Structural engineer anyone?

This is an automatic recommendation for a structural engineer. They cut the beam, which carries the second floor weight, to fit the garage door opener track. This got me wondering, can you ever cut a steel beam?

Yes you can, but without more information, it’s difficult to tell whether this will be a problem.

What else do you need to know, I will provide it. 2 car garage with bedrooms above, post on each end of beam, more than 50% of that beam is cut. No sag in the beam, post bolts are loose, finished ceiling above the beam.

If there’s no deflection, I wouldn’t be too concerned about it. The top and bottom flanges are still intact, there’s not enough of the web missing to worry me, and it’s not over a support.

As a former Ironworker, I may have a tendency to “minimize” the effect of this type of cut, simply because I’ve seen it so often. As a home inspector, it would be within reason to seek a second opinion, but I doubt an engineer would disapprove.

Thanks Jeff, I will most likely recommend that and engineer take a look, the client was really concerned about it.

Not a problem at all in my book, but that is thinking about it under a different hat and book.

At least it could have been done in a more professional way where it would not raise as many eyebrowse.

Typically, a round hole would have been preffered by the Engineer and away from the center span of the beam.

So your call to have an Engineer look at it is in a true prudent way of handling this.

Nice find, not something we see here everyday. :):smiley:

Thanks Marcel.

I was looking online for specifications on steel girder notching and I did not locate anything. I went through my illustrations and found a picture from Carson & Dunlop.

It states the girder should not be notched.

I wonder if they could of done something different with the garage door opener instead of cutting a large hole in a structural component.

I understand the columns and load are not located at the hole in the girder but over time would there not be a concern of splitting/sagging.

I would also call out for further evaluation.

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Exactly, Mr. Larson!!

Good posts Mike & Mike. (Sounds like an ESPN sports show)
Never new or have seen this type of opener.

This may be a good link to forward to the concerned client.

That jack shaft opener still uses a torsion spring.

That is correct, and Wayne Dalton has also come out with this newer model that installs in the center of the door.

Pretty neat model.



Very Nice!!

Great information for future inspections. I have seen at least 3 main girders cut for GDO’s.

That’s for dimensional lumber David.

Steel I-beams are similar to an engineered joist. Cuts and holes are allowed in specific locations within the web.

10-4…I wouldn’t make an issue of it either, but would note it in the report anyway, as an altered Steel Beam, if the client has concerns let them seek further evaluation if desired.

The best place for a hole of that nature in a steel beam is at or near the center of the span. To properly evaluate the beam as it exists now, one would have to know the design loads on the beam, the exact designation of the beam (W10x19, W12x21 etc.), the strength of the steel used, and the span of the beam. The hole may be too big for a fully-loaded beam, but may well be acceptable on a less-than-fully-loaded beam. If the hole is found to be too big, a possible remedy might be to weld plates on either side of the web at the hole location. The length and thickness of the plates would be determined once the beam is evaluated.

Good response Richard,!

I do believe that a structural engineer is the qualifed person to make this decision, correct?

I found this thread also
which seems to support the need for a structural engineer.

There’s your answer. Satisfy the client - have a specialist evaluate it.