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  1. #1
    Scott McCullough's Avatar
    Scott McCullough Guest

    Default New Construction Girder Shim Question

    Hello,

    First off..great site. I've been searching forums for new home construction and came across this site. Lots of great info for the home owner (I'm not an inspector).

    Here is my question:
    This is our second build (with the same builder) and we are very confident in his product. He's a general contractor and subs everything out. Our home has just finished being bricked and all framing has been completed. My concern is how the two long steel i-beams have been shimmed to the poured concrete basement walls. The pockets for the beams were not square thus the shim requirements. From my reading the stack of metal shims should have been welded since there were quite a few in the stack. In addition, the second i-beam was shimmed using 2X4 blocks. From what I've gathered this is bad. You should not have wood supporting steel and the steel shim stack should be welded. We have two concerns, first the obvious... will the wood blocks hold up under time and not compress dropping the side of the home? Second concern is with resale. Looking out another 8-10 years will this be something a future home inspector would flag and make us replace the wood shims with metal? The i-beam pockets on the basement walls are below grade.

    I'm attaching some pictures showing both i-beams.

    We are meeting with the builder Monday to discuss this along with some other issues/concerns. I'd really like some feedback regarding my concerns. Am I blowing this out of proportion? Or is this something that should be addressed before drywall starts going up?

    Thanks in advance.
    Scott

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
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    Default Re: New Construction Girder Shim Question

    Pic 1 - looks like the beam pocket was cut out by a beaver. Very poor workmanship. Since this is a new build your plans should show and specify the amount of end support for that beam. 3"-5" is typical. Maybe its the angle of the pic, but between the beam being a bit short and the end of the concrete wall being broken off, full support appears to maybe be 2"+? I'd call that out on an inspection.
    Pic 2 - Metal shims should have been primed, welded or bolted and properly positioned. I'd call this out as a long term issue
    Pic 3 - 2x support isn't the full width and length of the beam inside the pocket. Therefore load is concentrated on the concrete and beam doesn't have full support in the pocket. Refer to your plans as to support requirements listed.
    Whether the 2x wood block will be Ok or not depends on how much load there is and how much humidity the space has.
    Pic 4 - Prime, bolt or weld and reposition shims
    Repairs for all of these are easy enough. A good builder shouldn't even fight these concerns. He should just say 'Yes Sir' and take care of it. Easy enough work if he owns a hydraulic jack. In the short term, no big deal. In the long term these could present settlement and drywall crack issues.
    Good luck

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
    Posts
    3,177

    Default Re: New Construction Girder Shim Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    ...
    Whether the 2x wood block will be Ok or not depends on how much load there is and how much humidity the space has...
    Doesn't the shim have to have the same or better compressive characteristics as the beam? In other words, wood would never be acceptable with a steel beam?

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  4. #4
    Scott McCullough's Avatar
    Scott McCullough Guest

    Default Re: New Construction Girder Shim Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Pic 1 - looks like the beam pocket was cut out by a beaver. Very poor workmanship. Since this is a new build your plans should show and specify the amount of end support for that beam. 3"-5" is typical. Maybe its the angle of the pic, but between the beam being a bit short and the end of the concrete wall being broken off, full support appears to maybe be 2"+? I'd call that out on an inspection.
    Thanks Markus for taking the time and posting your comments. I just went down to the house and measured end support and it's 2 3/4 inches of pocket underneath the beam. I'm only counting the cement that is actually touching the metal shims and not the cracked off part. I'm a bit concerned because this should have been fixed way before framing. Now it's too late to properly place the ibeam correctly in the pocket since the entire house is already framed. I'm going to ask him to jack up and fix the metal plates (weld/prime) on all the metal shim locations. I'll also ask to replace the wood blocks with metal shims. The one thing he can't do is properly place the ibeam in the pocket. There is a metal support column 12' from the end of the beam with the beaver cut cement pocket. Maybe he could place another metal support column at the end of the beam?

    Thanks again,
    Scott


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