Renovation + Home Improvement
Aug 25, 2015 1:49 pm
I have found this forum fantastic for giving a great insight into the building process. Now I feel it's my turn to share our building "journey"!
When I started looking into building a second story extension on our home, I found a stack of information on knock down rebuilds but very little on building a second story to an existing home. As a result I have decided to create my own thread for future renovators to take a peek at!
We currently have a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom brick home in Sydney. After having 3 kids we have realized we have outgrown our current home and started looking into our options. When looking around our area we discovered that moving to a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home was a huge leap in price – and when it came down to it, we did not want to move. We love the area we live in.
Our next option was to look into a knock down rebuild. We spent a lot of time going through show homes and dreaming big! But further investigation showed that due to the strange shape of our block (a rhomboid) – it was near impossible to get a “cookie cutter” type home by a project builder that would fit our block. We also found that the original costs you are quoted are nowhere near what you expect to pay to have a finished home with the same sort of fittings as our current home and could be close to double the cost by the time you factor everything in. As a result we then decided to look into building a second story extension.
After examining our options we decided that the second story addition was the right path for us. At minimum to make our home work for us we felt we needed:
* 4 bedrooms
* 2 bathrooms
* 2 living areas
* the home to be cohesive both inside and out.
Basically we want enough room for the house to grow into, but we did not want the home to be an obvious extension that looks as though a box has been put on the roof.
We looked into a few builders but called one company that our friends had previously used to get a quote. We provided them with a list of “wants” vs “needs”. They came out and discussed these with us, giving us some good insight on what would suit our home, and what would be possible but not ideal in their experience. For example, we discussed having a small balcony however they advised us that though it was possible, for the cost they have found that when they have done this, the owners often come back and say they never use the space. Mainly because in reality most people may not make a cup of tea in the downstairs kitchen, carry it all the way upstairs, into the bedroom and sit and drink it on a small balcony. If we had our heart set on it they were happy to do it, but it was advice like this that we found very useful.
The builder was extremely professional, giving plenty of advice and ideas. We were given a list of homes they have recently completed and invited to look through them if we wished. For us, having a friend who was completely satisfied with their work and the way they conducted themselves was all the reference we really needed.
From here we paid $600 for the initial consultation and they then took our ideas and drew up some plans for us.
Second Story Addition Sydney2
Aug 25, 2015 2:21 pm
Above is the floor plan to the new upper level of our home. The stairs will be taking the place of a small bedroom which was previously the nursery. This will leave us with 2 bedrooms downstairs - one of which we will use as a study. Overall these plans will turn out home from 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom into a 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom home with 2 living areas which is just what we need! The only thing we are a little disappointed in is that the upstairs living area won't be larger, however they have made it as large as possible with the space they had!
The size of the rooms are as follows:
Master Bedroom - 3.66 x 3.79 (not including WIR)
Bedroom 2 - 4.79 x 3.88
Bedroom 3 - 3.31 x 4.71
Living Area -3.9 x 4.79
Ensuite - 3.01 x 1.7
WIR - 1.8 x 2
Bathroom - 2.7 x 1.89
I would love to hear any feedback or experience from others who have built on any areas we should focus on with selections and building!
Second Story Addition Sydney3
Aug 25, 2015 3:35 pm
Timeline of our build so far...
24/2/15 - Contacted builder for a quote on adding a second story extension.
3/3/15 - Builder attended out home for a consultation. On the day, he requested that we have prepared a list of our "wants and needs" to make out home work for us. The consultation cost $295 and he spent around 3 hours with us getting an overall picture of what we would like and looking through our current home. This is the information they requested we have prepared for the meeting:
What we need for the meeting
Needs and want list from yourselves (brief)
General outline of the parts of the site and home you like
General outline of the parts of the site and home you dislike
Identification of any easements on site
Our site Consultation service
An overview of council planning instrument
Site related constraints relating to the planning instrument
Discussion on your need and wants list
Design advice relating to the brief (verbal)
Budget estimate relating to the brief (verbal)
Questions and answers
Confirmation from ourselves that we would like to go ahead and have plans drawn up for the home. This came at a cost of $900 and included:
Site measure of existing dwelling
Draft initial 2D plans for consultation
Draft 3D model for discussion
Finalist drawings and complete tender outlining expected costs and specifications
Site measure completed
Initial plans forwarded to us including 2nd floor layout and 3D image of external home
Receive the initial tender
Meeting with builder to discuss plans and run through construction process and costings. In this meeting we requested a number of different options including plans with and without an ensuite and other variations such as tiled vs colorbond roof etc.
