I’m an experienced structural specialist & framing carpenter based in Victoria BC. I love working with Engineers!
My experience with engineers has been very enjoyable. Their ability to calculate loads on structures and their insights on construction projects are an incredible resource. I also appreciate that they are open to my ideas and suggestions for time and cost savings. I love working with other professionals who have the best interests of the client in mind.
When working with engineers on here on Vancouver Island, you soon start running into the same people. I have often worked on projects that are already in progress, and have been pleasantly surprised to run into professionals that I have worked with in the past.
On one job my team and I were contracted by another company that had a customer who had built an illegal attic suite addition which was not permitted in Oak Bay, and they got caught. The homeowner was instructed by the building department to hire a general contractor to bring the project up to code. I was not privy to all the project details, as I was hired by the general contractor. I was contracted to install two 35 foot long 2-ply LVL beams (laminated veneer lumber, an engineered product) into the ceiling of the home, to reinforce the attic floor. The required modifications were already designed and all the details were specified. The plans called for very expensive special order hangers (metal brackets for holding the joists in place). I called the engineer and suggested that a twist strap would serve the same purpose and it was more affordable and readily available. He agreed so we proceeded. We saved a few hundred dollars for the general contractor and avoided a major time delay.
On another project in the Shelbourne area of Victoria, the owner had gone through the process of hiring a designer, an engineer and acquiring permits for his addition renovation. When it came to reinforcing a rafter roof (that’s a roof that is built with nominal lumber rather than trusses), the engineer specified hangers that were readily available. The challenge however, was that to install them I was going to have to encroach into a living space, which would mean drywall repair – which equals mess and additional cost to the homeowner into the hundreds. I called the engineer and told him we wanted to use sway blocks which would solve the encroachment problem. He accepted this solution and said to me, “Oh, you want to do it old school.” I also enjoyed finding out that this engineer was the son of an engineer I had hired in the past. As they say, it is a small world in Victoria, and it is an even smaller world in construction on Vancouver Island.
This was a situation that didn’t require engineering but when an engineer has to spec beams and loads they also have to provide connection details.
Recently I gave a set of plans I drew to a great guy, soon to be a father, and an engineer. In a five minute conversation over the plan, he suggested a small change that simplified my under pinning and increased the strength of the structure.
I want to include that when I have an engineer on a project it has often been educational and reassuring. I enjoy knowing that all of the structure has been scrutinized; we only have to follow the plan, and I can have faith that it will stand up. You can also do more interesting structural things that are only possible with an engineer.
This has been fun sharing these experiences with you and I hope this gives you a glimpse at some dealing with engineers in Victoria BC.
Sean Spivey StrongBack