Determination of a wall being "load bearing" within scope of home inspections

I was recently contacted by a home owner who wanted to hire someone to come out and help him determine if a wall that he wanted to remove or modify was Load bearing. Although I have some training from Internachi courses on this, I seem to remember this really is not in the scope of our training/sop. At the time, I encouraged him to contact a structural engineer or remodeling contractor for determination. Just wanted to get a feel if this was the correct recommendation.


You will get a few different replies, but there is only one that matters (to you) and that is YOURS!!
Based upon only what you wrote, (as I don’t know anything about you), I feel you made the correct decision for you!
It is a judgement call that every inspector will make for themselves. Bravo for making the decision you seem to be comfortable with. As you gain experience, you may make a different decision in the future. Time will tell, remembering one significant downfall… the potential added RISK you would be taking. If you ever do take that RISK, be sure you are paid appropriately for it.


If you don’t have a construction background you should encourage him to get a qualified contractor or a structural engineer for liability reasons. :


I think Jeff and Scott answered your question. A load-bearing wall transfers roof or other types of loads to the structural framing below (typically floor /ceiling joists or foundation).

Hope to find you well and in good spirits today. I was thinking of you due to your post on COVID-19. Hope that phase has passed and you are well. Went through the same.

Kenton. If you refer back to the OP’s post, and I am not correcting you, I think Steve Schlegel, Jeff and Scott answered the question correctly :wink:

Keep well.

I get asked this question quite often during condo inspections. My. Young. Can we remove kitchen walls to see into the dinning room when we have guests.
My replay. Most any removal and modification can be done to a home if you have the finances.
Dear Sir/Maam. Consider this. Its not only about wall removal, to gain clear unobstructed view of a space/room. One must consider what is in the wall assembly that will require rerouting besides any structural modifications span that opening. IE: Likely electrical and/or telecommunication cables, plumbing pipes, HVAC ducting and air circulation ducting. Along with cables comes circuit receptacles and switches as well as a part of a live circuit that may no linger be in service.
Then there is lost cabinetry.

As for installing likely 2 columns and a beam, to span the opening, that’s doable in any home. It’s all about money. Expect starting at $10,000 if mortification are required to span an opening.
Hope that helps.

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Load bearing walls can be easy to identify and sometimes very difficult. Some of the more complicated engineered truss designs use some interior walls for support. Most stick built roofs will have some load bearing walls, mainly in the hallways, but that is not always the case. Most home inspection E&O insurance companies would consider this subject outside you coverage, which puts you at risk.


Tell him to get an estimate from a contractor to remove the wall. They’ll tell him.

Yes why would you want the liability?

What Randy said.

It never hurts to " verbally suggest" that a wall may or may not be load bearing, but I personally always do it with the caveat of hiring a PE/Architect to make sure, for no other reason that I’m not one. Same goes when I find a damaged or modified truss, it looks like it may be an easy fix, but as a home inspector, that’s not my call.

Especially seeing that Trusses are Engineered products which require a Truss Engineers prescription for repair… which would include a Certified copy of the Rx to be attached to the area of repair.


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