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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Ohio
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    1

    Default Foundation Wall Beam Pocket Concerns

    I'm in the framing stage of building a new house. I have a few concerns with how the wood support beam is placed inside the pockets of the foundation.

    First, is it normal to have chunks of the foundation wall knocked away when placing the beam in the pockets? As shown in the attached photos, there appears to have been enough room to fit the beam and add shims, but the entire corners are knocked away, which lead them to using several more shims than I would have thought. Another question is how many shims are "too many"? I understand the wood needs to be shimmed to not only level but also to keep it off the concrete foundation for rot purposes, but the number of shims on both ends seems excessive. My last concern is the use of some rusty pieces of random metal that they used when they ran out of shims. I'm told this is temporary, but I'm not even confident they will replace them.

    I brought up all of these concerns to my construction manager, but he assured me it all sounded normal. He said he talked to the lead framer about fixing the shims (both replacing the rusty metal and straightening them up) before they're done with framing next week. I'm not a structural engineer, but there's a lot here that doesn't feel or look right to me. I'd appreciate if anyone could either tell me I'm being over-concerned or if there's a need to be upset.




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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,891

    Default Re: Foundation Wall Beam Pocket Concerns

    It looks like someone (foundation wall workers) formed the correct size pocket for that size (depth) beam ... then someone else (superintendent?) came along and said 'No, that is supposed to be for a larger beam, make that pocket deeper' ... so it was done ... and then the beam was placed and the framers likely thought to themselves something like 'Stupid Superintendent, I told him that this was the size of the beam we were going to be using, what an idiot, doesn't even know what's going on, now we have to add shims to get it back to where it was supposed to be '.

    "I brought up all of these concerns to my construction manager, but he assured me it all sounded normal." - he may have been the one who said to chip it out.

    ... and the saga will continue next week ... same channel, same station, same house.

    Just a guess as to what happened.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,744

    Default Re: Foundation Wall Beam Pocket Concerns

    Quote Originally Posted by Darin Heavilin View Post
    I'm in the framing stage of building a new house. I have a few concerns with how the wood support beam is placed inside the pockets of the foundation.

    First, is it normal to have chunks of the foundation wall knocked away when placing the beam in the pockets? As shown in the attached photos, there appears to have been enough room to fit the beam and add shims, but the entire corners are knocked away, which lead them to using several more shims than I would have thought. Another question is how many shims are "too many"? I understand the wood needs to be shimmed to not only level but also to keep it off the concrete foundation for rot purposes, but the number of shims on both ends seems excessive. My last concern is the use of some rusty pieces of random metal that they used when they ran out of shims. I'm told this is temporary, but I'm not even confident they will replace them.

    I brought up all of these concerns to my construction manager, but he assured me it all sounded normal. He said he talked to the lead framer about fixing the shims (both replacing the rusty metal and straightening them up) before they're done with framing next week. I'm not a structural engineer, but there's a lot here that doesn't feel or look right to me. I'd appreciate if anyone could either tell me I'm being over-concerned or if there's a need to be upset.
    Looks weird to me too. What about writing a letter to the engineer of record? Get his approval on it.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,411

    Default Re: Foundation Wall Beam Pocket Concerns

    Even if the beam pocket was acceptable, that shim stack is laughable.
    Certainly room for improvement.

    Dom.


  5. #5

    Default Re: Foundation Wall Beam Pocket Concerns

    The beam pocket while poor workmanship can be acceptable but the ridiculous stack of shims (asw Dom stated) are not.

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
    http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/
    http://carolinahomeinspections.com/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    California
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Foundation Wall Beam Pocket Concerns

    "I'd appreciate if anyone could either tell me I'm being over-concerned or if there's a need to be upset."

    I can't speak for Ohio but that ain't kosher in California. I would think that code elsewhere would require a positive connection to the foundation for the 4-4x12 (assuming 12) girder.

    Something similar to this is how I've approached this situation in the past (though there are a half-dozen ways to do it): https://www.strongtie.com/girderhang...wcc/p/glb.hglb

    This connection has to be on the plans. If not, your Architect and/or Engineer have more than dropped the ball. Any half-assed concrete sub and framer would've caught it.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    MONTREAL QUEBEC-CANADA
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    1,941

    Default Re: Foundation Wall Beam Pocket Concerns

    The building appears to have ungone one renovation prior this that affect beam/girder level. Hence forth, the rusted shims.

    girder.JPG

    Just my opinion, that is not a pocket. It is a shelf in a stem wall. A pocket typically/usually have 4 sides.

    Personally, the metal shims are fine, the rusted/corroded shims should have been replaced, but require packaging, be affixed/fasten together, and the build up beam/build up girder braced from lateral movement on the shelf. Braced on 2 sides from seismic movement.

    It would have been just as easy to pour concrete, in a form, or attach an angle iron on the stem wall to the desired height/level.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,891

    Default Re: Foundation Wall Beam Pocket Concerns

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    Just my opinion, that is not a pocket. It is a shelf in a stem wall. A pocket typically/usually have 4 sides.
    4 sides?

    That would be to set a post into.

    A pocket, in that use, typically had 2 sides, 1 bottom bearing surface, and 1 end. If you call the 'end a 'side', then a pocket would typically have 3 sides. The beam/joist goes into the pocket where the 4th 'side' would have been but was left open.

    And a shelf typically has no sides.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, FL
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Foundation Wall Beam Pocket Concerns

    What about using a bigger beam to fill the void; it would be much stronger, perhaps that's what was called for?


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
    Posts
    1,426

    Default Re: Foundation Wall Beam Pocket Concerns

    Properly packed and braced, this will work, but I agree with making sure that the design engineer signs off on it. The wet end should be addressed to ensure that no water continues draining there. And the shims are poorly assembled and I would require them to be better installed and replace the rusted ones. If the rust continues, two things happen, at first the rust swells and lifts the beam, and then the rusted shims loose strength and fail.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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