Raising or extending your Brisbane property – Which should you choose? [Updated November 2023]Renovations, Tips and Advice
When starting a renovation, we often encounter people that are thinking of either raising or extending their home, but are unsure of where to begin. There are many factors you will need to consider when it comes to raising or extending your property, and utilising the help of a professional in residential design can ensure that you are getting the best advice on which is the better option for your renovation.
So if you’re thinking of raising or extending your home, here are some common factors you should consider before making a final decision.
Not all houses can be raised, and not all blocks can fit an extension. The first thing you need to consider is your land. A small block can have restrictions on the site cover, or lose too much valuable space with an extension. There can also be council restrictions on your property that will restrict whether you can raise or extend, e.g. character restrictions, height restrictions, etc – so make sure you are well versed in what the City Plan allows you to do!
The next thing you should consider is the house itself. Not all homes can be raised; they usually need to be on stumps with timber frames. You will also need to look at the existing structure of the house to ensure that it will be able to handle this change. Alternatively, if you have a home that is already lifted you can easily build underneath.
A professional will be able to provide you with advice and can give some ideas of working with any limitations. These professionals include Architects, Town Planners, Surveyors, Engineers, and Builders experienced in raising/extending homes.
When it comes to raising your home, you’re looking at a much higher cost compared to building an extension. This is due to any excavations, retaining walls, supports, and scaffolding needed during the raising of the home. If you’ve chosen an old home that needs a lot of renovation work (e.g. a Queenslander) the costs could be far more than just building an entirely new house in the style you like.
If you’re worried about overcapitalising on your renovations, or concerned that your budget won’t allow for raising the home, consider the surrounding views. If there are views, then raising the house will increase the value of your property and will provide yields that far outweigh the costs! Otherwise, if there is nothing special beyond your back fence, then extending your home could be the better option for your home and your budget.
The last factor you should keep in mind when you’re thinking of raising or extending your home is your lifestyle needs and wants. Raising or extending your home provides an opportunity to create open plan living spaces that flow smoothly between the indoors/outdoors, with a connection to the elements. Lifting the house will also enable more light to enter the home, and allow existing gardens to remain (reducing landscape costs).
Building an extension onto your existing home is less disruptive to your life as you can remain in the home, with some building dust and noise to accompany you. Raising your home, on the other hand, will mean having to move out of the house while the lift is occurring. This is due to the roof needing to be removed during the process. Therefore, it’s essential that you weigh all the pros and cons before making a decision, including how it will affect other members of the household.
Raising or Extending?
Once you have evaluated the costs against your budget, the size of the land, any limitations of your existing house, the potential disruptions to your life, and your lifestyle needs – you should have an understanding of which option would be best for you moving forward!
Where to from here?
Any type of renovation will greatly impact a residence’s functionality, and the decision to raise or extend is no different! If you’re looking to raise or extend it’s important to consider your budget, the house’s suitability, and the lifestyle of those using the house.
If you still can’t decide which option is best for you – speak to a professional! Our team of architects offer a Design Advice Service which exists to analyse your current needs and provide an expert assessment on areas of opportunity for home renovations. Whether you use dion seminara architecture, or a different provider, getting a professional opinion is a great way to ensure that you make the right choice for your home!
DION SEMINARA, DION SEMINARA ARCHITECTUREWe 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.