Removing joists and making a cathedral ceiling

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Old 01-30-06, 12:54 PM
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Question Removing joists and making a cathedral ceiling

We bought a log cabin built in 1952 . . . we took down a wall between the kitchen and the living room, put in a 12" header with two 4 x 4 supports, then removed all the ceiling joists and put in four 4 x 6 supports, crisscrossed and anchored to the center support. Long story short (full story posted under plumbing section), we are now having to go by code because of some plumbing issues that brought our remodeling to the attention of the local authorities. We're concerned that our modifications to the roof structure won't pass code . . . and can't find anyone to come out and look at it. They said we need to get a structural engineer to come out and sign off on it for them before we have an inspection. They're even questioning the header size above the new, large windows we installed. HELP!! Does anyone have any experience with this or have any idea how to find a structural engineer? We've called a couple of log home builders and they don't want to get involved . . . . THANKS!!
 
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Old 01-30-06, 07:39 PM
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Rich,

Having just replied to your other post about the work done in the kitchen, You have opened a can of worms with your local bldg. dept., and you ARE NOT on their 'good' list. (You are on the OTHER 4 letter list with them!!)

"A 12 inch header" -- WHAT by 12"? How far does it span between the posts? How are the posts supported? Is snow load an issue?

Start in the Yellow Pages to find a structural engineer.

Sorry my friend, but NO contractor in his right mind is going to come in at this point and try to take over to get the thing done right, UNTIL you get it all engineered and he has a good set of plans to work off of.

You are going to start at "Square One", you are going to have to leave your uncle out of it, and it's going to cost AT LEAST 50K!! Plan on it.
 
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Old 01-31-06, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by rich k
we are now having to go by code because . . .


Originally Posted by rich k
We're concerned that our modifications to the roof structure won't pass code.
This is one of the weirdest things I've read on this forum. You are doing structural work and you never consulted an engineer prior to starting the work?? Let me guess...you tried to save a few dollars. You are risking your life doing what you are doing.

Looking in the Yellow Pages would be a good start.
 
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Old 01-31-06, 08:18 AM
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I still don't believe in permits and inspections and have never in 30 years gotten one for inside work. But then something like this thread comes along to convince me there are those who need protection from themselves.
 
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Old 01-31-06, 09:42 PM
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log cabin ceiling dilema

This is a TINY 650 square foot house - a log home "kit" basically. Everything we did to it was structurally sound, according to load bearing information that we researched. We only did the living room and kitchen area - about 250 square feet - which are adjoined. The 12' x 3' header spans the entire length of that area and joins a retaining wall. So saying that we are "risking our lives" is a bit much. The 4 x 6 joists support the tiny little roof just fine and it's only a 14 foot span from outer wall to retaining wall. We feel fairly confident about it - but we still have to get a structural engineer to come in and sign off on it. And we've never dealt with it. From what we understand, structural engineers WILL come and inspect and either sign off on the job or not - and tell us what needs to be done. We don't want anyone else doing that part of the work for us. As far as "codes" go, it amazes me that you have to pay for permission to work on the inside of your own home. So much for "home ownership". I can understand the city getting involved if you're building new or adding on an addition or something - but putting up sheet rock, doing a little rewiring . . . it's done EVERYDAY.
 
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Old 01-31-06, 11:01 PM
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Yes - it is.... Unfortunately, a lot of that work is done improperly and leaves the occupants, present and future, at risk. One of the higher risks is that of damage to the premises caused by unpermitted work - and is not covered by your insurance policy when that damage occurs, be it plumbing leakage, electrical fires, roof caving in, etc. Another issue arises when you inevitably try to sell your home. Many states, if not most, will require you sign an affidavit/disclosure that any work done on the property was properly permitted and approved...... causing some heartache when you want to sell the property and can't.....

I don't like permits.... it's my house and I should be able to do what I like without approval...... but only to the point where it could endanger others.
 
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Old 01-31-06, 11:31 PM
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rich k,

I can understand your bitter attitude after reading the other postings describing what happened. I agree that hiring friends or family is literally asking for trouble. They all may be the most greatest people on earth but facts are facts, they may not be the best person to do the work.

The best advice when you are trying to save money - think first before you even consider doing the unthinkable. When it's too good to be true, well you know the rest!

For those that think they know everything and tell you that, beware! I have heard many stories of "I know the Codes" and "I know how to do this or that!" and then find out that they have problems. These are the folks that don't pull a permit and they say my taxes will go up but this will add value to my home! Well, if you want the value added to your property, do it right - get a permit. So what if your taxes go up, they don't go up that much to avoid getting a permit.

Many fail to realize the importance of obtaining permits when you need them. It's for everyones protection, BECAUSE as you experienced, what one knows is nothing if it isn't approved by the City.

We have the rebels who say "It's my home and I should be able to do anything I want!" Problem is that you have to think beyond what the City is requiring and think about your "investment". The Codes came about due to issues of fire safety. Now it covers the entire structure, all the mechanical, plumbing and electrical, etc.

Building codes are set in place by governing bodies for the protection of everyone. They establish standards for construction to insure that structures are safe and solidly constructed for the benefit of their occupants and the municipalities. They generally address occupancy loads, types of occupancy, fire ratings, structural design, plumbing design, electrical design and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. There are national, state and local codes. The basic national codes are the BOCA, Uniform Building Code and Southern Building Code, and most recently the International Residential Building. The latter is a combination of all the above. BOCA was generally utilized in the East and Midwest parts of the country, while the Southern Building Code is generally utilized in the Southeast. The Uniform Building Code is used in the rest of the country. Some states have specialized codes, such as the California Building Code and the New York State Building Code. They are specialized because the governing bodies feel a need to have a more or less stringent standard than the standard codes allow for. Also political factions may come into play, since some professionals feel that by having a specialized code "outsiders" are discouraged from working within a particular region. The pressure to change this may eventually eliminate the specialized codes, although there will probably always be special attachments for each region.

Building officials are most concerned with developing and enforcing building standards that impact or protect the health and safety of a building’s occupants and the public. Granted, some building inspectors don't really know much and allow some things to pass without really checking things out. We are really at their mercy. These standards or codes include what are called "fire ratings".

Codes reflect local concerns for health and safety. For example, many parts of the country are requiring domestic sprinkler systems for single family homes. While this has not become a widespread issue, it is a concern that is spreading, albeit slowly.

One additional main thing to watch out for is every national code has a general specification that says "the building official can do whatever he/she wants and override any of these codes at any time." So, beware of this when dealing with local code officials. My suggestion is that you always try to get along with your code officials and not have them invoke this privilege.

Building Codes initiated primarily from Fire Standards. This goes back to late 1800’s and early 1900’s. As time progressed, the scope of building codes covers handicapped accessibility, egress windows, etc. which has focused on safety from all standpoints, too many to mention here.

With what thezster mentioned, when does one really know when it endangers others? Assuming is not a good thing. Seems md2lgyk and thezster confirm the reasons why we need Building Codes. What we think we can do, can be a disaster waiting to happen.

Hope this helps!
 

Last edited by Doug Aleshire; 01-31-06 at 11:44 PM.
  #8  
Old 02-07-06, 07:44 AM
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Talking We Passed!!

We found a structural engineer who came out over the weekend and looked at our remodel - WE PASSED! The remodel to the ceiling, making a cathedral passed inspection! Now we just have to deal with plumbing and electrical . . .
 
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Old 02-07-06, 07:55 AM
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Rich,

Congratulations!

I assumed you got a signature to validate it!

Hope the rest goes well for you!
 
 

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