As reported on CTV News, when cracks began to appear all over his condo in Vancouver’s West End early this year, Wayne Morrissey didn’t understand what was going on.
Then a neighbour told him the owner of the identical condo directly below his had removed several walls.
“In July of this year, they finally turned around and opened up my walls, and determined the homeowner below had in fact removed supporting beams, causing my place to collapse,” Morrissey told CTV News from his home on Wednesday.
“I think he just thought, ‘Yeah, I’m going have an open concept.’ Now I have no support, which is why you can feel that I’m sinking.”
There are seven large cracks along the ceiling of Morrissey’s condo, and several more on his walls. Parts of his floor are bouncy and unstable.
The president of the Homebuilders Association of Vancouver says the removal of the structural beams could impact every unit above and below, right down to the foundation.
“It’s certainly not uncommon to open up walls in homes these days, but the bylaws determine you need a building permit, which triggers the need for a structural engineer,” Mark Cooper said.
But that comes at a cost that some homeowners, eager for an open concept living space, don’t want to pay.
“We’ve had customers say, ‘Thanks, we’re going to consider our options,’ and you drive by and you can see some other contractor is taking it on without a permit or that homeowner doing it themselves,” said Cooper, who is also the owner of Shakespeare Homes and Renovations.
Cooper says what happened to Morrissey’s condo should serve as a warning to homeowners thinking of tearing down walls without proper permitting and consultation.