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wannabe
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seems like every year our structural beams are getting bigger and bigger with more LVLs...Ridges and Hips etc...

Is it reasonable to question the engineer's specs?

We never go over the head of our engineers, but sometimes we wonder if all is necessary. A common quote, "wow, you could park a tank on that roof!"

I understand there's more involved than I know, and we depend on the engineering stamp for our permits etc...but, I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way?
 

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Contractor of the Month
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Maby the engineers or code writers own shares in companies that make LVLs.:shifty:
 

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wannabe
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I would go overkill if my career depended on the performance of the product!

That's exactly how we figure it! If in doubt, build bigger....

Kinda like an MD prescribing pills and ordering x-rays when a little rest and green tea is all that's needed.

I don't question the Doc either, but I wonder sometimes....
 

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I did a bunch of hangers for small aircraft about 20 years ago. They were a t-steel structure with all the support comming from pads in the center of the buildings and our engineering called for 8'x8'x6' pads. There was another gc across the runway doing the exact same, (kit), structure with pads of
3'x3'x2'. 20 years later both sides of the runway look structurally good.
 

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Seems like every year our structural beams are getting bigger and bigger with more LVLs...Ridges and Hips etc...

Is it reasonable to question the engineer's specs?

We never go over the head of our engineers, but sometimes we wonder if all is necessary. A common quote, "wow, you could park a tank on that roof!"

I understand there's more involved than I know, and we depend on the engineering stamp for our permits etc...but, I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way?
I'm always framing from plans drawn by an Architect. Sometimes and Engineer gets involved. However, I've question plans many times before as far as "overbuilding". I frame a house years ago with a simple 5/12 hip roof with 2x8 rafters and(1) 2x10 hip. Got plans for the same exact house, same size same rafters. They only thing different was that they spec'd (2) 1-3/4 x 11-7/8" lvl's for the hips.

I called and question it and the Archy said that's what he wanted. I told him that I framed many other houses that were the exact same using a single 2x hip and that was the reason why I questioned what he spec'd. I thought maybe he made a mistake. He told me that he didn't care what the other houses had spec'd and he wanted what he spec'd. I said no problem.

I totally disagreed with him because of every single house I've framed like that over a 20 year period NEVER had lvl's spec'd. Even after that house, still no lvl's.
 

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wannabe
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, sometimes when I hang trim, I will put in a extra nail or two...is that called overbuilding...:jester:
If it was costing $10 a foot, you might wonder a little!
 

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there was a show on science channel the other day talking about structures and they had the opposite idea. They said that bigger is not better. They said reason being is the extra material has an opposite affect and can make a building weaker because of the extra load it has to carry. They try and make structures as light as possible but still be upto the job they were designed to do. They said this keeps cost down and build time down also.
 

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Finish Carpenter
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If it was costing $10 a foot, you might wonder a little!
If it was 10 a foot, I might have a tendency to drive a much lesser amount of fastners...is that underbuilding? :eek::jester:


there was a show on science channel the other day talking about structures and they had the opposite idea. They said that bigger is not better. They said reason being is the extra material has an opposite affect and can make a building weaker because of the extra load it has to carry. They try and make structures as light as possible but still be upto the job they were designed to do. They said this keeps cost down and build time down also.
Didn't anyone else do the balsa wood bridges in middle school shop class? Build a bridge and test the load it carries...
 

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design build
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I design houses from the limits placed by the IRC code book. If it gets beyond that, I have an engineer specify it. Most of the engineers I have used say the lumber ratings get continuously down graded on how far they can span. I guess old growth lumber was better. I would think and lvl would be the same though.
 

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wannabe
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If it was 10 a foot, I might have a tendency to drive a much lesser amount of fastners...is that underbuilding? :eek::jester:


I have no idea!...i'd have to check with my engineer.:thumbsup:

Are you confident enough that you may know what is appropriate according to your experience?
 

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"Pro"
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I've seen plenty of decks and various other things around her being way overbuilt. Things are supposed to be a designed with a balance of safety and cost efficiency. If just the safety aspect is taken into account then we really wouldn't need engineers because we could just frame everything with 2x12's and LVL's and would never have any problems with most structures failing (As long as everything was installed properly).

Everyone one who is pushing the whole "green movement" needs to either look at the code book (suprising how much some things are over-built due to traditional methods which didn't necessarily take efficiency into account), or the same applys to engineers who go a little overkill with their Factor of Safety. Things can be more than safe structurally without going overkill

Sorry if it sounds like I'm hijacking the thread with the whole green movement thing but that's just what I think of when I see something over-designed/built.
 

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Pro
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I never had second thoughts about questioning the engineer on structural items when I was framing. I always tried to do it through the builder since he was paying the freight. On one house the engineer removed so many laminated beams that the builder saved $6,800 on his roof framing material. In another area on the same house I questioned something I thought was under built and we ended up putting a larger p-lam in.

Just because they have the title and a degree does not mean they don't make mistakes just like the rest of us.

Bill
 

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In another area on the same house I questioned something I thought was under built and we ended up putting a larger p-lam in.

Just because they have the title and a degree does not mean they don't make mistakes just like the rest of us.
I will always do that when comparing something to what I've framed before. I couldn't care less if I hurt their feelings either. They are human and make mistakes. As a framer for me it is my job to question something that doesn't look right. I'm useless if I didn't
 

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Pro
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I will always do that when comparing something to what I've framed before. I couldn't care less if I hurt their feelings either. They are human and make mistakes. As a framer for me it is my job to question something that doesn't look right. I'm useless if I didn't
Congrats on post 1k Joe!
 

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The Deck Guy
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I see decks built ALL THE TIME from 20-25 years ago that wouldn't pass inspection now and that seem to DEFY gravity from their looks be solid as rocks.

Let's see rotted steel lally columns. 6 foot unsupported cantilevered landings, beams just sitting on top of 4x4s, 6" deep "footings"

In five minutes I have to leave to present a proposal for an alleged reskin that just must be rebuilt from scratch because it's failing so bad. These people are going to freak when they see the number I show them because I know they'll say "there's nothing wrong with the old deck, why do you have to rebuild it."
 

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I'm always framing from plans drawn by an Architect. Sometimes and Engineer gets involved. However, I've question plans many times before as far as "overbuilding". I frame a house years ago with a simple 5/12 hip roof with 2x8 rafters and(1) 2x10 hip. Got plans for the same exact house, same size same rafters. They only thing different was that they spec'd (2) 1-3/4 x 11-7/8" lvl's for the hips.

I called and question it and the Archy said that's what he wanted. I told him that I framed many other houses that were the exact same using a single 2x hip and that was the reason why I questioned what he spec'd. I thought maybe he made a mistake. He told me that he didn't care what the other houses had spec'd and he wanted what he spec'd. I said no problem.

I totally disagreed with him because of every single house I've framed like that over a 20 year period NEVER had lvl's spec'd. Even after that house, still no lvl's.
I have seen this as well...and unless I have an overall budget concern, I will not raise the issue. I see this more in foundation specs then in roof framing, but it does come up.
 

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I have seen this as well...and unless I have an overall budget concern, I will not raise the issue.
Why wouldn't you raise the issue if you think that a beam is undersized regardless of the budget? What happens if you didn't raise the issue and the beam was undersized and started sagging and it had to be ripped out or added to before/after the project is done?
 

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No Joe, I was inferring that if i was comfortable with the material, like the lvl's in place of 2x's, then I would not take exception to it.

As a matter of fact, in our trusses we use now, I typically ask for lvl's on attic and living space box outs.
 
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