Ask a Bayside builder: 3 common issues in second storey extensions
If you ask us, each home is more than simply four walls and a roof – each house is a character in itself, with a unique character and a long and storied history… which you’ll be adding to.
This is one of the reasons we love working in the Bayside suburbs so much!
And it seems we aren’t alone in feeling this way, if the number of people in Bayside who choose to renovate and extend instead of building new houses is anything to go by!
And when it comes to home extensions, one of the most common jobs we get is the addition of a second storey.
There are a lot of benefits to extending your house up instead of out.
- It can work out to be more cost effective
- You don’t lose any garden space
- A second storey will create natural insulation for the ground floor
- You might gain a great view of the landscape or cityscape
Like any other extension building project however, adding an extra storey comes with a host of challenges that are unique to building up.
What types of challenges? That’s what our Bayside builders are here to explain!
1) Are the foundations of your single storey house strong enough?
Luckily for you, more often than not the answer to this question is “yes”.
However, it’s very important that you double-check this first – something that our Bayside builders would be happy to do for you.
Why does this matter? It’s simple: when you extend upwards, you’re adding extra weight to your house.
All of a sudden, your foundation and load-bearing walls downstairs have to put up with more bricks, wood, furniture and people.
Can your house handle the added weight? It’s a good question – which is why you need to inspect the load-bearing capacity of your existing structures.
Before work starts, you’ll need to call a structural engineer to inspect your existing walls and their load-bearing capacity, and whether it’s safe enough to give the go-ahead.
Important things to consider include:
- Soil compaction
- Plywood and steel connections
2) Where are you going to put the stairs?
A new storey requires a new staircase to go with it.
There’s just one problem: where are you going to put it?
Our home extension builders often see people stumble with this aspect. Many think that a staircase can’t really take up that much space – however, that would be wrong.
That’s because according to Building Code of Australia, residential stairs must:
- Not have steps taller than 190mm, or shorter than 115mm
- Have a minimum of 2 metres headroom
- Not exceed 18 steps without a landing
- Not exceed 125mm between banisters
These are just some of the requirements your staircase will have to meet.
Naturally, this means that your staircase will take up a certain amount of space – space that you’ll have to allocate in your plan.
Many of our clients don’t realise this going in (not that we blame them), and therefore don’t realise that their plan may need significant revision if it is to pass various codes and regulations.
In some cases, there might not be any space in the house to assign to a compliant staircase, which can put your entire project in jeopardy!
This is just one of the building standards your second storey extension will need to comply with.
It’s also a great example of why you need a Bayside builder on your side to estimate how much space to allocate to a staircase, as well as whether your plan needs revising.
3) Ask your Bayside builder about council regulations and permits
Any construction process means long phone calls and visits to the local council to obtain permits.
This is one of the least exciting parts of your home extension project.
But it’s also one of the most important!
The answer you get from your local council will determine whether or not you can build at all!
There are two main types of permits:
- Planning permits: these evaluate whether your second storey extension “fits” with the surroundings, as well as potential negative outcomes such as added congestion or invading a neighbour’s privacy
- Building permits: these certify that your project is being carried out with proper methods, materials, and techniques
Certain councils are stricter than others – Bayside council for example has a higher number of heritage-listed buildings, narrow streets and a unique character that harkens back to early Melbourne.
As such, Bayside council is much stricter with planning permits than others – it may even reject home extension plans that clash too much with the area’s aesthetic.
Blint Design + Construction works exclusively in Bayside. As such, our Bayside builders are intimately familiar with the permits you’ll need for your home extension, as well as how likely the council is to approve.
Our team of professional builders would be more than happy to help you find out exactly whether your dream home can become a reality.
Adding a second storey? Choose our Bayside builders!
Blint Design + Construction have been delivering quality homes to our community for 47 years.
Our secret to staying in business so long? Our understanding of how important the place you live is to your life.
It’s where your children will grow up, where you will host dinner parties and Christmas lunch, and of course it’s the sanctuary you come home to at the end of a long day.
That’s why we are so passionate about helping you turn your house into your dream home!
Our home extension builders don’t just build – we’re determined to make your experience with us the best one possible.
Unlike other builders who make a design and then put it out to tender, we do everything in-house:
- You’ll enjoy a single point of contact
- There’s no disconnect between the architect and builder
- We provide a consistent vision throughout the process
Alternatively, click here to see what a Blint extension looks like.