If you don't want to use an engineer, bone up on you statics, soils
mechanics, and properties of materials, and do the calculations yourself.
Remember to include your calculations with your building permit
Would you really rather take advice from unknown persons on an internet
newsgroup who may or may not be qualified in anything, based on partial
information, and risk large sums of money, not to mention life and limb, in
order to save a few hundred dollars?
I know people do this sort of thing all the time. You only hear about it
when something fails, or when they try to sue someone who, they say, should
have stopped them.
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