Steel Beam Boring?

Anyone have any info on steel beam boring?
This beam was bored to make room for the garage door opener.

Sorry the pictures aren’t the greatest.




Let me add that the web of the beam was probably 12-14" with about a vertical 5"x7" hole torched in it. There also was no real sag observed on the beam but it was covered with drywall.

I would think the same rules apply as for a wood floor joist: No holes greater than 1/3 the depth. I would call for a structural engineer evaluation.

Jim King

Ahhh but this is a steel beam just like with an I joist you can bore big holes I’m just not sure how big. Allot is going to come into play such as the weight of the beam and flange and web widths.

A lot depends on how close the hole is to the supports of the beam. Since it’s a garage door opener, I assume it isn’t very close. As the previous post points out, a lot comes into play. How much extra carrying capacity did the beam have? Are the corners of the hole sharp or curved? Where in the web is the hole? I assume no reinforcing plates were added to the web to compensate. Structural engineer time, I’d say.

There appears to be some ‘noteworthy’ wiring there as well.:mrgreen:

Well, after looking at these pictures of rusted steel beams, I don’t feel so bad about the hole for the garage door opener. ha. ha.

Refer it to a Structural Engineer for calculations and move on.

Personnally, I would like to see the actual verdict of the effects of the hole which I would never condone.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

This was only a small portion of the report. I did indeed recommend further evaluation. There was no reinforcement plates and someone just went to town with a torch. Looked like he was trying to get the entire opener through the hole it was so big.:smiley:

Thats a no no to cut a hole in a steel beam. Its just not permitted! With a hole cut its integrity is comprimised. Can you say “comprimised?”

I beg your pardon, sir, holes are cut in steel beams all the time, but not without the recommendation of a structural engineer. Some locations require reinforcing plates, some don’t. It depends on how big a hole, and where it is located. If you had said that it was a no-no for someone to arbitrarily cut a hole in a steel beam, especially by torching it, you would have been exactly right.

And you think cutting a hole in the web is an engineered cut for the garage door opener track?

I have yet to see in my experience and my local a beam that has been cut and approved in a residential setting fwiw.

The pictures also indicates comprimise of the fire rating and carbon monoxide proofing I guess that permitted too? :wink:

Well, I have to agree with Richard that holes in steel beams are permissibe, but only under the direction of a structural engineer.

Here is a design photo of a rectangular hole 8"x16" and notice how the corners have to be radius.

Depending on where a hole is in a structural beam is critical and needs to be calculated by a Structural Engineer.

Sometimes the holes will have to be reiforced as Richard says and still be allowed.

Since the hole in the post above is most likely midspan of the opening, but not necessarily midspan of the span, it should be recommended for further evaluation by a structural engineer.

Marcel :slight_smile:

I’m surprised only two corners are shown to be radiused.


When they write typical, they complain and when they don’t write typical they still complain. ha. ha.

I believe the other side of the 16" whole is meant to be in the breakline section of that beam.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

As I read it, the break line is completely separate from the left edge of the hole. Curious.

Typical Architect/Engineer, they always leave it to the Contractors interpetation and when it fails, they say it was not done as it was drawn or intended. ha. ha. :wink:

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

Of course, the architect/engineer could say “typical contractor, can’t read drawings”, and in this case he’d be right.

Well, I guess I asked for that one Richard, didn’t I? ha ha :wink:


Model building codes and typical job specs refer to AISC and AWS specifications for steel fabrication, which require that any interior corners (“re-entrant” corners) on cut steel … such as the corners of the hole in the diagram Marcel posted … be rounded, with the radius depending on the application/materials. In addition the cut surface must be reasonably smooth (2,000 u" or less).

I agree that the left side of the hole should also show rounded corners and/or that radius call-out should say “Typical”. However, builders still need to know and follow the AISC/AWS fabrication specifications.

But any steel holes or cut-outs should be designed.


Thank you sir. :wink: :slight_smile: