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Pole Building Columns

Pole Building Columns

Pole Building Columns

I have a project that has been under construction.  The contractor installed regular DF#2 posts embedded in the concrete instead of Pressure-treated.  However, he did coat all the bases of the posts with a moisture protection. The beams, trusses and roof sheathing are now on and the problem was recently discovered. The owner wants me to provide the jurisdiction with a letter approving the moisture protection instead of the required pressure treated members as indicated on the plans. I could also specify a concrete moisture coating to cover not only the pole footing but the bottom 6" or so of the wood post. What is your point of view and suggested plan of action?

Ryan Erick Broomé, S.E., P.E.

RE: Pole Building Columns

With Doug-Fir?  No way Jose...

Should have been PT Hem-Fir or some other species that would accept pressure treating.

This snafoo, and after the fact at that (as usual), is solely the contractor's responsibility.  His neck is in the noose here.  It is not your responsibility to put yours there instead.
I just ran into a problem where the excavating contractor took it upon himself to completely redesign a bioswale and expect me to approve it.  Sorry, but that is not the way it works.  He is having to reinstall the approved bioswale system at his expense.  It's a tough lesson for some to learn, but some do need to learn that they are not engineers.  We are.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering


RE: Pole Building Columns

Tell the owner that the contractor needs to apply for a valence for his method of lumber treatment with the building department. After he has gotten the building department approval for his method you can check (for any reductions required for his method) if the lumber meets it and provide the calculations as to whether the lumber will work or not. If he can not get the building department approval for his method of treatment or if the lumber does not work for his method of treatment than he will need to replace the poles.  

Garth Dreger PE - AZ Phoenix area
As EOR's we should take the responsibility to design our structures to support the components we allow in our design per that industry standards.

RE: Pole Building Columns

Some further thoughts here.

1.  You should be paid for your time here as the contractor did not consult with you first, and this is an unauthorized design change by the contractor to save either him or the owner money.  You need your share of their savings.

2.  In that the owner wants a leeter of approval from you, snd if the local jurisdiction approves the plan subject to your approval, then the owner FIRST needs to provide you, in writing,  a hold harmless agreement for any damage to the structure, adjacent property, or personnel due to the change.  Otherwise, no deal.  You are too exposed in my opinion as eventually the posts will rot and guess who the owner will sue.   

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering


RE: Pole Building Columns

M^2 is right.

I would accept no responsibility for what was done.

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