Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)


Bellingham Home Inspection (King of the House) -- Paging the Engineer

Trusses that you are likely to see up in attics are engineered components. They are designed by structural engineers and truss manufacturing companies that have special software. That software has sophisticated math that has been figured out as far as loads, spans. The catch is you cannot monkey with a truss. The builder or homeowner cannot start cutting. The basic rule is that when a truss has been cut, the problem should be passed on to an engineer. Sometimes it takes some studying to figure out if a truss has been altered or not. There are other times when that fact hits you in the head. The other day I opened an attic access and viola!

It may irritate the buyer when an inspector has to refer this issue on. Some buyers think the inspector should figure it out, what to do. Fact is, I talked to a man who designs trusses for a leading company in Whatcom County. He uses that fancy software that I talked about above. He said that even his firm MAY NOT suggest corrections for this type of homeowner modification -- with one exception: if it can be put back exactly as it was, then that may be a solution. So, even the guys who design the trusses for truss manufacturers refer this kind of amateur handiwork out to engineers. Remember, a little cut here and another one there can be a major headache down the road!

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspections

Steven L. Smith

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Comment balloon 8 commentsSteven L. Smith • July 22 2009 04:33PM


If you are not sure ask someone else,. People do not understand you don't know all about everythihg.

Posted by Terri Onigkeit, GRI (Keller Williams of Northern Colorado) almost 10 years ago


It is not really about understanding. What we understand is that this needs to be passed on to an engineer. Only an engineer can legally remedy this.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

It is best for all concerned to truss the engineer with this:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 10 years ago

I found in a condo attic three consecutive trusses that had been cut to accommodate a wardrobe. I had but one word to say, ENGINEER.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Truss it to the home owner to cut out stiff legs or other mods to trusses...

Helping you live your American dream...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Framers forget sometimes a saw can hurt some things. I have seen so many things like that.

Posted by Terry Miller, Miller Homes Group and Tyler Apartment Locator (Miller Homes Group) almost 10 years ago

I think you took the picture from the wrong side.  This is obviously the 7th truss.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Steven:  What I am guessing... is that IF you see something like this... and do NOT refer it out to someone with the proper expertise... that YOU might incur liability later on i something goes wrong.  Am I correct in assuming this ?

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 10 years ago