Need a Lift? Here’s What You Need to Know About Raising Colonial, Workers Cottage, Queenslanders, and building underneath

raising your home

Need a Lift? Here’s What You Need to Know About Raising Colonial, Workers Cottage, Queenslanders, and building underneath


They say you shouldn’t play favourites, but I have to say, of the 4 main options for creating more space in a Queenslander, raising homes and building underneath would be right up there for me.

Excuse the pun.

By raising and building under you can effectively double the size of the home.

Queenslanders are stunning looking homes and with the right renovation, can be beautiful to live in.

However, a word of caution. This is an exercise where great design is vital. I’ve seen plenty of examples of homes that have been built under where the result of the project is far from satisfactory.

Simply raising your Queenslander and building in a ground floor, won’t guarantee a great outcome.

So, here are some tips for you to consider before giving us a call to discuss your project needs.

  1. Know what you want and why you want it

If you’re frustrated with a lack of space in your home, chances are you have a good idea about what additional space you’re going to need. For example, if you have growing teenagers you might need an additional bedroom or two.

But the key is to focus less on what you think you need and more on your lifestyle and how your current home is cramping that lifestyle. We will take the time to get to understand your frustrations and needs and then give you options that can solve your problems.

  1. When raising homes and building underneath, connection is vital

The temptation can be to think about the upstairs and downstairs almost as separate homes. But they are two parts of the whole and as such they need to be connected.

So, what do we mean by connected?

Well how you get between the two is a good start. Are you going to have external stairs from an upstairs deck in addition to the internal stairs? If you have elderly people in the home do we need to consider an elevator?

We must also consider how spaces interact with each other. Imagine for example, if your main kitchen is upstairs but you intend to do your entertaining on a lower deck beside your pool. How is that going to work from a functional sense? These things need to be considered and planned for to ensure your home works in the way you need it to.

  1. There may be a better option

Based on the example I just gave it’s important to keep an open mind. You may have an idea of how you see each floor working, but we are the design experts and we may be able to come up with a better solution.

We will consider all aspect of the project to create a design that’s going to best suit your budget and needs. It’s important keep an open mind when it comes to the possibilities.

  1. It might be a great time for some upgrades

If we’re going to be raising your home and building underneath it might be a great time to restump your home if they haven’t been replaced in a previous renovation.

Queenslanders with timber or concrete posts can be a termite risk.

Steel posts are termite proof and long lasting making them an attractive option. Restumping is actually not that expensive in the scheme of things and can give you extra peace of mind.

Chances are there are a LOT of poles under your home. Some of these are going to have to go to make way for rooms and open spaces. This will require RSJ’s to be installed to support the weight of the top part of your home. The design of your downstairs area needs to take this into account. The longer the span the bigger the RSJ needs to be.

  1. We may still want to do some reconfiguration

Queenslanders don’t have great floorplans.

Hallway walls block the flow of air and there is often a disconnection between the kitchen and the living spaces.

By reconfiguring the floor plan, we can open up spaces to create better natural airflow and let in more natural light. Great for lowering your running costs.

Changing the floorplan can really improve the liveability of your home. For example, you may choose to have all bedrooms on one floor. You may wish to have a home office with a separate entrance if you work from home.

Which reminds me, sound insulation is an important consideration to keep the upstairs noise away from downstairs and visa versa.

  1. Do you want to reposition your home?

If we’re lifting your home, we can also move your home.

That’s right, we can reposition your home on the block if that better suits your lifestyle needs.

Now, I’m not talking about putting it right on a fence line. But if you want to move it slightly forward, back or sideways to reconfigure your yard, that’s definitely doable.

This is a great option if you’re looking at adding a swimming pool but don’t have a large enough back yard. Or, if you feel your home is too close to the street, or you want a larger front yard, moving your home may be a viable option.

  1. Preparing for the project

If you decide to raise your home a build under then you’ll need to be prepared to move out of your house while it’s being raised. This is for safety reasons, as it’s unsafe to stay in the home while it’s not on stumps.

Most furniture will be able to stay in the home, but breakables, like mirrors, fish tanks, vases etc should be packed away and/or moved until the raising/restumping part has been completed.

All going well this should only take a few weeks before you’ll be able to move back in.

I want to raise my Queenslander and build underneath – what now?

If you’ve decided this is the way to go, or you just want some more information or an expert opinion, then give us a call.

There are plenty of companies that raise homes and plenty of builders who claim to be able to give you a great design. But they can’t. The raising and construction part is easy. It’s creating a truly functional design that takes the real skill.

So, don’t leave it up to the amateurs who simply want to lift your house, throw up a few walls and then move on. Contact us today and we will go through your project with you and create the perfect design for your needs.


Dion Seminara Architect


We are experts at home design, renovations and new homes and ensure good value for money outcomes.

Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 30 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.