Can a general contractor reliably identify load bearing walls?

scamp2112February 25, 2013

Looking into opening up the wall between our kitchen and living room as part of a kitchen remodel. There are two openings now. One a 80 inch wide arch and another 30 inch open door way. I am wondering if it is reliable to pay a contractor to evaluate if the wall between the two openings is weight bearing or if you should always hire a structural engineer? If it is weight bearing we would probably put the money into other projects around the house and leave it alone so I hate to pay 3 or 400 bucks for a couple hours of an engineer's time if someone else can be depended on to tell me the same thing.

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Well, IMHO a good GC can probably say if it IS a load bearing wall, but legally, an engineer can say it is NOT a load bearing wall.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:21PM
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As long as all finishes are down (framing exposed), I don't see why not.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:27PM
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I don't think a contractor would cost you that much less. And you would have zero legal recourse if his opinion was wrong, as he isn't technically qualified to give an opinion on the subject. You also may need the engineer's report for the permits application from your municipality. You need to check with them about any design drawings and inspections that they require for the project.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Any contractor worth his salt can give you that, as a part of a FREE estimate.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:51PM
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Sometimes you can go into the attic yourself to figure it out.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:48PM
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If the OP could figure out for her/him self if a wall is load bearing, there wouldn't be a post here.

The only reliable method is to use a structural engineer. While on site, the engineer could also likely give some useful advice about what you may have in mind and its feasibility.

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 9:30PM
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I would like to say a general contractor can not be much reliable in this case.But if you consult some design engineer for the right architecture this will be great.

Here is a link that might be useful: Storage and Removal Services

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 7:13AM
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how is that link useful??

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 1:07PM
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If the GC can't figure out if it's load bearing or not then you need to find a new GC.

You will need to find an engineer to determine any changes if it's a bearing wall.

The permit folks won't take years of experience. They want that piece of paper.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Agreed GC should know if it is load bearing or not however, GC will not be able to tell you what you must do if it is (beam, posts, does it sit on top of basement-do you need reinforcement below, etc. My structural engineer cost S200-well worth the money

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 2:12PM
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