Cutting, Notching, and Boring of Wood Framing Members

Absolutely, adhering to the guidelines set by the City of Los Angeles, or any relevant building code authority, is crucial for ensuring the structural integrity and safety of a building. Boring into wood beams or roof rafters for electrical, plumbing, or HVAC purposes requires careful consideration to avoid compromising the structural integrity of these members.

Typically, these guidelines will cover aspects such as:

  1. Location and Size of Holes: They may specify where holes can be bored within a wood beam or rafter, as well as the maximum allowable size of the hole relative to the size of the member.
  2. Clearances: Guidelines may include requirements for clearances around the hole to prevent damage to the wood member or interference with other structural elements.
  3. Reinforcement or Bracing: In some cases, reinforcement or bracing may be required around the hole to maintain the structural integrity of the member.
  4. Depth of Boring: Guidelines may specify the maximum allowable depth for boring into a wood beam or rafter to prevent weakening of the member.
  5. Material Considerations: Different types of wood may have different guidelines regarding boring, considering factors such as density and strength.
  6. Electrical Codes: For electrical work, additional codes and standards related to wiring and conduit installation will also need to be followed to ensure safety and compliance.

This bulletin should only used as a reference and any user of this bulletin must obtain full approval from

City of Los Angeles Building Officials. SEC does not take any responsibility or liability for this bulletin or guide.

Here is a link to the full document on City of Los Angeles Website. LADBS Bulletin

We Can help!

If the regulations set by the city of Los Angeles are too limiting for your particular construction project, you should consider consulting a structural engineer. The engineer can assess your specific circumstances and provide calculations that might allow you to make a larger hole than what the regulations permit. This flexibility might not apply universally to all situations, but an engineer could potentially justify a larger hole, notch, or cut based on the project’s needs and safety considerations.

About Us

The scope of services offered by our licensed engineering firm in Los Angeles are as follows:

We specialize in providing structural engineering services for smaller to medium-sized projects, including but not limited to:

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), residential remodeling projects, residential additions, and various commercial ventures such as bakeries, restaurants, gymnasiums, and medical offices. However, we do not provide services for Homeowners Associations (HOA), hillside projects, public schools, or hospitals. We conclude by inviting you to reach out to us with any questions about the bulletin or any other structural engineering inquiries they may have.

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