04.16.2013 – It is not unusual to create an opening in existing floors during building renovations and alterations. A new opening may be used for stairs, an elevator shaft, a duct penetration, skylights, etc. In order to execute a feasible modification and maintain the existing building’s structural stability, a qualified structural engineer should be involved during the initial planning phase. With varied knowledge of floor construction types and extensive experience in structural evaluation and strengthening, the structural engineer can present valuable suggestions regarding the selection of opening locations, construction feasibility and possible strengthening options. This article presents a typical procedure to create openings in existing floors, and discusses some practical issues.