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I remodeling my kitchen and opened up the entrance to kitchen to be more “open concept”. An inspector has asked me to determine if the wall is a load bearing wall.

I need to “verify” but not sure what they mean. Do I verify myself? Ask an engineer for proof that it is or isn’t? I’m not sure.

Here’s a picture of what I’m talking about. I removed the plaster. And accidentally removed some 2X4’s in the picture below but not everything. I believe it’s called a “pony wall” but not sure.

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    You really need to remove more drywall to see if joists run across the upper beam but it sure looks like a load bearing wall to me. Don't knock your house down, friend. – Matthew Mar 22 '18 at 6:00
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    Yeah the only joists that sit on that are the ones in the dining area. The kitchen joists run parallel to that beam. – DIYer Ed Mar 22 '18 at 6:02
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    If the ends of the joists in the dining area are sitting on the wall, didn't you just answer the question? Isn't the wall bearing the load of those joists? – JPhi1618 Mar 22 '18 at 17:23
  • True. I suppose I did. I was more interested in how do I show proof that it is. As in do I need an engineer to “verify” or can I just say that it is. – DIYer Ed Mar 22 '18 at 22:40
  • You're sort of asking two questions here: 1) How do I determine... and 2) Is it? For the latter, we've told many others that this isn't the place to ask. We can't see your home clearly enough through the internet to give us the confidence to answer. – isherwood Mar 27 '18 at 15:43
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I would try calling the inspector and ask him what he wants as far as verification. It seems like he would want verification that it is NOT load bearing. Did he see the wall after you took the drywall off? If he looked at it after the drywall is off and saw the joist ends, he should know whether it is okay or not.

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If you leave the wall as it was (i.e. put back those 2x4s!) I doubt the inspector will need anything verifying. If you want to modify or remove the wall he would want verification that it is not load bearing.

Your comment that the dining room joists sit on this wall prove that it is load bearing. Your options are therefore:

  • Reinstate the wall (i.e. put back those 2x4s!)
  • Design a replacement for the wall (i.e. something that will support the dining room joists without putting columns in the middle of your open space). Depending on jurisdiction and/or your competence you may need a structural engineer to do the design.
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I think you have two viable options to demonstrate to the inspector that your wall is not load-bearing:

  1. Investigate and provide evidence yourself. Open the area as required or access it from above. Take photographs if appropriate and describe the structure in writing, including the top-to-bottom load transfer path of any supported components.

  2. Hire a professional. This could be an architect or engineer or simply someone willing to establish the fact in writing through their professional credentials, such as a contractor. What's acceptable to the inspector depends on the inspector.

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