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  1. #1
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    Jun 2018
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    Maryland
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    Default Steel beams, new construction, lack of support

    Long time lurker, first time poster. Not my first new house.
    New construction, framing just completed this week. The first picture is a small beam that spans a 12 foot opening for a sunroom. Both ends are just floating in the pocket. Beam bolted to framing above. The steel shims on one side fell out as I was walking in the sunroom above. The second picture is a larger beam in the middle of the house. Based on the concrete work before the slab was poured I expected a lally column to be holding up the end of the beam. Now it's just a 2x6 framed wall with OSB sandwiched between the top plate and the beam. Doesn't seem right. We have an inspection Tuesday and I'll be asking questions, but I expect to get soothing (potentially bs) answers from my builder. Assuming these are both incorrect, what am I in for with regards to corrections?
    Thanks!

    20190922_181812.jpg
    20190922_181648c.jpg

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Steel beams, new construction, lack of support

    What you are looking at is referred to be two different terms (possibly more): a) "structural air" - all you have to do is get the structural engineer to sign and seal the load bearing capacity and density of that "structural air"; or b) "sky hook" - all you need for that is the strsuctural engineer to but on his 3D glasses he bought out of a comic book so he can see the sky hook (hook hanging down from the sky) to sign and seal that the "sky hook" has sufficient embedment into the sky for the load capacity required with enough additional embedment for wind shear erosion and scour, and then get the FAA to provide a letter stating the "sky hook embedment" is not a hazard to avaiation (that latter letter is the harder one to get, some engineers seem to be willing to sign and seal almost anything as long as there is a check attached to it).

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Jun 2018
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Steel beams, new construction, lack of support

    It's going to have to be structural air. We're close enough to the municipal airport that the FAA wouldn't sign off on a sky hook.
    The more I look at my pictures, I'm beginning to think they're using an air biscuit. The steel shims that were used as forms until the biscuit cured, which is why they fell out. That's by design.

    I guess my bigger question was the appropriateness of a 2x6 wall and the osb layer. I thought the gap in the slab was to allow passage of the lally column to a footing below (which was poured when they poured the rest of the footings), so I was confused to see this wall built over the gap. The beer can may be there for stability, but I haven't found anybody who knows what purpose the can serves. It's empty.

    Last edited by James Pryor; 09-23-2019 at 05:07 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    Default Re: Steel beams, new construction, lack of support

    This might be a silly question, but... What is in the plans? The sunroom beam seems important enough to get a detail or section.

    Around here, structural air, air biscuit or embedded sky hook would be specified somewhere in the working documents. Wouldn't a core sample be necessary for structural air and air biscuit 7 day compression tests?

    But seriously folks, gaps between beams and pockets are not uncommon. If addressing a gap is not in some detail of the plans, it would be necessary to get the engineer to design something. What happened to "dry-packing"? Is that still allowed?

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  5. #5
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    Jun 2018
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Steel beams, new construction, lack of support

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    This might be a silly question, but... What is in the plans?
    I've asked for the drawings for that detail but haven't heard back yet. It's still Monday, so I'll be patient.

    Personally, I don't want to be around to see the results of a 7-day compression test of an air biscuit.


  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Steel beams, new construction, lack of support

    That formed opening in the slab likely was for a column to support the end of that beam, and for whatever reasons (unknown to us) the column was replaced with a load bearing wall.

    The key now, though, is that an isolated footing was likely places under that opening where the column was (past tense) planned on being, and that load bearing wall now needs a footing all the way under it, not just where the column was to be. If they had put a double bottom plate and a 6x6 or built up 2x6s where that column was to be, and the wood used was Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) or similar species, and the concrete opening was filled in BEFORE that wall was constructed (so as to serve as support for that structural wood column area of that wall), then the rest of that wall may not actually be 'load bearing' even though it is under the beam as the "load" would be (could be) only at that structural wood column (which is not there in the photo) where there is (presuming there is) a footing under it for the planned column.

    The empty can has already served it purpose. (1st purpose: held a cold one, or maybe it was warm? 2nd and current purpose: evidence of drinking on the job, just not evidence of whether it was cold or warm at the time.)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    Regarding the 3-D glasses mentioned:

    - Density of the air: the glasses are specifically made to display the density or air by showing the compression colors, 'clear' = no load bearing capacity; sky blue = minimal, if any, load bearing capacity; black = full compression and full load bearing capacity (FLBC*)

    - Distortion of the magnetic fields: the glasses are specifically made to distort the magnetic fields and allow one to not see what is not there

    - Dark: the glasses only work in total darkness, if there is any source of light, or where light can be seen**, within 1500 miles in any direction, then there is not total darkness and the glasses will not work

    Only available by sending $1,000.00 cash or a money order to me, all sales final, no returns, no refunds, no exchanges, lost during delivery is not our problem, any attempt to use** then where total darkness is not present, see above description of total darkness, destroys the ability of the glasses to work at all.

    *Full Load Bearing Capacity is unknown and variable depending on local conditions

    **Note: stars can be seen and are considered a source of light.

    ***Opening the packaging the glasses are packed in under conditions other than total darkness is considered a "use" as the glasses are exposed to other than total darkness.



    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Steel beams, new construction, lack of support

    Is there an issue with supporting a steel beam on a wood studwall? I've never seen it done before.
    I've always seen it supported by steel, concrete or masonry. I don't know of any code that says you can't do that, but I've never seen it done before.

    Edit: I just noticed the 'diamond' cutout in the slab below the end of the beam, that the 2x4 bottom plate spans over. Is a steel column going to be added in there, or is that an artifact that will be ignored?

    Last edited by richard mauser; 10-05-2019 at 07:07 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Maryland
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    1,084

    Default Re: Steel beams, new construction, lack of support

    In the second picture that has the steel beam, what is to the left out of the picture frame? How long is that beam and what and where are the other (if any) supporting points?

    John Dirks Jr - Arundel Home Inspection LLC
    Licensed Maryland Home Inspector

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Maryland
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    Default Re: Steel beams, new construction, lack of support

    Just to close out this thread...
    The builder wouldn't respond to my requests to review the engineer-approved drawings for these elements. They made some adjustments (beams now supported by proper shims, top plates now doubled), but rather than use a lally column they just filled in the diamond cutout in the slab. The load-bearing wall on the main level still wasn't in contact with the load it was intended to bear. On top of all this, the trade crews were urinating all over the basement. The builder agreed to cancel our contract and return my deposit. It's now someone else's problem, and I feel bad for them.


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