Question: What are the potential options for increasing doorway height in a load-bearing portion of a cinder block foundation wall?
Background: I am considering finishing my basement, but there is an obstruction in a foundation wall that violates the applicable Ohio Residential Code Section 305 Exception 2: "Habitable spaces created in existing basements shall be permitted to have ceiling heights of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm). Obstructions may project to within 6 feet, 4 inches of the basement floor." While I am planning to schedule a consultation with a structural engineer, I would like to know what types of options exist so I can do some research beforehand since a structural engineer's time does not come cheap.
- Obstruction Details: A cinder block foundation wall runs through the middle of my basement. There is a single opening in the wall to allow passage between the two sides of the basement. At the top of the opening, there is a layer of brick with a thin steel strap underneath (~1/8" thickness) which extends down to within 6' 3.5" of the floor. This is prior to the addition of any finishing materials. The brick is supporting floor joists and a load-bearing wall on the first floor of my ranch home.
Note: I added an answer to account for applying for a variance, but I do not like this option because I plan to use the basement as an entertaining space. I do not like the thought of the tall members of my family hitting their head on this low-hanging brick obstruction.