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how to find a structural engineer?

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how to find a structural engineer?

Postby barrett » Thu May 17, 2007 5:34 pm

we cannot find a structural engineer anywhere near us in nowhere vermont! the phonebook lists mostly civil engineers who can't help us, and the one place that will is far away and would charge over $300 just to get here for travel. plus another few hundred dollars for the consultation. i've tried the internet with no luck, too.

all we need is some good advice on how to get our enclosed porch back straight and level. the biggest concern is with not breaking any of the 50 small panes of glass. and there is no foundation, so that's another concern. and the top of the front wall has pulled away from the ceiling, and the floor has pulled away from the side wall. soooo much work!

we jacked it up a little bit last summer, just enough to get the front door to able to open for emergencies, it was stuck shut. par for the course, the front door is actually cut crooked to match the crooked door frame... looks like a door purchase once we finish this.

anyways, how does one find a structural engineer? are they called anything else? can anybody else do it, like a contractor or something? i don't just want to get under there and make things worse.

thanks-
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Postby My4t2de » Thu May 17, 2007 6:21 pm

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Postby Jack Willard » Fri May 18, 2007 9:27 am

Try architects instead. Architects are also permitted to do structural design work.

I had trouble finding a structural engineer as well when I needed someone to provide the structural load calculations that were required to submit the plans for an after-the-fact building permit on our shop building. I did finally find a local structural engineer to do it. The local architects would do it, but they were booked with work already and it would take too long for them to get around to what I needed.

You can also try the local government office where building permit plans are reviewed for approval. One of their reviewers may be willing to help you on the side, or they may be able to direct you to someone that can. They knew the structural engineer that I finally got to help me.

Be prepared to spend some money though. What you seek is not cheap.

Forget about your 50 small panes of glass. You have bigger problems to worry about. With no foundation and the framing members pulling away from one another, to think that you can just jack it back up or something is a bit hopeful to say the least. Any way you look at it, you are going to need to do some demolition and re-framing.

Be prepared to receive advice that you may be best off rebuilding from scratch. You can probably salvage and reuse portions of what you have. But you have a major project on your hands.

Take a look at what lakee911 did (very nice work) http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1093532 This may give you a good idea of what your situation might entail.
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Postby jeepnstein » Fri May 18, 2007 10:31 am

You don't really need an engineer. A journeyman carpenter can tell you what you need to know in nothing flat. Don't expect good news.

Laekee911 did a really nice job on his porch. Take a good look at it and you'll see where you're heading. There's no reason you can't re-use the windows, doors, and maybe even siding and trim. I don't know that I'd waste alot of time re-using framing material since it was out-of-whack to begin with. As long as you can preserve the historic nature of the porch you may be better off with modern framing materials. But you gotta start with a solid foundation, which I'm betting you lack given your description. As long as you don't have to tear off the roof it shouldn't be too bad.

Good Luck,

J.
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Postby My4t2de » Fri May 18, 2007 1:12 pm

I guess I was thinking of building piers, like mine, minus the dgeneration of course LOL
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Postby barrett » Sat May 19, 2007 1:22 pm

i never considered an architect, thanks! found one close by, he said he charges $85 an hour, and it should take 2 hours. does this sound right and resonable?

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Postby Jack Willard » Sun May 20, 2007 9:11 am

My structural engineer was $80 an hour, so I'd say yes it's the right price. And two hours to look it over for a consulation is good. Count your lucky stars.

Good luck.
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Postby S » Sun May 20, 2007 1:20 pm

My dad is a retired structural engineer who now does self employed consulting, so yesterday I asked him your question because I was curious. Like a previous post, he also said that *some* architects can do the structural calculation. He gets almost all of his work via architects he knows. He also said you could call a larger engineering company and ask if they knew of any consulting engineers that work on smaller projects. Many do not advertise. He said a lot of structural engineers are reluctant to work on smaller projects because they don't know the other parties involved (architect, contractor, etc.).
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