Opening Up, What Will It Take
Without a doubt the easiest route from this point is to work with a reputable builder or renovation company. The right organisation can take over the entire job and the project management. Builders like ours from The Block, Jason from Charles Bros Building Contractors, are set up to manage the entire job from start to finish. If this is your preferred option our recommendation would be to look for companies that work in your local area as they will be familiar with the regulations and requirements of local authorities. We also suggest you do research in your community for recommendations or otherwise. There’s nothing quite like a ‘word of mouth’ recommendation!
If you’re managing the project yourself, let’s put together a list of the steps you will need to tick off at a minimum. This is like having your own road-map for the journey.
Sorting out who’s approval you need – Whether it is your local council, local authority or a strata management situation, first step is to determine the approval process before you start to get your ducks in a row.
Plans – you will need to formalise you rough sketches so need to engage either a building designer, draughts-person or an architect to ensure the plan is clearly legible for all parties involved going forward. They will also help you take into consideration light, airflow and traffic flow in our home, so that the changes will be functional as well as beautiful.
Structural security – We need to make sure the wall or walls coming out will not have impact the remaining structure. This is the point where you will need a structural engineer to inspect and produce a structural engineers report which will outline what exists and what needs to be done in order to ensure the integrity of the building being changed by the opened up space.
At this point with your plans complete you will need to submit them to the appropriate authority (you will have already worked out who this is through you prior research) to seek approval for the works.
Lining up your trades – Hiring a builder for the structural works is the obvious. If you are not leaving the hiring of all the trades to your builder you will a need line up an electrician, plasterer etc. Regardless of any aspects of the job you are taking on, the electrical component must be left for the professionals. Depending on the structure, you are going to require a combination of carpentry, brick laying and/or steel works. Further down the track you are going to need plasterers, painters, and flooring – carpet, floorboards or tiles – but best you have this all lined up in advance as the biggest impact on timelines will be the availability of trades at the time you need them.
You will also need to be prepared to compromise if it turns out that you can’t create the exact space you wished for, but make sure whoever is giving you this feedback can clarify why. The more you understand about your property and the process the better.
Be clear on why you are doing this home improvement. If you are creating your forever home, do it to suit your wildest home desires to make it perfect for you. If it is about improving the value of your home with the intent to capitalise when you sell, be very clear about the cost versus return – we know from experience, it is very easy to blow the budget and it can sometime work out better to sell and buy a home with all the work already done.
Although the concept of open plan living is all about creating a large open cohesive space, each section within the space still needs to function with the intended purpose of its individual zone. Next week we will talk about how to go about creating zones within an open plan live space.
Good luck with your opening up experience.