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Re: Church Pews on a Wood Framed Balcony

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Mr. Jenkins,
May I suggest you evaluate the possibility of increasing the thickness of the existing floor (i.e. another layer of floor sheathing)  to be able to resist, in essence what is a punch-through situation. Of course, this will add additional DL you'll have to consider with respect to the floor framing.  As you mentioned, you need to make sure that the whole balcony is capable of supporting these concentrated loads, in every conceivable configuration.  I've seen a similar situation where initially the seating was positioned and bolted to the floor, then five years later when new and redesigned seating was installed the entire support system was noncompatible.  Luckily, the owner had previous construction experience and did his own investigation with regard to point loads.  His suspicions were confirmed  when he brought in a SE.  His insurance company should have given him a reward !
Best Regards,
John Hilzman, CEO
----- Original Message -----
To: seaint
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 9:28 AM
Subject: Church Pews on a Wood Framed Balcony

I need some words of wisdom....
I've got an architectural church project that contains a wood framed balcony system - plywood deck on 2x framing at 16"OC. 
The question is....
What is typically done to resist the concentrating effects of the pew legs?  If they used individual chairs, the load would not accumulate and typical wood framing would be adequate to resist the applied loads.  With pews with legs at 6'-0 OC +/- with 200# people at 18"OC, the interior legs could easily have 1000 pounds or more.  I'm not excited about putting that much load on a 3/4" plywood deck.  Even if blocking resolved the plywood issue, the 13'-6 span on the floor joists supporting multiple pews creates a "beam" problem.  I'd hate for the Spirit to move them and the floor and pews drop them.
At this point, I'm considering a multi-member beam at each leg.  The concern is, if the Church moves the pews or the contractor does not align the beam with the leg, the work is in vain.
Thanks in advance!
Bobby Jenkins, PE
Jenkins Engineering, Inc.
PO Box 2101
218 S Thomas St  Suite 209
Tupelo, MS  38803
(662) 840.1233 vocal
(662) 840.1103 fax