Interior Wall...sticky situation

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Old 08-08-05, 09:39 PM
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Interior Wall...sticky situation

On the advice of several "experts" I began building an interior wall without a permit. It is non-load bearing and involves no electrical or plumbing. The "experts" said, "no permit necessary." Now it seems my problem is two-fold:

1. I need a permit but have already started construction (framing only no drywall.)

2. (This one is a doozy...) Upon removing the existing drywall and carpet I discovered the remnants of an existing wall (approx. 2 1/2' long) that appears to have been load bearing. Further increasing the idiot factor, I decided to continue framing anyway. At this point I discovered the unsupported truss appears to have sagged about 1 1/4 inches due to the lack of support. What is my best course of action at this point? I need to pull a permit for the work but it is already partially framed (and obviously not to code as I was not anticipating it being load bearing.) I also need to address the sagging truss. I'm certain the removal was done without a permit. I can't imagine the plans even being approved for such a project. Should I pull a permit and proceed as if I'm unaware of the issue and THEN bring it up once I have the permit? Should I come clean with code enforcement and risk substantial fines? I've documented most of the demolition and construction with photos and I'm wondering if those would work in my favor or against it. At the very least I can prove I didn't remove the load bearing wall. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.
I'm confident this was a load bearing wall because:
It appears to have been supporting the only truss that runs the entire span of the house unsupported (30' 10")
Old 08-09-05, 06:26 AM
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First of all, your "advice" was correct in that you do not need a permit for an interior wall as long as it is non-load bearing, there is no electrical work and there no plumbing work.

However, after some demolition, you realized that it is load bearing. I would strongly suggest to seek advice from your municipality or city and get a permit for the work. It is highly unlikely that you will be fined.

Before you do anything further, I would immediately put a temporary brace under the truss to help support it until it is inspected.
Old 08-09-05, 08:36 AM
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Thanks for the response. It is braced now (though not to code.) I'm pretty certain a permit is required regardless of bearing status based on my local code:

106.2.1 Building Permits
A building permit shall not be required for the following:
Item 1.
One story detached residential accessory structures used as tool or storage sheds,
playhouses, and similar uses provided the structure is not located in a maintenance
easement, on a public utilities easement, or in front and side street setbacks as required by
the Zoning Code of Sacramento County. The floor area shall not exceed 120 square feet
in the area with not more than 12 inches of overhang extending beyond the exterior wall
of the structure. The location on the property shall be a minimum of 6 feet from the
dwelling and other accessory building or structures on the site. The structure shall not
exceed 9 feet in height measured from the adjacent adjoining ground.
Item 2.
Fences not over 6 feet in height or any fence covered on improvement plans
prescribed in Chapter 12.03 of the Sacramento County Code.
Item 3.
Oil Derricks
Item 4.
Movable cases, counters, and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches high.
Item 5.
Retaining walls that do not retain more than 24 inches of earth or any retaining
wall covered on improvement plans prescribed in Chapter 12.03 of the Sacramento City
Item 6.
Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000
gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed two to one.
Item 7.
Platforms, decks, walls, and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade and
not over any basement or story below, accessory to a Group R, Division 3 occupancy and
not required to be on an accessible path of travel.
Item 8.
Painting, papering, and similar finish work.
Item 9.
Temporary motion picture, television, and stage sets and scenery.
Item 10.
Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of Group R, Division 3, and
Group U Occupancies when projecting not more than 54 inches.
Item 11.
Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to Group R, Division 3 Occupancy in
which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and if the capacity does not
exceed 5,000 gallons.
Item 12.
An agricultural building, as defined in Section 202 of the UBC, which is located
on a parcel of land with an area of ten or more acres being used primarily for agricultural
uses, provided that:
A. An exempt building permit is applied for by the property owner or authorized agent.
B. A plot plan is submitted indicating the proposed building and all existing buildings on
the subject parcel and showing for each the size, use, and location on the property in
relation to property lines and other buildings.
C. The Director of the Planning and Community Development Department determines
that the use and location of then proposed building are permitted by the Zoning Code
of Sacramento County.
D. The proposed building does not require a minimum floor certificate. Unless
otherwise exempted by this Code, separate plumbing, electrical, and mechanical
permits will be required for the above exempted items.

