Can a semi-d be torn down?

We recently built a house in my father-in-law’s side garden and will be assuming possession of his semi-d house as well. The house is poor condition and would probably take about 60-70,000 euros to renovate. I’d rather demolish the house so we’d have a decent sized garden but we don’t own the house my father-in-law is attached to.

Is it possible to tear his house down anyway or would it make the other house structurally unsound?


Interesting question.
I’ve often wondered if semis with a wide side garden and permission to build a detached there could just demolish their half of the semi and build one large detached instead?

If your wish is to retain a larger garden area I think you may have jumped the gun by building in what was the available side garden space rather than purchasing, renovating and extending your father in laws property .

You reckon a 60-70k renovation budget would be required to make good your father in laws house but there would also be substantial costs incurred to demolish it if permission was even granted to do so and also to make good the roof structure and exteriors of the neighbours house which would also require planning permission for which you won’t be able to apply for as you don’t own the neighbours house.

Futhermore if there is any debt oustanding on your father in laws property or secured on it the lender would also need to be consulted.

There’s no debt on the property so that wouldn’t be an issue.
I don’t like the semi-d house so if we can’t tear it down we’d renovate it and sell it on. After building our own house, we were left with a small garden, made even smaller because my husband had a huge shed put in for his business. Right now, we have the two gardens (ours and my father-in-law’s) as one open space not separated with a wall. I really like the space and dread having to put up a wall when the time comes to sell the semi. That’s why I have the idea to tear down the semi, for what I’d hope wouldn’t be more than the cost of renovating the property, and incorporating that space as the garden for the house we built.

Has anybody done this before?

You’ll never get permission to knock down half the semi. As well as planning approval you’ll need party approval from the other half of the house. Even if by some miracle your neighbour was stupid enough to let you do it and the bank (assuming a mortgaged property) approved you’d have a lot of engineering work to do to make the whole structure sound again.

Your only option is to buy both semis and start a new plan from there.

We’d never have enough money to do that.
The house next door is not occupied, but it isn’t derelict either (well maintained by the owners). I don’t know why it would be stupid of them to approve it if it meant they went from being a semi-d to a fully detached house. I don’t know what’s structurally involved in taking down a semi which is why I asked. If the owners of the other house stood to have an improved property by the process, including gaining some land (say, three feet that would allow access all around their property) and there was no cost incurred by them, then it wouldn’t seem like a bad proposition would it? There’s nobody living there so the building works wouldn’t impact on anyone.

I just wondered if it were possible. I know it’s not something everybody would do but I love the garden and don’t like knowing that I’ll have to give it up some day.

would the neighbour object?

If you can afford to tear it down, surely you can afford to leave it in situ?
Use it as a guest house or sell to a sibling in years to come so you will always have the utility of the garden?

Are you seriously asking why it would be stupid of your neighbours to approve this? The structural risk to their house collasping is huge, the roof would need to come off and be totally rebuilt and the exposed end completely reengineered to now act as an external wall. Not to even mention the potential insurance price rises for this reto work and if there’s a mortgage on this house the bank will NEVER sign off on this work.

If this was so important to you WHY did you not consult a builder and architect before you built your house?

This is unspeakable madness.

Be feckin’ Irish about it.

Wait 'til the neighbours go on holiday, turn up with the JCBs, knock the bejaysus out of it, act surprised when the council and the neighbours complain, simply throw your hands up in the air saying, “Well it’s too late now!” and tell them well if you have to put something back you’d always been fancying one of those multi-store car-parks…

Check out the Lower Kilmacud end of South Avenue in Mount Merrion.

Just last week someone tore down pretty much an entire half of a semi-d!

Couldn’t believe it when I saw it driving by. The builders are in and they’re obviously going to rebuild the whole thing from scratch.

I can’t help but wonder how the conversation with the neighbour went!

Maybe the celtic tiger is back!

People appear to have money and time to waste

Or get the fireplace raging, overturn the coal bucket, go to the pub, then claim on the insurance!

The only real option is for one or other neighbour to but the other out & knock the two houses into one; as has been discussed here before.

My father was a builder & did this for a friend in the 80s in D14, the resultant house was fantastic.

Yes I’m seriously asking this. I never said it was “so important to me” that I would’ve needed to consult an architecht first. I’m merely asking the question if this is possible. I don’t know about the structural completely reengineered external wall etc etc so I asked a question.
I seem to have ruffled your feathers bren. Not sure why. Bad day?

I can’t begin to imagine what half a semi-d would look like. Do the houses have hipped roofs?

The only way I could see this happening would be if you sweetened the deal for the neighbour. Like offering them a bit of the land you gain out of it, or a small wing to their house to replace the house holding up theirs.

One thing is true - if you renovate your father in-laws house but keep most of the garden for yourself you will never shift it.

If there’s one thing worse than a tiny garden - it’s a garden that’s small because someone who sold you the house is living down the end of what should be your garden.

True That

One thing about the original post niggles, you say that the garden you are left with after your own build was finished is small and compromised further by your partners work shed.

However when you were going through the deisgn and planning process for the new property I am surprised that whomever came up with the drawings did not highlight this compromise to you and if they did that it did not register with you when you signed off on the design.

Did you have any input into the design of your own dwelling or was there planning already in place for the new build?

I knew about the compromise. I didn’t know we were going to get my father-in-law’s house. I was willing to have the small garden to get the house we have, and I’m still happy with it. I’m just trying to see what we can do with the original house now that it’s going to be ours. If it were possible to tear it down for about the same cost as it would be to renovate it then that’s what I’d like to do. If it isn’t possible to tear it down then renovating it and selling it on will be what we’ll do.

It really was just supposed to be a question about whether or not it’s even possible to tear it down. I didn’t think the back story would be that important.

Am I reading this correctly ? You are going to live in the new house in the side garden and plan to knock down the original semi d ?

I kind of have experience of this . However it was not a semi d but a ruin that was partly attached to a old house . The house was well maintained with walls about 2 feet think . Cowboy builder with links to the local party somehow got planning permission and managed to do some damage to our gable end with a JCB . What followed was a legal nightmare and my 70 year old Father was assualted . It dragged on for years .

I can’t begin to think of what would be involved in knocking down a semi d . Your neighbour would have to be insane to agree . I am no expert on planning law but I am pretty sure all the other neighbours would disagree . If you do some damage to the other house it could you hundreds of thousands . I doubt if you could even get insurance for it .

It’s a total non runner .

However if you do go ahead do it on a saturday . You could knock down the GPO with nobody saying a word once you do it on a weekend . :wink: