It can be done. My experiences come from drilling through window and door lintels to run dry heads to balconies. We have had varying experiences depending on structural engineers ranging from wanting to dictate locations specifically for each condition to having a general detail provided that we were able to follow. Either way contact your structural engineer and have the conversation.
IRC specifies limitations for certain beam penetrations. IBC defers you to a licensed engineer. If it's a engineered wood product check with the structural engineer and manufacturer. They will have additional requirements for where and how big the penetrations can be.
Rule of thumb for steel is in the middle 3rd of the member and in the middle 3rd of the span.
Yes you can in certain circumstances. If the beam is an engineered product (LVL, LSL, CLT, Paralams etc.) then you need to have an engineer or manufacturer's authorization to bore a hole. In typical regular header construction you are bound by what the code allows and that depends on the size of the beam and the size of the proposed hole.
we require permission from the Structural engineer who stamped the structural drawings.
The structural engineer would be the one to ask, if it's a new building.
If it's an existing building you'd need to engage a structural consultant to tell you for sure.
Jon's comment is spot on. You can use the 3rd rule as a starting point, but ALWAYS get approval through the proper channels and in WRITING. This should be the structural engineers call (either the EOR for structural and/or the manufacturers/fabricators engineer). As far as NFPA 13 or other NFPAs, I have never seen anything about penetration restrictions for structural members.
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