Help with Homemade "Engineered" beams

Looking for some feedback on my structural comment for this particular property.

The property inspected was 50% wood shop 50% residence. This place had some very high end tools and some very redneck engineered tools. It was obvious that the prior owner, now deceased was a very handy individual and was the sort to just figure out whatever stood in his way. The guy had a panel saw made from bicycle parts, probably cost like $300 it was crazy. This panel saw was sitting next to a $10k digital lathe. ANYHOW.

The home was a hillside walkout and the main residence above the workshop was supported by “engineered” beams that I can only imagine were made from whatever wood was on site. The home was very sturdy and level, no cracking in the walls or ceilings.

Here is what I wrote up:

The main floor of the home was supported by what appeared to be homemade engineered beams. These beams are typically designed and engineered by a licensed structural engineer to carry very specific loads. Based on the appearance and construction of these beams and some modifications to accommodate a garage door opener, the inspector can not be sure that they are proper or safe. This includes the methods of attachment where beams intersect. The inspector recommends that you have these beams and connections reviewed by a licensed structural engineer to ensure they are proper and safe for the application in which they are being used.


I would not call it and engineered beam, just homemade. That notch is significant and the beam needs repaired or replaced.


This is one of those occasions where I would refer the client to a qualified engineer for assessment and remediation plan (i.e., someone like Randy).

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I love it when Randy chips in about structural issues. I will defer to a structural engineer anytime he is willing to submit his opinion. We’re very lucky to have Randy posting on our boards!


Yes, I would not refer to the beams as “engineered”. I would use the term “site-built”. That’s a euphemism for homemade. :smile: