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Re: WOOD: "Engineered Wood Costs"

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The LSL in available at your local lumber yard. Price difference in So. Cal maybe 50 % max.
As you said sawn lumber can't cut it. Cut span down to 18' add steel beam at mid span and new cols. Then what is cheaper. Sounds like the builder needs to be educated. 
I usually tell clients if you built home without the need for an engineer and you go to the next town over and they require engineered plans and calc's; the framing cost along will increase by as much as 25%. We use a more stringent code than what they are use too.
Joe Venuti
Johnson & Nielsen Associates
Palm Springs, CA