contractor fix anything. For all you know, he does have engineering. So you may not be able to compel him to correct anything. And you both agreed to forego the permitting process. Before you go to the city, write a demand letter, requesting him to complete the job, correct material defects and supply engineering as per your conversations.

But blind siding him with your engineers solution won't go anywhere
We are going to send demand letter and even though we didn't get a permit we did tell him to do everything to code and correct. We are not going to blindside him with the engineers solution - we just want to see if what he put in is correct / sufficient and if not he needs to fix it per his own paperwork that everything is guaranteed. He said he spoke to an engineer not that he received a report. If it' correct, great - let's see the report so I can get my permit and really at the end of the day, whether the city is involved or not I want it correct, that is the bottom line. And then we can move on from this beam issue...
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Old 10-28-2012, 12:40 AM   #29
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First off thank you all so much for your input on this issue. I'll tell you this I am so tired of this beam! I measured it and it is the same size that was in there originally but a glulam. Both beams are the same size as the original ones. My question would be this, if the glulam is so super strong wouldn't it be the right one? The only other difference is we took out two 2x4's in the middle but it is being supported on either side. It is 13' long by 11 7/8" high and 3 1/2" wide. Sits on one 4X4 and 2 2x4's (in the wall).

My husband and I were talking about the structural engineer's email that said both beams needed to be 5 1/4 not 3 1/2. How is that? The smaller one is exactly the same size that was there and no support columns were taken out from that one.

I'm trying to get another SE out because at this point the contractor's guy he "spoke" to (no report) said it would be okay and then this other one says it isn't strong enough. I guess I am truly hoping the contractor did it right as it will be a pain to add on the other beam. We'll do it if necessary but I'd rather not but then again we have to secure the supports too. ARRGGHHH!!!!

I've learned my lesson from not getting quotes or talking to more than one contractor... They don't have to tell me exactly how to fix it (if needed) just if it's right or wrong.

I'm going to the city Monday to get all my permits.

Any thoughts? Please still be nice, I'm way more tired of this issue than you are reading it! :-)

Please and thank you!
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Old 10-28-2012, 12:50 AM   #30
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Structural Beam Support/Bracing Question


It is possible that the codes and engineering practices have changed in the time since the original construction. So much so that an engineer that has to assume liability for the design is only willing to assume that liability if the beam and posts and hardware and maybe even the footings are the way the individual engineer is comfortable with.

The only engineer on this that matters is the one that will be willing to submit his design with his stamp and his backing for the permits.

What the contractor's "engineer" thinks is irrelevant, unless he wants to submit his design and stamp them.

Andy.

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