Knocking through

Many people buy a property that is generally well suited to their needs, but could be improved with the removal of one or more internal walls.

The removal of an internal wall can not only open up additional space by combining two otherwise small rooms, but it can also let in more light, give access to better views, allow larger furniture, and provide more flexible living accommodation.

But can you just knock a wall through with a big hammer? Well yes and no. Probably no! Certainly some non-load-bearing stud partition walls can indeed usually be removed quickly and painlessly, although dust is always an issue – cover everything!

However, in most situations, the advice of a structural engineer should be sought and is not generally expensive. The engineer will calculate whether the wall is load-bearing, and if so, what size of RSJ (reinforced steel joist) will be required to support the upper walls. RSJs usually leave a protrusion below the ceiling and it is often worth paying the moderate extra cost (but with more inconvenience upstairs) of having the RSJ embedded in the ceiling. It’s also worth finding out if the RSJ can be set into the wall or if it needs one or two piers to support it. Also will it fit through the door or window during construction?)

Always check out the height of the ceiling in each room before knocking through to make sure they will be level once the wall comes down. And don’t forget to order the skip – a bigger one than you might expect!

You will almost certainly need a Building Regulation inspection and subsequent certificate, and special planning consent if the building is listed, but most unlisted buildings will not require planning. Why not ask us to comment on whether combining rooms might enhance the value of your property?

Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA
CEO – Oakfield Estate Agents

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