If the beam is not damaged, there's no reason to replace it. They just have to
come up with a reasonable way to correct the loading.
Get another engineer in there and forget the 2x4 patches. Call in the lawyers,
too, these builders shouldn't get away with that kind of crap construction.
They should have caught the problem long before the house was finished.
Everyone seems to be concerned with replacing the beam, but not fixing
the root problem. It seems the house would have to be jacked up off the
foundation to do this? Is the framing somehow offset from the beams?
How does one fix that without repositioning the beams somehow?
I would vote for a new beam if possible. Why? if the house is ever sold,
any defect would have to be disclosed or a possible lawsuit could
happen. Would you want to buy the house if it had a slightly twisted
beam? Even if it was fixed? Kind of like buying a wreck repaired car
with a bent frame. Its worth a LOT less.
Now, if this was a new subdivision, my question would be are all his
neighbors houses the same way? That's a big can of worms. If they are
and you open it, the builder might go out of business and the homeowner
left holding the bag.
I have seen and repaired problems like what you have described. The
problem is that the beam does not have adequate lateral support.
What is going on at the posts supporting the beam? They should be out
of plumb. One easy fix I have used is to have a steel fab shop make up
Angle Iron wide enough to accommodate a bolt and washer that will
straddle the posts. Cut the angle iron 24" long (or longer depending
on the depth of the beam) and drill 4 holes for 3/4" threaded rod; one
pair of holes go near one end (what will be the bottom end) and the
other pair of holes go 6" to 12" from the other end (again, this
dimension will increase with a deep beam). You will also need 3/4"
threaded rod cut to length and 8 sets of washers and nuts.
Place the angle iron back-to-back with the post sandwiched in between
with the top bolts snug under the bottom of the beam. The angle iron
will extend up both sides of the beam. (You will need to place a shim
of some sort between the end of the angle iron and the flange of the
beam on one side of the beam). Now start tightening up the nuts on the
threaded rods (alternating between them like you do tightening lug
nuts on a car) and the beam will slowly be pulled back into place.
Once you get the beam back into position you will need to install
lateral bracing to prevent the problem from recurring.
Not sure what your original engineer was thinking but they sound like they
were working in a box--trying to patch something that should be rebuilt for
the sake of ecomomics. My wife (structural engineer) took a look at your
post and indicated that a good engineer with the proper resources at hand
(such as a construction company under the duress of a persistent lawyer)
should be able to facilitate the correction of your problem in no time.
The beam may or may not need to come out, but this is not for you to worry
about. Get an attorney to make it his problem.
I have 5 Wide-flange steel beams in my home. For the longer ones, 53
feet, I specified plates that are welded to the flanges (top and bottom)
and the web every 5 feet to prevent twisting. To not do this is
irresponsible. Whoever designed the structure and signed off on it is
liable if they are licensed to practice engineering or architecture. If
they aren't licensed they should not have done the design and should be
pursed for practicing without a license.
I'm also concerned that you could see this because in my opinion all
steel should be wrapped (preferably two layers) with a fire retarding
material like gypsum board or concrete. To not do this means that if
you have a fire no firefighter that is aware of your home's construction
will do much more than address it from afar.
Steve Thomas wrote:
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