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  1. #1
    David Ward's Avatar
    David Ward Guest

    Default Large steel beams propped up by small bricks resting on large concrete pillars

    Hello all,

    This is my first post.

    Has anyone seen this type of beam support in a crawlspace?
    The house was built in 1968 and is very solid. All floor joists are dead level, but the client was a bit nervous about these large beams propped up on tiny bricks (resting on top of large concrete pillars).

    Comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    pillars.jpg

    pillars 2.jpg

    pillars 3.jpg

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
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    1,984

    Default Re: Large steel beams propped up by small bricks resting on large concrete pillars

    Welcome David, a few thoughts on those pics.
    - It is extremely doubtful that those I beams are from the 60's. Those look like more recent upgrades. Also look very heavy, maybe W30.
    - Bricks are brittle under compression. Over time those bricks could/will crack/crumble and then of course we know what happens.
    - Those are unlikely to be concrete pillars. From what I'm seeing those are probably brick or block pillars that have been parged to look like concrete. Probably in order to repair the age typical erosion. Notice, from what I can tell, brush lines along the pillars? Typical of parging where the bricky took a brush to smooth out and clean up the parging. Also it would be fairly hard to achieve that level of irregularity in concrete pillars without actually trying.
    - There should be a mending plate between the two I beam sections to tie them together.
    - There doesn't look to be any real attachment of the I beams to the joists or obviously the pillars, potential side movement could also be an issue. Especially when the bricks start to crumble.
    Overall it looks like a basic, incomplete repair in order to be able to sell the place. A checkbox dusch would have easily skimmed over this.
    My guess is the pillars are block or brick and the old wood midspan beams rotted out so new I beams were installed. I would call out the bricks as improper support and call for replacement. I would also note in the report that the pillars are unlikely to be concrete and note what I mentioned.
    Hope that helps.

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  3. #3
    David Ward's Avatar
    David Ward Guest

    Default Re: Large steel beams propped up by small bricks resting on large concrete pillars

    Thanks Markus

    I appreciate your insight on this.

    I did recommend to the client that a structural engineer should come out to evaluate this as it just didn't look right to me.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: Large steel beams propped up by small bricks resting on large concrete pillars

    David,

    1) Did you observe / probe for footings below those piers?

    2) If that IS parged block, and you cannot determine the orientation of the CMUs, given the general quality of the work we CAN see, I would be concerned that blocks might have been installed "on their sides", in which case the strength of the piers would be a concern.

    3) I would recommend a SE on that one without hesitation, and I know for certain that the one I work with most frequently would require that those piers' footings and construction be investigated.

    And depending on what was found, repair could involve at LOT more than the support immediately below the beams - possible major expense there for your client - or for you, if you do not cover yourself with a strong recommendation for further investigation.

    (I grabbed the pics below off the net somewhere, and don't know the source).

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    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 04-01-2011 at 10:41 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  5. #5
    David Ward's Avatar
    David Ward Guest

    Default Re: Large steel beams propped up by small bricks resting on large concrete pillars

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for the additional information.

    I was unable to view or probe for footings underneath the pillars due to a lot of newer concrete spread all along the floor of the crawlspace which made me even more suspicious.

    I am awaiting a call back from the client now and will certainly voice both yours and Markus' opinions on this matter and insist on an SE inspection
    before they even think about closing the deal!

    Thanks again to you and Markus


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