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Who do I contact about adding a support beam to take out a wall?

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Posted by: from Edmonton
3/27/2014 at 1:35:43 PM

I would like to knock down a wall but it is a main support wall. I need to add the support beam to knock out the wall but am unsure who I contact to get an estimate.

REPLIES (10)
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Date/Time3/27/2014 at 4:01:25 PM

Contact a general contractor who has access to an engineer to specify the support required.

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Lindy in Edmonton
Date/Time3/27/2014 at 4:02:52 PM

Thank You :)

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Date/Time3/27/2014 at 7:32:27 PM

Hi Lindy,

Mark is correct. Use a general contractor who deals with an engineering firm as well as an architect.

Be sure you apply for a permit for this work as well. That way the job site will also be inspected by a city engineer during the process.

Enjoy the new space,

James Fram

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Date/Time3/27/2014 at 10:46:22 PM

There is no problem to do this job.

Best regards,

Joe Santos

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Date/Time3/28/2014 at 7:37:41 AM

Most of the comments are correct. You need an experienced contractor and structural engineer who will size the beam and connecting points.

And be aware of those contractors who say NO PROBLEM.

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Date/Time3/30/2014 at 1:29:13 AM

Beware the contractors who say "No Problem" and the ones who give you the run around and turn a simple task into a HUGE, expensive ordeal. Don't get me wrong, and don't bite my head off guys, I'm just saying... as a framer I use the span tables in the code books constantly, as a finisher, I know what it will take to do this with out needing a massive amount of finish work, as an experienced contractor, (who has performed this operation many times, most notably on a 100-year-old, 3000 sqft 3 storey home) I know how to create drawings, that will work, and viable, and...that for a paltry fee, (if done properly/ to code or beyond) ANY engineers office will stamp for me, not just the industrial engineering firm with whom I most often collaborate.

Honestly, to actually answer the original question.. any COMPETENT contractor or carpenter should be able to perform this work, and they will need drawings to get the permits that are required for this type of structural modification. So wether you find someone who knows WHAT to build & HOW to build it ,and they can provide a stamped drawing that will be approved for permit, or you get someone who knows HOW to build AND you hire an engineer and draftsman to provide a drawing. There are a lot of considerations to be had when engaging in this type of work. The permit and required drawing are SUPPOSED to ensure the DESIGN requirements are met, there is not much available (beyond a solid construction contract, which I'd highly recommend) to protect you from the inability of the tradesmen to complete the work. So you need to sort through your candidates, get references from past clients, and write a contract!

(The obvious exception to all of my ranting would be designing with an entirely steel building, then you would want access to the right software.)

Cheers! Hope that helps!

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Date/Time3/30/2014 at 2:10:44 PM

Knocking down the structural wall without structural engineer doesn't mean the one doesn't know how should be done and there is many contractors don't know how to do it, but they still do it. Getting structural drawings does two things; certificates that contractor will do the job properly without any short cuts and 2. gives peace of mind to the customer that everything is done by the book.

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Date/Time3/30/2014 at 5:06:02 PM

Hi again Lindy,

Trust me when I tell you to go with someone who deals with engineers and permits.

Sure there are carpenters out there and contractors that know exactly what to do without drawings just as I do. But the only way you can trust the job is going to be completed properly unless you personally know the contractor is to have an inspection and drawings.

There are too many hacks out there that say they know, or the famous line "trust me".

Again, unless you know the contractor go the safe route.

James Fram

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Date/Time3/31/2014 at 12:50:31 AM

Go the safe route and sign a contract! I've seen blueprints used for toilet paper.

Fact : You require a drawing, that satisfies the local inspector, usually means stamped by an engineer, but not always, in order to get a permit.

Fact : You require a permit.

Fact: If you get a permit, the work will be inspected by a city inspector.

Myth: Having the work inspected and passed by a civil inspector guarantees the work was done right.

Myth : An engineer is the only person who can create construction documents.

Reality : Engineers don't usually draw your prints, DRAFTSMEN do. Then the engineer reviews it, tells him what to fix, and he does, then they charge about $100/hr and up, to provide that plan. In your case, look for a $1000, min charge.

I invested in software A LONG TIME AGO, to save my clients money. Now I create the drawings, and pay an engineers office $120, just to review it and stamp it! I AM the draftsman, saving my clients MONEY.

So if your carpenter can't tell the engineer or draftsman what HE wants to see, I'd be scared.

If you carpenter has to wait for an engineer to tell him what size of beam to use or to tell him that his bearing points / point loads need to be of sufficient structural capacity, I'd be VERY scared.

Mike Holmes, CHBA, any professional association will tell you, GET IT IN WRITING, the rest is standard.

Cheers :)

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Date/Time4/4/2014 at 11:58:41 AM

Hi Lindy,

The consensus is correct. Reputable Contractor/Engineer who is insured for structural work. This is critical because even if the the structure seems sound upon completion does not mean it will stay that way! Piece of mind is worth the time effort and cost. Search your local construction association for listed professionals in your area.

Good Luck,

Jim

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