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Framing Analysis for Complete Morons?

Framing Analysis for Complete Morons?

Framing Analysis for Complete Morons?

(OP)
We live in Santa Cruz, CA and want to replace part of an interior bearing wall with a beam supported by posts. Our contractor (who is NOT a structural engineer) says a 4x8 beam and 4x4 posts every 6' or so should be fine (there is nothing above it except the roof). The planning department wants "engineering numbers" though - and the half-dozen or so S.E.s I contacted either don't do residential work or are busy for the next two months!

Does anyone know of an on-line service (or would any of you be interested in providing one) for this kind of work? It seems to me that to a practicing engineer, this would be a relatively simple job. I've tried some of the demo software mentioned here, but I can't even figure out what the various parameters are :( I'm also curious what kind of rates I can expect to be charged for this analysis, and what kind of information one would need the contractor to supply (materials types, construction techniques, etc) to complete the analysis?

Thanks,

-Kate Adams

RE: Framing Analysis for Complete Morons?

Kate,

I'm not sure how it works in the US but I think each state needs an engineer to be registered in that state. They will probably also require professional indemnity insurance cover. Your planning department should be able to tell you the requirements. I would love to help you from Botswana but I'm not sure the global village has got that small yet! Have you tried a web search for SEs in your state. Large firms are often not interested in that type of work but their employees may often be willing. We used to call them PJs (private jobs). So engineers on this forum help her out.

Carl Bauer

RE: Framing Analysis for Complete Morons?

(OP)
Thank you! This helped, and in case others are interested here's what I did and learned:

I went to yellowpages.com and found someone who was able to refer another person for residential work. After I described the job to him, he told me it was probably within the scope of "Conventional Light Framing" and that I should get a copy of the 1997 Residential Building Code put out by the International Conference of Building Officials (www.icbo.org). This is a subset of the Uniform Building Code (UBC) and can be ordered online, or found at some bookstores or in the reference section of a library. The same material is covered in Chapter 24, Section IV of the UBC.

The gentleman also told me I probably would not need an engineer's drawings if I could convince the planning dept. that this fell under the category of conventional light framing and could explain in detail what we were going to do and how we were going to do it in accordance with the guidelines in the document. This would save me his fee, which is 120$/hr, and the wait of six weeks which seems typical out here.

The major area of concern in our project, he said, would probably be seismic stability (we're in the highest-risk earthquake area out here) and also what's below the wall we want to knock down, if it's not on the foundation (our wall is on the second floor). He encouraged us to get all the information we can - draw elevations, take pictures, etc. - and then give it another try with the planning dept.

He also said that for a span of only 14 feet, an 4x8 supported by four 4x4 posts was probably more than sufficient provided everything is put together properly. And reading the RBC would also help us later to make sure the contractor was doing that part correctly

I haven't gotten the book yet but I certainly feel much encouraged. Thank you, carlbauer, for pointing me in the right direction!

-Kate

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