Buying property that is still under construction has one major benefit – making changes to the floor plan becomes easier than ever. While most homeowners do not have the luxury of tearing down walls and raising the ceiling height in pre-built houses and flats for sale, booking an under-construction property gives you the freedom to modify the interior of the floor plan to your liking. Let’s discover more about modifying an existing floor plan and to what extent it can be done.
Modifying an Existing Floor Plan – Is It Possible?
Since most of us choose to either build the house from the ground up or move into pre-built structures, we never realise the benefits of buying an under-construction property. Sure, it’s definitely going to take longer to move into your new home, but guess what? You can make changes to a pre-approved floor plan while the house is being built and they’ll cost you far less than what they would at a later date.
Traditionally, floor plans were available in the form of blueprints, making it difficult to make changes on the plans themselves, but today’s floor plans are printed on white paper with black ink, making it easier to mark out the necessary changes. Commonly known as redlining, the process involves taking a look at the floor plan of the property you have bought and using a red pen to mark all the changes on the plans while consulting both your architect and your contractor.
Some of the floor plan modifications that homeowners opt for include:
- Tearing down interior walls
- Raising the Height of the Ceiling
- Moving the plumbing and wiring around
- Concealing load-bearing structures
- Changing window and door placement
Let’s cover these floor plan changes in detail below to determine the extent to which you can modify the interior layout of a house or flat.
Tearing Down Interior Walls
Homeowners often consider modifying an existing floor plan when they want to tear down dividing walls to create one big open plan living space. This is one of the floor plan modifications that can be made to both built and under construction structures, but it is far easier to not build a wall from the start, rather than tearing it down later. That being said, if you want to add a few walls and build some new divisions, an under-construction property is ideally suited for that change too.
You may choose to merge two rooms into one for larger square footage, open up the central living space by getting rid of all the walls, or move dividing walls to get different dimensions of the various rooms. For instance, based on your particular floor plan, you may want to reduce space in one of the bedrooms and add that area into the adjoining bathroom to make space for a bathtub. Alternatively, you can also build walls where there are none, creating storage rooms, greasy kitchens, and maid rooms as per your need.
Raising the Height of the Ceiling
Most homes have a standard 8-foot high ceiling but if you book your house while it’s being built, you may have the option of raising the ceiling of the ground floor. However, this change cannot be implemented on the overall height of the structure without getting a new plan approved, which means that the ceiling height of the 1st floor will be less than the standard to accommodate the change.
You can also choose to drop the height of the ceiling using false ceilings and other types of ceiling designs. Consider the pros and cons of false ceilings before making the decision and if you want to install them, inform the builder about your preference while the project is still under construction so that you can add an appealing touch to your home with fewer hassles before you move in.
Moving the Plumbing and Wiring Around
You study the floor plan and decide to move the kitchen to another part of the house, or you decide to build an additional bathroom on the ground floor, where there are no plumbing connections. All of these changes should be made to the floor plan well before the interior walls have been built so that your home is customised to suit your needs. Once you inform the builder of the changes, plumbing pipes and connections will be installed into the walls as per the redlining.
The same is true for electrical wiring. The placement of light fixtures, switchboards, and even the main fuse box can be modified if you book the property while it is being built. While changing the placement of light fixtures might not be too tricky even in a pre-built home, you can avoid unsightly wires snaking across the room or digging through the walls to conceal those wires if you are able to make the changes beforehand.
Concealing Load-Bearing Structures
There are two kinds of structures in all construction projects. Load-bearing structures are those that will bear the weight of the ceiling or roof and cannot be moved or removed as they give stability to the structure and keep it from collapsing. Non-load-bearing structures, however, can easily be removed without affecting the structural integrity of the house, and include some of the internal walls that divide your space into various rooms.
In the case that you want an open floor plan, you might wonder about how stable the structure will be without pillars in the walls and beams in the ceilings to hold the roof up. This is primarily why many homeowners cannot fully demolish internal walls in pre-built homes because they cannot take the risk of a collapsing roof.
However, if you are modifying an existing floor plan before a house is built, the architect should be able to conceal all of the pillars and beams seamlessly into the walls and ceilings without compromising on the stability of the structure to give you an open plan layout.
Changing Window and Door Placement
Firstly, let’s clarify that this change is restricted to interior doors and windows only. This means that if you have two doors leading out of your drawing room but only need one, you can get the other one closed off permanently while the room is being built. Alternatively, you can install sliding doors, arches, or extra-wide doorways as per your preference. You can also choose whether your doors will open inwards or outwards to facilitate movement in the home.
With respect to the windows, you cannot remove or add any to the external walls as all exterior changes must be approved in the plans. However, you can add or remove a small window in the wall between the kitchen and the dining room to facilitate serving during mealtimes. You can also install windows between various rooms inside the floor plan, to have a direct line of sight into the children’s room or to allow light to filter into one of the darker rooms in the house.
Ultimately, making changes to a pre-approved floor plan is possible but remember – the modifications can only be made on the inside. If you want to make changes that will modify the look, height, style, or design of the exterior walls or roof, you must incorporate them into the floor plan and get the plan approved again before beginning the construction project.
Moreover, if you have bought property in a housing society or an apartment complex that has its own homeowner’s association or architects and designers, you may have to seek their approval before modifying anything inside the home as well. Thus, while all of these interior floor plan changes are possible, you will need to determine the extent to which they can be made based on the location of your property. The builders or developers of your particular project should be able to guide you in this regard.
Need to consult an expert for floor plan modifications? Here’s how to select the right architect for your project. You should also hire a good contractor for your construction project if you need a reliable person on-site to tackle all of the uncertain and unexpected complications that may crop up during the construction process.