No matter whether you’ve just married or got kids, family expansion is always good news. The need to find a bigger home, on the other hand, is everything but. The relocation usually comes in the time you least need it, drags out for months and, even when it’s done, you need a couple of months to adjust to a new location. Why wouldn’t you then take this issue completely off the table and simply add a second storey to your existing home?
Let us take a look at some of the most important considerations that should help you to pull this feat off without too much hassle.
Adding a second storey to your house is not overly hard. But, you don’t want to make new upgrades to your house every two years or invest too much money if you plan to move out in the foreseeable future. So, take a moment to sit down and think through where you see your family in the following decade or two. You can even take into consideration professional aspirations like, for instance, creating a home office, or running an Airbnb business – just don’t start the works without sorting these things through.
Check the foundation
Once you are done, you need to take into serious account the fact that the second storey will weigh more than the roof system and that the previous owner may not have intended future upgrades. So, ask a professional architect to inspect the foundations and determine whether the expansion is even possible. Fortunately, this problem can be solved. If we take a look at Australia where such add-ons are very common, we can see that the foundations can be easily reinforced with plywood and steel connections.
Make enough clearance
When your house was built, the neighbourhood probably didn’t look the way it looks now, and there was more room to perform the works. And you will need a lot of equipment to pull this upgrade off. If we stay in Australia and observe the local crane hire in Melbourne, we can see some interesting things. Namely, the local companies use the vehicles that take more than a couple of meters when deployed. Take into consideration that you’ll need to move around some items to allow them enough clearance for work.
Check the local regulations
The legislation regarding house construction may vary from territory to territory. But, the chances are that no matter where you live, you won’t be allowed to simply bring in the contractors and start working without at least some supervising institution being aware. So, before you buy the material and make any kind of legally binding agreement with the builders, be sure to acquire all the necessary permits and have the worksite examined by a local building inspector.
Take into account the elements
No matter how fast you manage to perform the works, you need to be aware that the second storey won’t be finished in a day. What that essentially means is that your house will be open to all sorts of elements for a prolonged period of time. Take this into account and supply yourself with enough tarps to provide the inside of your house with a double-layered shelter. Of course, some items that are particularly vulnerable to humidity will need to be temporarily relocated.
Consider the disruptions
So, we’ve established that adding a second storey takes some time. But, just how much? Well, on average, architectural planning may take 30 to 45 days, while the various construction works can eat up to 90 or even 120 days. During this period, you will experience a high level of noise and dust, and some important utilities like plumbing, HVAC, and electrical outlets may be completely out. Therefore, it would be a good idea to find a place to relocate the family, at least while the works are at the peak.
Work with contractors
No matter how detailed your plans may be, the contractors will be able to put your wishes into reality only to an extent if you are not present on the worksite to guide them through more specific details. Also, it is in your best interest to be present when all the small on-the-go decisions are made. Later adaptations will cost you much more time and effort. So, while the works are on, adjust your daily schedule to allow you to spend as much time on the worksite as possible.
We hope these seven considerations will allow you to avoid some of the common pitfalls that usually go hand in hand with the projects of such scale as adding a second storey to your home. Still, in spite of all the troubles you may experience along the way, you need to remember that all the hard work definitely pays off. Rooting out your family and going into the unknown is a far more taxing option.