There are all sorts of reasons why you might make large structural changes to your property. First of all, you may want to knock down a dividing wall to create an open-plan space. You might want to take on a big extension challenge or remodel the layout of your home. It’s a big job, and one small mistake can cause irreversible damage to your property. Remember, altering the structural integrity of the property will have consequences. Only take on this task if you’re confident.
We recently knocked down a structural wall to create an open plan living space. Here are some of the things we learnt along the way.
Decide why you’re making the change
It might not seem important, but the thought process behind your structural change is crucial. Are you making the change to improve the house price? Are you simply making an aesthetic change for yourself? Many people make structural alterations in the hope of increasing property value. This is a great idea, but only if you do the sums! Make sure the added value exceeds the cost of structural change. If you’re preparing the house for sale, get a rough estimate from a real estate agent. Otherwise, you could find yourself out of pocket.
You’d be surprised at the small changes that do require planning permission from your local authority. Sometimes, something as simple as a new fence or even lighting requires a survey and permission. With that in mind, submit an application to your local government, and ensure you are cleared for any work. If you’re likely to have tradesmen on site, make sure the relevant permits are granted too. Finally, it’s a good idea to let your neighbours know that work will take place.
Speak to an architect or structural specialist
When making structural changes, you must bear in mind the integrity of the house. Removing a load-bearing wall could weaken the house, and put the entire structure at risk. That’s why you should always speak to an architect or building specialist. They’ll help identify the biggest risks in the home. They’ll advise the correct course of action, and help make sure the house still adheres to structural guidelines.
Get the materials in advance
We found that one of the biggest cause of delays was late supply deliveries. You can organise every tradesman, and timetable every project. But, you can never guarantee if the material will turn up on time. If it doesn’t, you’re left with an empty site, and workmen charging for their time. Contact steel dealers, glaziers, and cement suppliers early and put your orders in. Confirm a delivery date, and make sure everyone sticks to it.
Will you do it yourself, or hire tradesmen?
Depending on the scale of the job, you need to make a big decision. Some projects, like creating an open plan space, can be done yourself. So long as you consult the structural specialists, there’s no reason you can’t do the physical labour. Bigger jobs, on the other hand, will need the expert hands of skilled tradesmen.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, congratulations, you’re ready to take on the challenge!
An example of what not to do! (Photo source)