Sometimes life can be unpredictable. You may consider yourself to be "empty nesters," with no particular plans to extend your home. However, you may now find that you have to accommodate elderly parents who may have some health problems. To enable you to plan everything correctly, you simply have to extend. If you've considered "going up," what do you have to know to make sure that this approach is successful?
You may have ideas in your mind, but you really should bring in an architect to help you design some drawings that will show you what's achievable. Don't forget, that you're going to have even less room downstairs, because you have to leave space for the staircase. Don't be too ambitious, until an expert can help guide you. You need to ask them about other issues as well, such as how to take advantage of your new views, or how you can maximise the amount of natural light.
The architect can also be brought into the picture as well as, or instead of a structural engineer to let you know if you need to adjust the foundations of the existing building. In many cases, what you have will be sufficient to build upon, but remember that it's a significant amount of extra weight to add to the foundations.
Will You Conform?
In many cases, an extension like this will require planning approval from the local authority. You need to be conformant with zoning regulations and the neighbourhood plan, if there is one. Do you happen to be in one of Australia's fire, cyclone or flood zones? If so, an additional storey will need to conform with different regulations there. Once again, a good architect can help you anticipate potential problems.
Will You Stay or Will You Go?
Have you considered what will happen when the building begins? As this will require the roof to be removed, will you be able to stay in your home during the process? It's certainly possible to stay, although expect the work to be quite intrusive and remember that your services may have to be temporarily cut off at specific stages during the buildup. The primary goal of the builders will, nevertheless, be to protect the downstairs element as quickly as possible, to allow the work upstairs to go ahead thereafter.
Getting On with the Builder
You will need to be careful when choosing a builder. Get several quotes and ask as many questions as you need to. Prompt the architect, to see if they can guide you during the interview stage.
When all is done, an engineer will be provided by the council to certify that the project has been completed according to the plan.
Finally, make sure that you maintain a good insurance protection plan during all phases of construction. Have a word with your agent to make sure everybody is clear about what is going to happen.