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Government Legalizes Home Balcony Modifications

Posted October. 14, 2005 07:36,   


The government will legalize remodeling balconies into rooms or living rooms beginning next January 1

The remodeled balcony will have to be equipped with steel railings, a double window and a sash, however.

Currently, remodeling a balcony for other uses is banned. Violations of this law could lead to imprisonment for up to three years as well as fines up to 50 million won.

But with very few cases of punishment having been enforced so far, the government decided to give a green light to home renovators.

The Ministry of Construction and Transportation and the ruling Uri Party agreed to revise the current enforcement ordinance of the construction law to this end at a policy coordination meeting on Thursday.

The amended law will allow owners to remodel their balcony areas at their discretion, and stipulates that “the balcony is an area that owners can use as a living room, a bedroom, a warehouse, or a garden to meet their needs”.

The indoor area of a 33 pyeong (Area for private use: 25.7 pyeong) apartment can be expanded by 11 pyeong by remodeling the balcony.

For the apartments to be constructed from next year, construction contractors can renovate the balconies, if it is decided on by owners before the construction starts.

The Ministry of Construction and Transportation will also make it mandatory for construction companies to report the estimated remodeling cost with the apartment sales price in an effort to prevent a rise in the sales price caused by renovations. Renovation will be permitted for houses with the final inspection completed, as well.

As for the houses for which applications for construction permit were filed before June 1, 1992, remodeling will be allowed only after they are inspected for safety by a construction company or a structural engineer.

In the meantime, concerns are being raised that only large contractors can benefit from the amendment, because large companies are more likely to win the orders for balcony remodeling projects than small- and medium-sized companies like interior design firms.

Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com