The Rules for Apartment Redevelopment Are Not So Simple: Information for Dubai Studio Owners 

12:00 am  |  15.04.2024

Often those who are going to buy a studio or a small apartment in a new building believe that “free planning” from the developer is carte blanche for any changes, and approval is not required for this.

It seems to them that if the premises consist of one room and a bathroom, then from a legal point of view it does not matter where and what kind of walls there will be inside the apartment.

However, keep in mind that the norms and requirements of the law do not depend on the area of the apartment: you must approve any changes in the apartment, whether it is a new building or a secondary home, with the authorities before starting renovations.

Free Layout: Marketing Stunt

Many potential investors are convinced that if you buy an “open-plan” apartment (as developers call them in advertising brochures), then you won’t have to deal with approvals.

In reality, this is just a marketing term from developers, meaning that the apartment has neither finishing nor internal partitions. Legally, this is an ordinary apartment.

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Such apartments have a minimum number of load-bearing supports. Most often we are talking about monolithic frame houses, in which only the external walls of the building are load-bearing.

You can do this without approval if you:

  • did not change the power supply scheme;
  • didn’t change plumbing equipment and communications;
  • didn’t remove internal partitions.

If you have erected at least one wall that was not there when you purchased it from the developer, this is already a redevelopment that needs to be legalized.

We do not recommend carrying out such repairs in apartments without walls and without marking the walls with paint or bricks, which should be according to the technical plan.

What to Consider When Remodeling a Studio

Most buyers of studio apartments with an area of up to 25 square meters do not attach importance to the redevelopment approval procedure.

Don’t Touch the Ventilation

First of all, we recommend asking the management company for a technical plan of the premises and studying it carefully.

Particular attention is paid to how the kitchen niche and bathroom are located, as well as the design features of the ventilation duct.

A ventilation duct is usually a rectangular plastic or metal pipe that, through a system of ventilation shafts, provides airflow into the room and natural exhaust.

The width of the ventilation duct does not depend on the area of the apartment, but on the floor – the higher you live, the more ventilation shafts there are and the more useful space the duct takes up.


Nowadays it is very popular to combine a kitchen with a room. It’s convenient – during meals you have food and everything you need at hand. But before starting renovations in a small studio apartment, you need to take into account some plumbing details.

And if you decide to make such a redevelopment without the approval of the supervisory authorities, then formally your apartment will cease to be an apartment, having lost its living space.

Opening in Load-bearing Wall Requires Approval

Studio apartments are often built with partitions – and the apartment owners then demolish them to organize the space in their way. If such a partition is part of the supporting structure of the house, current regulations prohibit its dismantling.

In this case, an opening can be made in the load-bearing partition if its dimensions are agreed upon with the author of the house project.

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To do this, the studio owner needs to apply to the design organization and order calculations there to determine whether the load-bearing structure will withstand the load if the desired section is cut out of it.

Based on the results of the examination, the owner of the apartment receives a permit. It states his right to make an opening of strictly specified dimensions in the interior partition, which is part of the supporting structure of the building.

Expansion Apartments

The owners of compact apartments try to use their space to the maximum. To do this, sometimes the wall that separates the balcony from the room is removed. This makes the room more spacious and brighter, especially if there is a balcony with panoramic windows, and behind them there is a noteworthy landscape.

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If you still want to expand the room, then the only option that we recommend and that can be agreed upon is to cut out part of the wall under the balcony window and replace it with a sliding glass partition.

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