Receive the updated tender inclusive of changes we requested.
After a number of back and forths - due to us wanting prices on different things, we accepted the final tender.
Paid a 5% deposit. This is to cover submission of paperwork to the Council etc
Further meeting with builder to review 3D layouts and final plans prior to submission to Council
Plans submitted to Council
Meeting with Colour Consultant
Selections finalised and signed off
Council Approval received
Meeting with builder to discuss plans, contracts and finalise all items.
Bank loan documents signed
Building contract signed
Tiles came off and beginning of platform
After week 1, the roof is completely gone, most downstairs electrics are in, i.e. new down lights, fans etc and most of the platform is completed.
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney4
Aug 25, 2015 7:46 pm
I really thought this would be the most exciting part of the build - but I have to admit it got a little stressful, and I'm still not 100% convinced we have made the right choices!
Our current home is grey shades throughout and I really wanted to move to more neutral colours. We updated our downstairs bathroom around 4 years ago so I wanted to keep with similar colours when we build the remainder of the house.
As I said at the start of the thread, having the exterior cohesive was very important to us, so we have decided to render the entire house to ensure it blends well. This is costing us an additional $7,500 from the original tender.
We have gone with Dulux Mudpack for the exterior render (if anyone else has chosen this colour I would love to see a pic!)
We have also chosen an ironstone colourbond roof. We currently have a tiled roof so have had to change the entire top and bottom floor at an additional cost of around $7,900 but my husband was adamant he wanted colorbond!
With the inside we have decided to do with white gloss doors and trims and sandy day for the walls.
We currently have carpet throughout most of our home, but at the completion of the build we will be ripping this up to polish the floorboards beneath. After much consideration we have decided to carpet the stairs and have the entire upper floor carpeted. Mainly because I don't want the kids stomping up and down the stairs for the next 10 years! We have chosen stairs similar to this to make them light and bright.
And this carpet - I wanted something low pile and neutral. This shows up really nice in the different lighting in our home
Lighting - we will have down lights in the living room and ceiling fans in the bedrooms but we also saw these pendants at Beacon and they were so much nicer in person! Thinking of having the set of 3 in the stairwell and matching single pendants in the master bedroom
More to come...!
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney5
Aug 25, 2015 11:36 pm
Thanks so much for posting this! It is great to hear your experiences and I look forward to hearing more.
We are also hoping to add a second level to our home at the end of this year/ early next year. We are a family of 6 (2 adults and 4 young-ish children - all 7 and under) also living in a small 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home. Our most pressing requirement is an additional toilet!
For us, the decision to build up has come after a lengthy process. We initially planned to do an addition behind our current single story and we started the process about this time last year. We had plans drawn up and had chosen a builder. After submitting our plans to council, we then discovered that our block of land extends into Flame Zone (bushfire levels). (We always knew we were on bushfire prone land, but the classification has become stricter as we were classified BAL-19 (much lower risk) when we built a deck in 2011.) The single story addition would have cost an additional $80K (this was an approximation, based on our builder's prior experience building in flame zone) above our quoted price.
After that shock, we also looked (briefly) into knockdown rebuild, but like you, we would have needed to make significant alterations to project home plans based on our block and the bushfire requirements. Many builders don't touch BAL-FZ areas anyway. The prices became beyond reach. We also didn't like the idea of moving out for a whole year to rebuild. We have family we can stay with for bits and pieces of time during an extensive renovation, but a whole year non-stop would be a bit much.
If we build directly above our current home (also 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, but fibro), we can build to the BAL-40 requirements, (as our current house sits towards the front of the block and the bush is behind us) rather than BAL-Flame zone requirements, which should save us approximately $50K. We will probably end up spending the extra $50K by going up instead of out (with stairs, structural reinforcements and making the home exterior more uniform - replacing current roofing and cladding), but we feel like we will end up with a better floor plan and better use of our block for the extra $50k.
We are currently having our new plans drawn up, our builder is still keen, and we hope to go to council by the end of next month!
I look forward to reading more of your experiences!
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney7
Aug 26, 2015 6:48 am
Hi! Thanks for your reply!
I am definitely in the same boat as you - the one thing I am most excited about is not having to share 1 toilet with 3 boys anymore!! I can't wait to have at least one extra bathroom - the ensuite was a luxury we didn't really need but the cost to include that on top of the rest of the build wasn't that different and obviously if we ever look to sell, most people would expect an ensuite in what will be a 5 bedroom home.
The fact that we can live in our home while it is being built (even though I'm sure it won't be pleasant!) was another bonus for us, there is no way we would have been able to afford to rent while paying off our current mortgage in the same area that my children go to school, and moving in with my parents for a few months would most likely end in divorce! But most of the work will be done on the top level, they do not really break through to include the stairs until quite close to the end and the builder promises me that by then we will be keen to see the back of them! But as long as it's possible to stay (without dust affecting asthma etc) we will.
I am happy to share my lower floor plan with you - it is only a basic plan as we are not making any great changes apart from adding the stairs and storage under the stairs, plus polishing floor boards and painting the rest of the house to match. We upgraded our 1 bathroom 4 years ago, so the only other area is the kitchen and as much as I would love to update that a little, our focus at the moment is getting more bedrooms and bathrooms and that, along with a whole new roof and gutters etc, is where we have put our money. The kitchen and landscaping is something I would like to revisit eventually, but it's out of budget at this stage!
Please keep me updated on your progress too! I'll find the downstairs plan and upload for you.
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney8
Aug 26, 2015 7:10 am
Not the greatest photo - but here is what will be our lower floor plan. As above, the stairs are replacing what was a very small bedroom (2.6 x 2.5) and we will get a good amount of storage under the stairs.
The dotted line is where the build will be over the house. It will be directly in line with the front of the house, the rear had to be set back a certain distance from the back fence due to council restrictions. I am happy with what the layout will end up as, I feel as though it will flow very well, we are not losing any great deal of space downstairs. We were hoping to stretch the build over what is the rumpus but the builder correctly pointed out that we would not gain a great deal of space in doing this as ultimately we would end up with long corridors that wouldn't help the flow of upstairs.
I am just really looking forward to each of the kids having their own space, extra bathrooms and another living area! Our build should be starting in a few weeks.
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney9
Aug 26, 2015 8:40 am
Tile selection had to be the most difficult part for me! I find it so hard to visualise what it is going to look like.
As I said earlier, we did our downstairs bathroom a few years back and decided to go with a feature wall on one wall. I'm still happy with this decision and the remaining white walls leave the room feeling light and bright. So we have decided to do something similar with the 2 bathrooms upstairs. My husband wanted all the bathrooms to be different, so I went with tiles in neutral tones, but they are all very different!
We have selected the same shower head as we have downstairs - the Dorf Jovian which I love.
Downstairs we have Dorf Arc mixers, however even though I like them I have decided to go with something smaller upstairs and selected the Dorf Viridian
and the same for the basin mixers
We are paying extra to have shaving cabinets recessed in the walls, even though I loved the option of having led lights under the cabinet! The vanities are 900 in length and I chose Timberland Austin cabinets which I fell in love with long before we signed anything and tried to plan the entire bathrooms around! We had to go with a different colour but this is the one in store
As for tiles, we saw this in a display home in The Ponds and liked the look so are having something similar in the shower room for the kids
In the ensuite I have decided to go with a look I have seen on Pinterest where the floor tiles extend up the feature wall. I think it leaves the tiling quite basic, allowing me to get the wood grain vanity I loved!
The remaining walls in both bathrooms will be white, rectified tiles.
I also loved the idea of having a media unit installed - again something I have seen in display homes! The main reason being I am sick of trying to dig out toys from under our TV unit, and get underneath to vacuum!
I really struggled to find anyone who would get back to me and give me a quote - even more frustrating when the company that is recommended by the builder does not show any interest in your business. And these units aren't cheap - we are looking at about $3,000 for a unit 2.5m in length with drawers and doors with frosted glass which will allow the foxtel remotes to work through. In the end I went with Sydneyside who had a saleswoman more than happy to spend a lot of time with me, and show me a number of options. They have a great range there too. This will be something additional to the tender and they have agreed to build the walls out to encase the unit, and we will have a kickstand under the unit so no more trying to dig out toys! Our unit will be similar to this, which is just what we were after!
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney10
Aug 26, 2015 2:13 pm
Looks great. It looks like you have had plans in council for awhile! When we did our last application (which we withdrew), building designer told us 5 weeks in council. Ours was in for 9 weeks by the time we withdrew it. Much patience required in this process!
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney11
Aug 26, 2015 2:23 pm
Yes, we were expecting it to be about 6 weeks but so far it has been almost 11. We knew that there was going to be a bit of a delay as there is a large backlog, but we are hoping that it is finalized next week. We will see! Do you have plans for your second story extension yet?
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney12
Aug 26, 2015 2:31 pm
No, not yet. Designer is working on them. We are hoping to get them back by Monday week. I will definitely post a picture when I have them.
Must be so exciting to be at the point you are up to! We haven't done any selections or anything yet, and I'm already feeling a bit overwhelmed by the process. I think I've spent too long on pintrest and instagram and I'm sure my tastes are becoming well beyond our budget! I know what I like, but not how much it costs, so my options might have to change. I really like the look of your bathroom selections. My taste is similar I think - simple, not too fussy, but with a bit of a feature (like your feature walls). My husband is not at all worried about the selections, so it is up to me (which is good, but also bad!). Husband just likes whatever is most cost effective! I'm really hoping the builder will provide some guidance when we get to that point.
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney13
Aug 26, 2015 2:37 pm
Ha ha, I know what you mean! I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at nice things but in the end chose practicality over design features. I sort of came to the realisation that my kids were not going to stop being messy just because we have a new house! I started looking around at things I liked straight away so I could get an idea of what I wanted. We were given a list of where to shop for things which helped, and most of those items we got at the builders cost rather than the list price which actually ended up being quite a discount! But even though I had a firm idea of what I wanted I still started getting a bit stressed about making our choices in the timeframe - there was just so much to choose from including door handles, doors etc that I never cared too much about until I had to decide then and there!!
Good luck with it, look forward to seeing your plans!
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney14
Aug 27, 2015 8:52 am
Costs - it's what everyone wants to know isn't it!
When looking through this forum over the past few years, the thing I always wonder is how far off your initial quotes were in comparison to your final spend. If anyone is willing to share this, whether it was from a renovation or an entire build, I would be very interested to hear it!
At this stage for our entire build - start to finish - we are looking at a total cost of just over $320,000. I should point out that this is inclusive of everything including carpet, blinds, an entire new roof, render for the entire house etc. it seems like a lot when you look at brand new homes being built for the $250,000 mark, but as I outlined we researched a number of options for our land and could not find anything that would suit. For us to sell this home and invest $350,000 into a new home we would still be getting nothing like we will be at the completion of our project.
I am happy to share everything that is included for anyone who is interested, but a bit of a break down...
Preliminaries such as Council DA, Construction Certificate fees, engineering fees such as inspections, design fees etc; Home Warranty & construction risk insurance - $13,850
Steel scaffold, roof rail system etc $4,500
First floor addition, 97m2 including 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, WIR, and lounge area - $209,700
Piers and Posts - engineering upgrade - $3,000
Ground floor alterations (stairs, addition of storeroom, relocation of power mains etc) - $16,900
Cement render to lower floor - $7,830
New colorbond roof including removal and disposal of existing roof tiles - $7,550
(We were quoted $4,950 to get an entire new tiled roof)
Removal of existing guttering and replacement including new down pipes - $3,150
Carpet Allowance - $5,000
Blind Allowance -$4,000
Bathrooms - $7,500
Robes allowance - $3,500
Ducting for air, both levels - $3,000
Plus GST of course!
So going off the figure for the first floor addition only - with just a roof, walls and floor we are looking at around $2,200 per m2 which is what people are often directed to when looking at extending, but as you can see for a completed finish we are looking at over $100,000 over that base figure.
I already know we will be over our original estimation with the inclusion of the media unit, niches etc.
So tell me, how far different were your original estimations to your final figure?
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney15
Aug 27, 2015 8:30 pm
That's a really helpful cost breakdown. We are probably looking at about the same.
Builder estimated $300,000 would cover us for a second floor addition, of approximately 84 sqm with 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and living area, also including a renovation to existing downstairs with stairs and storage, renovated bathroom and pushing out the back wall downstairs in one area to enlarge the kitchen (additional area only about 6-8m2, but will make a big difference to function of our current kitchen/ dining area). This figure is also to include new weatherboard style cladding (probably the scyon linea product) to the whole house, adding batts/insulation to walls and a new roof.
He hasn't quoted on the actual plans yet (as we don't have them) so this was his estimate. In addition to this, I'm thinking we will have to cover painting (which will be either massive $$$ or a massive time commitment - builder suggested getting this done while he has the scaffold here, so we don't have to pay to hire scaffold again later), floor coverings and blinds.
It is an expensive process, but, like you, we couldn't buy what we will end up with in our area by selling and adding $300,000 to our purchasing budget.
I'm interested in the $7500 figure you quoted for bathrooms. Is that for both upstairs bathrooms, including tiling, labour, fitout and everything, or is that just for your products?
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney16
Aug 28, 2015 6:35 am
It's always reassuring to know you are looking at similar costs! Seems as though you have a fair bit going on downstairs too - would you be able to stay in your home while it's all being done?
The $7,500 would be just for tiles, fixtures and fittings for both bathrooms. The cost of labour, tiling etc is all included in the large $200,000 figure. To give you an idea, they also quoted us to have only one bathroom upstairs, so no ensuite, and that came to about $21,000 less (including $3,000 less for tiles, fixtures, fittings etc) which overall was a cost we were willing to pay to have an ensuite (& not share with the kids!) and obviously resale value etc.
In the first 5 minutes of the meeting he told me straight away that the minimum for this kind of job is around $250,000 and that's just for a box, on the roof without any of the finishing touches. We are not at all handy so we definitely needed a quote to have everything complete and ready to walk into and live in at the end - including painting etc, as with work and the kids we just never end up getting those little jobs done! But we will be painting the downstairs to match the upstairs when it is all finished - mainly the doors, architraves etc.
I would agree with getting the painting done while you have the scaffold already there as I believe that can be quite a large cost - as well as the inconvenience of having to put scaffold around your home twice in a short period of time!
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney17
Aug 29, 2015 6:08 pm
Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to following your progress.
We have just had council approval to build a first floor addition and completely reconfigure downstairs. The upstairs will include four bedrooms, a walk in robe, ensuite, bathroom and open rumpus area.
We are in a bushfire zone and the whole house will need to be BAL 40 compliant. Downstairs will be totally reconfigured to include a three car garage.
We will need to move out and rent, and are hoping to start at the beginning of next year. I will be eagerly following your build.
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney18
Aug 30, 2015 8:29 am
Thanks for joining in parrydise - that's a big top floor! Would love to see your plans if you don't mind sharing? Have you found somewhere to rent yet or have you been waiting on the council approval? Paying for rent would have been a cost that tipped us over the edge I think.
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney19
Aug 30, 2015 2:39 pm
Not sure whether we will be able to stay the whole time things are being done at our place. We were hoping to move out initially for a month or so, get a lot of the downstairs stuff done, then move back in while the second story is built, then maybe move back out again when the stairs etc go in, for however long that takes. I'm sure it won't all be as smooth as that, but that would be the ideal.
We also wouldn't be able to afford to rent and pay the new mortgage, so will be staying with family for the times we move out. Unfortunately the family is 30 mins away from here, from where our kids go to school, and 30 minutes on top of the already 45 minutes I commute to work. My husband works locally so the commute would still be around 40 minutes for him, which is pretty good by Sydney standards! I only work 2 days a week, so I think I can do it for a while.
Look forward to hearing more about your reno too parrydise - it does sound like a big job!
Rj-mcgray - the $7500 makes sense now - being just for fixtures and tiles.
Re: Second Story Addition Sydney20
Sep 07, 2015 4:13 pm
Just an update - our council approval is slowly on its way to being approved! Apparently it has been signed and should be in the mail by the end of the week!
We have had our scaffold delivered and it will be put up this week so it is definitely feeling more real!
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