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Question DetailsAsked on 10/30/2016

S. Engineer's report cost on eliminating all load bearing walls in main fl unit of 4 fl wood condo bldg?

I rquire a structural engineer's report showing the changs I propose, their impact on the building & which other units could also benefit, an explaination of the work process, timeline & costs, the contractor details, arrangeing of city permits, city inspections & city approvls.
What will this cost me here in Vancouver Canada?

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2 Answers


I presume you mean eliminating all INTERIOR load bearing walls - not making the exterior walls non-load bearing as well (like changing to glass curtain walls).

Sounds like a pet project of yours, because while some people like wide open floorplans, others do not and some do not like the columns and possibly decreased ceiling clearances due to beams that will be needed to replace the load bearing walls. Plus you are talking major cost here, so some are not going to like that concept for that reason alone - so expect significant resistance to your plan, because it will likely not be considered to be a "benefit" by all residents.

This is a pretty drastic thing to do to a 4 floor building after the fact, unless the building is undergoing a MAJOR structural overhaul anyway - lots of changes in support paths, likely to result in a fair amount of architectural drywall/plaster cracking in the course ofthe work, and depending on the foundation conditions may require some pretty substantial new foundations for the new supporting columns - which in your area, if down on the mud flats or river deposits, can get expensive.

Not sure what you mean by "contractor details" - if you mean plans and specifications for the contractors to bid to and the successful one to build to and some engineer suggestions as to possible contractors to bid onthe job, that would be included in that cost. If something else, maybe not.

Not knowing the size and design of the building, foundation conditions, etc - but assuming you are in the city proper so foundation issues are likely to be wide open and need some investigation before the design can be done, I would guess you are talking at least $5000 and probably more about $10,000 ballpark minimum for the engineering you describe - not including detailed site inspection during the work if you want that too, which would likely be a couple to few thousand or so $ more in normal conditions. Depending on the complexity of the building design and existing foundations suitability for shifted loads, and exactly the location and dimensions of the changes you are talking about and number of units involved and whether they are all built identical floorplan or not, could run more in the $20-30,000 range including the design, plans, permitting, inspection, etc - total engineering costs. With typical condo construction - especially if newer construction, completely removing load-bearing walls (as opposed to knocking out a section here and there) is a major change to the load bearing system, especially if the building currently has interior footings or piers - so this is likely NOT a minor or simple project.

An initial engineer's consultation on-site and concept workup with rough conceptual cost ballaprk might start you off at about a thoudand or two $ - just to rough out the concept and give a ROUGH ballpark talking range $ amount so you can decide if you are really into going ahead with this big a job, because I am guessing they will tell you something in the range of $1/4 - 1/2 million + total job cost assuming this is maybe a 4-8 unit building - more if larger of course.

Structural Engineers is an Angies List Search the List category - you are going to need a company that does residential and light commercial design work - RKTG, Weiler Smith Bowers, Glotman Simpson, Herold Engineers among others do this sort of work. They will likely pull in a geotechnical engineering firm like maybe Knight and Piesold or Golder Associates for the foundation suitability and design portion and seismic engineering considerations - but usually the structurals have working relationships with consulting geotech engineers if they don't have the capacity in-house, so that would not be something you need to go out and look for yourself.

One last thought - while the actual design of the load bearing systems would be done by a structural engineer with geotechnical input and foundation design, because you are talking a lot of changes in utility runs and such (in the walls to be removed) and repairs to architectural finishes (paint, flooring, etc) - it might well be that your best bet is going with an architect/engineering firm - with both architectural and engineering capabilities in house. Architect would be the Search the List category for that.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

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