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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A short time ago, I posted a question regarding post spacing for a post & beam storage barn I want to build. While I got some good information, I did not get the answers I was looking for in my posts.

I've gone as far as trying to get info from architects, from the University out here, lumber yards & have had no luck. I don't really want to ask the inspectors office because that could open up a can of worms not intended to be opened. On the other hand, it would probably put an answer to my question weather or not I like the answer is another issue. Have any of you needed to ask a code question or clarification of a code & actually went to the building official for the answer.

The thought of asking my question to the inspector may really end up with the inspector asking me questions instead of his answering my question. How do I deal with this situation.
 

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The code inspector has the final say and is the first one I would have asked and shown the drawings to.
What difference if it's not the ansewer you "want" to hear, if the way your suggesting doing it is not going to pass inspection what difference does it make.
You would be stuck starting all over if it does not pass.
 
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Sounds like you do not currently have drawings. If you did, the post spacing would be spelled out.

Did you offer to hire the architects for drawings or just request free engineering advice?

In either case, you should start a project like this with a visit to the code office.
You are just letting him know what you are planning to build. Provide some basic info. like size, height, type of roof and floor. Cost. Electric? Plumbing?
This is also your opportunity to ask what is going to be required? Stamped engineering prints required or is a sketch ok?
You don't have to be expert to pull a permit. Most inspectors are really quite helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The code inspector has the final say and is the first one I would have asked and shown the drawings to.
What difference if it's not the ansewer you "want" to hear, if the way your suggesting doing it is not going to pass inspection what difference does it make.
You would be stuck starting all over if it does not pass.
It's not about the "answer" I want to hear. My concern is how do I phrase or present an engineering question to a code official so that I do not end up redesigning a entire plan. I don't know if I'm making myself clear to you.
I have an architect's plan for this building. However the architect is not in the state I'm building-SC. The 2012 IRC code R106 restricts post building span to 8 feet. I want to go to 12 feet. The code becomes ambiguous at that point. The architect says it would require clay soil testing, recalculations of Ground dead/live loads & possibly redesign of framing members. Is the inspector in a position to do all of that, or is it my responsibility to convince him I can change spans beyond the stated code. It's a problem for me because I'm not an engineer or a architect. This is going to be a $5,000 build. Not worth all the effort...maybe. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sounds like you do not currently have drawings. If you did, the post spacing would be spelled out.

Did you offer to hire the architects for drawings or just request free engineering advice?

In either case, you should start a project like this with a visit to the code office.
You are just letting him know what you are planning to build. Provide some basic info. like size, height, type of roof and floor. Cost. Electric? Plumbing?
This is also your opportunity to ask what is going to be required? Stamped engineering prints required or is a sketch ok?
You don't have to be expert to pull a permit. Most inspectors are really quite helpful.
First, I have a permit, secondly, I have architect's plans & third I've already had the inspection done for footing holes. The inspector has said nothing to me at the time of the footing inspection. Unfortunately, after inspection I realized that I have a conflict with the plan & the 2112 IRC code regarding residential post & beam construction.

My county will review a plan for a fee of $20. And I don't officials are in the "Advice" giving mode. Asking may also cause me to have more architect revisions than what the project is worth. I can avoid all the conflict by sticking to the IRC code without any changes to the building, but that will make the building a little less convenient for my use. I'm not "Against" the official doing his job. I'm just not sure asking the inspector construction advice is the right thing to do.
 

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My building inspector was very helpful when I was building my deck. He allowed me to dig my holes less than four feet deep when I hit rock, he suggested switching to Ledger Loks instead of through bolts for the ledger, and in general he was easy to work with. Other inspectors I have worked with will not discuss construction details, and insist on stamped plans for any deviation from code.

No one on this forum can possibly know what your inspector will say. You want to deviate from code,and apparently you have plans from an out of state architect that deviate from code, but does not specify the post design. I am still unclear what you are asking of this forum. Apparently you feel that a $5000 building does not warrant an investment in an architect or engineer, and that is certainly your privilege. Only you can determine if the added value of deviating from plans is worth the cost in time and effort to get an approval.

As to your building inspector offering you details on how to construct a post and beam building with greater than an 8 foot span, what is the harm in asking? I doubt they will tell you, but who knows. They may tell you that if you want to deviate from code, you need an in state engineer or architect to prepare and stamp plans. Well, at least then you will know where you stand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My building inspector was very helpful approval.

As to your building inspector offering you details on how to construct a post and beam building with greater than an 8 foot span, what is the harm in asking? I doubt they will tell you, but who knows. They may tell you that if you want to deviate from code, you need an in state engineer or architect to prepare and stamp plans. Well, at least then you will know where you stand.
You are correct. I will be asking my building dept. manager the question regarding code & post spans. I don't expect I will get anything beyond what the code already says. My problem with this stuff is that some sections of the code are really-(And I hate to say it this way) stupid in the way they are written. Some are really vague, & some make no sense, like this 8' span restriction. I am not able at this point to come up with the needed calculations to show my building is safe with 12' post spans. I see that you are a civil engineer, so I'm sure you must know how difficult it is for a layperson to present to an official anything which involves engineering calculations & detailed drawings. I'm not at war with any officials or the system, but sometimes, rules, laws & regulations can be overkill. Thanks.
 

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I have run into the same dilemma about asking about code and then telling on myself. I found that they are so busy they really don't have time to be investigators, the hard part is to find a knowledgeable person at the Code Office to compatently give an answer. Also you can get two different answers from two different people and the inspector has his own opinion to boot. Usually they vary on the side of caution, by over-engineering it.

Get as much knowledge as you can and then call your inspector and tell him what you want to do, for better or worse. Cutting corners will cost you later. I put an addition on a house and the Inspector required the Architect/Engineer to verify foundation plans before pouring. Also I have gone to " justanswer.com " and paid a nominal fee to a professional before doing work (plumbing) that a city inspector would be looking at.

This is one of those questions that you don't know if it was a right or wrong decision until after you do it. Getting the right person on the phone at the Code Office is a crap shoot. I don't see how anyone could give a specific answer to your question. To many variables. Get as much info as possible then ask your specific Inspector for better or worse, is my advice.
 

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The most disliked building inspector in town just retired. He was disliked because he would always caught people doing stuff they should not. I would just call him up and tell him what I was dealing with and he would tell me varies solutions.
 
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