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What Do I Need to Consider When Knocking Down Walls?

At Saturn Interiors, and in line with the current trend of open plan living, many of our customer projects involve knocking down walls through to other rooms. A popular option is knocking through to a dining area which creates a much larger space to plan a kitchen, dining area and often a family zone too. Saturn Interiors have created many beautiful rooms in this way, managing the complete process. Check out our Customer Gallery for examples.

A somewhat unavoidable truth when it comes to any home renovation is that you may have to knock down walls to achieve the desired finish you want. We’ve undertaken many a project where this has become a reality and so can speak with an extensive level of experience on this topic – so, what do you need to consider when your home renovation might require knocking down internal walls?

Do I Need Planning Permission When Knocking Down Walls?

As a  general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t need planning permission under permitted development rights. However, if you live in a listed building you will almost always need to obtain planning permission to make structural changes within your home. If you are in doubt, you can always check with your local planning authority to get peace of mind.

They may inform you that you need to submit a building regulations application. Some examples of when this might be needed are:

  • Installing a fixed air-conditioning system
  • Replacing windows and doors
  • Installing or replacing a heating system

This will also require an inspection from them to approve the work in the application and grant a certificate.

Will I Need an Architect or a Structural Engineer?

While it isn’t necessary to consult either an architect or a structural engineer when looking at knocking down non-loadbearing walls, they can render a drawing of what the home area will look like upon completion. This is also a service you can ask your builder (if you choose to use one) to perform.

Saturn Interiors knock through project

What is a Loadbearing Wall?

Loadbearing walls, as the name suggests, are walls that bear the weight of a roof or floor above it. If the wall you are planning to knock-down is loadbearing it will be necessary to ensure that there will be sufficient support given by lintels or beams to ensure that the same load is being carried.

Saturn Interiors knock through project

How Can I Identify a Loadbearing Wall?

As a general rule of thumb, if a wall is parallel to the floor joists above it will not be a loadbearing wall. Whereas, if it is perpendicular to the joists then there is a good chance it will be loadbearing. 

It’s important to note that, as with all rules of thumb, it is best to confer with a professional be they a builder, a structural engineer, or an architect.

What About Party Walls?

In some instances, in semi-detached and terraced houses, it may be that the supporting beams need to reside in party walls (those that separate you from your neighbours). If this is the case, it is important to consult a specialist party wall surveyor who will ensure that the project adheres to the proper regulations.

If your house is older it is also important to bear in mind that party walls aren’t as strong as newer walls due to advances in building work. If it is assessed that your party wall isn’t up to the task of supporting a heavier load it may be necessary to strengthen the wall with steel columns which could lead to having to dig small foundations at great cost and disruption.

After Knocking Through Walls

How Long Will It Take To Knock Down a Wall?

Once you have all the relevant paperwork you can rest easy knowing that the hard work is done. Knocking a wall down generally takes around a week from the insertion of lintels and beams to support the new structure, through plastering the exposed sections, and finally painting the new addition to your house.

Martindale - After Knocking Through Walls

Don’t Forget to Tell Your Neighbours

Structural changes to your home, especially knocking down walls, is a noisy and potentially disruptive experience for yourselves but also for your neighbours. Giving them a heads up helps you to maintain good relationships as well as increasing the chances that if access is needed by the builders, your neighbours will be more likely to want to help.

If you have an idea about knocking through but can’t visualise the result, book a FREE no-obligation design appointment and the Team will measure up and produce 3D visuals of your new larger space. It’s easy to book an appointment with our online booking form