Ever thought about smashing down a wall in your house to open up the space a bit? It’s a great way to change things up without having to add any extra rooms. You might be picturing yourself taking a sledgehammer and just going to town, ending up with a nice, big room, right?

Well, hold on, because it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. There are some key steps and processes in place to avoid mistakes and potential fines from council. 

Taking out a wall can be a big deal. It could be holding up part of your house, or hiding something important inside it. If you don’t do it right, you could end up messing with the stability of your house, and that’s definitely not something you want.

So, before you start swinging that sledgehammer, check out this list of things you should look out for.

Wall Removal To-Do List

First off, just knocking on the wall and listening for a hollow sound is not going to cut it. You need a pro, like a structural engineer or a builder, to check if the wall is holding up anything important such as:

  • The roof: Old houses might have walls that help hold up the roof. Newer ones typically don’t.
  • The floor: If your floorboards run over 4 meters without something holding them up, there’s likely a wall or a beam underneath doing the job.
  • Other walls: Walls on the first floor might be holding up walls on the second.
  • External walls: In some old houses, inside walls help keep the outside walls from wobbling.

Also, think about safety, like fire protection. Some walls are there to give you a safe way out if there’s ever a fire. You’ll need to get the okay from your local council before you can take down walls like these.

Getting the Green Light for Your Wall Removal

Every place has its own rules when it comes to fixing up your house. It can be pretty confusing, but don’t worry, there’s a system to it all.

Your local council will let you know what kind of paperwork you need for your project. If you live in a place where bushfires are a risk, they’ll have rules for that. In a city, you’ll probably need to fill out more forms than if you’re out in the countryside. Basically, where you live and what’s going on around you will determine what you need to do to get approval.

For a big project like taking down a wall, you’ll need a building designer or an architect to draw up some plans. You can then go straight to your local council yourself, although you will generally have a much faster, efficient approval process with the experts here at ApproveAll. You might also need a building certifier to keep an eye on things as you go.

Crunching the Numbers

Taking down a wall isn’t cheap, and there are a few things that will affect how much it’s going to cost. The bigger the wall, the more it’ll cost to take down.

Roughly speaking, here’s what you’ll be paying for:

  • 50% for materials
  • 35% for labor
  • 15% for permits and council fees

And then there are some other things you might need to pay for:

  • Getting a report from a structural engineer
  • Getting a copy of your land title
  • Paying a building designer or architect
  • Getting building permits and approvals
  • Getting Home Warranty Insurance
  • And of course, how much your builder charges. Right now, it’s around $1350 per square meter for a timber wall and $1500 for a brick wall.

Expect the Unexpected

You know how it is, things don’t always go to plan. So give yourself a little wiggle room in your budget, like an extra 10-15%. You might need it for:

  • An interior designer to help make your new space look great
  • An electrician to sort out any wiring in the wall
  • A carpenter for any shelves or cabinets you want to add
  • A painter to touch up the place after all the work

Choosing the Right Builder

In Australia, builders have to be licensed and insured before they can start smashing down walls in your house.

Their licence will say exactly what kind of work they’re allowed to do. You can find all this info on the licence, along with their name, licence number, and when it runs out. Never, ever hire a builder without a licence. It’s illegal, and it could get you into some serious trouble. Make sure you’ve got a contract with your builder that protects both of you. It should cover:

  • What the project includes
  • When the work will be done
  • How much it’ll cost
  • When you need to pay
  • What happens if there are delays
  • The total price
  • Check that your contract follows the law where you live, and maybe get some legal advice before you sign anything.

So, taking down a wall? It’s a big job, and a lot could go wrong – but with these tips, you should be all set for a smooth ride. Remember, when in doubt, get the pros involved. Contact us today for your free consultation on your project today. Happy renovating!