Adding a second story addition saves you the hassle of moving to a new home and away from your neighbourhood, friends, and local shops. It is also often less expensive compared to moving to a larger home.

Second-story additions are also major renovations that require an experienced licenced builder. Here are 10 questions that you need to ask a builder before starting on a new story.

1: Is My Home Suitable for a Second Story Addition?

The most important question is whether your existing home can support a second level. An experienced licensed builder can inspect your property to determine if a 2nd story is a viable option.

For example, a builder needs to inspect the condition of the foundation. A weak foundation may not be able to handle the weight of a second floor, which could lead to structural issues.

At Risen Developments, we fully inspect your home to assess whether it can support a second floor. We give you honest recommendations instead of moving forward with a potentially unsafe renovation.

2: How Do You Finance My Construction Costs?

The most common way to finance 2nd story addition is with a construction loan. Unlike most conventional loans, you do not receive a lump sum. The lender releases money in stages to cover the cost of construction.

You draw down your loan in instalments throughout the construction process. For example, you may receive an instalment to cover initial preparation, which includes the cost of plans, permits, and fees.

Along with construction loans, some homeowners may use equity to take out a loan. A home equity loan is a second home loan taken out on the difference between the property’s value and the balance of your existing loan.

3: What Are Local Gold Coast Council Requirements?

All major home renovation projects require council approval to ensure that the renovations comply with local building requirements. The requirements are mostly intended to comply with safety standards for various components of the building.

Building InspectorFor example, the placement of electrical outlets, the sizes of the rooms, and exterior aesthetics may need to meet specific requirements.

The Gold Coast also has height restrictions for housing structures. However, if you see 2nd story homes in your neighbourhood, an addition is likely permitted.

Before starting on your project, you need a qualified building certifier to assess your property. The building certifier may work for the local government or private practice. They meet with your builder and inspect the property to ensure that the plans comply with all local requirements.

Building certifiers will schedule inspections at different stages of construction, including after the completion of the addition. The certifier needs to give final approval before the structure can be occupied, where an occupational certificate will be issued.

Luckily, you do not need to worry about these details when working with the right building contractor. Your builder will coordinate with the certifier and ensure that your project meets all requirements.

4: What Time frame Should We Anticipate for Construction?

The average time frame for adding another floor to your home is about 6 to 12 months. The duration depends on various factors, including the availability and experience of the builder and subcontractors they employ. Some builders can complete a double story in as little as three months. However, rushing the project may result in inferior work.

In any case, the most constructions time frame will remain fairly constant during the entire building process

5: How Much of a Construction Budget Do I Need for a Second Story?

The average cost of adding a second floor to an existing home in the Gold Coast is about $1,950 to $3,890 per square metre (As of October 2021). The price depends on the quality of the material and the features that you decide to add.

High End Kitchen RenovationFor example, building a high-end bathroom and kitchen can significantly increase the cost due to the choice of bespoke and ultra-high-quality products used. (We do see some project clientele spending and additional 60K to 130K on these types of fit-outs)

For example, the above averages the project costings per square metre, AND it does not take into account any emotional bond a customer may have to a specific building material (Imported Italian marble throughout the bathroom and kitchen, ultra-high-end Gaggenau fridge, cookware and wine fridges or gold tap fixtures throughout).

At Risen Developments, we also provide entirely transparent pricing. You receive a quote based on an accurate estimate of the project costs, variations do happen and are discussed and agreed to PRIOR to any work commencing.

6: Where Will We Live When the Construction Commences?

Adding a second floor requires modifications to the frame of your home and generates a lot of dust. Due to safety concerns, it is often advised that the homeowner reside elsewhere during construction. However, builders can section off a living area for the homeowners to remain onsite with some smaller projects.

In most cases, the homeowner finds different accommodations during the construction process. For example, you may stay with family, rent a hotel room, or camp elsewhere on your property.

7: What Are the Benefits of Second Story Additions?

Renovating your home by adding another floor increases the meterage footage of your property. You can double your living space without having your main structure take up more of your property. Your yard stays the same size, but your living space increases.

You can also boost the value of your property and free up space for your growing family. You also avoid the need to move, which brings extra challenges, such as finding a new home and selling your current one.

8: Are There Any Overcapitalisation Issues I Should Know of?

Overcapitalisation is a potential risk with major home renovation projects. If the renovations increase the value of your home beyond its potential resale value, you have overcapitalised. This limits your ability to obtain a return on your investment if you decide to sell your home.

For example, your home is currently valued at $650,000 and other homes in the neighbourhood have sold for $850,000. You can safely add $200,000 in renovations without overcapitalising.

Conversely, if you purchased an old rundown fixer-upper for $450,000 you may need to spend $500,000 to $800,000K on the total renovation inclusive of your upper story and this is where a larger-scale addition will be employed. You’ll total valuation cost of $950,000 and in this scenario, if the average street prices are $850,000 you will need to sit or live in the property for a few years before a break-even value would be realised.

9: Will an Entirely New Roof Be Required?

The process of adding another floor requires the removal of your current roof. In some cases, builders can suspend the roof from a crane and secure it to the frame of the new floor. However, most additions require the installation of a new roof.

10: Has the Construction Company Done This Before?

Adding an additional story is a major home renovation, requiring an experienced construction company. Hiring a contractor with experience completing second-storey additions decreases the risk of potential issues.

The bottom line is that a second-storey addition is a major home renovation, but a great way to add more living space without moving. To ensure that your project goes smoothly, remember to ask the questions discussed after contacting the experts at Risen Development.

TIP: The most important quality for most homeowners is the price. Be cautious not to skimp on your builder’s cost, as you often get what you pay for. Your second-storey addition will add exponential value to your home, so take comfort in knowing that your investment will return money for you.

Check out our Second Storey Additions over in our gallery of completed home additions.

If you just found this article helpful and need assistance on what is possible within the Gold Coast or northern regions of NSW, please get in touch on 0404 REN OV8. or online.

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