Hi, I have a quick question regarding moving basement walls. I am moving into a new home in a few weeks and there is an unfinished area in the basement I'd like to build into a small Home Theater. There is a wall in the middle of the room that I am assuming is load bearing.
My question is, would moving a wall like this and replacing with a beam be something I would need a structural engineer to develop specs/plans for? I am new to basements so am not sure if this is required or not.
Thank you for your time, it's much appreciated!
Colin, thanks for the great question! Based on the pictures, it looks like the wall in question probably IS a loadbearing wall. Though I do not believe the code requires that you hire a structural engineer to size the beam, it is a good idea to retain the services of a design professional for two main reasons:
1) You want to make sure the beam is properly sized for your specific situation. You can find tables online that will help you size a beam but they are only applicable for the most generic situations. We literally make a living designing repairs for beams that were specified by a contractor who has been "doing this for 30 years!" Bottom-line, you will probably be calling an engineer either before or after you put the beam in. Let's get it done right the first time!
2) A structural engineer typically will carry a comprehensive liability insurance policy that protects you if there's a problem with the beam design.
Hope this all helps! Give us a call or shoot us an email if you need further input.