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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    St. Louis, Mo. area.
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    Default Fire, Water, & I-Joists

    In doing some research on manufactured I-joists, I ran across this discussion. Towards the bottom they get into how I-joists are much more prone to failure when subjected to either fire or water, especially if they were manufactured using a white or yellow latex based glue. It seems the Canadians are concerned about the potential hazards of this, and require that only certain grades of I-joist be used in construction there.

    My question is does anyone mention this in their reports on houses that contain these types of joists. It sounds like a no-win to me. You either reveal the potential hazard, and possibly kill the deal - or you say nothing, and accept the potential liability. (I can hear the real estate agents screaming now!)

    What say you?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Fire, Water, & I-Joists

    Liability? What liability could there be to an HI reporting on the condition of the home.

    Talk about a slippery slope.... walk into you next house, close your eyes and spin around with one finger pointing in any direction. Open you eyes and pick the product you're pointing at. Come home and research it on the internet and you'll find someone, somewhere that has claimed it's bad (probably a lawyer) and has a huge suit against it.

    No, the color of the glue in an I-joist would not make my report.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    leonardo, new jersey
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    125

    Default Re: Fire, Water, & I-Joists

    Here in Jersey, only commercial buildings are required to have a roof truss or floor truss/TJI joists reflective emblems posted to the left of the front door for manufactured lumber components.I agree with Matt, plus look for squash blocks,point loads, cutting of the joist and my all time favorite is how the family deck is bolted to the rim joist and the rim joist material.

    Joseph Ehrhardt
    Building Forensic Specialist LLC

  4. #4
    Phil Brody's Avatar
    Phil Brody Guest

    Default Re: Fire, Water, & I-Joists

    Your responsibility is to insure its safety and it's adherence to the building code, not a research engineer.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Fire, Water, & I-Joists

    Just as a general note, I spent 28 years as a Houston firefighter and retired as a District Chief in 1996. Engineered wood products such as I-Joists and trussses (not beams) have always been a concern to firefighters because of the use of thinner materials, shallow glue joints and pressed in nailer plates on trusses, both from a fire and water exposure standpoint, as well as water loading under fire conditions. I made sure that all fire companies in my district toured a truss/I-joist manufacturing plant, as well as visiting apartments and other buildings under construction, and that everyone understood the risks involved. Frankly, I don't think the color of glue matters enough to be material under fire conditions. It's the thin OSB, shallow connections and loss of bulk, as compared to dimensional lumber, that matters. I would never mention the type of I joist glue used or demean the use of these products in an inspection report, simply because the liability for their use does not lie with you, but the builder, manufacturer and the testing and certifying agencies and no one is going to tear a building down and rebuild it because of what you note regarding glue color. Observance of glue color with the naked eye is subjective at best. I think you make yourself more exposed to litigation by mentioning it, not for some future failure, but for the number of lost sales that you might cause. If it is built per plan and specification and you so note, in my opinion, your job is done.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Fire, Water, & I-Joists

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Chambers View Post
    In doing some research on manufactured I-joists, I ran across this discussion. Towards the bottom they get into how I-joists are much more prone to failure when subjected to either fire or water, especially if they were manufactured using a white or yellow latex based glue. It seems the Canadians are concerned about the potential hazards of this, and require that only certain grades of I-joist be used in construction there.

    My question is does anyone mention this in their reports on houses that contain these types of joists. It sounds like a no-win to me. You either reveal the potential hazard, and possibly kill the deal - or you say nothing, and accept the potential liability. (I can hear the real estate agents screaming now!)

    What say you?
    Unless you are an I-beam specialist I would not be commenting on them in regards to lumber grades and glues that are used in during their construction.

    A typical home inspection is not a forensic home inspection.

    If you do a good inspection to the best of your ability and you follow any required protocols or standards and you exercise a standard of care that is common in the profession, then you have done about all you can do.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    St. Louis, Mo. area.
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    Thumbs up Re: Fire, Water, & I-Joists

    Thanks a lot for all of the quick and insightful responses. What you all have said is pretty much my take on it as well, and I have not mentioned anything in my reports other than just noting that the building construction included wood I-joists. With that, I've done my job, and it's up to the client to do their due diligence in regard to any ramifications. My question was mainly prompted by my surprise at how much more dangerous they are than solid wood construction under the right (or wrong) conditions, and that Canada has made a point of giving them closer scrutiny for safety reasons. Y'all are alright!


  8. #8
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Fire, Water, & I-Joists

    Start naming failure times under water and fire conditions is totally impossible and would be a foolish attempt at best. . Where do you draw the line.

    Well folks, you floor joist for the second floor are 2x10s in the area over the living room and 2x8 over the stepped up area of the media room. In case there is a fire I strongly suggest that as you are burning you should try to make it to the area over the living room as the failure will be a bit slower as the fire and water takes its toll. By the way if the are I joists, bend over, tuck your heads between your legs (as you are burning) and kiss your behind good by.

    Over all if you have a home that is burning and it just started then the firetruck comes and puts it out in x amount of time your home may be saved. If there is water blown over it and the flames have spread to such and extent and burns ten minutes longer then your home may not be saved. Mind you I sam talking about I joists with the purple glue. If they have the pink glue then forget about everything I just said.

    I don't think this is going to be a topic of discussion with me and my clients.

    I actually was asked about this once and turned them toward the manufacturers website. This was not a client.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,258

    Default Re: Fire, Water, & I-Joists

    We had some on a job site that we were using as a bridge over a big mud puddle. They held up really well after being exposed to a lot of wet weather. I wouldn't worry a whole lot about it once they are inside the house.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  10. #10
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: Fire, Water, & I-Joists

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Hetner View Post
    ...we watch american mistakes and try and learn from them to make things better.

    As do we Bill.

    This article is from 1998, I would guess that advancements have been made in the last 12 years.

    Author's Notes - August, 1998:
    Three weeks after this column ran in the....



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