Can I remove this wall?


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Old 02-09-14, 03:32 PM
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Can I remove this wall?

This is my first post on here, I am sure you have seen it 1000 times. I just bought my first home and I have been making it mine since October. I really want to open up the main living are and there is a wall that I am not very fond of. So I want it gone. I have done a LOT of research so far. A friend down the road with the same style trusses (homes all built by the same company in 89) removed his wall, same style ranch home with gable roof. When he did so, the ceiling lifted up and he had some cracks along his interior walls. I just noticed some cracking along the end of the wall I want to remove. My research tells me that the engineered roof I have will lift in the winter and settle in the summer due to moisture content and temperature so the cracking does not worry me.

I went up in the roof to check the top of the wall, and I found that I am able to slip a business card between the truss and the wall in all of the points where the wall is below the truss. This is very reassuring that it is not holding anything up. Also looking at the original plans, tells me that maybe this wall started out shorter and was extended (plans show smaller wall with hand drawn in extended portion of wall with pen and shows telephone wire added in extended portion of wall). I also notice that the foundation blocks are not directly below the wall.

The only (yeah you can remove that wall no problem) I have gotten was from my neighbor friend. I also have an email to a engineer friend who has done architecture before, he is a busy guy and its been a while, I don't want to pester him anymore so I was hoping to get some faster feedback from all of you

Here are some pictures, plans, and a drawing I made on my computer of the house layout. Id just like to get a few more opinions before I start tearing into the wall.
 
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Old 02-09-14, 03:37 PM
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Foundation blocks

Here is the plan for the foundation.

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Old 02-09-14, 03:44 PM
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drawing (dimensions within 3")

Here is the layout, the wall I want to remove is between the kitchen and livingroom, it comes off the corner of the bathroom and extends towards the garage. I want to remove all of it except for about 3' from the bathroom to house the fridge in the kitchen.

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Old 02-09-14, 03:50 PM
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Pictures

Here are the rest of the pictures. (had to do some editing)

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Old 02-09-14, 04:54 PM
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I believe that with those roof trusses, you could remove as much of that wall as you wanted to. But we can't see everything... you would be wise to have a structural engineer come and check it out in person. I am just guessing that the trusses we can see in picture #5 are of the same type all the way back into the darkness? And that the truss with the "squares" built into it is directly above the garage/kitchen wall?
 
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Old 02-09-14, 05:58 PM
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The quote I received to have a structural engineer was $300.00, is that a normal hourly rate?

Picture #5, yes the same trusses all through the house. From that truss with the (squares), that is my kitchen/garage wall, from that wall out 16ft is the entire length of the wall I want to remove, all the way to the bathroom corner. The vent pipe you see in the distance of picture #5 is my range exhaust, that is approximately where I want to take the wall back to. The trusses continue for aprox. 24 feet past that in the same configuration
 
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Old 02-09-14, 06:42 PM
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I can't say what he quoted, but rather than being an "hourly" charge, it's probably a flat minimum amount that he would charge to come and take a look... even if he was there for just 10 minutes. He would sign off on any changes you would make to the structure and ensure that those changes will be safe- so included in his $300 is the liability he would incur if he made a mistake in judgement and something bad happened as a result. If you needed a building permit, he would be the authority that the building department would go by that would allow you to go ahead with your plans. So that they are sure that someone who "knows what they are talking about" looked at it and okayed it. That's not the building inspector's job. They inspect the work AFTER it's been done. A structural engineer okays the work BEFORE it is done.
 
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Old 02-09-14, 06:48 PM
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The quote I received to have a structural engineer was $300.00, is that a normal hourly rate?
That would be the price to have an expert come in. In my opinion..... well worth the money.
 
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Old 02-10-14, 11:13 AM
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Yeah the 300$ was a flat fee just to come out. There was an additional hourly charge on top of that. Just does not seem very lean. It's a lot of work for such a little project. Is this something a general contractor can do?
 
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Old 02-10-14, 01:47 PM
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Most carpenters and some handymen can assess it for you but if you need the worked to be signed off for the permit office - you don't have much choice but to hire the engineer.
 
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Old 02-10-14, 06:13 PM
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Alright, thank you! I will see if my GC friend can recommend a structural engineer. Looks like im headed to my county planning and development office to get some forms and questions answered

Just so I dont look like too much of a fool when I show up, how exactly does this process work? I tried looking online but it seems like different places require different things.

Please correct me if I am wrong.
In my mind the cheapest legal route is as follows:
Hire a structural eng. to come to my home and he will (do what exactly?)
I believe the engineer will either look over plans I get and fill out from the county office?
He/she signs off on the plans.
I take it to the office, it gets approved.
I tear down the wall, re route any electrical.
Then I have to hire someone to inspect it?

Thank you for all of your advice thus far.
 
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Old 02-11-14, 06:57 PM
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Went to the county office today and they told me I don't need a permit to remove an interior wall if it is not load bearing, and the only reason I would need a structural engineer to look at the wall was if it is load bearing, so I made some calls and I got a structural engineer to give me the go ahead and she came out and said that the wall is not load bearing.she pointed out a dead give away that would have saved me some money... The fact that my garage is the same dimension/span/roof pitch as my kitchen and living room. She was so nice she didnt even charge me! Took her all of 10min to look at everything and make the determination. The office as well as the engineer said I just need a L and I electrical permit and inspection, which I have no idea what that is, so I will have to look into that. He told me I can look up the codes on the website, put a junction box in my attic and run wire to the locations I want to move the switches and outlet in and have an electrician come and hook it up to save me a good chunk of change.

So sounds like ill be tearing into this come tomorrow

Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 02-11-14, 07:14 PM
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That's good news. Thanks for the update. Don't put your foot through the ceiling!
 
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Old 02-12-14, 03:58 AM
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just need a L and I electrical permit and inspection, which I have no idea what that is
me either but one of the electricians should be along later

Locally, we buy our electrical permits at our local POCO office. They are also in charge of inspections. If I'm not mistaken, the rough in and final inspections are included in the permit price but if you fail an inspection, you have to pay a fee to be reinspected.
 
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Old 02-12-14, 08:05 PM
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I think I got it all wrapped up. I am in contact with a GC and he is going to get me the info I need, hopefully by this weekend I will have it all ready to start my patch work.

Then I will be on here asking more questions on patching this nice hole in my ceiling wish it was as easy as the flooring...
 
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Old 02-13-14, 12:26 AM
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L&I is shorthand for the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, the state agency that oversees electrical installations where there is no county or municipal oversight.

Labor & Industries (L&I), Washington State
 
 

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