Here at Keystone, we often come across homeowners who have started their second storey renovations only to face significant setbacks in having the work completed. Particularly when your house no longer meets your family’s needs, the last thing you need is to be facing delays that could easily have been avoided. Here are 5 common delays that many homeowners confront when building their second storey addition (aka first floor addition).
DIFFICULTIES OBTAINING ADEQUATE FINANCING
One of the top frustrations of homeowners when building their second storey addition (aka first floor addition) is securing appropriate financing upfront. Now that the Australian banks are getting a lot stricter with housing loans, it can be challenging for some homeowners to refinance their mortgage to fund a second storey renovation. Particularly if you are a sole income household and don’t have a great credit history, it may be worth speaking to a mortgage broker to speed up the process. A broker will be able to outline the different loan options available to you and recommend one that best meets your circumstances. It’s also a great way of minimising the cost of interest payments by shopping for a loan that has the best terms and conditions, especially as you usually need to borrow little bit more than is estimated to cover unexpected costs that come up along the way.
PLANS NOT ADEQUATELY DRAFTED
While having your plans drafted is a major step in the planning phase, unfortunately you may end up with an architect or draftsperson that’s delivered unrealistic design drawings because they think it’ll make you happy. One of the main ways that plans can be inadequately drafted is by overlooking the space requirements for the stairwell. Realistically, homeowners need to sacrifice what is equivalent to a room of an average house on the ground floor so that your staircase doesn’t become a safety risk.
Introducing a staircase also affects the natural light flow, so you also want your architect and draftsperson to include adequate changes to the lighting on the ground floor such as introduction of new windows so that he liveability of the downstairs area is not diminished.
HOME NOT BEING ASSESSED AS STRUCTURALLY SOUND TO BUILD ON
Many a homeowner has gone full speed ahead into the second storey renovation process only to realise at the planning stage that their homes are structurally inadequate for a second storey. There are a variety of reasons why you may not be able to build a second storey on your current home including the current condition of your home and the original materials used to build the property.
The two biggest structural constraints in preventing homeowners from building a second storey addition (aka first floor addition) are the foundations of a house and its roofing. An engineer’s feasibility assessment will advise whether your home is fit to handle the extra weight of a second storey. Some older style slab and packaged homes were not built for two levels and therefore are not suitable for the vertical extension. Don’t let this prevent you from exploring the option however- many homeowners are pleasantly surprised to learn that they have a home suitable for building a second level.
PROBLEMS NAVIGATING THE COUNCIL APPROVAL PROCESS
Significant roadblocks can be met when obtaining building approval from your local council. Ensuring that your second storey addition (aka first floor addition) meets local zoning regulations and the local neighbourhood plan is standard fare, but there can be added requirements such as plumbing approval or a “sitting variation” where additional building standards are applied if your house is within a fire, flood or cyclone zone.
Some builders offer assistance navigating town planning regulations and completing most of the paperwork as part of their service which can speed up the process considerably.
DEALING WITH AN UNRELIABLE BUILDER
As too many homeowners discover, not all experienced builders are great project managers and one area they can really fall down in is time management. Beware of the busy builder that overpromises and underdelivers. This is especially more painful when you have time pressures yourself and don’t have the resources to manage an unreliable builder.
There are some basic questions you should ask any prospective builder such as their current building schedule, how long an average second storey renovation project takes to complete and some references to follow up and check what their previous clients have to say. A typical upstairs extension typically takes between 16 to 20 weeks to complete so be wary of any time estimates from builders that is significantly outside this timeframe.
Don’t let your second storey addition (aka first floor addition) project fall victim to time overruns. Here at Keystone we are happy to catch up with you and provide you with customised advice that will minimise the time taken to complete your dream second storey addition (aka first floor addition).