I have spoken with a contractor about removing two load bearing walls (amongst other work). The two load bearing walls are parallel but offset by two feet to provide space for a range/oven in the kitchen. We discussed a somewhat goofy three-beam setup to manage this but it would sure be nice to have a single beam for the full span. This beam would run roughly along the center of the house and there are presently joists running from each exterior wall and overlapping a foot or so over the to-be-removed wall. Along with checking the point loads at the end, the joists above the to-be-removed walls would have to be extended to the new beam location from the existing load bearing wall location. The shift is exactly two feet.

Where should I research code requirements for this? The house is in Pennsylvania. The contractor and their engineer would certainly confirm any final design but I would like to do some initial calculations to check plausibility.

  • 2009 IRC. Sistering joists requires an engineer as far as I know.
    – Dotes
    Jan 12, 2018 at 5:25

1 Answer 1


Use beam sizing software. There are ones available for free.

All things can designed outside of the "code" which is what the "code" defaults too if it is not prescribed. We usually just have plans and beam calcs to match that all get approved by our building officials and are not "in" the code.

I am not an engineer and it is allowed in my jurisdiction. Other jurisdictions the beams must be calc'd by an engineer. Point is, you do not have to be confined to the prescribed "code" per se. You can "design" it

  • Fair enough, an engineer would be doing the real work themselves anyways. My efforts would just give us something to talk about.
    – altendky
    Jan 19, 2018 at 3:52
  • Which is why I figured you would be safe to try one out and play around with it. It would allow you to see what happens when you change up beam spans and tributary loading. Could be informative.
    – Damon
    Jan 19, 2018 at 4:30

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