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Structural post/footing shoring up in 1911 basement

Structural post/footing shoring up in 1911 basement

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  #1  
Old 07-17-19, 12:44 AM
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Structural post/footing shoring up in 1911 basement

In order to save my usually DIY-dad from doing too much work after recent heart surgery, we hired a GC to remodel our basement (studs/foundation out). Part of the project required shoring up the load-bearing wall under the central support beam of the 2-story 1911 home.

Why? Whichever previous owner decided to put in a jacuzzi & sauna down there had removed 2 support posts under that beam and replaced them with a 2x4 wall on the original slab, but with no footing to speak of underneath. (There are also no footings under any of the exterior walls, and a chimney that ran from the basement through the roof was demo’d for a main floor remodel when we bought the house 3 yrs ago—we had a 6x6 post inserted where the chimney had stood, but otherwise the entire weight of the house sat on that post & one other original 6x6 that had no footing, either.) All in all, with the wall in place, there were 2 posts on slab holding it all up; the current project calls for 4 posts total, each with a proper footing, and making the wall non-load bearing.

We had the post & footing project engineered, and spec said to insert a Simpson ABA strong tie for each post base. Sub showed up yesterday, jackhammered the existing slab & excavated, then asked why the engineer had preferred those post bases. He recommended a Simpson CBSQ base because it is stronger & could be installed in wet concrete. I went back & forth with the engineer & architect about this, and they doubled down on the ABA. I sent all info to the sub, and he still came back this morning with the CBSQ bases. He was adamant that this was the way to go, and I, not knowing any better (and watching 2 toddlers wreak havoc), went along.

A few hours later, it’s all installed, including with the new posts set in the new bases, in the very fresh concrete. The lallies are still down there, but in addition to my anxiety about the different post bases being used, I had thought wood posts should not be inserted into the bases until the concrete had cured a day or two. Did the sub really mess up, or am I overreacting? If he did mess up, what recourse do we have?
 
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  #2  
Old 07-17-19, 02:19 AM
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Did the sub really mess up, or am I overreacting?
If I'm reading this correctly you had an engineered & approved design that you allowed a contractor to substitute non specified parts?

I would say you completely voided the engineered design and assuming since this involved an architect and engineer that permits were pulled meaning you have a very good chance that the entire structure will fail inspection and have to be removed and redone!
 
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Old 07-17-19, 05:48 AM
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I should have clarified—this portion of the project (post/footing) is not permitted. The rest of the project has been permitted, but not the shoring up of these posts.

Of course, we know that there is a chance an inspector will ask about them during the final inspection, and in that case we have documented everything and plan to show what we did to ensure code compliance. (My dad had started this job and was just going to do it all himself, but we decided to not let him finish it.) But I have been worrying about the substitution of materials and now the post being put in to the base too early. This sub is meant to continue with more of the project later on, but I am weighing whether to tell the GC that I’m not comfortable with his approach, or decide that it’s not worth it if the work done is acceptable. My dad has been watching from the side and said it’s all fine, but I get anxious when things deviate from plans.
 
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Old 07-17-19, 08:42 AM
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We had the post & footing project engineered
this portion of the project (post/footing) is not permitted
You still deviated from an approved plan regardless if it is /was permitted or not, not something I would have ever done!

The down side is just too great!
 
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Old 07-17-19, 09:01 AM
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Please read carefully—I was not comfortable taking this course of action (and went to the architect and engineer about it, who insisted the Simpson ABA was necessary for the 1” gap), but the contractor just kept insisting that the Simpson CBSQ would be better. He found a model that has the 1” gap as well, to satisfy code.

Again, this subject is something I have zero experience in, while also watching my two young children at the same time as trying to make the decision. I called my dad, an experienced tradesman, and he agreed on materials. What more is the average, anxious layperson supposed to do in this situation? Have you ever been in a position where you know nothing and are obliged (under duress) to go with what the “expert” at hand is telling you? A modicum of empathy would go a long way in your posts.

In any case, the reason I am posting in this forum is to ask whether the post being set in a bracket in wet concrete is a major structural problem in itself or not. If it is a problem, on top of the materials choice, I am considering telling the GC it should be redone before we go any further. If it is still structurally sound—in the way a DIY project by my dad would have been—then I’m going to leave it and move forward. That’s the advice I’m looking for here, not judgment.
 
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Old 07-17-19, 10:15 AM
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Your contractor is correct that when you look at the load tables for the two bracket types the CBSQ has higher ratings. Whether or not your inspectors will allow deviating from the Engineers plan without a sign off is a different question.

During the construction of my home I had several things that deviated from the Engineer's plan/prints. As long as the Engineer signed off on my change/modification the inspectors were OK with it. But, during inspections, my inspectors focused rather closely on the Engineered areas to insure that the construction matched the Engineers specifications and plans.
 
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Old 07-17-19, 11:39 AM
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That’s the advice I’m looking for here, not judgment.
Your missing the point, nobody, and I mean nobody, has any authority to support your decision to bypass something that an engineer and architect approved.

What would you do, print off a copy of this forum to show them it was ok!

Sorry it's the best advice your going to get!
 
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Old 07-17-19, 04:32 PM
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The architect marked the posts as “existing” on the permitted plans because they WERE existing when the house was built 108 years ago, and probably continued to exist until 15-20 years ago, when the last owner removed them. Engineering plans or not, anyone could have put these posts back in to shore up the pathetic state of the house’s support—how would the inspector even know to look inside finished walls for posts that are marked as existing?

Given that reality, and the backstory provided earlier, I’m not looking for “authority” here. I’m looking for real-world experience in situations where things don’t get executed perfectly, which I was hoping might be found in abundance here in DIY Land.

Today I looked closer & saw that in addition to putting different post bases on, they also installed different post caps. That was NOT cleared by me, but again, my dad says they are actually better than what the engineer said, so we should just leave it alone.

Should it all be torn down & redone? If so, who pays, especially when I wasn’t asked or made aware of changes to the spec’d materials? Should I be bugging the engineer and architect & asking them if these changes are acceptable? Or do we just move forward & hope for the best.
 
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Old 07-17-19, 11:04 PM
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I went back & forth with the engineer & architect about this, and they doubled down on the ABA
especially when I wasn’t asked or made aware of changes to the spec’d materials
Your contradicting yourself, from original post you indicate that you were fully engaged in the non-approved changes.
 
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Old 07-17-19, 11:46 PM
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Your contradicting yourself, from original post you indicate that you were fully engaged in the non-approved changes.
Read my post again. Yes, I was “engaged” in the non-approved changes to the post bases. The contractor, however, mentioned nothing to me about the post caps. I went down there today to shovel out piles of dirt from their excavation, and that’s when I noticed the installed post caps deviated from the engineer’s plans as well. They were supposed to be Simpson PCZ caps, and are instead Simpson BC6Z caps (I think—again, no one showed them to me beforehand, so just going off appearance).
 
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