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I live in a 5 story condo, on 2nd floor.

I wanted to remove this foyer (in picture labeled as ENTRY). I see joists running across the room, left to right in the picture. The structural engineer came out and said it seems to be load bearing. He calculated for the room to be too wide for joists to span from wall to kitchen wall, so the foyer must support them. However, he's confused as to what is holding up the joists past the foyer, into the room. (towards the balcony)

As you can see in the plans, only a few walls are designated as structural. I am no expert, but this seems too few. Is structural wall the same as load bearing ?

I am still trying to find actual structural plans and not architectural ones, but I wanted to ask the community and what people think.

Thank you for your time.

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  • 3
    An in-person structural engineer's opinion will be more dependable than those available on this website. – Daniel Griscom Mar 16 '16 at 11:09
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    Is there a building manager that could tell you what other units look like and if other people have done what you want to do? Also, the areas marked as "structural" were probably just marked that way to indicate that 2x6 framing was needed - not that they were the only structural walls in the unit. Extra wall space was obviously needed in some areas for plumbing. – JPhi1618 Mar 16 '16 at 14:34
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Yeah, that plan is of no use. If anything it's just depicting where 2x6's were to be used, which doesn't mean they were used. ALL exterior walls would have to be Load Bearing. If all of the floors have the same layout then everything's Load Bearing.

The place is broken up into, roughly, 3 14-foot spans, with of course just the Linen Closet to the Entry portion having 16-foot sticks under it. And, your "Engineer" is a moron. Simply put. What's above you & what's below you is what matters & solely determines Load Bearing or Connecting. Not whether he "only knows" of 14-foot sticks ever being as the longest lumber. Laughable.

You'll have to get a Carpenter, but I think the only thing you could possibly remove would be just the wall across from the Entry Door & removal of the shelf's half-wall only, between the dining room.

  • Hey Iggy, thanks for your input. I really appreciate it. The "half wall" you refer to is the one on the bottom, separating kitchen and diving room, correct ? The 3 foot wall. Also, I read somewhere that after certain year most condos are built with all unit's interior walls being removable. Of course, this is internet, so... The floor plan above us and below us is 100% identical. – toyrunr Mar 16 '16 at 4:48
  • You're welcome. But nope, the half-wall that's between the Entry & the Dining Room (where the plan says " shelf "). You can take that down to the floor, but you can't make that opening ANY wider. If it's built-down with a Soffit then the Soffit could go too, only the width of the bottom & ONLY IF the Soffit is a Cage looking frame & not a tall & thick beam...you MUST stop when you get to that beam. But, same layout above & below means you're done after you turn that shelf opening into a doorway. As, you're Foyer is Bearing & Bridging all the floors above & below, about 30-tons. – Iggy Mar 16 '16 at 5:08
  • Understood. Ok, so the best I can do it make it "walk able" . Sadness. I truly wanted an open floor plan, or something similar. There is a thick piece of wood up at the top of the foyer towards dining room, i took apart drywall to expose it. Can I remove the arch leading into room ?(parallel to front door) Can I make that opening bigger. Right now it's got an overhang from the ceiling too, but it's parallel to joists, so it's aesthetic only ? Thanks Iggy. much appreciated. – toyrunr Mar 16 '16 at 5:16
  • Sorry, I didn't make the place. Yep, if there's just Soffit framing under the beam for the other arch, that's cool to go up to the that beam, but NO going wider. Taller yes, wider no. Parallel to joists doesn't matter here, you may (likely) have a double or triple joist beam under there. – Iggy Mar 16 '16 at 5:25
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    Load bearing walls can sometimes be opened up -- I had 12 feet of one removed to merge my front hallway into my living room -- but that requires having an engineer evaluate the loads and design ways to transfer the force to something else which can handle it. In my case the opening is spanned by two LVL beams adding up to about a 4x12, with cripple studs above to transfer forces to it. That is supported by two LVL posts, one direct to the foundation and one to a new I-beam which is supported in turn by main beam and foundation. Note that this required access from underneath. NOT DIY. – keshlam Mar 16 '16 at 19:19

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