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Thread: Too much notch?

  1. #1
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    Default Too much notch?

    Too much notch?

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    I'm a structural engineer. That certainly looks like a hack job, but it may or may not be too much. Probably is too much, but no way to tell without doing calculations. Looks like it's been there for a while, so if the floor hasn't already come down...


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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    What I can see in the pic looks like it might be supplemental support, or not in the original build design. I treat supplemental supports differently and will give a bye on anything that doesn't have consequential effect at the time of inspection.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    From my understanding, notching of joists/beams should be no more than 1/6th the depth of the wood. That looks to be at least 3/6th. While it appears to have held up fine, I would still report it as an improper and excessive notching. That looks like a mid-span beam providing some level of bearing support for the joists.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    From my understanding, notching of joists/beams should be no more than 1/6th the depth of the wood. That looks to be at least 3/6th. While it appears to have held up fine, I would still report it as an improper and excessive notching. That looks like a mid-span beam providing some level of bearing support for the joists.
    I agree, thanks.

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffrey Brunn View Post
    Looks like it's been there for a while, so if the floor hasn't already come down...
    That'd be my approach.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    I report these..... It's not even so much of a question as to whether or not it will fail... it's more the guy coming behind me saying it IS wrong (which it is) and then my phone rings.


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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    I report these..... It's not even so much of a question as to whether or not it will fail... it's more the guy coming behind me saying it IS wrong (which it is) and then my phone rings.
    I'm with you Matt. All a buyer needs is to have the right/wrong person to come in, see the condition, preach fire and brimstone, scare the crap out of them, and say "your inspector should have caught this". That I don't need.

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I'm with you Matt. All a buyer needs is to have the right/wrong person to come in, see the condition, preach fire and brimstone, scare the crap out of them, and say "your inspector should have caught this". That I don't need.
    Playing devil's advocate, saying it is over notched and needs repair may get the very phone call you are trying to avoid. When the homeowner calls a builder/engineer/inspector and says I was told this must be repaired because it doesn't meet code and it's not structural....

    If you say it's structural, do also write up girder size, footing, post/pier spacing, attachment, etc...?


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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris McIntyre View Post
    Playing devil's advocate, saying it is over notched and needs repair may get the very phone call you are trying to avoid. When the homeowner calls a builder/engineer/inspector and says I was told this must be repaired because it doesn't meet code and it's not structural....

    If you say it's structural, do also write up girder size, footing, post/pier spacing, attachment, etc...?
    That's the reason I write up a supplemental support differently than an original design. Supplemental gets described and probably does not require repair or further evaluation. The op's picture looks like supplemental to me due to; wood column in the picture, the beam is solid timber rather than built up lumber, and the color is different than the rest of the framing. But if it is original design then it needs repair due to depth and probably location of the notch. An additional pier is the easiest solution but normally write it up for further evaluation by engineer to cma.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris McIntyre View Post
    Playing devil's advocate, saying it is over notched and needs repair may get the very phone call you are trying to avoid. When the homeowner calls a builder/engineer/inspector and says I was told this must be repaired because it doesn't meet code and it's not structural....

    If you say it's structural, do also write up girder size, footing, post/pier spacing, attachment, etc...?
    No. I don't need to get into all that if nothing else is defective or visible and footings in particular are not visible. The notching in the pic Marc posted clearly exceeds the level accepted by building practices. If somebody wants to call and dispute that, they are welcome to do so. That call will cost me nothing. Getting a call for not calling it out.......that will cost me something. I'll take the call about what I reported any day over the call about what I didn't report.

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    I report these..... It's not even so much of a question as to whether or not it will fail... it's more the guy coming behind me saying it IS wrong (which it is) and then my phone rings.
    This is also my approach.

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Old houses and old construction: When looking at something like an over notched floor joist, I look at the whole picture. Record and report it? Yes. Declare it a deficiency? Not unless there is some supporting evidence that there is structural deficiency to report. Most really old houses I inspect are fine up to when people started adding on and modifying. I'm not including WDO damage in that statement

    100+ year old houses were often built with old growth lumber. Fine grain, strong and tough that can easily take a beating without failure. And, there weren't any pneumatic nailers and 10d nails used where 16d were required.

