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Old 02-15-2010, 12:04 PM   #1
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I need to have a structural engineer take a look at my garage so my building inspector will approve me raising the ceiling joists (rafter ties) up about 16", still in the lower 1/3 of the rafter.

My questions is how to SE's usually charge. Is there only a charge if they actually draw up the plans or do they charge you for coming out and taking a look? Just wanted to get a better idea of how engineers work.

I know this isn't the place to ask for quotes and costs, but do drawings typically run in the hundreds or thousands of dollars for something as I described?

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Old 02-15-2010, 12:36 PM   #2
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Find out if the building dept needs sealed drawings (how many copies) for permit or if a descriptive letter from SE will work for them.

This will really depend on the total scope of your project.

Normal is a fee for site visit... fee for letter ... fee for stamped drawings.

This project might be a little more involved than you think.

Any Gable end bracing relocation? diaphram required?

Make some phone calls... you should be in the hundreds not thousands of dollars range.

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Old 02-15-2010, 12:40 PM   #3
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About $500 per day around here, plus travel from about 3hour away, plus meals, plus time to write the letter and defend their decision if called upon, it can get expensive, but if the Engineer is close by, it would be less.
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:01 PM   #4
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I had typed out a reply, but I lost wifi and my post didn't make it.

In a nut shell, if the scope is ill defined or hairy, I charge by the hour. If I'm comfortable with what you describe, I can give you a number either there on the phone or the next day. If I don't know you, we'll have a signed services agreement in place with a retainer.

I provide calc sheets, details, fastener schedules, etc, on 8.5x11 sheets of comp pad paper, signed and sealed, with a letter. I look at everything, snow, seismic, wind, etc, no shortcuts. It's my neck on the line. If you really want CAD drawings, I'll do them, but that's an additional charge.

Something like you describe is a couple hour deal, maybe a full day depending on how far away you are. I just did one last week for a 2 story wood framed remodel, took about 6 hours to do the calcs and spec everything, but called it 8 hours because the site was an hour away by car. The whole process goes quick when you have standard processes and the right software.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Big Bob View Post
Find out if the building dept needs sealed drawings (how many copies) for permit or if a descriptive letter from SE will work for them.

This will really depend on the total scope of your project.

Normal is a fee for site visit... fee for letter ... fee for stamped drawings.

This project might be a little more involved than you think.

Any Gable end bracing relocation? diaphram required?

Make some phone calls... you should be in the hundreds not thousands of dollars range.
My building dept.....that's what has got me upset. They first said I could do it. Then the inspector came out and said he needed confirmation from either our local lumber company (which confused me) or a structural engineer. I wish I wouldn't have asked to begin with. He told me it will work as long as I have it approved by someone else. I want to tell him that that's HIS job.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:34 PM   #6
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The code enforcement officer is NOT responsible for designing your project, they are only responsible for making sure that you follow code. In this case, it appears that the code enforcement officer has determined that code requires a structural engineer or equivalent to design the structure. For routine matters like depth of footings, roof installation, wiring and the like, the code enforcement officer will probably simply inspect the project to make sure you comply, but when you get into something that is not right out of the code, like installing a long header, raising a roof, or the like, no code officer is going to design the project for you.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:08 PM   #7
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this is typically an easy fix that needs at times only a letter from a design professional. couple hundred bucks......but since the inspector came out and looked at the situation first hand, they have the authority to ask for more information.

as for the "local Lumber company" comment, that leads me to believe that he saw things stored on top of the rafters. typical collar ties are non-load-bearing and can safely be installed or moved within the range you are talking about. if so, the lumber company has lumber span tables they use to calculate loads and length depth of wood. is there any other information you can give?
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by minidriver8 View Post
this is typically an easy fix that needs at times only a letter from a design professional. couple hundred bucks......but since the inspector came out and looked at the situation first hand, they have the authority to ask for more information.

as for the "local Lumber company" comment, that leads me to believe that he saw things stored on top of the rafters. typical collar ties are non-load-bearing and can safely be installed or moved within the range you are talking about. if so, the lumber company has lumber span tables they use to calculate loads and length depth of wood. is there any other information you can give?
The current joists are 2x6 24" o.c. They span approx 21'. The rafters(from top plate to ridge board) measures 12'. I proposed to raise the current joists to the maximum height, but still within the lower 1/3. I was planning on using 2x8's as the NEW rafter ties would span about 15 feet.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:09 PM   #9
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Not sure if your jurisdiction is the same as here, but when we have an Engineered set of drawings (Schedule 'C'), the local Building inspector backs right off the situation.
The Engineer then assumes all responsibility for project completion, inspection and approval. The Inspector never comes back and has no jurisdiction if he does return. The Engineer stamp takes over the project liability.
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:37 PM   #10
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it all depends upon storage up there. 50 pound total load is a good guess for storage loads even though that's probably unlikely.... more likely would be around 20-25 lbs(low headroom) those ties are tension members and but alter the reaction when we load them down.

at 22.5 pound sf and 2x8s @ 24"o.c. can carry the load (E @L/180= 1,100,000PSI and Fb =840 PSI) if you use: SPF No1 or better; Hem-Fir No.2 or better; Douglas Fir No2 or better

but at 45-50 PSF you're off the chart. i'm assuming around a 4 in 12 pitch on the roof? 2x6's under the decking just like the horizontal rafters you're taking out?
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Old 02-16-2010, 08:50 PM   #11
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What about just raising the whole garage, put block under the existing wall framing? I would think that would be less work and expense.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:14 PM   #12
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Just curious why 16"? Are you trying to accommodate a lift? The thread below is were someone raised the whole garage and built underneath it.

http://garagejournal.com/forum/showt...g+garage+walls

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Old 02-17-2010, 09:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cibula11 View Post
Then the inspector came out and said he needed confirmation from either our local lumber company (which confused me) or a structural engineer..
the lumber companies usually have an engineer on staff that does the actual truss design. they then send drawings to the architect / engineer to make sure they meet design criteria (shop drawings) and are then fabricated and installed.
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Old 02-17-2010, 11:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minidriver8 View Post
it all depends upon storage up there. 50 pound total load is a good guess for storage loads even though that's probably unlikely.... more likely would be around 20-25 lbs(low headroom) those ties are tension members and but alter the reaction when we load them down.

at 22.5 pound sf and 2x8s @ 24"o.c. can carry the load (E @L/180= 1,100,000PSI and Fb =840 PSI) if you use: SPF No1 or better; Hem-Fir No.2 or better; Douglas Fir No2 or better

but at 45-50 PSF you're off the chart. i'm assuming around a 4 in 12 pitch on the roof? 2x6's under the decking just like the horizontal rafters you're taking out?
Yes, the pitch is about 4/12 and the 2x6 are the size of rafters and the ceilings joists are 2x4's.
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenknee View Post
Just curious why 16"? Are you trying to accommodate a lift? The thread below is were someone raised the whole garage and built underneath it.

http://garagejournal.com/forum/showt...g+garage+walls

Attachment 17803
We're trying to convert the space and to allow adequate headroom we need to raise the current joists. Since the garage actually sits lower than the house we also need to raise the ceiling because when you access the garage from the house, you are above the level of the ceiling (unfinished of course).

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