Wall removed- load bearing, or frame?

yorkiemikiDecember 30, 2013

Hi so we removed part of a wall in the kitchen, well the contractor did.

This is for a condominium and the entire room with living/kitchen is about 450 sq ft (25'x17')

He said that it's not supporting or load bearing... I just want to get a few tips to double check and learn a little more about this.

One thing that did concern me is that the joists above are perpendicular to this wall.

The original wall divided livin/kitchen but only ran through half the room

The condo is 2 stories and the pitch of the roof is perpendicular to this wall. there's a wall that runs across from one side of room to other perpendicular to this wall that we removed.

The pics attached paint a better pic. Thanks!


Here is a link that might be useful: link to more pics

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this is wall removed

Here is a link that might be useful: MORE PICS

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 5:44PM
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Get a structural engineer in there pronto, as in TODAY. I'll bet he's not really a licensed and insured contractor.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 6:18PM
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I have no suggestion or opinion other than to say licensed and insured doesn't mean SQUAT in some (many?) jurisdictions. According to my contractor, in Suffolk County, NY licensed means he registered with the county and pays a nominal annual fee, and in Nassau County it means the same with the addition that he passed a quick test about how to properly write a contract. (Or was it the other way around?) Either way, in neither county did he need to prove any competence with regards to his trade. Getting insurance as a general contractor is equally simple, and cheap unless you do roofing.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Thanks. Any other tips helpful.

I'm going to get a second opinion. its' a 2 story condo in a 1965 building. The framing looks like 2x4s so I'm guessing also it's not 2x4s.

In general how much would a structural engineer cost?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 8:51PM
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I thought there was a way to tell if it's load bearing based on looking at it. There was no beam above the wall, just one 2x4 header and the wall only ran half the room. I doubt it's a complete load bearing wall, but I have a feeling it could have possibly add structural support. But obviously I don't know which is why I was asking for a bit of info.

Why don't you think he's licensed live_oak?

I am getting an inspector to check it out in a day.

This post was edited by yorkiemiki on Tue, Dec 31, 13 at 2:29

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 2:28AM
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What's above the wall?
What are the dimensions of the ceiling framing members?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 8:11AM
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Above is another condo. I'm in a 2 story condo and I'm on first floor.

It was made of 2x4s. the end post was two 2x4s. about 9 feet of wall that ended in middle of room. They were spaced at 16 inches apart.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 12:35PM
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"It was made of 2x4s. the end post was two 2x4s. about 9 feet of wall that ended in middle of room. They were spaced at 16 inches apart."

Thats the wall, and not what I asked;"What are the dimensions of the ceiling framing members?"

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 7:31PM
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I'm guessing the ceiling members are trusses and considering the wall only went half way across the room, I doubt it's load bearing.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 8:00PM
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First off I'm sorry guys I thought those were joists going across perpendicular to this wall. Turns out they were only 16 in blocks (between two of the ceiling/ floor joists) for this removed wall to attach to.

So the actual floor/ceiling joists run PARALLEL to this removed wall.

snooby, if by "ceiling framing members" you meant the "ceiling joist" above then I believe they are 2x4s.

Also Trebruchet I think you are right that it's not load bearing. After realizing that these were not floor/ceiling joists, but just blocks between the floor/ceiling joists, it makes me realize this wall isn't giving any support to anything above.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Using accurate terms is important for others to understand the situation. The building is a condominium and you own one of the units. The Condominium Association owns the structural walls and roof as well as any separation walls and exterior surfaces and you own the interior. Changes usually require written approval of the Condominium Association or Trustees. I'm surprised you could get a permit without it.

If nothing crosses the top of the old wall it can't be supporting anything but it could be providing required lateral bracing.

This is not a job for an amateur or an average home improvement contractor. The first thing to do is ask the building department for copies of the original structural drawings if they have them.

The original permit might give the name of the engineer of record and you could ask them for advice.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 1:59PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If the contractor was licensed, you wouldn't be on the internet after the fact asking if the wall was load bearing. He would have pulled the plans as Renovator says, and if it was unclear from the plans, he'd have gotten a structural engineer in to create the construction documents that would be needed to be filed with both the condo association and the local municipality in order to get the permit to alter the wall, the electrical in the wall, the HVAC in the wall, and any other changes that you are making in this renovation. But, I'll also bet that wasn't done either.

Neighbors have been known to turn each other in (Not to mention the people on the condo board!), so the thing to do is to march down to the local codes office and throw yourself on their mercy pleading ignorance and swear that you won't be using that contractor who didn't do things correctly.

Then, do things correctly by hiring someone who will do the job with the correct sign offs and permits. When you live in a multi family dwelling, that means contractors who are licensed and insured to work in a multi family dwelling and approved by your condo board. DIY is strictly prohibited in multi family dwellings due to the liability issue. If something is done incorrectly, it can affect more than just your unit. And boy would the neighbors love to sue you then!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 3:11PM
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who besides the builder/homeowner is to
say that there weren't permits & approval
by condo board?

nothing in yorkie's post mention either.
it may just be that builder doesn't
communicate well or homeowner
didn't understand/wasn't told/etc.

it is not diy, OP has contractor.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 3:33PM
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Hollysprings, I think you have a severe case of "credentialitis". Most places, including here in overly regulated MA, becoming licensed as a general contractor (construction supervisor here) means you know a little about construction, more about contracts, and a lot about writing your annual check to the state. Any moron can take the course and pass the test, and many do. They then go on to do all kinds of horrible things on jobs, which may or may not be caught by the town inspector. "Licensed" means squat in terms of knowledge or competence in GCs here and it's even worse in several other states where I've lived. (in contrast to the extreme training requirements we have for electricians and plumbers).

Most credentialling processes (from the Bar exam and medical boards to barber licenses) are there to protect the practitioners of the trade and limit competition; it is extremely rare that they actually ensure on-the-ground competence.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 8:53AM
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