-Home Inspection School
Adjustable Steel Columns
Adjustable steel columns, also known as screw jacks and beam jacks, are hollow steel posts designed to provide structural support. An attached Adjustable steel columnthreaded adjustment mechanism is used to adjust the height of the post.
A few facts about adjustable steel columns:
They are usually found in basements.
In some parts of North America, adjustable steel columns are called lally columns, although this term sometimes applies to columns that are concrete-filled and non-adjustable.
They can be manufactured as multi-part assembles, sometimes called telescopic steel columns, or as single-piece columns.
The following are potentially defective conditions:
"shall not be less than 3-inch diameter standard pipe."
Poles smaller than 3 inches violate the IRC, although they are not necessarily defective. A 2½-inch post may be adequate to support the load above it, while a 4-inch post can buckle if the load exceeds the structural capacity of the post. Structural engineers -- not inspectors -- decide whether adjustable steel posts are of adequate size.
All surfaces (inside and outside) of steel columns shall be given a shop coat of rust-inhibitive paint, except for corrosion-resistant steel and steel treated with coatings to provide corrosion resistance.
Inspectors will not be able to identify paint as rust-inhibitive. In dry climates where rust is not as much of a problem, rust-inhibitive paint may not be necessary. Visible signs of rust constitute a potential defect.