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A beginner's guide to removing internal walls

If you don’t want the mess or upheaval of an extension, internal alterations are a great way to make better use of the existing space in your home.


Here are four things we think you should know before you get started:


You don’t need planning permission to knock down internal walls


Unlike external work, if you planning on removing or putting up internal walls or taking out a chimney you won’t need planning permission. Once you’ve got your plans and your calculations you or your builder can start work pretty much straight away.



You will need to submit a building control application


Although you won’t need planning permission to remove internal walls, you will need to submit an application for building control approval.


To issue a final certificate the building inspector will need plans showing the steel or lintel sizes used and calculations to prove the stability of the sizes installed. They will also visit during the work at different stages to make sure the new supporting steels are installed correctly.


Even if you don’t get building control approval initially, you will probably need it if you come to sell your home in which case you will need plans and structural calculations to submit a regularisation application.


Check whether the walls are load bearing or not


Not all solid walls are load bearing and some stud walls are, which means tapping them to check if they’re hollow or not doesn’t really work.


To check whether a wall is load bearing or not, we’ll check whether it is supporting any of the following:


Roof: in older houses that don’t use roof trusses, internal walls usually support the roof.

Floor: floor joists rarely span the whole width or depth of the house (depending on which way they run) so rely on walls below to support them.

Other Walls: again this is more common in older houses where solid walls downstairs continue to become bedroom walls upstairs. Most modern houses have stud walls to separate rooms upstairs.

External Walls: some older houses rely on internal walls to provide support for external ones.


Your builder must also support any masonry above while room is made for the new beam or lintel.



Will party walls be affected?


In terraced and semi detached houses, some new beams will need to sit in the party wall that separates your home from the one attached.


Most experienced builders can deal with this easily. It might be necessary to build out the wall slightly as it might not be thick enough to support the new steel work.


You may also want to warn your attached neighbours before work starts, and if you feel like it would be necessary, get them to sign a party wall agreement. We very rarely have customers or neighbours who do this, but can help with drafting the agreement if needed.


Not sure if the wall you want to remove is carrying anything or does the builder you want to use need plans? Get started on your remodel now with plans and calculations from us!


We can also provide calculations using plans from other architects.

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