Changing the internal layout of a house is not something which should be entered into lightly. As well as the costs involved, the disruption to living facilities can mean that the building must be unoccupied while work is carried out.
Depending on the age or style of the property, there may be extra concerns and legalities involved in making major changes. Listed Building Consent may be required if your house is of special interest or in an area covered by certain restrictions. Changes to load-bearing walls or other structures can mean that a building of any age needs official clearance for the work to be done.
The layout dictates the size and shape of rooms, the positions of staircases and how the interior of the home connects together. This means that although some simple modifications can be quite straightforward, larger jobs or more extensive restructuring will be a more significant undertaking.
Some people might think that an architect’s job is to work exclusively on large scale projects, but if your house is going to have a considerable internal redesign then you should consider using a professional to draw up the plans.
Not only can an architect translate your ideas into the form needed for builders to make them a reality, but you will also receive sound advice on what is viable. They can even suggest other improvements which you might like to make but which hadn’t thought of yourself.
Finding a local firm or independent architect who has worked on similar properties shouldn’t be too difficult either and you can usually check out their previous work quite easily.
Changing layouts can mean altering the way in which a building actually supports itself. Making sure that the results will be structurally sound is therefore of vital importance.
A structural engineer will work with an architect to make recommendations on what needs to be done to adhere to regulations. In some cases this might mean including supporting mechanisms as part of the plans.
Permitted Development rules in the UK cover most aspects of changing the layout of the inside of your house but some significant structural work can involve clearance from Building Control authorities before work even begins.
If you are changing the external appearance of your property as part of your redesign then you may need to obtain planning permission. This can be difficult for listed properties or if you live in a conservation area.
Finding an architect and getting all of the official clearances you need is only the beginning of what needs to be done when changing the layout of your home – the main work involves choosing the right tradesmen to bring your vision to reality.
Making sure you check previous work is essential and recommendations are usually a good way to find reputable firms.
If the changes you intend to make will be too disruptive for normal daily life to continue then you may also need to factor in the cost of living elsewhere into the overall budget. This is where time centric penalties can come into play in any contracts you draw up with your contractors.
Paul Gray is an experienced home improvement author. He writes for a number of clients such as Innovo Property London and has been writing for a number of years. He likes to help people as you can see in his articles.