Can I Cut Joist Beam for Headroom?

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Posted by: from Rocky Mountain House
5/2/2019 at 2:11:08 PM

In Alberta. I have a set of stairs I want to change. I want to make the rise less and maintain headroom. I have figured out that ,if I'm allowed, I can do this if i cut away a 3' section of the joist beam. There are posts on either side of the cut out, so no sacrifice of structure I believe. I would cut the beam, double the side joists, hanger in a double beam crosswise to these, then hanger in joists from the foundation to the double short beam with hangers. That would give me enough room for new stairs and headroom. Am I allowed to cut the beam? Any help would be appreciated.

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Date/Time5/2/2019 at 3:04:24 PM

With this kind of structural alteration it's a situation that should require a building permit.

You haven't mentioned if your floor system is engineered lumber or dimension lumber. If it's an engineered system the plans can be prepared by a designer of engineered floor systems. If it's stick framed it needs to comply to the span tables contained in Part 9 of the building Code OR be engineered.

Based on your description it appears to be doable. A reputable contractor with a background in framing or a framing subcontractor would be your best resource to assess your situation.

You'll also need to make sure the rise and run, landings, stair width, railings, doors, etc all comply to Code together with any electrical changes which would require an electrical permit (switches top & bottom of stairs).

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Date/Time5/2/2019 at 10:22:38 PM

You are required to get a stamped set of drawings from a professional engineer to make this kind of alteration .

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Date/Time5/3/2019 at 10:54:08 PM

Hi Richard,

Your starting point is to obtain an engineer report. From there, you would know exactly what to do based on the recommendations in the report.

You also just cant change a stair ride. There are min & max stair rise heights in the code to adhere to. Again, this should be covered in the engineer report.

From of luck.

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