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Thread: What Are these?

  1. #1
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    Default What Are these?

    Inspected a 9 year old home yesterday and the main beam in the garage ceiling had boxed out drywall enclosures below it. They are about 2 x 2 x 5. There are columns on the floor above bearing on the beam right above these ceiling enclosures (supporting the roof). What the heck are these enclosures? Seem to be some type of re-enforcement for the beam where the columns above bear on it?
    Any one have any ideas?
    Thanks
    JP

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Any chance there is duct work following the joist cavity then ducking under the beam?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  3. #3
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: What Are these?

    Whats upstairs??


  4. #4
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Although there may be something running through it, my feeling is that it is architectural. What was the rest of the design like?

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Above the garage is the living room /dining room, separated by a load bearing wall that goes up to the roof, large beam under the wall has two steel columns that support the structure. These two columns bear on the beam visible in the garage ceiling and these boxed in enclosures are directly below where the columns of the floor above bear on the beam. Definitely not ductwork, which is in the perimeter of the building. Home is a modern contemporary and was designed by an architect/engineer.

    All I can think of is that since this is the garage, they did not want to install columns that would be in the way of parking vehicles, and there is some type of buttress like structure or renforcement that was added to the beam to strengthen it where the columns bear down on it.

    No sagging, cracking of the drywall nor any other adverse conditions were noted, so whatever they did is functioning as intended and is not a concern. I just have never seen anything like it in 20 years and was wondering if any engineers in our group might know what these are, what they are called and how they work.
    Thanks JP


  6. #6
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Maybe asking the seller a question or two would be in order, especially if he/she is the architect/engineer who designed it.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    If these are designed to strengthen the beam it seems logical that their long dimensions would be parallel to the beam instead of perpendicular. Perhaps this buttress is fastened to the adjacent joists to try and distribute the load? Looks like a head knocker. Keep us posted if you get more information.
    Curious,
    Luc


  8. #8
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Perhaps these are boxed out chases to run wiring, plumbing or hvac ducting under the beam, rather than drilling through the beam. I can't imagine any kind of structural beam reinforcement that would look like this.

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    The only times I've seen the like, they were to conceal heating duct work. Does the house have central heating and ductwork?

    One reason for duct work to be run under a beam like that is that there is a steel I-beam under that drywall.

    Another possibility is that this was a double wide mobile or modular home that was placed on a basement garage. Is that possible?

    If the columns or posts above are needed to support the roof, is there a vaulted ceiling?

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

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luc V. L. View Post
    If these are designed to strengthen the beam it seems logical that their long dimensions would be parallel to the beam instead of perpendicular. Perhaps this buttress is fastened to the adjacent joists to try and distribute the load? Looks like a head knocker. Keep us posted if you get more information.
    Curious,
    Luc
    Doesn't really make sense as the beam would be designed to hold up the floor trusses, not the other way around.
    I can see a steel column in the other room that supports the beam. Maybe it is a steel I-beam that they couldn't get in in one piece and has big bolt plates welded on to join the sections without support posts? Still doesn't really make sense considering the size of the boxes.
    Would be a nice time to have a borescope!


  11. #11
    ROBERT HOPPS's Avatar
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    Cool Re: What Are these?

    Bet you lunch that they are enclosing duct runs that were routed under the beam, then up the wall that rests on the beam.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    If the boxes are right under the columns holding the roof up, they must be structural. For attachment, or stability - something like that. What's the diameter of the columns?

    JP said they were definitely not for ducts, it seems you should all give him the respect of believing him, since he was there and you weren't.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  13. #13
    Jeffrey Marsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    I would have to agree that if he said they are not HVAC Ducts then they are more then likely wiring chases or plumbing possibly both. Having been in the housing industry for twenty years I have done this myself when a beam was in the way. I have also seen it done on occasion during a Home Inspection. Typically Architects and Engineer do not take into consideration what needs to ran, during the construction process it is up to the Construction manager and the Sub Contractor to figure out and submit any structural changes that may need be made to the Engineer for approval.

    Jeffrey Marsh
    The right inspector, right away.

    Central California Property Inspection
    Bakersfield Ca
    Bakersfield Home Inspector | Central California Property Inspections




  14. #14
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Has the appearance of hollow core precast pretensioned construction.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Mystery Solved!

    This was bugging me so I went back to the house today (vacant) to look around and listing agent had told me that the house plans were somewhere in the garage. The drawings only show a large steel I beam here with no other type of re-enforcement. I think it is just pure coincidence that the steel columns from the floor above happen to rest on the beam right at these boxed in enclosures.

    Looking at the room above, there are floor air supply registers that line up exactly to these boxes- So that's what they must be (air ducts going under the beam) and explains their shape longitudinal to the beam. I was wrong to rule that out at first. John and Robert -you were right on! Good thing I didn't bet lunch or I'd be buying
    Thanks a bunch
    ]JP


  16. #16
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Quote Originally Posted by JP Lomeo View Post
    Mystery Solved!

    This was bugging me so I went back to the house today (vacant) to look around and listing agent had told me that the house plans were somewhere in the garage. The drawings only show a large steel I beam here with no other type of re-enforcement. I think it is just pure coincidence that the steel columns from the floor above happen to rest on the beam right at these boxed in enclosures.

    Looking at the room above, there are floor air supply registers that line up exactly to these boxes- So that's what they must be (air ducts going under the beam) and explains their shape longitudinal to the beam. I was wrong to rule that out at first. John and Robert -you were right on! Good thing I didn't bet lunch or I'd be buying
    Thanks a bunch
    ]JP
    What am I? Chopped liver . (See post #2)

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    You and me both, Vern (post #8).........

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

  18. #18
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Huggett View Post
    You and me both, Vern (post #8).........
    Guess I'm on more ignore lists than I thought . What did you do?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    My apologies to Thom and Vern- Jeese guys
    JP


  20. #20
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    What am I? Chopped liver . (See post #2)
    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Huggett View Post
    You and me both, Vern (post #8).........
    JPL is buying us lunch. Looks like you guys are on the menu.

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

  21. #21
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    Default Re: What Are these?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    JPL is buying us lunch. Looks like you guys are on the menu.
    Just left overs John, wifes already chewed my *$$!

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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