Immediate Answers for Common Field Issues

May 14, 2013 in Wood Products - #tech talk

By Jason Shumaker, P.E.

Nearly every builder has been there before. It’s the early afternoon and on the way to the job site from another job, an inspection is scheduled for 3 o’clock and drywall is scheduled for first thing the next morning when the phone rings—someone just noticed the plumber notched an I-joist flange for a tub drain.

Growing up in the construction industry, I saw issues pop up that threatened the job schedule regularly. To their credit, builders and sub-contractors nearly always find a way to solve problems and keep moving forward – but sometimes help is needed.

When a joist flange gets notched or a hole is cut too close to a bearing (two of the most common field issues I have seen), it typically requires review from the manufacturer to determine what, if any, repair is needed. Commonly this review involves the builder contacting the lumber dealer, the lumber dealer contacting the manufacturer who then analyzes the condition and makes a repair recommendation. The repair information then works its way back through the chain to the builder in the field. In recent years some builders have begun using smart phones to submit repair requests directly to Trus Joist from the jobsite by clicking Damage Report on our website.

Last year the technical team supporting Trus Joist products was able to finish the majority of repair and technical support requests the same day they were received. Unfortunately, sometimes even same-day turnaround isn’t fast enough to keep a job moving forward on schedule. With that in mind, Trus Joist developed a few Technical Bulletins that allow builders to immediately determine a repair recommendation based on the loads, spans, joist series, spacing, etc. specific to their job.

Have a notch in the side of a TJI top flange? Take a look at Technical Bulletin TB-818 (TJI Joists with Side Top Flange Notches). Simply use the joist depth, series, span, and spacing to instantly see if the joist needs repaired based on the notch depth and location. If a repair is needed the builder can choose from either of the repair methods shown to reinforce the joist.

Is the flange okay but a hole is drilled too close to the end bearing? Technical Bulletin TB-817 (Repair Details for Holes Located Within 12” of Bearing) can help. Use the same joist information mentioned for flange notches along with the hole size to verify the reinforcement detail shown will work (note that the repair shown can be installed without removing the plumbing or wiring from the hole).

In some cases the notch or hole will fall outside the scope of Technical Bulletins TB-817 and TB-818. When that happens, headering around the damaged section of joist may be the simplest fix. In the past, calculations would be needed to verify if the adjacent joists could support a header, but now simply using the jobsite conditions when referencing Technical Bulletin TB-816 (TJI Joist Header-Off Table) will allow the builder to make sure a header will work.

All three of the Technical Bulletins have tables for the most common residential floor loading conditions, using 40 PSF live load and including tables for dead loads of both 10 PSF (carpet/pad) and 20 PSF (common tile installations). Less than a minute should be needed to check a damaged joist in any of these tables, and when combined with the time savings of not sending the information through the supply chain and waiting for a response, these tools are another example of innovation by Weyerhaeuser that helps keep jobs on schedule. Maybe our next innovation will even save enough time that builders will be able to start working on the project list at their own home.


Jason Shumaker, PE is a Product Support Engineer at Weyerhaeuser. For over 15 years, he has been providing engineering support for Trus Joist and Weyerhaeuser products to homeowners, builders, dealers, architects, engineers, and code officials.