Common Structural Deficiencies

Common Structural Deficiencies found During Home Inspection

There are two main types of Common Structural Deficiencies found during Home Inspections.  Any engineered product, roof trusses for example, are designed under Part 4 of the Ontario Building Code.   Any deficiencies of structural design must be corrected by obtaining a stamped Detail Drawing by either an Engineer or Registered Designer.

Common Structural Deficiencies

The most common Structural Deficiency involves home owners hanging storage units from Engineered Roof Trusses.   This is not permitted because the roof truss is Common Structural Deficiencies - Broken Trussdesigned to support a roof and not a hanging load.  You would require a Stamped Detail Drawing from a Structural Engineer to add anything to Roof Trusses.

Picture to the right of the broken truss in attic is the prime example of where you cannot just replace the broken piece of wood.   You must have a Stamped Detail showing exactly how to repair truss.  Your local building inspector will require this Detail and will most likely inspect every aspect as to size of nails, any plywood gussets, and grade of lumber required.

Notching or cutting of bottom of floor joists is not permitted by the Ontario Building Code.

The Ontario Building Code restricts where you can drill holes into floor joists.   A minimum clearance of two inches is required from edge of joists to hole.  This would be for installing electrical cables or 1/2 inch plumbing lines etc.   Large holes have a required formula to follow restricting size and location of holes.

Floor joists can be modified by using accepted carpentry principles and guides.  The floor joist on the right side picture has been compromised by some one installing a dryer Common Structural Defects - Damaged Floor Trussvent and cutting the support beam.  Although the integrity of this floor joist has been damaged,  using the neighboring floor joists as support will allow this problem to be corrected.

The Engineered Floor Joist, pictured on the right, will need a repair using Detail Drawing from Registered Designer or Engineer.

Steel support posts – Many older homes have had steel support columns added to beef up the existing structural support.   Sometimes steel columns are required to add support where older wood beams have been damaged or are failing.   A steel column must be used that is rated for structural support.  Typically a rated steel column will have a label,  be 3 inches or more in circumference and not have any pins.  Reading the label can confirm what the column is rated for.   The bottom and top of steel support column must be anchored.

Temporary Support Posts –  These are normally identified by the two columns inserted one within the other with adjustable pins.   This are only rated for temporary use during construction or renovations and are not to be used as permanent structural supports.   If used as part of designed project, temporary support posts are not to be removed until approved by engineer in charge of project.

Isolated Masonry Concrete Piers –  Concrete block piers can only be as high as 4 times smallest dimension of block.  So a block pier consisting of 8 inch blocks can only be 32 inches high.  Masonry block piers filled with concrete can be 10 times the smallest dimension.

Many  old cottages are supported by masonry blocks, the blocks are often installed sideways.  When using any building material you are required to install unit the way it was designed.  Concrete blocks were designed to used with the cores in a vertical position,  not sideways.

Older basement floors are often the victim of renovations which compromise the structural support of building.  It is important to recognize these issues and have a good notched support beams in alliston century homeunderstanding of the complexity of repairing any damage to the structural support system.  The picture to the right shows where trades people have cut away most the the structural support beam in a Century Home.   Due to the amount of services in this area it will probably require a masonry support wall to be erected as the main support beam is also showing signs of failure.

Changing your kitchen can also create a structural problem.  If you were to add and island and granite counter tops during a kitchen renovation,  you  should consult with a Registered Designer to ensure your existing floor structure is adequate.  One client I knew bought a new home but wanted to save money on ordering their own granite counter tops.   During their PDI inspection the builder noted that they had no counter tops installed.   This is when the client discovered that included in the Builders Price for Counter Tops there was an included upgrade to floor trusses.   The client then had to arrange for a Engineer to design and install a Steel Support Column including digging out a footing to pick up the added load.

Your homes structure is very important.  When buying a home you want to ensure that any renovations were completed by obtaining a Building Permit.    The Building Permit is your assurance that the work was properly designed and the proper inspections were carried out prior to burying or enclosing work.   If you buy a home that had renovations done without a building permit,  you will be assuming all the responsibility for that work.    This could also come back to haunt you when you want to eventually sell that property, unless you have made all the necessary repairs and all the issues have been addressed.

Read article about concrete foundations and the importance of understanding cracks in concrete.

The Alliston Home Inspector has over 15 years of actual home inspection experience and has completed all the required Ontario Building Code Part 3 and Part 9 courses to be a Certified Building Code Official with the Ontario Building Officials Association.   Let a proven Professional inspect your next purchase.

Read the Ontario Building Code Plumbing Requirements

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