I have a project in which I am relocating a staircase in a home I recently purchased. The engineer's drawings show the joists being pocketed into the walls. My original understanding was that you could cut an opening into the brick next to the existing beams, make fire cuts on the new LVL beams, wrap the ends with some type of moisture proofing wrap (like 55# felt?), then install the beams.
The engineer's drawings provide zero details on how the beams should be pocketed other than "3 inches minimum bearing". Also, when I had a contractor look a the project, they told me that it is illegal in Philadelphia to pocket beams and that a ledger needs to be used instead otherwise this project would fail inspection.
Some of my questions are:
1.) Why is it so illegal to pocket beams if the entire building top to bottom (built in the 1940's) consists of pocketed beams (probably not even fire cut to begin with)? Isn't it more sound from a structural standpoint to pocket?
2.) If a ledger needs to be used, how would you deal with the joists where the stairwell spans? Do the ALL the joists need to be cut and hung from one long ledger off the brick then using joist hangers as specified in the drawing on the stairwell ledger at the other end.
3.) How would YOU have this done if it was your house and why?
Here is the drawing provided by the engineer. :
This was my original understanding of what should be done (based off the drawing) before I talked to the contractor:
The new stairwell will be located along the party wall (to the right of the last picture) where all those pipes are seen which will be in the process of being relocated.