Is this beam OK?

I am building a home here in Japan. The home is basically a Viceroy home being imported from Canada. The home is partial prefabricated and it seems to be well built but one thing is troubling me. The pictures below are of a beam in the first floor ceiling(the house is two stories). It doesn’t seem to have much holding it up. I am not a carpeter or inspector and I pointed it out the the carpenters said they will reinforce the vertical post below the laminated beam. They will add a few 2x4’s to the wall below where the laminated beams connect. Is this OK? Any opinions? For some better picture click here for my homepage.
The system doesn’t seem to like my account name(its just a japanese name) and it cuts it from the link. Maybe you can copy and paste the link into your browser replace the **** with s h i t but without the spaces.****asteve/PhotoAlbum70.html







Here is a few more pictures






For a fee I would be glad to fly out and Inspect that construction for you. Of course new construction inspections are in 5 phases.

Paul Pendley
Premier Property Inspections

Well, that would be a great deal and I would enjoy talking to an American. But what do you think of the beam? Is it OK? Do I have anything to worry about? Should I try to find a Japanese inspector?


I think I would be more worried about the improper fasteners being used at 3 different locations. Yes you need to locate an Inspector, Always use a NACHI Inspector.

Improper by what standards?

American standards do not apply to Japan.

Hey Jeff,

Are you following me? Your that guy they were talking about in that thread called “inspectors collide” huh.

I wasnt quoting any specific standards, I was having a lil fun…And now thanks to you its 2 fold. I cant take a sip of my coffee because im laughing so hard thinking of you and that japan guy…Zooming in on all of the fasteners in those pics trying to find something I made up.

Have fun with it…

Paul Pendley
Premier Property Inspections

Well Paul,
Thanks for trying to have fun at my expense. I was honestly seeking some advice and if you don’t have any than don’t give any. But it is worthless to just lie and then just laugh about it. It also makes you a bit of an ***.

You would be much better served by hiring an inspector who is familiar with your country’s building standards.

Regardless of our opinion as to the adequacy of the framing you have pictured, your standards may require something entirely different.

What I’m wondering is what is the real question about the beam. Are you concerned with what it is made of? That it isn’t solid wood? The beam appears to be an engineered LVL beam. Generally meets standards in USA if properly sized.

No, I am concerned about whether or not the beam is being supported well. It seems to only have a small 2x4 wall under it but the beams are supporting a large part of the floor above them.

Thanks for your reply

As for what I see in the pics, the “Timber Strand” beam or LVL has it’s load tranferred to the ends of the beam. Are there walls directly under 2x4 walls shown in pics?

The framing members carrying multiple joists are engineered lumber, as David said. Different kinds of engineered lumber are designed to be used in different situations (a microlam would be required in the US for the application shown in your photographs, Timberstrand would not work, as it’s only used in compression). You should find someone near you, an engineer, contractor or inspector to confirm that proper framing materials have been used.

There appear to be only two wall studs (2x4’s) carrying a sizable floor load. A structural engineer would need to determine the requirements for supporting the load. The fact that the wall top plate extends beneath the load-bearing beam may mean that the wall has not yet been completed. Sometimes during construction wall studs are left out temporarily to make it easier to move around in the house. Have you asked your framing contractor about your concerns?
Your house plans should have the stamp of the structural engineer who engineered the plans for your home. If there is no stamp, there may have been no engineer and you may have a problem. If there is a stamp, e-mail the photos to the engineer. Good luck, Kent

In addition… the engineered product is only as good as the people who put it together in Japan. I am sure there maybe be earthquake requirements too? Is this building certified to meet those requirements if any? Who is the local Canadian Representative in Japan for Viceroy I think I would be talking to him to see if you can get him out to look at it. Failing that I would find a local engineer and retain his services. For the piece of mind it would cost it may be well worth the couple of hundred dollars in my opinion.

Thanks for the comments. I have seen the plans and it appears that they were followed correctly. I have talked to my contractor and he seems to think it is OK but is willing to add some studs to help carry the load. Directly under the studs that are seen presently is the main mid beam of the first floor which rests directly on the concrete foundation. I also sent a email to Viceroy and included a link to my website. By the way are the photos Ok? Are any more angle or photos needed to see the situation more clearly?
Thanks again,

I’m obviously not familiar with Japanese carpentry, but it does not look like they are done framing the wall yet. Whether or not it is supported depends on what is above and beneath the beam or bearing point. Nothing is a substitute for being there.

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica] Here is a link to some of the floor plans.****asteve/PhotoAlbum71.html
Remember to reach the site just copy and paste and replace the **** with s h i t without the spaces. The forum doesn’t like the bad word I guess.
Does it look OK?


It wouldn’t cost much to stiffen the load carrying supports. Just ensure the beams carrying the weight of the studs mid span are also adequate. It may be necessary to add another column under the mid span of the beam. Inexpensive for piece of mind. Good luck.

But if this designed for an area of seismic activity, stiffening can actually reduce its ability to withstand the effects of an earthquake.


Some of the guys over on may be more familiar with the building standards over there and the Canadian manufacture.

Photo inspecting will be inconclusive at best and worth the price paid.

NOW, in this phase of your project is a good time to spend a little x-tra money and hire a local inspector, a good one can save the price of your investment, in the long run.

Best of luck to you and yours,