Based on THAT info I appear to be up a creek.
Does anyone know where I might find original blueprints for the home? It was built in '73. Also, does anyone know if something like this is covered under the warranty or by insurance? We had a home inspector check the place out but as has been mentioned, they are a far cry from a BUILDING inspector.
Old 08-09-05, 11:31 AM
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Anyone else have any suggestions? I could really use some advice before apporaching code enforcement.
Old 08-09-05, 12:30 PM
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Interior Wall...sticky situation

Since you feel you need a permit here is my suggestion -

Go the code office and straight with them. It also makes their job easier. Don't try to fool them since when they do come out they will be able to see what you have done unless you are an expert at removing your work and hiding nail holes.

1. In your interpretation a permit was not needed (always a gray area).

2. You found something unexpected and didn't like.

3. You made a temporary support quickly.

4. You recognized this was more than anyone could have expected.

D. The structure was performed well withdespite the errors made by others.

6. You contacted them and want to do everything correctly within reason.

Ask them for their creative solutions - That way they are heros correcting a problem that you discovered and was created by someone else.

Old 08-10-05, 12:35 PM
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I agree

the concrete mason has the right idea. Come clean with them and they will be much more likely to help. IF you try to fool them then they will be looking for trouble.
Old 08-10-05, 05:45 PM
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Well I came clean and even got some advice from the overburdened engineer on duty. He seems to think the missing section of wall was NOT load bearing and that the truss in question should be a two-point truss. He suggested I note the size of the truss, connector plates, etc. and ask a truss company to calculate the maximum load. I think I'd rather just assume it's bearing and build accordingly. This brings me to my next problem. Bearing or not, there is still the issue of some sag in the truss. It was suggested by a colleague that I jack the header into position until it is level, then nail the support studs. Is this safe to do with car jacks and 4x4s? It's sounds a little sketchy to me.
Old 08-11-05, 09:47 AM
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I've got some good answers for you:

1) (prob. too late for you, but usefull for others) Remember, once you pull a permit, the first inspection is Rough Framing. This means you could have framed up the wall, felt guilty, then gotten the permit, gotten the inspection w/the inspector being no wiser about WHEN you did the framing.

2) you can jack up the sagging truss (or whatever) with a "shoring post" available from your local rental place. It's a post with a built in screw jack. It'll cost prob. $30/day and can jack a bunch of weight. Don't use auto jacks, they have a tendency to tip over (dangerous!).

Remember, with the shoring post, it is pushing down as well as up. If you are jacking on a wood floor, you can't put too much point load. Same with a thin concrete slab. I've lifted things an inch or so w/a shoring post, for what it's worth. You can get more than one post too, also use wood at the floor to spread out the load.
Old 08-11-05, 05:24 PM
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Thanks trance.

It sounds fairly straight forward but is it something best left to a contractor? I'd rate my mechanical aptitude a 7 (on a scale of 10.)
I don't want to:

A. Cause more or irrepairable damage.
B. Cause structural failure that results in my untimely death.
Old 08-11-05, 06:30 PM
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Concretemasonry, em69 and trance provided good advice. It is best you think through what you need to do and see professional help with the issues at hand. Your last posting clearly sums up the next steps to take.

This thread is CLOSED.

The initial posting was asked and answered. We have taken this thread to a point where this is not a do-it-yourself project.

Trance gave good advice on item #1. Item #2 worries me and I stress the concern on jacking up the house on your own. This is not advisable nor do I think it appropriate to place memberís lives and property at risk by even suggesting it. This Forum is not here to allow interjection of comments that could risk life and/or property.

This requires a professional to perform the services required. Issues of house jacking are not for the layman, even though it might appear to be simple.

Risks in doing this can be extremely high and when a professional comes in to do the work, their insurance will cover any mistakes. You would not be so lucky doing this on your own.

Good Luck!

Doug Aleshire
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