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have a three level house in the south suburbs of chicago. the house was built on marsh land in the late 70's . when we moved into the house the previous owner remodeled the lower level removing the garage and opening it up meaning taking out the inner house wall. we have lived here for 3 years and have noticed a couple cracks in the foundation and drywall cracks inside the home , no water however but i am on a slight incline . the park seems to flood majorly when it rains . can i build a new wall, should i have a foundation specialist look at it??

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Pictures would go a long way to helping us understand the severity of the crack. –  Steven Mar 18 at 0:45
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If the cracks are new it is obvious that they are from the renovation. Anytime you buy a house that has been remodeled to open things up - I would suggest that you put a liability waiver on seller or that the remodel was at least 4-5 years prior. Bad flippers will knock down walls and throw up 2x6s (if that) for support beams. If they do a horrible job you will know in a few months, a half-ass job might take a few years. –  DMoore Mar 18 at 19:23
    
What some would call a crack and what I would call a failure could be inches apart. I would want to see good photos with decent spacial reference to draw any kind of opinion on this one. –  shirlock homes Mar 18 at 21:02
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2 Answers 2

The location of the drywall cracks would be important relative to the removed wall and the foundation cracking. Structural walls are often removed in remodels but with a load bearing beam of some type spanning the new open space and transferring the load to either side. That is one good reason to look at permits with the county or city to see if there was a permit for the remodel. It would help you figure out if that is part of the problem.

Foundation cracking is likely a separate issue. Two quick things to do is talk to neighbors with houses of similar ages and also inquire with any general contractors or remodelers who have experience in the area. They usually become familiar with the nuances of building codes over the years and can be a great source of information.

In the end though, this will just be information that will help you understand the issues better. You will still need to find a structural engineer, civil engineer or (Im not sure if this applies to your state) an architect any of which must have a state license to actually be of use if you need plans for any structural work.

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The relevant professional are structural engineer or civil engineer. Internet advice cannot suffice for a complex matter like cracking or settling, especially if there is a chance a structural wall was removed in a multistory home. You should start by getting a copy of all relevant permits at the building department and taking photos to document the current cracks.

Your local building department may be willing to come out and inspect the home: but beware they have the ability to force you out of the home if it's unsound.

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Yeah, the building department are about the last people you want to involve until you have a handle on what you're going to do, unless you have a reliable means to make the previous owner liable for the damages (usually not an option if you didn't sort that out during closing...) –  Ecnerwal Mar 18 at 3:11
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