The hidden costs of open plan living

In a recent letter from one of our 5 Star renovators, Rob who runs @ Work Building Services, we have learnt that many renovators are unaware of the true cost of creating an Open Plan home.

In modern renovations it is very common to try to "open up" part of the home to create a large open area that's great for family living. Often this open area combines the kitchen, dining and living areas of the home, and can even open up to a nice deck or pergola to create a great social atmosphere during the warmer months.

This is all great in theory, and when done well the results are amazing. However, as Rob points out very few renovators are aware of the true cost of "knocking down a wall".

Here's some of what Rob has to say:

I’d like to give you a little feed back from what I come across with the clients that you provide.

I specialize in Structural Works For Open Plan Living.Experts in the removal of walls / Load bearing walls etc...

80% of my jobs are turned down because of the clients are unaware that the cost of works are a lot more than they expected.

This is because they don’t know that the preliminary’s are $1500.00 – $2700.00+ in cost before you even start the job.

The Biggest misconception I most come across is that people don’t under stand that you need a building permit to remove a LOAD BEARING WALL, which = more cost that there unaware of.

This involves :

  1. Do you have Engineers Comps? $200 - $600
  2. Do you have a copy of Land title? $28.00+ If you have these 3 things, then you can apply for a building permit.
  3. Do you have Plans or working drawings? $1,000 + andThe cost of the building permit. $700 +
  4. And if their job is above $12,000,00 they then need Home Owners Warranty Insurance and that we have to provide them at their cost. Which is $1,000,00++

As you can see, the costs of removing a load bearing wall can quickly add up.

We recommend that you go into these renovations fully informed, and with an open mind in regards to the true investment of creating an open planned home. That said, the improvements in your homes value should most definitely make investing in an open plan home worthwhile.

If you have more to say about this topic, or have some experiences of your own that you can share, we would love to hear from you. Please submit a comment below.

Discussion Rate article:
· 3 ratings
  • What if the walls not load bearing - you don't need a permit then do you?

    over a year ago by Johnbo
  • No you don't need a permit to remove a NON load bearing wall. But please let the expert determen weather or not it is or not a load bearing wall.

    All beams and props that stop/rest on top of a wall, will in efect make that wall load bearing.

    over a year ago by Rob
  • note: - most new houses are constructed with roof trusses and these generally span to the outer walls, very different from the houses of old where most walls were load bearing. Generally only large rooms or change of directions in the roof would have load bearing walls. As suggested get a qualified builder in to look and they can tell you quickly with a simple inspection whether or not the walls are load bearing before you obtain the services an engineer.

    over a year ago by Gerard
  • You don't even mention the cost of heating & cooling an open planned home verses a traditional house. In this day of rising power prices where is the consideration of the needlessly burning energy.

    over a year ago by George Randall
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