Cement block girder support

I would flag it. Depends on the location of the building.State, slope of the grading surrounding the residence, etc.

Yes the CMU should have been mortared in. CMU under Torsion may tip or ware with friction caused by the movement from the home.
Yes the CMU is not set in line with the beam to access the most surface area for bearing load.
That being said.
Foundation code is specific in several States , if not all.
I would flag this if I was in a state that had higher than normal seismic activatey and it was code.
The CMU will move and the friction will decompose its structure, degrading it laoding ability.

CMU also gets small cracks in the shipment sometimes. The crack can be stopped only when full bearing weight is applied over the top surface if it happens to be in the middle third. The block can split right through the middle and still transfer the weight to the footing with no problem. This will not happen if the block is perpendicular to the beam. You are taking a much higher risk of failure in an uncontrolled area.:frowning:

Thanks to all of you. I think that I will report to my client that " It appears that the columns have been supporting their load for many years with no bem sag or displacement but that the inspection could not be complete since access was limited. After further research and comments from other inspectors, the columns appear to not conform to the current standards of practice of mortaring, grouting or separation of the wood beam by a gasket or rust inhibited metal plate." Do you guys think that this report comment would be appropriate

Since you are in US, I cannot comment on what you say. I do know that most will agree with Marcel in Canada and others that have been involved in building in Canada.
I will tell you to put in as little as possible on the report pointing to the CMU unless you can view it completely from all angles and know the practices in this area.:smiley:
That being said there appears to be two hair line cracks in the middle already at the bottom block forming an A shape indicating possible over loading in the center.

Thanks Kevin. I did not notice the A shaped potential crack. I think I’m just going to disclaim the complete inspection of the piers since I could not get close for a complete inspection of them to observe if other cracks were present.

Thanks to all for the thread comments and info.

Since full access to evaluate the support piers was not possible due to obstuction of entry, it appears that the support columns might not meet the standard installation, in the industry standard, for supporting the floor framing and the intended load.
Although, no visible signs of sagging or settlement of the floor structure was observed, it is posible that in the future a problem with the aformention might be possible.
Standard block piers are usually set parallel to the carrying beams, mortared and capped with grout and standard footing to support the load.
Proper footing for the pier was not verified.
I have provided you with a few details of the standard pier here;







Thanks Marcel. That is similar to what I put in my report but your comment is a little more consise so I’m going to use your comment since I’m just now actually creating the report.

The guys the King. Common now.
PS you owe Marcel 20 percent of the report son.
Cough up or Nick will be at your home before you can say INACHI. HA HA HA.
Nice narrative Marcel.

The load is distributed out to the width of the block before it even reaches the bottom of the second block. So if those are cracks and not cobwebs it might indicate a possible footing problem or a block cracked in shipment … NOT a beam bearing problem or anything to do with pier orientation … :roll:

Maybe we should all chip in and get you this …

Hey I want my cut too!
I want a least 50% seeing as I dragged out the thread until he made a decision.:shock: LOL
Here is another one to cement the deal. Excuse the pun!!!

Locally I see piers transverse to beams … it’s considered acceptable locally. What standard should he reference if questioned by a specialist (master mason or engineer) if they were doing a follow up and it’s considered acceptable practice in his area?

Orienting a single stack pier parallel has only a marginal effect on spans and sagging, and has absolutely no effect with typical shims/spacers between beams and piers that are pretty typical as indicated in the first two pictures/diagrams posted … and it also does not reduce possible settlement. Having the beam parallel to a single stack pier can actually increase the possibility of differential settlement from beam loads on either side of the pier not being equal.

Single stack piers are also more stable when they are transverse to the beam. And some standards actually require single stack piers to be transverse to the beam for better resistance to lateral movement. For example the HUD standards for single stack piers reads as follows …

And the last diagram (Figure B) you posted is for a double stacked pier. Here is the companion diagram (Figure A) for a single stack pier. Notice it is transverse to the beam. And notice the 2x8 plate is optional … Its only for hight adjustment to limit the number of shims, as the wood is not stiff enough to spread out the load across the entire pier width.

CMU Pier Single Stack 01.jpg

CMU Pier Single Stack 01.jpg

CMU Pier Single Stack 02.jpg

Foundation - CMU Single Stack Pier.gif

If the base or footer is solid surface and will transfer the load evenly, I agree with your hypothesis. Somewhat.
Going for lunch. I will be back.
Depends on the CMU.
Not a great example but it comes in all wyth and stlye.
Center cracks are easy and made that way for cutting.
I tap with the brick hammer axe side and you have 2 pieces.
It is the sq inches in contact of both objects or components.:slight_smile:

Is that not an illustration from the end bearing of a girder.

We are talking about the middle of the girder supporting two or three floors.

Show us pics on the way they are set up.

That is from HUD standards that require ALL single stack piers to be tranverse to beams. See above. They are more stable that way.

As a former mason I know exactly what you are referring to. But thats not the case here as those are standard US load bearing CMU blocks per ASTM C90 that do not have that.

Are you two fellas done yet?

I think you were on the right tract initially.

I would only add that if you were amending a report.

Sounds about right if you are sure there was no pier cap. I would also note the implications and your recommendations.

For example you could recommend that it be verified that the cells of the blocks are filled in (pier cap) and that the beam is not resting directly on the masonry for better beam bearing and resistance to termite or moisture damage of the beam. And if you are in a higher seismic risk area I would also note that the top block is not mortared to the block below, and there doesn’t appear to be tie-downs.

I wouldn’t say anything about the pier orientation, or possible sagging or settlement (unless you observed that, like a cracked lower block) … period. Stick to what you can observe and issues from known problems based on industry standards and references. I am not aware of any residential code or home inspection industry standard reference that would support that position. If you scare off the potential buyer, and the owner gets pissed and brings in a specialist you could be in a world of hurt.

The difference in your illustration and the comments made to the poster is that you show a pressure treated cap which utilizes the full bearing capacities of the hollow block pier.
Now since we do not inspect and think like an engineer solely thinking of the material capacities and their adequacies for support, we have to rely on the stability, orientation and installation of the standard in the industry that I have shown in some of the pics prior.
The pier detail that you show is common for Manufactured Housing and the accepted practice for support and tiedowns.
Similar to these pics here that show no tie downs and makes sense to have the piers in that direction due to the wind loads on the double wide manufactured home.



It is not the same for older houses and floor framing support where you rely on full capacity of the bearing surface since we are not enginneers and don’t know the amount of load imposed on it.
The original post showed that he could not verify the status of the footing and it is obvious that no cap is provided on the block pier either.
It could not be confirmed as to the stability of the pier, so recommending that the pier is not installed to custumary standards would be prudent to cover your a ss.

Ideally, the pier should of consisted of double tier blocks with the proper solid cap, but that is asking to much in your perspective of things.

So I will leave it at that.



OK Marcel you can take my 50% after this nice answer to the problem.:smiley:
I need to leave now I hope I don’t come back to 10 more pages on this battle beating a dead horse US Canada thang.

More like the middle.:slight_smile: