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Considerations for First and Second Floor Addition & Extensions

24 February 2023

A first-floor extension is frequently the first solution chosen by many homeowners needing more room. While an additional storey may be the greatest option for the owner’s accommodation demands in some situations, first-floor additions aren’t always preferred to ground-floor extensions.

Learn how to build a first-floor extension and a second-storey addition to an existing house, as well as the regulations and expenses involved.

Considerations for the Site

The dimensions, usage, and surroundings of your property will all impact the appropriateness of a first-floor expansion or second-floor addition. A first-floor extension or addition is usually the best option when there is little site area to expand floor area at ground level. For example, the existing house may be on a small lot with little yard space, or in some cases, and the available yard space must be preserved for the owner’s use, the opportunity to gain views or an outlook that a Ground Floor extension would not provide, and the need for enhanced privacy and separation from neighbours and fellow occupants.

Any new room built on the first floor offers a stronger sense of elevation and seclusion from the surrounding neighbours and the house’s residents. Because of the vertical barrier, spaces on the first floor usually appear more secluded from the rest of the home.

Considerations for Structure

The condition or structural soundness of the existing home to sustain the increased loads of the addition is one of the first concerns for a first-floor addition. The house should be evaluated by an expert Architect, Builder, or Structural Engineer. The existing house’s age and condition will significantly impact the outcome of these assessments. An older home with a floor supported by brick piers, timber bearers, and joists may create greater challenges than a newer one built on a reinforced concrete slab. Before the building begins, a structural engineer must be satisfied that the current home can support the new floor or those extra support columns and beams are incorporated to give this support.

Considerations for Roof Drainage

The slope of the roof and how the roof geometry is organised can influence the planning of a first-floor extension. Rainwater drainage from the roof must be maintained. For example, a roof sloping down towards the new wall of a first-floor addition will necessitate the installation of a box gutter or some other method of draining the water that will accumulate against the new wall. Because valleys in a roof can gather water from several intersecting roofs, an extension should preferably be placed to avoid these challenging roof junctions.

Considerations for Roof Framing

When building a first-floor expansion, examining the roof structure and the geometry of the roof slopes or shapes is vital. The roof is usually constructed with rafters, ceiling joists, purlins, and collar ties in older homes. All of these timber pieces are lengths of lumber that have been hammered together to form the roof framework. Compared to the more contemporary Gang-Nail roof trusses, it is frequently easier to adapt these framed roofs to meet the first-floor expansion.

Please contact us for further information, guidance for your unique circumstances, and further contemplation of a first-floor extension or second-floor addition.

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