Lifting a House – What is Involved?
Planning on Lifting a House
If you have the option, lifting a house is a great way to substantially increase the size of your home. With the growing trend for larger homes house lifting is a very popular and cost effective solution. This is especially true in Brisbane where so much of the housing stock (Queenslanders and Post War Homes for example) are ideal for raising and building in underneath.
The Ins and Outs of Lifting a House
Your first step is to obtain a ground floor plan so that a post layout can be determined. You will also need the services of a house raiser, there are plenty of companies around who specialise in just this. House raisers will lift and can even move your home for you and then restump the house.
More than likely you will need the services of an engineer whose report would accompany your Council application and would also be used by your builder, your draftsman and your building designer.
Lifting a House – Your Design Options
Probably the most important decision that needs to be made regarding the internal design of a raised home is the location of the internal stairway. Stairways decisions are important because they take a fair amount of what would otherwise be usable living/sleeping area; there are often limitations to their location such as not wanting to lose a bathroom or an easterly facing living area. Finally a stairwell without natural (or good artificial) light can really detract from the whole feel of a home, not just in the stairwell itself but also in neighbouring rooms as a poorly designed and located stairwell can block off natural light.
Upstairs, Downstairs Living
It is usually considered preferably to have all your living areas on one level and all your sleeping accommodation on a different level. The reason for this is simply the practicality of having quiet areas located together and also ease of movement from different living areas such as the kitchen, dining, living and rumpus etc.
There is no hard and fast rule as to whether your living areas should be on the first floor and sleeping on the ground floor or visa versa. This is usually a decision made based on your own personal preferences. It may be that you have a wonderful view from the first floor and would like to be able to maximise your enjoyment of that view by putting your living areas in that location, or possibly you prefer to enjoy a view on waking each morning.
Obviously the design of your home will be determined by your budget and also the existing design of the home to be raised. Thus if you are on a tight budget you may wish to make very few alterations to the first floor and thus your new ground floor will probably have a mixture of sleeping and living areas, same as the floor above. There are sometimes occasions when bedrooms in the original house are converted into playrooms, studies, media rooms for example and thus the lower area becomes primarily a quiet sleeping zone.
A good design of your raised home will place a lot of importance on the capturing of natural light whilst at the same time avoiding the hot western sun in the winter. Taking down internal walls in the now upstairs area of your home can be very beneficial not only in providing larger more usable rooms but also by gaining more natural light.
Decks and patios can double your living area, create through ventilation and most importantly substantially increase the joy you have in living in your new larger raised home. Generally, if possible decks should not be positioned on the western side of the home with the east and north being far more attractive locations for living and dining.
Finally a note on style. If you have a beautiful traditional Queenslander it is obviously preferable for the new lower level of your home to be designed and constructed to as close as possible match and enhance the existing house design.
If you are raising a fairly ordinary post war home and if you have the budget there are a whole range of different options available to you. There are exciting new building materials coming onto the market all the time, many lightweight and cost-effective – as well as allowing a complete transformation of the look and feel of your home, should that be your wish.
If you are still seeking information about lifting a home in Brisbane, please call us at Yolk Building Design and Drafting and we will use our experience and expertise to provide you with advice and options.