One of the most frequently carried out renovation projects for modernizing old properties or remodeling existing homes involves having to knock down internal walls.
Removing walls is usually necessary in order to create a new extension or provide more space and give you the living environment you desire. However, if you intend to remove internal walls in a property, you need to make sure that you have carefully planned how you are going to do it, as failing to plan appropriately could mean that you risk the property not being structurally sound. As a loft conversion firm with many years in the field, we know one or two things about knocking down internal walls. Therefore, we have put together the guide below to help give you some tips on how to best go about this.
Will I need planning permission?
In the majority of cases, getting planning permission for knocking down internal walls is not necessary. This is because this type of renovation typically falls under permitted development rights, which means as a property owner, you will not be required to apply for planning permission in order to carry this work out.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that it does depend on the type of building you plan to remove internal walls from. For example, if you are intending to do this work in a listed building, you will most likely need planning permission. This might mean you need to make a Buildings Regulations application. That means your work will be inspected, an providing that it meets the supervisor’s requirement, you will be issued with a certificate to carry out the work.
Consider getting structural engineer advice
Before starting to remove walls, it may be worth getting in touch with a structural engineer if it is the first time you have removed a structural wall.
A structural engineer can help to advise you as to how best to go about this, helping you to ensure that the work is carried out safely.
Think about fire regulations
Prior to removing internal walls, it is also worth seeing if the wall you want to remove is currently providing fire protection. Take for example a loft that has been converted: you will find the walls surrounding the staircase usually provide you with protection, enabling you to escape easily if a fire occurred. If you removed such walls from a loft conversion, you would need to get Building Regulations consent beforehand.
Will removing internal walls also affect party walls?
You will find that in a semi-detached or terraced houses, new beams will need to rest in the party walls that keep you separated from your neighbours, and before starting internal walls you should do your research first. Making sure you remain compliant with building legislation is important, therefore think about talking with a specialist Party Wall surveyor prior to undertaking work.
Have you got a completion certificate?
It is worth getting a completion certificate when carrying out internal wall work as if you fail to get one it could potentially cause you problems in the future.
Why might a lack of completion certificate cause you problems? this is because not having a certificate means you have no evidence that the internal wall work carried out in your property was safely and correctly carried out. This is why it is important to contact Building Control, in order for an inspection to be carried out and so you can then receive the necessary paperwork.
Is the wall loadbearing or not?
You should always make sure before knocking down internal walls that you have verified if the walls are loadbearing or not. This is because some walls are integral to the structural integrity of the house and may be harder to alter, whilst others are simply there to divide up space.
Don’t be fooled into think that simply tapping a wall to see if it sounds hollow means that you have figured out if a wall is loadbearing or not. Make sure you have sought the advice of your structural engineer or builder first who can verify this information for you.