This is the kind of subject where you look back and think you have seen lots
of stuff over the years, but you just can't remember them. I wish I had
written them down. Anyway, here is one I remember about construction.
I was asked to evaluate a 3 story wood framed building in Ontario for a
mission organization. They want to add a one story addition to the front and
evaluate the condition of the existing building. As I was walking down the
corridor of the 3rd floor I notice we ramped down and then back up, a good 6
inches. I asked the man who was giving me the tour why it did that. He did
not know. It had been that way for a long time. The room right next to the
corridor was a bathroom. We went below and took part of the ceiling down.
The plumber had cut the 2x8 floor joist, which spanned about 12 feet, near
midspan for the bathtub drain. He only left about 1-1/2" of joist left for a
whole row of joists. No wonder the floor sagged so much, maxing out at the
tub! Over the years I have seen some plumbers really butcher up a framing
Also, the building was not laid out with a logical load path for the bearing
walls. It looks like they just built a platform and then put the bearing
walls for the next level where ever they felt like it, not considering how
these walls where supported. There was a wood post that came down onto a
wood floor joist. Now they did think to double the joist, but it was nowhere
near sufficient, and they soon realized they had a problem. To solve it they
strung a cable from one steel beam to the another at each end of the joist,
put a 4x4 wood block in the middle and created a harp string. Now that was
creative, except the wood shrunk, cable slackened and deflected severely,
exacerbating the problem in the bathroom noted above. I had them take this
contraption out and put in Microlams.
Now the steel beams, well they needed to clear span the lowest level so they
had some steel beams. Good thought, except they support the beams on wood
posts. I don't know about you, but I just hate to bear steel beams on wood
posts. Now they are going to replace them with steel pipe columns.
Richard Lewis, P.E.
Missionary TECH Team
The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.