Building custom pergola

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Old 06-08-18, 12:58 AM
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Building custom pergola

Hello!

Long story short, I always wanted to build a relatively large pergola in my backyard for an outdoors kitchen, bigger than what regular dimensional lumber would allow.

Last year I was at my cousin's wedding in Italy and I met this Swiss architect that really understood my needs and made a drawing for me, suggesting I go to the local lumber company and order glulam beams according to his design (there is at least one curved beam).

Apparently it is common in Europe for an architect to draw a design with a rough size of the beams and then the lumber company runs the whole thing through their software, sizing the beams right (and therefore waiving the structural engineer stamp), they also spec out their own join method that involves milling some special notch in conjunction with fasteners etc.

Once the beams are delivered it is just a big "IKEA" job to assemble everything together, absolutely no trims required.

I contacted a local lumberyard and apparently they can have the glulams done according to my spec, but they won't provide any other service, it is up to me (or my architect and/or engineer) to provide exact drawings of everything that is needed. This makes things much more difficult.

However I remember, a log time ago on this forum - but I cannot find it anymore - I read that cities would accept drawings from the lumber companies for all the permits. Anybody has had experience with a project like this? This is a preliminary view of the drawing.
 
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Old 06-08-18, 06:24 AM
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Many engineered lumber companies will provide the engineering documentation for their trusses and glue lams and LVL's. They do NOT provide a design service or create IKEA like kits.
 
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Old 06-08-18, 09:19 AM
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Hello Dane

I was obviously exaggerating when I said "IKEA" kit. However, by having the lumber company provide some sort of (proprietary) notch that will make things so much easier, I think. But I understand this is not possible...
 
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Old 06-08-18, 11:33 AM
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You may be able to find a company that can pre-fabricate the pergola for you. They would do all the figuring, notching and cutting. I'm certain it will not be cheap though.

If you wish to proceed I would first check with your zoning and inspections departments to find out if you will need permits. If they do then they will likely require a professional Engineer to engineer the structure and put their official seal and signature on the drawings. As the homeowner most areas will allow you to do the work but they will still require an Engineer's signature. If no permit is required then you could just build it. Order the gluelams as needed and do the notching yourself.

While visually appealing a curved gluelam is not cheap. No dimension in your drawing are readable but you may also need equipment or crane rental for erecting the structure. Before starting I would make sure your budget is up to the project.
 
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Old 06-08-18, 12:50 PM
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Yeah sorry this forum resized down the picture so it became unreadable. I already checked with the city and given the 34ft span of the curved beam they suggested I get a permit. I know it won't be as cheap as going out to the home center and buy a bunch of pressure treated beams but the actual price of the curved beam I was given was within my budget. However all the drawings and stamps add up plus the time it takes to find a reputable engineer etc.

What I mean here is, even if I cut the notches myself, I will have to provide a drawing of such notches to the city in detail. Apparently in Europe it's common to have the lumberyard come up with their own design that is then used by the local authorities to approve the project.
 
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