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Question DetailsAsked on 3/30/2015

I need to remove a load bearing wall in my basement and put a 10 ft LVL header. do I need an engineer or inspection

I have a load bearing wall in basement that divides 2 rooms. I want to open it up with LVL beam. I live in Gwinnett county Georgia. I know how to do it but need to know if I need an inspection or permit do do it. will it affect the re-sale of my house if I do it without a permit? Thanks in advance.

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2 Answers


Yes - Structural Engineer to do stamped plan or sketch for the contractor to gid to and work from, which will likely include instructions on minimum support required during the swap out.

Below are links to a few similar questions with responses that might help too -

PS - if doing this with an LVL as opposed to dimensional timber or a steel beam, I STRONGLY suggest having the engineer specify half and quarter-point lateral support points and out-of-plane buckling resistance (usually flanges) as well, because it is all too common for LVL's to warp out of plane and buckle because of the plywood (or heavens forbid, OSB or particle board) picking up moisture and warping or the glue failing due to high humidity. One of many reasons I hate commercial "engineered wood beams" - either LVL or laminated beam. If you do go with an LVL beam, I recommend full-thickness as opposed to a laminated I beam which seem to have more warping and buckling issues than either vertical laminated plywood beams or horizontal laminated wood beams. And I STRONGLY recommend having it sealed to reduce moisture issues and cracking from drying (especially with laminated dimensional wood beams, which tend to delaminate at the bottom due to moisture changes).

Also talk to the engineer about acceptable sag due to wood creep - building standards in some areas allow as much as L/80 or L/120 sag- which in a 10' span (if you meant 10' span versus the probably 8 foot span with an actual 10' LVL beam), would be an inch or inch and a half sag in the member over the years. Some code uses and areas even allow tht much both under load and from creep, so you might be 2-3inches of sag over 20+ years - which is grossly unacceptable to many people, and is typically enough to cause drywall cracking crossways to the beam if it is drywalled straight across under it. For aesthetic purposes, beams in high visibility areas are usually limited to total sag (load plus creep) ofaround L/120, or even L/240 in very high impact areas like atriums and fancy entries. OF course, limiting the sag also means a much stronger and typically deeper beam, or putting in an intermediate support column, so there are tradeoffs.

As for value of the house - generally opening up an area like that adds to the value to the tune of maybe half the cost of doing it, ASSSUMING you are not opening up a room that can be classed as a legal bedroom - do that and you significantly DECREASE the value.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Sorry - missed part of your question in my earlier response. Whether doing it without a permit will affect the vallue ofyour house at resale depends on whether someone notices that the beam was replaced/opened up and checks to see if a permit was issued - either at purchase, or during the course of another home improvement project.

I read about a case like that where the homeowner who did the work made a mistake, resulting in damage occurring during the occupancy of the next homeowner. The courts ruled that because that type of work required a structural engineer's input and was not disclosed in the sale documents that it was done without permit and engineer drawings, that the original homeowner was guilty of professional practicing without a license, avoiding permit requirements, and failing to disclose the failure in the property disclosure documents - basically threw the book at him, including punitive damages, for bypassing the legal requirements and permitting. Nothing wrong with a homeowner doing it himself in a property he owns and resides in - just have to go through the required engineering and permitting steps.

The same sort of case has come up and been judged similarly in rewiring cases, where individuals didtheir own rewiring without required permits or inspections, and were held responsible to subsequent owners because the work was done contrary to the law. Generally, the law seems to be saying that doing it wrong was not the cause for legal liabilitiy - it was the avoiding permit requirements and inspections that made the person liable.

I would say don't risk it - follow the rules for your area - protects your investment and minimizes future liability.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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