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Test24 (Specifier/Regulator) (OP)
22 Jan 06 19:56
I bought a new house in FL, newly built, had it inspected and noticed a truss that was altered beneath a master bathtub to give way for the drain pipe. Is this action within the residential building code of FL, if not how should this be fix and what documentation should I ask from the builder to assure that they repaired/modified or fixed the alteration? Help please.
Helpful Member!  boo1 (Mechanical)
22 Jan 06 21:36
Sounds like you are discribing a floor joist.  Typically fabricated residential joists are 2x4 SYP open web design in Florida.  What is the joist design, and the stage of construction?

Typically trusses and fabricated joists in Florida are engineered.  The company that provided them have provided a Profesional Engineered (PE) design.  Very few modifications are permitted to the joist.  If modifications are made the builder is required to obtain an engineered design (usually from the joist fabricator).  Both the joist engineering documentation, and Florida law require it.  Consider talking to the builder as your contract is with him (he contacts the joist shop for the allowable redesign).

Hope it helps, Cheers
Boo1
Ron (Structural)
23 Jan 06 19:29
It depends on how it was altered as to whether or not it is a structural issue.  As boo1 said, ask the GC for the documentation on the floor truss modification from the design engineer.  If none was obtained, that's a flag.  Require the GC to get the design engineer to check it and make a decision....either OK as is or provide fix.  Either way a document must be obtained from the engineer.  If the GC balks, tell him you want the documentation from the local building inspector (or could have been a private provider inspector in Florida) that it was accepted or you will notify the local building official of the issue.  

Test24 (Specifier/Regulator) (OP)
24 Jan 06 1:15
thanks ron and boo1,

Actually I got a copy of the truss repair info from the county building inspector. However I'm still wanting to have a letter that states that it was fixed according to code -(do you think i can get this?).

When the county inspector did the framing he overlooked at this issue. And then when I went there for the initial walk thru I asked the builder if this issue was taken care of, he told me that everything that needs to be done has been done. I asked for the documentation about the engineer's approval and he can't provide it. This prompted me to make a follow up with the county inspector. The inspector then told me that he went back there (unit) and saw the builder ripped the ceiling and modified the alteration based from the PE's recommendation. I'm doubtful with this one, since they lied to me before, what do you think will be the best approach for this? Right now I'm just asking for a certification letter that they fixed and repaired the truss issue. Who else should I notify aside from the county inspector?
One more, I called the Florida Building Commission and asked them about this, and they told me that I've the right to ask for it.
afro2      
Ron (Structural)
24 Jan 06 4:54
Test24...certainly you have the right and the building official should be asking for the same "sign-off" from the engineer.  

You need a letter from the engineer stating the problem, giving the fix, and then stating that the fix was done in accordance with his recommendations.  Get the GC to provide this and if he doesn't, complain to the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB).  The have a complaint phone line.  
Here's their web site....
http://www.myflorida.com/dbpr/pro/cilb/cilb_index.shtml
mshimko (Materials)
24 Jan 06 11:41
You may need to go higher than the county inspector's office.

I suspect the inspector was lax,  and now you're essentially putting the inspector and his office on report, as well as the general contractor (I'm also a little suspecious of the overly "cozy" relation between many inspectors and contractors,  but that's just me).

Can you get any documentation from the truss manufacturer/designer,  that will support your claim that the truss was not properly repaired?

Also, assumeing the house is mortgaged,  consider going to the mortgage company.  They have an obvious financial stake in your residence and may provide some assistance.

Otherwise,  the last resort is retain an attorney and find out who you need to take to court (which may be tricky because you may end up opposing the county inspector's office).



Test24 (Specifier/Regulator) (OP)
24 Jan 06 12:56
ron , mshimko

the county inspector admitted that he probably overlooked at this issue. he apologized and recognized his error. i sent a letter to the county building department and made them aware of this issues and told them not to issue any CO until this matter has been resolved. i feel that both the GC and county inspector had their share, i spoke w/ the builder (agent) mid december and asked her if the truss issue has been resolved and she said yes, negligence is what they did at 1st. If I didn't push for this, they will not do anything about it. Is the contract null and void if they didn't follow the state law? is the residential building code a law that needs to be followed?
kxa (Structural)
24 Jan 06 15:26
First, any alteration should have been done in full complisnce with the local code or the adopted version of the IBC. Second, I believe that the code becomes the law only if it were adopted by that state.
FSS (Structural)
24 Jan 06 17:14
Can you better describe the fix?  The type of damage described happens fairly often (gotta love them plumbers)and can be readily fixed.  In fact, most truss companies have "standard" repairs they send out in these cases.  I am not necessarily trying to say what you have is a non-issue, but it just may not be that big of a deal.
houseguy (Structural)
24 Jan 06 17:41
Regarding the description of the "fix", first a description of the damage would be helpful.
It sounds like the top chord was cut or notched. That reduces the size of the member. It may or may not be overstressed as a result. In either event, it will be important that a qualified engineer has examined the extent of the damage, evaluated the loading on the truss and the forces in the members and determined what if any reinforcements are needed.
Key descriptions are needed for the amount of original material that was cut away (how big is the notch ) and where the notch is located. Is anything cut out from any of the web members? what about the connection plates? (BTW what kind of truss is it? what are webs made from?)
If not too much material was removed, it might be fine. Some truss manufacturers don't want to have anything to do with the repair if the problem was not caused by them directly. In this case with a plumber having caused the damage, the builder might not be able to get the truss manufacturer to give his standard repair but a qualified engineer should have provided a document that indicates clearly the amount of damage and the required amount of reinforcament and how it is to be installed.
I agree that now is the time to get this information.
Test24 (Specifier/Regulator) (OP)
25 Jan 06 1:19
yup, it's a plumber special. truss is under the master bath (2nd flr) a piece was notched to give way for the drain pipe. the builder is refusing to issue a letter that certifies a fix/repair was done. there was an engineer recommendation on how to fix the truss however no assurance that it was done base from his recommendation.

if this is not a big issue, how come the GC is refusing to issue any certification or any letter that it was done w/in the code or in accord the engineer's recommendation?

in florida, is the building code a law?  2thumbsup
boo1 (Mechanical)
25 Jan 06 10:57
The Florida law specifies the Florida Building Code as the building requirement.  The builder does not need to issue you a letter of compiance, he just needs to do the repair.  This isssue does not void your contract.  

Under Florida law the building department does not share the liability. It is the builders responsibility.    Request to see the engineering repair plan, check it against the as-built conditions.  If you dont have the expertience to do the inspection higher an engineer, consider having the building official there.  If the builder refuses, then legal councel should be obtained.

This type of repair is common, plumbers are know to be wood butchers. Typically I have just added a member(s) (2-2x12 or doubled the joist) on the side (s) on the repair area extending from 4 ft on each side to the full length depending on the repair.  

****Warning****
Dont pi-- off the building department, you want them on your side.  Ask the building inspector for help and advice, they love it!  Consider not the alienating builder, this is not a big deal.  Be friendly but firm, state the Florida requirements (engineered repair) and your expectations (repair made to a engineered repair plan) and thats all, try to keep emotions out.

Hope thats helpfull
Cheers
Boo1

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