I am working on a remodel project where the home owner wants to remove a column. The existing beam is (4) 16" LVL (although I don't see any bolts) that supports a roof ridge beam and a floor beam supporting a loft. If I remove the column the beam fails by 20% in deflection. However, if I add a 5th LVL ply the beam works. I was trained to never use more than four plies in a built up wood beam, but although I have looked multiple times I can't seem to find documentation on this requirement. It appears that it is some sort of rule of thumb at the very least because in Simpson's SDS literature and LVL literature they give fastening requirements for 2, 3 and 4 ply LVL built up beams. If I check the bolting for the 5 ply member, the bolts can transfer the required loads with every combination (1 LVL to 4 LVL and 2 LVL to 3 LVL). I can place extra bolts where the floor beam comes in to make sure the load is transferred to all 5 plies of the LVL. I can do this also where the stud pack is for the ridge beam. Can anyone tell me where the code does not allow more than 4 plies in a built up wood member? This would be a really simple retrofit if all the framer needs to do is add a 5th LVL ply to the existing beam and bolt them together.
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