When a home is poorly designed, or when corners are cut during the construction process, to save on time and costs, the long term results to the building's structure can be extremely negative.When a home is poorly designed, or when corners are cut during the construction process, to save on time and costs, the long term results to the building's structure can be extremely negative.
When properly designed and constructed, load bearing walls should be built over supports, such as beams, piers, or foundation walls, that ultimately connect the weight of the structure with the ground. When this is not done, the results are walls without proper support, creating a mass of problems from bowing floors, cracked drywall, and sagging roofs.
When a structure is supported by a pier and beam foundation design, it is critical that an adequate number of piers be placed under the flooring and properly spaced. If the base of the pier is not sized properly, it will likely settle into the ground causing structural damage to the home.
Another significant concern, with pier and beam foundation design, is undersized beams, and improper spacing of floor joists. Ideally double 2" x 10" beams should be used, with pier supports approximately 7 feet apart. Floor joists should be spaced 16" on center. When these general rules of thumb are violated, the resulting structural problems are predictable, and at times significant.
A common occurrence during the construction process is when HVAC technicians, or plumbers, cut excessive notches in the floor joists to accommodate the duct-work, or pipes, that they are installing. This weakens the beaming or joists, thus reducing the structural integrity of the building which can lead to significant structural problems.