Considerations before you knock a hole in your wall…

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Put the hammer down. Knocking a hole in your wall or removing it completely may seem like a simple task, but as the ol’ adage goes things aren’t always what they seem.

Open plan living is becoming the norm and as a result people are knocking down walls all over the country, but there’s a few key things to think about before you get out the sledgehammer. Consider the following as a starting point.

open plan room

Do you need permission?

If you live in an apartment block you may need body corporate permission before you undergo any structural building work. This can mean a simple idea to open up a room can turn into a waiting game while body corporates and councils get back to you. If you live in a house you may not need to worry so much about the structural reliance of the wall and the process could be simpler, but you may still need council permission depending on the size of the job. Check your council’s building guidelines, and consider consulting a structural engineer for advice. Both are a good place to start.

Are there electrical cables in your wall?

It’s easy to forget that most walls contain electrical cables, so put your power tools down and check where your cables run. And make sure the power is off before you pick them up again! Asking an electrician is the best way to go if you are not an experienced DIYer familiar dealing with electrics. If you cut through a cable the work involved to fix your mistake could be costly and timely, much more so than consulting the professionals to begin with. Remember, a small mistake with electrics could be life threatening.

Is it structural?

That wall you are looking to remove could be there for good reason. If you’ve never studied structural engineering or architecture, and have no building experience, it’s not advisable to start hitting your home with a hammer before seeking advice from those in the know. A short consultation with a builder, structural engineer or architect could save you a lot of time, money and heartache in the future. Call around and see what’s on offer. This doesn’t have to be expensive. If you have the building plans for your home, some engineers can advise based on the drawings, and may not even need to come out for a site visit. This can cut down the cost and save you paying for travel time to and from your home. Plans can often be found at your local council office for a reasonable charge and are worth seeking out.

What’s a lintel? And do you need one?

When you remove a wall that’s structural you need to replace it with something to bare the load left behind. This is called a lintel and is often used for doors, fireplaces or holes in the wall. The size and strength of the lintel needed can vary and to ensure you meet building regulations you should seek advice from a structural engineer who will write you a recommendation. Some builders will not work on a property without an official engineers report, especially if you are removing a load-bearing wall (or a chunk of it).

That’s a lot to consider

There’s certainly more to think of than at first glance and it can be more costly than first thought to knock out part of your home, but the rewards can be well worth it and can give a home a new lease of life so it’s often an investment well worth making.

 

Article Sourced from Realestate.com by holly Jones:

http://www.realestate.com.au/blog/considerations-before-you-knock-a-hole-in-your-wall/

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