    I see a lot of old construction that would never pass today's building codes. Is it a defect? Not in my mind unless there is something else saying there is a problem that can be directly related to the particular issue.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    I agree with Stuart. I will note it in the report and then state " if this is a concern, I recommend a licensed contractor evaluate and determine the appropriate repairs". This way its documented but its up to the client to take action.

    //Rick

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    I agree with Stuart. I will note it in the report and then state " if this is a concern, I recommend a licensed contractor evaluate and determine the appropriate repairs". This way its documented but its up to the client to take action.

    //Rick
    How is the little librarian, who has never owned anything more than a doll house, supposed to know if it should be a concern? That is our job, tell the client it is or isn't a concern and what to do about it!

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I'm with you Matt. All a buyer needs is to have the right/wrong person to come in, see the condition, preach fire and brimstone, scare the crap out of them, and say "your inspector should have caught this". That I don't need.
    Nick,
    Brother I agree 100%
    It's amazing how much of some of our reporting, subconsciously takes this into consideration. As much as you feel something is likely to be "okay", it must make it's way into the report. This is a phone call I dont want either. "He missed it" No thanks.

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    I have found that as I pile on the H.I. years I become less and less concerned about what someone else says. You need to have the confidence in your experience and education to say and write what you truly believe. Stuart's comments are well worth re-reading - they're right on the mark.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  18. #18

    Default Re: Too much notch?

    For me it is. Over a 1/4 goes on my report.


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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Constantine View Post
    For me it is. Over a 1/4 goes on my report.
    I'm with you, Andrew. Especially if it's in the tension zone of a load-carrying member subject to bending stresses (below the neutral axis and located in the middle two-thirds of the span).


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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by BridgeMan View Post
    I'm with you, Andrew. Especially if it's in the tension zone of a load-carrying member subject to bending stresses (below the neutral axis and located in the middle two-thirds of the span).
    The "middle two thirds"

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    The "middle two thirds"
    Yes, where the maximum positive bending moment exists, 1/3 of the total span on each side of dead center. For example, a 12' simple span has significant positive moment (tensile bottom flange stress forces) over approximately the center 8'. Absolute maximum at dead center, assuming uniform loading over the full length. Meaning that the moment becomes quite small in the 2' at each end, (12' minus 8' = 4', divided by 2 = 2'), and of course is zero at each end, assuming no cantilevers. Conversely, shear is maximum at each end, and diminishes to zero at the center of a simple span.


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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by BridgeMan View Post
    Yes, where the maximum positive bending moment exists, 1/3 of the total span on each side of dead center. For example, a 12' simple span has significant positive moment (tensile bottom flange stress forces) over approximately the center 8'. Absolute maximum at dead center, assuming uniform loading over the full length. Meaning that the moment becomes quite small in the 2' at each end, (12' minus 8' = 4', divided by 2 = 2'), and of course is zero at each end, assuming no cantilevers. Conversely, shear is maximum at each end, and diminishes to zero at the center of a simple span.
    Could you diagram the middle two thirds for me?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    I lack the capability of "diagramming." However, the middle 2/3 of any span is just that--2/3 of the total span length, located symmetrically in the center. Meaning 1/3 on either side of the centerline, contiguous with the centerline of the span.

    Or using the 12' span example--2' in from each end results in a total of 8' of positive bending moment area in the center portion of the span. It's simply where you don't want junk stuff at the very bottom of the member, lest it result in fall-down-go-boom. Not a good place to be.


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    Default Re: Too much notch?

    Quote Originally Posted by BridgeMan View Post
    I lack the capability of "diagramming." However, the middle 2/3 of any span is just that--2/3 of the total span length, located symmetrically in the center. Meaning 1/3 on either side of the centerline, contiguous with the centerline of the span.

    Or using the 12' span example--2' in from each end results in a total of 8' of positive bending moment area in the center portion of the span. It's simply where you don't want junk stuff at the very bottom of the member, lest it result in fall-down-go-boom. Not a good place to be.
    Thanks for clearing up the center two thirds, I couldn 't make it work in my head. Where did you get the requirement from? Codes call for no notches in the center third of a span. If the op 's picture is of 16"o.c. joists then the notch is only 10-12" from the end of the span.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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