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  1. #1
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    Mar 2008
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    Default Altered Bearing Wall

    Looking for additional opinions / input on the attached photo. I came across this recently in an attic above the kitchen where a significant amount of the bearing wall had been opened up. All the hangers were secured and intact but I was unable to confirm what kind of support was completed below the beam due to "finish" applications.....

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    "Finish" Applications as in a Bulk Head capable of housing a support beam with stud to floor support ?

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  3. #3
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    Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Has the far end of the beam been cut at an angle to fit on top of the exterior wall? Could be an issue if it is.

    The load path for the beam supports would have to work their way down to a foundation wall or footing. Is there a basement or crawl space where you can check for squash blocks or posts, or is it slab on grade?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kleisch View Post
    Has the far end of the beam been cut at an angle to fit on top of the exterior wall? Could be an issue if it is.

    The load path for the beam supports would have to work their way down to a foundation wall or footing. Is there a basement or crawl space where you can check for squash blocks or posts, or is it slab on grade?
    Mike,

    No alterations were made to the beam. The interior kitchen was finsihed with gypsum board applications, so I could not confirm the "stud" support and the crawlspace below the kitchen was inaccessible, unfortunately...to say the least my view was minimal, but I was having one of those "gut" feelings (that you get after doing thousands of inspections over the last 9 years) like something was wrong, hence my posting...


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Ben Lomond, CA
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    71

    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Mike,
    I have a question. What is the purlin support bearing on if the wall underneath is gone? As has been said, the bearing for the ends needs to be a continuous to the foundation or footing.


  6. #6
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    Hercules, CA
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    On top of the other issues already raised, the ends and compression edge (top) of the beam are supposed to be restrained from rotation per the IBC (NDS).

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Kind of looks like the modifications we made to our kitchen in Long Beach. We added a beam and had posts at each end supporting it. We also had to taper one end to fit it in (at hip roof). We had an engineer design this beam and another we installed when we added on and opened up the house. The post at the tapered end was actually under the part that was full depth.
    Obviously I can't see everything there, but its close to what we had an engineer design for our house in CA.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Birenbaum View Post
    The interior kitchen was finsihed with gypsum board applications, so..
    So Exactly, What are "Gypsum Board Applications"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom
    the ends and compression edge (top) of the beam are supposed to be restrained from rotation per the IBC (NDS).
    I would think with the ends nailed with all those Simpson Strong Tie Hangers would qualify for Rotation restraint.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    So Exactly, What are "Gypsum Board Applications"?


    I would think with the ends nailed with all those Simpson Strong Tie Hangers would qualify for Rotation restraint.
    They would if they were along the top edge of the beam, not the bottom.

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Huggett View Post
    They would if they were along the top edge of the beam, not the bottom.
    So those 10 ties and the end of the beam nailed is Not Sufficient rotation restraint ?
    * could you provide that IBC section.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Kind of looks like the modifications we made to our kitchen in Long Beach. We added a beam and had posts at each end supporting it. We also had to taper one end to fit it in (at hip roof). We had an engineer design this beam and another we installed when we added on and opened up the house. The post at the tapered end was actually under the part that was full depth.
    Obviously I can't see everything there, but its close to what we had an engineer design for our house in CA.
    Kind of looks like a couple of remodel projects I did 30+ years ago when I was contracting, like Jack said, the engineers design was what we did and it looked similar to that (been to long to remember 'how similar' those we installed were to this one).

    Without opening the wall up there is no way to know how it is supported. A good quality infrared camera would give a decent view if the supports below were solid (4x6 or multiple studs) or not (spaces between studs).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  12. #12
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    Houston, TX
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    The beam is certainly restrained from rotation, and there is no force tending to rotate it, such as an assymetrical loading of roof braces.

    The utility of thermal imaging cameras to detect structure is limited, certainly one of these supports is at an interior wall, no image can be had.

    As a structural engineer, I am frequently asked to comment on questions such as these during a sale. The proper measure of structure after installation is performance. This can be augmented by visual inspection and measurements when available. With a beam, the performance is measured by sag. With a stud, the performance is measured by crush at the bearing ends or bowing of the mid-section. If there are no signs of displacements or finish distresses along the bearing path, this assembly would be considered to be performing properly.

    The same holds for slab-on-ground foundations, which is the greater part of my work. I cannot possibly tell where the beams are, or how deep or wide, I can only determine the performance of the foundation, and write my reports based on this. Consider this, a home buyer could hire the design engineer who knows all of the dimensions and strengths of materials used to build the foundation, or they could hire a field engineer to evaluate how the foundation is performing. Of course, they always hire the field engineer for his performance opinion.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    I would check the floor for level at the bearing point under the near end of that beam with my 4 foot level. We would wonder since there is no access under there if anyone has ever been in the crawlspace to beef up the posts in that area?
    Then I might shoot across the ceiling with a laser. Easy to see a sag that way.

    I too was wondering about those purlin supports hitting the ceiling at the mid span of the beam. The beam looks pretty straight in the picture, tho.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  14. #14
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    Hercules, CA
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    So those 10 ties and the end of the beam nailed is Not Sufficient rotation restraint ?
    * could you provide that IBC section.
    IBC Section 2306 specifies that the NDS (National Design Specification for Wood Construction) is the basis of structural analysis and construction. The NDS requirement is in section 3.3. Technically you can design this member without compression edge support, but you must use reduced allowable stresses. In any case, full lateral support is required at the bearing locations, which could be provided by a metal post cap which is not visible in the photo.

    Similar requirements for joists and rafters are in IBC sections 2308.8.2, 2308.8.5 and 2308.10.6, as well as the IRC.

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Huggett View Post
    IBC Section 2306 specifies that the NDS (National Design Specification for Wood Construction) is the basis of structural analysis and construction. The NDS requirement is in section 3.3. Technically you can design this member without compression edge support, but you must use reduced allowable stresses. In any case, full lateral support is required at the bearing locations, which could be provided by a metal post cap which is not visible in the photo.

    Similar requirements for joists and rafters are in IBC sections 2308.8.2, 2308.8.5 and 2308.10.6, as well as the IRC.





    2308.8.2 Framing details. Joists shall be supported laterally at the ends and at each support by solid blocking except where the ends of the joists are nailed to a header, band or rim joist or to an adjoining stud or by other means.

    Are we Looking at the same Pictures?
    *Do you really want to continue to support the need for rotation restraint?

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  16. #16
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    Aug 2011
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    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    A lot of comments here, but based on your photo, I don't see a reason for concern. Did you see some other poor work elsewhere that raised suspicions about this?

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post




    2308.8.2 Framing details. Joists shall be supported laterally at the ends and at each support by solid blocking except where the ends of the joists are nailed to a header, band or rim joist or to an adjoining stud or by other means.

    Are we Looking at the same Pictures?
    *Do you really want to continue to support the need for rotation restraint?

    For the beam, YES! As I said, a Simpson post cap is would probably provide enough lateral restraint at the supports, but I don't see one in the picture. The compression edge of the beam should also be restrained or the beam may be designed using reduced allowable stresses.

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    North Carolina
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    11

    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    Mike,

    So many opinions here. What was your statement in the report?


  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Rock Hill S.C.
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    94

    Default Re: Altered Bearing Wall

    A stud finder would let you know if there was studs or wood post under the beam, might not pick up a steel post, but would be a cheap/simple starting point.


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