The only thing standing in the way of the homeowners’ plans to turn their partially finished daylight basement into an open media room with a custom wine cellar was 32,000 pounds of brick — namely, the masonry mass containing the two flues for the woodburning fireplaces on the upper floors. Our company, a framing and structural contractor, was called in to help the GC remove the chimney — from its base at foundation level up to the first floor — while leaving the upper part intact and undamaged. The engineer’s plan for supporting the chimney called for two 18-foot-long steel I-beams, along with a dozen other pieces of steel angle iron located both in the basement and the attic.

Brad Hilse is foreman and Brad Hutt owner of Hutt Construction, a framing contractor in North Bend, Wash., specializing in challenging structural projects.