In today’s space-starved apartments, it’s no surprise why many homeowners are starting to embrace an open concept by tearing out pesky walls. While it may seem like an easy job, the whole renovation process can be rather tedious, so it’s important to make sure that you have the do’s and don’ts all laid out. Here are a few things to take note before embarking on your hacking journey:
DO: Get approval
Before you decide to knock down any walls in a flat, you’re required to seek prior approval from HDB so they can assess if these alterations will affect the overall structural integrity of the building. Once your proposed plans have been properly evaluated and approved by the right authorities, you will then be able to go ahead with your remodelling plans.
DO: Call in a professional
After obtaining the necessary approval from HDB, you’re also required to engage a professional engineer for civil or structural works to oversee the demolition procedure. Highly skilled in their field, these professionals will be the ones who are in charge of inspecting and supervising the entire renovation process to make sure that nothing has been compromised during the hacking.
DON’T: Touch the non-bearing walls
Bear in mind that only the non-bearing walls can be hacked (with permission from the authorities, of course). A load-bearing wall is the one that actually carries the weight of your apartment from the ceiling all the way to the foundation, which is why even the slightest modification can disrupt the stability of the entire structure.
On the other hand, non-load bearing walls are those that do not support any structural weight of a building and thus can be safely removed. Be sure to consult a professional to determine whether the wall is load-bearing or non-load bearing before carrying out any demolition or alteration works.
DON’T: Hack the ceiling
One of the rules that HDB has implemented is that no hacking should be done to the ceilings during any building works. False ceilings, however, are allowed, but with a minimum clearance height of 2.4 metres.
#1 When erecting a wall, ensure that adequate natural lighting and ventilation is provided if the room is used for habitation.
#2 There should be a direct fire escape route (e.g. from bedroom door to main exit door). Safety comes first!
#3 In the event of any structural damage, stop the works immediately and inform HDB so they can take further action.
Featured image credit: DB Studio