City life has many advantages. However, in order to appreciate city life fully, you must often compromise on the amount of space per dollar invested in your dream home. Looking for a 3 or 4 bedroom home? Not easy to find at an affordable price. A popular option is therefore to acquire a property by buying a duplex or traditional triplex. After a certain amount of time, owners usually get comfortable with their payments, are overjoyed to see the value of the property increase and instead of moving, decide to gain more space by tearing down the walls and creating a single family dwelling. Here are the steps to convert a duplex or triplex into a single-family home.

1. Space planning

Who occupies space? It is a family with young children or pre-retirees? For how long do you plan to live in your current home? Is resale envisioned in the short, medium or long term? Do you have a backyard?

Our team will be able to help our clients estimate the number of rooms required, the size of the bathrooms, the redesign of the kitchen, as well as the layout possibilities and the cost of their project.

The exercise will allow us to produce preliminary plans. At this stage, costs are discussed in a preliminary manner to ensure budget monitoring. As a result, the final plans will be completed to obtain the quote from the general contractor and allow the municipality to issue the permit.

2. The structural engineer

Let us go back to the preliminary plans. At this planning stage, you will have the option of removing walls or revising certain door and window openings.

Kitchen – dining room and open concept living room? A new oversized patio door? It is time to plan with the collaboration of a structural engineer.

He will evaluate the need to replace load-bearing walls with beams, columns and / or footings to compensate for their removal.

This work obviously has an impact on the cost of the project. It is essential to take this into account at the earliest stages of your planning.

The designer will work in collaboration with the structural engineer in the preparation of final plans that will suit your project.

3. The Renovation Permit

The regulation of each municipality and borough will vary according to different parameters.

It will therefore be necessary to learn and understand the steps and deadlines for issuing the permit, the restrictions applicable to the building and the cost of the permit.

Be aware that the work plans and a quote from a certified contractor, along with the engineer’s structural plans, will always be required.

4. Stairs and access to your new home

Converting a duplex / triplex into a single-family home necessarily means the joining of two or more units. In almost all cases, the staircase will need to be revised. Whether it be to create an open-concept space, change its location, or use it as an opportunity to make it the showcase of the project, our designer will have a multitude of options at various prices that will allow our clients to make the right decision.

Our designer will also be able to ensure that its design represents the new use of the staircase, now that the primary function has been changed.

5. The building's envelope

Budget allowing, it is also the perfect time to revise the building’s envelope and correct any deficiencies.

The work undertaken to convert your duplex / triplex into a single family will give you the opportunity to rebuild the roof, replace the doors and windows or install a French drain.

It should also be noted that our Montreal duplexes and triplexes were generally built before the 1960s and that their exterior walls are not insulated.

To insulate them, our clients will need to rebuild walls that will provide them with the space required to achieve this improvement.

We hope that this information will help you in the planning of your dream project, and we look forward to guiding you through the process, as we have so many times before.