Civil/Structural Engineering, Vashon, Washington, USA 206-463-5311

For the foreseeable future, we predict that remodeling will be the dominant residential construction market.  Why?:

  • New Construction prices have dropped only marginally.  With the glut of foreclosed homes on the market, the drop in existing house prices, and the continuing low interest rates, existing homes are bargains.
  • Most people who purchase an existing home will remodel, or at least update finishes.
  • Many of these homes may have been unoccupied for years and will require maintenance/remodel work to address deterioration issues.
  • With the current uncertain economic environment, some homeowners are choosing to remodel and improve their existing home, rather than risk selling their home and over-extending themselves by purchasing another home.  Here again, the low interest rates make this attractive.

Remodel Engineering

Ellisport Engineering is your Remodel Engineering Expert.


Why Ellisport Engineering should be your remodel engineer:
  • Experience.  Both Eric and I have 25+ years each in designing remodels.
  • Communications.  We listen, understand, and speak the language of remodels.  Homeowners, architects, and contractors all find us easy to work with.
  • Respect.  We respect the inherent strength, architecture, and beauty of older homes.  Our engineering works within the home’s constraints, so the beauty is preserved, yet the strengthening measures stay hidden. 
  • Timely.  We understand disruptions to family life, construction schedules, idle contractor costs, and the need to have builder questions answered quickly.  Our construction support may be a site visit, email, or telephone call, but it’s always prompt.
  • Economical.  Our remodel designs are always done as if it were our place and we were paying the construction bills.  We strive to provide both economical and buildable designs.
  • Quality.  Our engineering is well known and respected by all of the building jurisdictions.  This means that our designs get through the permitting process easier, faster, and with fewer comments.

Our recent remodeling projects have included:

  • Converting basements to living space.  The advantages are that you don’t need to construct a new roof, floor, or foundation.To open up a constricted basement, posts can be removed and replaced with steel beams.  This is not as difficult or expensive as you might think. Basement floors can be lowered to improve head height.  This work may include excavating for new footings and a floor slab, shoring for the existing basement walls, and drainage and waterproofing of the foundation.Bouncy floors can be stiffened, discovered framing problems can be fixed, and framing can be changed to accommodate plumbing and HVAC ducts.
  • Adding a second story addition.  Foundation upgrades can be avoided through thoughtful framing, even “sub-standard” 6” foundation walls can accommodate a 2nd story with creative framing.We work carefully to match floor heights and layout the framing to take advantage of existing bearing points, avoiding excessive disruption and demolition to the lower stories.We employ advanced analysis techniques to verify existing framing and shear wall strengths, so we can be selective and economical in where we require upgrades to the existing structure.
  • Stand-alone addition.  Often, a new addition will be the best solution to a family’s needs. 
  • Open floor plans.  Often, homeowners want to move or remove one or more interior walls to create larger, more open spaces.  They may be bearing walls or shear walls, but we analyze the house to provide alternative load paths, so the house is not weakened.
  • Seismic retrofit.  We’ve designed seismic retrofits for numerous different buildings and foundation types.  Where possible, we specify economical off-the-shelf metal connectors and anchor bolts.  But, we have special building-specific methods to reinforce ungrouted CMU (Concrete Masonry Units, commonly called cinder blocks) block walls, brick masonry walls, and stone foundation walls.  When the retrofit work is completed by a qualified contractor, we will inspect the work and provide a stamped engineering document for the building department and your insurance company.