A Guide to Adding a Second Storey to Your Home

A Guide to Adding a Second Storey to Your Home
February 24, 2017 Total Lifestyle Builders

Do you have a growing family who needs more space, but don’t have any more room on your block of land to extend outwards? Rather than moving into a new home, why not stay put and build upwards on the one you’re already in!

We take a look at some of the key steps involved with adding a second storey to your home.

1. Get a professional to draft plans
First things first – enlist the services of a professional to draw up some building plans for you. Even if you’ve been tossing around the idea of a second storey in your mind for a while, it’s important to seek advice from a qualified builder to see if it can become a reality.

2. Check that your home design is structurally sound
Before starting any renovations, it’s important to first ensure your home isn’t going to collapse during them. For second storey extensions, the foundations and roofing of your house need to be structurally sound, since the upwards extension will be adding extra weight. You will also need to consider the structural work involved with adding a stairway.

How do you know if your current home is suitable for a second level or not? Chat to a friendly professional of course!

3. Ask the right questions
Maximising space should be an important consideration in your project, as it is the sole reason you want to extend in the first place. Consider asking your builders the following questions before starting…

  • What room downstairs do I need to sacrifice for the stairwell, if any?
  • Can I use an existing hallway?
  • Can I extend outward to gain more space?
  • What height I can go to with my second level ceiling?
  • How can my second storey feel bigger?
  • How can I introduce more natural light?
  • What effect will the seasons have on my second storey?

4. Get approval from the council
It’s necessary to get building approval from your local council with any type of home extension, as it must comply with zoning regulations. For example, there may be rules about how high you can build if you live in a certain area and guidelines about energy efficiency and water usage. Other considerations such as fire, flood and cyclones might also need to be satisfied.

5. Should you stay on site?
Once the thumbs up are given to proceed with the build, your builders will start to work on-site. It’s important to have a conversation with your builder about whether it’s practical for your family to stay on-site during the renovations or temporarily move out. Once your roof comes off it is quite intrusive and services may need to be turned off, so your builder may advise you to move out for the period.

6. Expect the unexpected
When you’re weighing up the costs of your second storey renovations, be sure to factor in a contingence of 5 – 10% for unexpected costs like takeaways, laundromat fees, cleaning supplies and other miscellaneous needs. While you can mitigate risk with building inspections and termite inspections, there might still be hidden costs that you won’t know about until the build begins. Common overlooked costs include: rewiring and updating services, rotten wood, and mould issues.


Are you interested in adding a second storey to your home? Get in touch with us today to find out how we could help you bring some extra space into your life!

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