We want to create an open layout by knocking down a load-bearing wall between our kitchen and living room in our San Francisco Home. Do we need a structural engineer or architect?
Removal of these central bearing walls is fairly common in San Francisco. They are often part of a larger remodel project but are sometimes done in isolation of any larger remodeling goals.
Do I need an Architect?
Typically an architect would be involved if the demolition of the wall was part of a larger remodel. The Architect would be involved to:
- Assess ultimate goals for the remodel with the home owner
- Document the existing conditions and generate background drawings for use on the project
- Provide layout sketches to communicate various ways of arranging the new spaces
- Create detailed drawings illustrating any aesthetic changes to the space such as cabinet locations, window locations and new trim or decorative elements
- Assist with finish selections
- Create detailed construction documents for permit application and construction
Please feel free to read more about the home remodeling process in our past postings.
Do I need a Structural Engineer?
Ultimately you will need a structural engineer as part of the permit and construction drawing process. The engineer will utilize the architect’s background to provide framing plans and calculations to demonstrate how the bearing wall is to be replaced.
For smaller jobs which simply involve removing the wall and patching the existing finishes an architect may ultimately not be your best answer. A good structural engineer can provide the drawings the contractor and city needs and a good contractor can work with you on exactly how you want to patch in the finishes. There are many factors that would influence which direction would make sense for you. Usually a brief phone call is enough for us to assess your needs and offer additional guidance on what services make the most sense for you.