View Full Version : Where to find a structural Engineer

06-16-2014, 11:09 PM
If anyone on here is one or know one, would like a name for the Vancouver area. Just bought a new house and would like to put an 8 foot 240-300 gallon tank (plus sump) on the main floor. Obviously we need to check if the floor can handle the load, and I'd prefer a recommendation over hitting the yellow pages.


06-16-2014, 11:59 PM
APEGBC is the body who regulates the engineering profession.


06-17-2014, 02:42 AM
it depends on how you build your stand and where the tank will be situated.if you spread the weight across the joists you shouldn't have any problems

06-30-2014, 03:37 AM
Thanks SRG...ive contacted a few, and most have replied that they don't do this kind of work. Anyone on the board actually have an engineer assess their floor? One who did respond said nom our floor could not support the weight (without any details, I guess just judging that the standard floor cannot support 300 gallons... but he wanted quite a but of money to do an actual assessment.

Would appreciate a recommendation if anyone has a name

06-30-2014, 07:19 AM
Personally I think you are wasting money getting an engineer to look at your situation.

06-30-2014, 07:23 AM
You say new house, does that mean just built, or new to you? New homes are much more over engineered than older ones.

If it's new, do you have access to the framing drawings from the builder? That would be a huge help.

Are you planning your tank in the middle of the room, on an interior wall, or an exterior wall? Different locations manage different weight loads accordingly.

Is the area below the tank unfinished? This would then be an easy structural modification.

A 300 gal tank including a safety factor will weigh approximately 4000 lbs. No typical floor is designed for this load.

06-30-2014, 09:14 AM
actually you would be spreading the weight over 18 square feet.again it also how the stand is constructed.i built my stand the same way a house is built,with everything at 16 " centers,including 2x4 joists that are in contact to the floor(with felt to protect the floor).i have had no problem with my 240,which is an peninsula tank

06-30-2014, 11:00 AM
Not all floors are built 16" on centre anymore. Some are 12", some use 2 x 10's, or engineered joists (look like I beams).
There are seismic codes in BC now too, lots of houses utilize huge laminated beams (that can't be drilled for piping, plumbing or electrical).
Steel I beams are also the norm in 3 storey detached structures which are bearing the load 30 feet up to the peak of the roof. I see it all the time, as I need to run my pipe all over the house.
Single family dwellings are built different from townhouses, which are different from rowhomes, which are different from apartments, etc, etc.
If you have in-floor heating there is 1 & 1/2 inches of concrete above the sub-floor.
Some builders don't want drops or bulkheads in the basement, so trades need to drill holes (sometimes up to 8 inches) in joists to run ductwork or pipe.
What if eternitybc is planning a tank in a spot that is drilled with 8" ductwork? Fail.

An Engineer needs to see final inspection drawings to assess if a floor can handle the load. Having one come to the house is as useless as a home inspector, they can't see through walls and floors.
Any Engineer is going to tell you your floor can't handle it, because they don't want to be liable.

I can guarantee an Engineer will tell you to open the ceiling below the tank and beef up the structure by sistering every joist. Glue with PL Premium and nail (screws fail seismic shear).
They love to over engineer, so probably also add 2 posts (steel) with a two 2 x 10 laminated lintel minimum. Of course the 4 - 6" concrete slab you have in the basement needs to be thicker too, to support the steel posts.
Then they will spend 3 - 6 weeks making some fancy drawings that you can submit for a building permit.
I just saved you $5000. :wink:

06-30-2014, 03:08 PM
Gotta love all the generalities people throw out when discussing this topic. Yes, there are some simple rules an EXPERIENCED person who has lots of structural construction experience can play with to determine if HIS particular situation warrants a call to engineer or not. But unless that person is willing to bear the moral responsibility of ruining someone else's house if he's wrong, suggesting an engineer is the right way to go.
I have a good working relationship with an engineer that ran the numbers for my place and my 210. He didn't charge me a dime, but Wardog is right, hiring one off the street will not be a cheap proposition. Thus why so many skip this part of a large build.

I don't blame an engineer who wants ceiling drywall torn off to look and see just what mechanical mess is run through floor joists. I'm an HVAC journeyman and I've seen all sorts of moron's cutting TJI's in the wrong spots to run ductwork. Yes, you are allowed to drill through TJI joists following the manufacturer's charts and recommendations, but not everyone follows that and believe it or not, building inspectors don't catch everything. If I were responsible for someone else's house, I'd want to see everything too.

Wardog - while I agree whole heartedly about many things you say, you also make a pretty strong point about why an engineer is the smart way to proceed. I have to disagree with an engineer being a waste of money in certain circumstances. If someone has no construction experience, and can't tell where bearing loads are being transferred and how they are doing so, engineers are a wise choice.

I am also a NFPA registered Fire Fighter and worked on a city Fire Dept full time for a number of years and I can tell you from first hand experience, buildings are not designed just to stand while you are going about your daily life and raising your family. They are also designed to stand under certain catastrophic circumstances. That floor must not only withstand the 4000-5000 lbs of the tank and related equipment and furniture etc, while you're sitting there watching TV, but it must do so during a minor earthquake, freak storms, and a potential fire below it.
Anyway, just a few things to consider. My comments a by far not all inclusive, just adding some points to ponder. Oh and a link I always post to questions regarding floor loads:


PPS, for what it's worth, in my experience, if the lower floor is visible, you should be able to find an engineer to tell you what's what for well under $2k.