Steel post question

I posted a jack like this in a post I said I wrote up and everyone said the jack was fine…I said NOT…wrote it up.

Do ya have a pic. On the surface I think you made the right call Paul, as that does indeed look like the telescoping temporary type posts … :wink:

Robert, by “telecscoping” are you talking about an additional threaded section toward the middle of the column somewhere (never seen) or a column that uses pins to hold the two sections in place after it’s been rough adjusted, then uses a threaded section near one end to make final adjustments?

What’s the verdict here. If I walk into a basement and see an adjustable column 3 inches or more in diameter, with 3 inches (or 6 1/2 inches) or less of exposed thread, do I then have to find a stamp on the column certifying it for permanent use?

Good article Marcel!


I call out all telescoping support posts as temporary posts, whether it displays a stamp or not. And the thread length is not a deciding factor for me.

Telescoping support posts get written up as "Recommend replacing temporary support posts with cement filled lally columns.

In my opinion all telescoping type steel posts should be flagged for further evaluation and possible replacement.

Even if it has an approval stamp, is that approval for temporary shoring or for a permanent steel column? What are the approval restrictions? One type is limited to a height of 51" when used as a permanent column. You would have to research the approval, or just flag it and move on.

Also I wouldn’t call out how to repair it … as for example concrete filled steel columns are not used in many areas any more in typical construction, and may not be needed unless loads are very heavy.

JMO & 2-nickels … :wink:

I’m convinced.

“Temporary adjustable steel supports should be replaced with permanent supports which comply with applicable codes”.

Wow…great information everyone…I didn’t realize all of these were “temporary”…here in Minnesota, virtually every house with a basement has at least one of these…I’ve seen as many as twelve…We have a preponderance of homes over 100 years old here…many are three story Victorians…“stick-built”, brick, stone, you name it…with most on stone foundations…fantastic homes, but after 100 years…some of these foundations get pretty scarey !!!

The thing i hate about being a home inspector is knowing exactly what to callout. For an example here with telescoping posts. I read this thread a couple of days ago and when on an inspection today and came across a raised ranch home with a main wood beam down the center supported with telescoping steel poles with 4"-5" thread exposed on top and the base was below the concrete basement floor. I found no stickers on the post for it’s use, so the big question here is…

The home has been standing there for 30 odd years, Do I call this out and say their only designed for tempory supports??? I hate that there are so many opinions in this field, so confusing, What should we all be stating when finding this in the feild as Home Inspectors

(I was looked at as a wacko by the home owner and the realtor for even saying something about the columns):frowning:

You guys need to take small risks (rather than no risks, which is impossible) and use a little discretion.

You are only on the line if it fails, or if someone else thinks it will fail. What is the risk of it failing? Are you more likely to be hit by a bus, or do you really think it poses a threat?

And what is the cost if it does fail? Big…report it. Small…why bother?

So risks*costs

My HI overlooked many small issues that violated code, but did highlight the biggies.

Fantastic article, Marcel…I learned alot…I see these columns everyday…everybody has their own opinion about them…Thanks !!! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

I have always advised my clients about these temp posts, they have, as far as I know, some that are rated up to 1200 lbs, but that is no where near enough for a structural load. And any column that supports a substantial load, should be “permanently mechanically attached” both bottom and top, I spotted some in a state of failure just the other day, many have a top plate that pivots, no way jose!!

Any pictures Mike? We like pictures.:wink:

Thanks again for the instruction in Denver last weekend.

Well, kinda’ makes the point that “functioning as intended” can be a pretty slippery concept.

The contractor who installed the telescoping column intended that it support the girder - and it’s done so for 30 years, and probably would do so for 30 more (or for that matter, for 300 more).

So it’s" functioning" as intended", and most contractors are going to advice a client to leave it as it is.

The manufacturer however did not intend the column to function as a permanent support, so it’s not functioning as the manufacturer intended, and an engineer is probably going to say (if only to CYA) that it should be replaced with a support intended this the use and location.

If you’re not sure, and you get conflicting information when you ask… you can err onthe side of safety and add a disclaimer alongside the narrative describing whether or not you saw evidence of failure. If it were easy… well, that’s why we get $10 and hour and everyone else only gets $9.

Kenton, can I bid $12 an hour to come up and work for me?
That would not include commuting. Sorry. :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley: :wink: :wink:


The manufacturer however did not intend the column to function as a permanent support, so it’s not functioning as the manufacturer intended, and an engineer is probably going to say (if only to CYA) that it should be replaced with a support intended this the use and location.

Where would I get such information when I come across this in the field. To call something like this out at time of inspection, could be a major situation with all parties.(REALTOR, SELLER, and your client) If there is no lable on post then I need something for my files to pull out that states legally that the telescoping posts are not right for the application???

If the article cited above is correct, if it’s a telescoping post, it’s not intended for permanent installation.

OK 1 last question then I get off this topic. I was told by another inspector that stating a finding like this is outside the scope of a home inspection, and do not need to report something like this. My question is, are we as professional inspectors to it out and document it, or 2.just document it in the report, or 3.don’t have to say or document again thing. Please I’d like to know the proper way to do things in this industry, not how another inspector might do it but what should be done. Thanks and I will conclude with this.

A visual inspection of exposed framing and supports is part of a home inspection, so I disagree with that position (as long at it’s visible).

You should look to see if any visible framing and supports looks solid with no obvious deterioration as part of a home inspection. And if you see any steel supports that are the telescoping type, or looks to be a temporary screw jack like the one with a pivoting top, and/or do not have adequate attachment and support at the top or bottom (e.g. permanent steel post just resting on a slab) then it should get flagged for further evaluation.

It is beyond a home inspection (and would cross PE licensing laws) to comment on the adequacy or suitability of any members or supports.

JMO & 2-nickels … :wink:

Nice call Robert.