Handling I-beams / leveling old house
I am investigating a job: to level and stabilize an old 2-storey house, now supported by deteriorated wooden posts and beams. The posts rest on soft damp ground. I will retain a soils engineer to determine load bearing capacities, and then a structural engineer to spec the steel work. The house is 46′ long – including an addition – and 24′ wide.
My question has to do with the handling of the steel. I plan on removing the skirting and then pushing the beams in from the front of the house with a backhoe. Trouble is that the steel will come into the 5.5 foot high crawlspace at a steep angle, because the city sidewalk is 6′ away. I want to catch the steel on some kind of shop-made skid or roller, in order to lift and direct the end up and toward the back of the house. Once laid out under the house, the new beam can be lifted into position, and held there as the welder butt welds and fastens each beam to its posts.
When doing a similar job with wooden beams, I hang the beam in position under the joists by passing it through two woodens frames nailed to joists. For a small beam, the frames can be made by blasting 1×6 material, two uprights and one crosspiece. Of course, this method will not support heavy steel.
Do you guys have any advice on pushing and directing the steel, and on supporting it against the floor joists as it is being posted? Any useful devices that you can share, or other advice? Any preferred methods or sequence when lifting the beam in place?