Here in Glasgow and its surrounding areas, we are lucky enough to have many period properties in our midst. If you live in a tenement flat, townhouse, Victorian villa, terraced house or semi-detached house, the notion of knocking through the two ground floor reception rooms to create one larger room is likely to be a popular and enduring trend that you’re considering.
Similarly, opening up a smaller kitchen into an open plan kitchen/dining/living space is right on trend, offering the life style many people are after at present. Pulling down internal walls can offer greater flexibility, a magnified sense of space and enhanced light. Find out how to get it right by following our guide below – but please do consult the experts before starting any major works!
Before work begins…
Do you need planning permission?
Unless you live in a listed building, it is unlikely you will need planning permission for this type of internal work. You can contact your local council to check for peace of mind, however, the general rule is, though listed buildings are certainly protected from both internal or external work, and the external of properties in conservation areas are usually protected, your average home will not have such restrictions or need planning permission – though certain permits may well apply, see below.
Check if the wall is structural
An important factor to establish early on in the project is whether the wall is structural, whether it is there to help keep the building standing or not! A hollow sounding wall may turn out to be structural and a tougher brick wall may not be, it depends on the type of property and how it was built. If you don’t know what you are doing, it is imperative to get an architect, builder or structural engineer out to give the correct calculations on what can be done safely in the space you have.
Who will work on the project?
It depends on what you are looking to achieve and the space you have, but for more complex projects it might be worth getting an architect on board to draw up plans. They may bring ideas to the table you haven’t thought of too. If you are going for a straight knock through from one room to the other, the work may be simple enough for a builder to carry out. Make sure to ask around and do your research before finding trustworthy, skilled tradespeople local to you. If you are taking the project on yourself, make sure you know what you are doing!!
Contact your local council’s building standards department
Though planning permission won’t be necessary in most cases, you will need to contact your council’s building standards department for their advice, to check whether you will need a warrant and to factor in the necessary fire safety precautions and that the project is structurally sound and sustainable.
It’s a good idea to tell neighbours before any work begins, especially if you live in a terraced or semi-detached property as you’ll be subject to the Party Wall Act if the work affects a shared wall between you and neighbours. If you’re removing any main walls that have a structural loading in a terraced or semi-detached property, you’ll need to obtain party wall agreement with either or both of your neighbours. You can notify neighbours yourself, following the relevant government guidelines, and in most cases you are unlikely to see much delay if all handled professionally. In more complicated projects, it might be better to have someone work on your behalf such as a party wall surveyor.
When the project starts…
Preserve period features
Remember features that make your property unique and add value, such as cornicing and original fireplaces, should always be protected where possible. You can easily avoid disrupting cornicing by planning in a little downstand from the original ceiling or knocking through an archway instead of the entire wall.
Prepare for disruption
You are likely to be losing the use of at least two rooms when undergoing a knock through, not to mention all the rubble and dust that is involved when dismantling a wall, so prepare yourself for a bit of upheaval when the work is getting carried. The actual knocking down of the wall shouldn’t take much longer than a week but then there will likely be plastering work and potential adjustments to floor levels and surfaces, not to mention redecoration, so prepare things to take some time to get right.
Plan the redecoration
The knock through itself and labour costs won’t be the most expensive or time consuming part, but the finish and decoration will add to the budget, so make sure to factor in all the costs and consider the type of finish you can afford when in the planning stages.
Vanilla Square – highly personal sales and lettings! Whether selling or letting property, you will always be liaising with one of our business partners, which makes our service that much more responsible and approachable. When you instruct us, your property will reach a wider audience as we are one of the few agents who are present on all the major property portals to offer sellers and landlords maximum exposure. If you’re looking to buy, sell, rent or lease your property, or you’re simply considering the idea, contact us by calling 0141 229 0210 or pop into our new office at 711 Great Western Road. One of our partners will be delighted to help and provide you with impartial, expert advice.