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jeanjess
Adding support to steel jack

While doing our basement renovation, my husband asked our contractor to move a solid steel column about 4 feet to create more space when entering in the basement area. The contractor sawed it off and put a screw jack in the new location. The new location is under a newly added steel beam (that replaced a damaged wood beam.) I had since found out that this is not supposed to be a permanent support and that the old location was a certain distance from the middle column before it for a reason. It was about 8 feet away from the middle column. Now there is 13 feet between columns. I called over a structural engineer who gave me a high cost to put back the column. But he offered an alternative which was to add more support to the screw jack to spread the load with 2x8 wood doubled up on each side. Total we put 6 of these around the steel jack as shown below (below shows only 2 sides but there was one more side added.

This is shown below.

https://pix.sfly.com/gtH6xt

I since went on my merry way. No issues but 6 months after the extra wood, I'm wondering if I should get a second opinion. It's been 2 years since the steel jack went up.

I have 2 issues - one the distance between column and steel jack and whether the wood planks is supporting the screwjack.
Jess

A. Spruce
Re: Adding support to steel jack

If you hired a structural engineer and he gave you stamped plans to correct the issue, or at least a verbal opinion and rectification plan, and you followed those to the letter, then you have nothing to worry about.

If you did not follow the advice of the engineer, then you might want to have it looked at again.

dj1
Re: Adding support to steel jack

Be certain to keep the engineer's recommendation in writing (a dated and signed letter with the engineer's info will do). If you follow his recommendation, you are probably OK.

Anytime you make a structural change like this one, it's important to have such a letter. It's something important to have when and if you sell the house.

jeanjess
Re: Adding support to steel jack
dj1 wrote:

Be certain to keep the engineer's recommendation in writing (a dated and signed letter with the engineer's info will do). If you follow his recommendation, you are probably OK.

Anytime you make a structural change like this one, it's important to have such a letter. It's something important to have when and if you sell the house.

Ugh. I had the option to spend $500 more to get it stamped and I went the cheap route and said no. I'll see if I can get something signed off.

jeanjess
Re: Adding support to steel jack
A. Spruce wrote:

If you hired a structural engineer and he gave you stamped plans to correct the issue, or at least a verbal opinion and rectification plan, and you followed those to the letter, then you have nothing to worry about.

If you did not follow the advice of the engineer, then you might want to have it looked at again.

I did follow the advice to a tee and he came back to check the work.

A. Spruce
Re: Adding support to steel jack
jeanjess wrote:

Ugh. I had the option to spend $500 more to get it stamped and I went the cheap route and said no. I'll see if I can get something signed off.

jeanjess wrote:

I did follow the advice to a tee and he came back to check the work.

If this is the case, then he won't likely have a problem putting something in writing after the fact, and all you'll have to do is pony up a little bit of money for a huge piece of mind. If you've got stamped plans from an engineer, then the work cannot be called into question if that plan was followed. Well, that's not exactly true, though, it will be far less likely that the work will be questioned with the stamp in hand.

The worst he will say is no, but you'll still have your plans/specs in hand at time of resale when such things would be called into question. They likely have the engineer's name and number on them, that alone is going to carry a lot of weight in your favor, to refute the claims of future inspectors and such, regardless of an actual engineer's stamp.

jeanjess
Re: Adding support to steel jack

I saw this post that almost describes my situation: http://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/81097/installing-permanent-support-column-in-the-basement

It seems that these temp columns should not be used at all. Would anyone know the process to add a steel post back?

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: Adding support to steel jack

What is supporting the new post? If it is only the slab, that is not good enough; it has to have a proper footer. I can't believe the SE did not point that out.
Casey

jeanjess
Re: Adding support to steel jack

A little more info. This new post in the picture is under a newly installed steel beam which intersects with a wood beam. I think it's called an I beam or something. Before the steel beam was replaced 2 years ago, there were two wood beams held up by a wet bar area that we took out. Since there was never a steel post there, I think what I have is fine to support that steel and wood beam intersection if I add back my old post in the old location.

In adding back the old solid post, (dug into the concrete of the floor), is this a long job?

I feel the structural engineer misled me. It may be fine but if it's not to code, I can't accept that. i spoke the engineer today and I don't get a good feeling. He wasn't willing to come back.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Adding support to steel jack

I won't comment directly on structural issues of this nature without being there in person to assess everything. but I can offer this- If you did as the engineer said exactly then you are OK. If any details weren't adhered to exactly as they said you're not OK. If everything seems solid still and nothing indicates sagging or movement then you are probably OK but you'll want to keep a watch on things to be sure that stays the same from now on.

On selling the house after this alteration you're better off with a signed engineer's drawing and approved after-work inspection but in most places you are only required to disclose problems you know of on a sale so if there are no problems and no questions asked about it then it becomes the buyer's problem. These laws vary locally quite a lot so you might do well to get that answer from a Real-Estate Lawyer. Were it me and there was no requirement ofr disclosure I'd say nothing and let it go- after all you monitored it and it wasn't a problem so it shouldn't become one later either. But if I were worried about it, I'd add a screw-post mid-span prior to selling and say that a contractor recommended that a best practice but didn't think it totally necessary. If the buyer removes the screw-post it becomes their problem and they can call an engineer to determine whether it needs to stay themselves, thus saving you the cost.

Lots of old houses with basements have had the structural supports altered through time like this to create more usable space. As long as the change was done adequately it's not really a problem and in fact could even be stronger than before though it's usually they other way round. Home buyers have to be aware of that as you can't usually know the entire history of an old house and the clues to changes may not be very evident or could have been covered up concealing them. So most disclosure laws allow some scope in the regard. I almost never involve an engineer when I do work like this because my knowledge and experience tell me what is adequate and then I go up a notch or two in strength just to be sure. No problems yet but not everyone is this cautious or knowledgeable. If you want certainty then only an engineer's sign-off can give you that.

Phil

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