Support post for Beam, is this right?

The orientation of the the top plate of this support post just doesn’t seem right to me. It seems that it should be perpendicular to the laminated beam, but I can’t seem to find any justification to back me up. R407.3 and R606.13 of the IRC addresses columns and beam support, but I don’t see that it clearly addresses this issue. Can anyone help?


It would be common sense to install that support post (plate) so that it bears all four 2x’s.

My first question is…

Are those 2x’s bolted together?

It was probably installed with the threaded end of the steel lally column down and that is how it ended up when it was unscrewed to the bottom of the level beam. I couple of steel shims could have helped to line it up better.

If the beam 2X’s were connected together adequately, with what I can see in the small pic, I wouldn’t be too concerned. At least they lagged the column to the beam. Many times I see bent over nails or nothing for the connection.

No, the 2"x10"s are not bolted together. They’re nailed.

I can’t help with the code info but a quick check of the Dearborn publication Principles of Home Inspection, Systems and Standards had this to say on page 253:

Make sure the top of the column bearing plate is the full width of the beam. For example, a 4 inch by 4 inch steel plate is not wide enough to support a built-up beam made of four members. A built-up beam made of four two by eights, for example, will be 6 inches wide. The bearing plate needs to be the full width of the beam in order to transfer the loads effectively.

Obvious to me that the top bearing plate of this support column is the wrong direction, but what are those outriggers that I see at that location on each side of the beam.??

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Did one yesterday 2*4 was all that supported the beam.
No fastening of any sort . I said to client it was not done correctly and that I suspected there was no permit for the addition and they needed proper
fastening for the beam . this was a rental home .
Big dog did not go out side Garbage from the renters had not gone out side for many years .
Could not see floors or walls in most locations . 5 adults and a baby lived in FILTH BIG TIME .
Write hard every where this was the worst home I have inspected .

The second worst was yesterday 2 year old home and they too had never put out the garbage .Again 5 adults and a baby Small yippee dog who did his business on the floor in front of me.
With a little luck I will never get houses like these again.

Roy Sr.

Understand what you went through Roy, that happened to me back five years ago checking out a house for my daughter, it was disgusting beyound my belief.
Hope to never see that again.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

This may not be a problem. Not enough info, pictures, and not being there to tell.

The “outriggers” are are straps that can be used to wrap around a narrower beam, say if it was only 2 - 2" x 10"s for instance. But in this case they aren’t much use.

It seems somewhat “obvious” to me also that the top bearing plate is going in the wrong direction, but why exactly? I’m looking for something specific to hang my hat on. It may not be clear in the picture, but the plate does at least catch the outer two 2xs somewhat. And if all of the 2" x 10’s are laminated securely together, does it matter? Any other thoughts?

Both clients bought the house ( can not call them a home ).
In both cases it was exactly what they wanted and at their price .
I expect there are 4 agents who never expected these to go through.
They both had written in the offer to have every thing not fasten down to be removed .
Real smart people .

Rpy Cooke sr.

I am a licensed general contractor as well as a home inspector and when I was doing remodeling of an older home (1925) I installed some lally columns to correct some sagging joists. I made a built up girder of 2x’s to span the joists and then for the bearing points used 1/4 inch steel plates (the size of girder bearing dimension), drilling holes into the plate to mount lally plate screws thru plate into girder.

In less words they should have used a 1/4 inch(at least) steel plate on top of lally plate (all attached to girder) to have more bearing area.
…in my opinion.


As evidenced in the photo and as stated by others the beam should be resting entirely on the plate. It wrong and should be corrected. I would have no hesitation in calling this concern out.

After closer examination of the picture it ‘appears’ that this post was added to ‘fix’ a problem.

Good call to ask that it be examined.

It shouldn’t be considered as an expensive fix.

If you ask me… it was quite easy to fix.
End of topic. OK?

Ah…not so fast. Someone’s got to print the picture and tape it to the column. :wink:

Yes and we don’t need an engineer to further assess the situation; okay? :wink:

Ditto, Ditto,

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Thanks for all of the replies, guys! Sorry I wasn’t on line yesterday, but I was involved in a number of family activities away from home. (wine and music festival at a Maryland vineyard and then beer and crabs at my father’s 82nd birthday. I didn’t schedule any work for Monday morning:) ). Anyway, I didn’t originally intend to belabor this issue, but it seems that I can’t come up with a good consistent, definitive answer.

And even though David Valley did come up with a good easy fix, (thanks David:D ), I’m still trying to come up with a specific reason why this needs to be fixed. I’m giving this one more shot and then I’ll drop it.

For those of you that think that this is “wrong and should be corrected”, like Raymond quoted above, why specifically are you saying that and what justification are you using.

Let me give a little more background. First of all, this is “new”, original construction. (The home is basically complete except for some final grading and a few odds and ends) This steel post was not added to “fix” a problem as Mike P. suggested. There are 5 or 6 (can’t remember the exact number anymore) of these steel columns, same configuration, supporting a laminated beam consisting of 4 - 2" x 10"s. The beam is the support for the first floor joists and runs the entire length of the basement, approximately 40 - 45’ or so.

At this point, the local code enforcement inspector “should” have already inspected this area, some time ago. I don’t positively know if that’s the case, and if it is the case, I don’t know what, if anything, was said about the steel columns. My “assumption” is, that if the code inspector had seen these columns back when the foundation was being completed and the first floor started, and thought that they should fixed, the builder would have fixed them by now. But, that’s an assumption.

And if the code inspector did see the posts, and thought they were acceptable, I still don’t have any problem confronting him or her about it, but I want to be on solid ground. The IRC, as I interpret the sections that may apply to this, seems to be somewhat vague in this area. R407.3, the section dealing with Structural Requirements for Columns states, “The columns shall be restrained to prevent lateral displacement at the bottom end. (they are). Wood columns shall not be less in nominal size than 4 inches by 4 inches and steel columns shall not be less than 3-inch-diameter standard pipe or approved equivalent.” (they are 3").

R606.13 regarding Beam Supports, goes on to say, “Beams, girders or other concentrated loads supported by a wall or column shall have a bearing of at least 3 inches in length measured parallel to the beam upon solid masonry not less than 4 inches in thickness, or upon a metal plate of adequate design and dimension to distribute the load safely, …”

This is the closest thing I can find in reference to the plates on the columns and it seems somewhat vague. How does one determine if the plate is of adequate design and dimension to distribute the load safely? As I mentioned previously, the plate does at least catch all four 2xs. The points of the plate probably catch half of the two outer 2xs.

Of course, as some have mentioned, it would be relatively easy to turn the columns so that the top plates would be perpendicular to the beam, if it’s required. But just because it may be an easy fix, I don’t want to request something to be fixed without some sort of justification. I know the builder will want justification, and since this is new construction, I’m fairly certain he’s going to want a code reference or something of equal authority. And in case you’re wondering, I’m not concerned about pointing out issues that the builder may have to fix. I did, in fact, point out a number of other issues, one of which the only remedy I can envision is to jack hammer out the garage floor and re-pour it.

So anyway, can anyone give me anything concrete and specific for me to hang my hat on in regard to the columns’ top plates? You might have surmised that I have already submitted my report for this inspection. I filed it last Thursday evening. When I filed it, I did not mention any issue with the columns. After I had grappled with it for a time and couldn’t come up with any specific reason to call it out, I decided to let it out at that time. I’m not opposed, however, to amend my report, if I can come up with a good, defensible reason to do so.

thanks, Mark