WALL REMOVALS FOR OPEN CONCEPT PROJECTS
Open concept floor plans are trending. They offer a more airy feel, and the opportunity to share more time together with family and friends. We have a time-proven approach to addressing the structural challanges with this type of project.
STEP 1 - INSPECTION:
Unless our clients have full structural drawings to the project, our first step would be an inspection. For this step, we would need access to the property for about 2 hrs. We would take this time to go up the attic and look for any roof supports (column/braces) that may be depending on the walls to be removed. We would look for roof and ceiling joist framing direction to understand tributary loading over the walls to be removed. We would repeat this process for each floor. Sometimes, we may request permission to remove small portions of drywall to ensure our full understanding of the loads that depend on walls to be removed.
For structures with raised foundations, we will review locations of footings, hoping to leverage existing supports.
Additionally, we would review the walls to be removed for seismic/wind contributions to the structure.
STEP 2 - Calculations
Based on our findings in step 1, we would run gravity calculations to size the needed beams. As it is often the case, we would size flush hangers for existing framing in order to allow for the highest possible ceilings elevations.
For seismic strength, we would generate differences in structure weight before and after alterations. We would use these results, as well as any seismic/wind capacity of walls to be removed, to ensure the structure remains sound.
STEP 3 - Drawings
Given our findings in Step 2, we would generate drawings. We offer our clients structural drawings, as well as the option to have us provide architectural drawings.
OPTIONAL ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS:
Although we are not licensed architects, for small projects such as these, we offer our clients the optional service of providing the often requested architectural drawings by the city. As part of our scope, we would measure every room, roof slope, and window/door locations/sizes:
This sheet would have the scope of the project, codes to be used, vicinity plan, site plan, legal description of property, contacts, and index (EXAMPLE).
EXISTING FLOOR PLANS -
We would generate drawings of the existing property, as it stands before remodel (EXAMPLE).
DEMOLITION/PROPOSED FLOOR PLANS
We would use the existing floor plan and mark all the walls to be removed. Then, we would draw the final condition, as it would stand after the remodel (EXAMPLE).
We would draw (4) elevations for the structure to showcase the way it looks from the outside (EXAMPLE).
The structural drawings showcase all the required bones behind the structure. Here, we would draw the conclusions of our analysis and will give direction to the General Contractor on whats to build.
GENERAL NOTES -
On this sheet, we provide the general contractor with all the information needed to get the appropriate materials (type/strength of wood to be used, the strength of concrete, the reinforcing steel bars yield strength, etc). We would also provide the city official with the general loading, seismic acceleration, wind speeds, and soil strengths used (EXAMPLE).
FOUNDATION PLAN -
As is often the case, the removal of a wall results in a concentrated load that the original structure didn't have, and that may require a retrofit to the existing foundation. in the Foundation Plan, we would show any changes required (EXAMPLE).
Here we would showcase the new beams (locations, length, width, depths), as well as the existing members framing into the new beams (EXAMPLE).
The details provide information as to how to connect the new beams to the existing framing, how the beam connects to any new columns, how those columns connect to the foundation, and also rebar sizes, spacing, and depth of foundation. In addition, we would provide details for any seismic/wind retrofits (EXAMPLE).
As Professional Engineers with decades of experience, we take great responsibility in knowing that our clients have trusted us to ensure that the safety of their family remains intact after the remodel.