All Topics / Value Adding / Enclosing under an elevated house

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Profile photo of Tysonboss1Tysonboss1
    Join Date: 2007
    Post Count: 306

    G'day ALL,

    I am currently looking at an investment property with the possibilty of adding some bedrooms and more living space by enclosing underneith, it is already fully cemented under neith and the left and the right sides are already bricked in.

    I would love any advice from some body who has attempted this style of thing before of the kind of things I need to look out for, any troubles they had with approval from council and what their final project costs came to.

    also if any one knows of trustworthy builder on the central coast who could assist with this style of thing let me know,


    Profile photo of Tysonboss1Tysonboss1
    Join Date: 2007
    Post Count: 306

    I just had another thought,

    does any one know if it would be possible for me to enclose benith and extend out the back a bit so i would end up with two, 2bed units rather than rather than one 4 bed house, keeping in mind the building is timber construction. I wouldn't strata title it I think i would just keep it as one property with two income streams.

    Profile photo of Steve McKnightSteve McKnight
    Join Date: 2001
    Post Count: 1,763

    Hi TB1,

    My first suggestion would be to check with council.  Some 'open' areas under houses (esp. in regional Qld) are that way because of flooding issues and cannot be 'occupied' as such.

    Often, in older days when there was no air con, houses were built up to take advantage of the breeze to cool the house. You see this with the old queenslander style homes.

    Aside from the council, in theory there shouldn't be an issue provided the cost makes it worthwhile relative to the extra rent, you gain the required permits (beware parking issues), and you carefully think through the issues of having people upstairs and downstairs and how that impacts on the liveability of the dwelling.

    Please report back on your findings once you have been to council and/or a town planner.


    Steve McKnight | Pty Ltd | CEO

    Success comes from doing things differently

    Profile photo of crashycrashy
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 736

    legal height is the issue.

    you need 2.4m clearance (allow for batterns, ceiling, flooring) in living areas (bedrooms, lounge, dining) and 2.1m in wet areas (kitchen, bathroom, laundry)

    council approval is optional but can be dramas with resale & insurance.

    Profile photo of Tysonboss1Tysonboss1
    Join Date: 2007
    Post Count: 306

    G'day ALL,   "Update"

    I have spoken to the council building inspector and a local builder responsible for this area and he has informed me that the most important aspects are that the there will be.

       1.       2.4m clearance to the roof ( not including any beams ), 

       2.     The floor must be elevated from the outside ground level by 300mm, 

       3.      I must show evidence that there is a Water /  Vapour proof membrane benith the existing concrete slab, ( thats the black or orange plastic lining you see them put under new slabs) other wise I must lay a 'Topping slab" over that current slab

       4.     The construction of the extenstion must suit the existing character of the building.

    I have also spoken to a few draftsman about the cost of getting some drawings done up as no builder will give a quote till they see drawings of the renovation and their quotes ranged from $500 to $2500, the one that sounded the most professial and gave me heaps of good advice quoted me $1200 for the drawings, and also said we could perhaps get around the Topping slab issue if we marked on the plans that the extra rooms were for storage and a gym rather than bedrooms.

    I am going out for another inspection to do some measurements and double check a few things so I will keep you updated,

    But throw any advice my way I would love to hear any thoughts or suggestions about this project.


    Profile photo of frangipanniteafrangipannitea
    Join Date: 2007
    Post Count: 11


    I am just starting out on a very similar project, raising a queenslander to legal height and building in under with internal stairs, laundry, kitchen, bedroom, ensuite and living.  We want to keep the existing kitchen upstairs (4y.o.)  as we feel it would be desirable adult renters sharing to have separate kitchens/living.  As a past renter, I know the conflict that can happen when  few people have to share a kitchen. This dwelling would be let on one lease only.  What do people think?

    We have chosen to do it all by the book (at great cost!) and demolish the existing lower section and rebuild a brand new base and slab, 300mm above ground height with legal height ceilings under.  We felt that is worth the expense because there will be nothing 'dodgy' to negatively affect resale prospects in future.  We are considering where we can save a little on cost without compromising quality, we have much experience and know we can paint and also lay tiles as well as a professional, possibly install a flatpack kitchen if this makes sense too.  A builder will do the bulk of the work because we are short on time and want to get it done quickly – time is money!  This approach makes sense for this project as the existing 'base/lower level' needs major work and restumping anyway. 

    Regarding the dual income stream, I have met with council town planning and we are preparing an application for 'material change of use – dual occupancy'.  We will be building a detatched townhouse on the same lot that matches the existing character of the area and the existing house.  In an 'urban residential zone'  (Mackay) you can not have 2 units/ townhouses attached or not without this approval.  There is a multitude of factors to consider with regard to town planning that are seperate to building approval.  Contact your council town planning dept or look up the council website for more info.

    Let us know what you decide to do.


    Profile photo of qldeddiesqldeddies
    Join Date: 2009
    Post Count: 3

    A long time since last post … but content very relevant to us at the moment, and hopefully others too ..

    Would love an ‘approximate’ cost from anyone who has had to, or chosen to rebuild under a Qld highset, as well as the cost of ‘raising’ the home to ‘legal height’ underneath. I know it would depend on size / number of posts, but a ball-park figure for an average four bedroom home would be a good place to start.

    While i`m at it .. any advice on cost of covering the walls with gyprock for the same four bedder ? home currently has asbestos walls, and we are unsure whether to cover, or do the costly removal / replacement with modern product.


    Profile photo of 1Winner1Winner
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 477

    When it comes to asking for approximate cost, I'm afraid you are asking how long is a piece of string.

    I use to own a few blocks of flats in Mount Isa. Bought them very cheap, sold them at a killing price just in time.

    However I sold them not because I had secret information as to what the market would do, but because I got fed up at being unable to do any repairs let alone improvements due to the lack of builders and tradesman charging less than 10 times what I pay in Sydney.

    To rise a wooden house requires experience yet all in all it is an easy job. To build underneath is even easier and you avoid the cost of a roof and possibly foundations.

    However this renovation is uncommon because it must be done properly, with council approval and needs coordination and must have carpenter, plumber electrician and bricklayer at the ready.

    In other words it must be done by an experienced builder, so there is no point in asking what will it cost to do the plaster or the floor or the jacking up.

    And here comes the sticky part. If you have a builder you can trust to do the whole job in time within budged and at a price that is acceptable, the renovation is feasible. If on the other hand you don't have a builder or your builder is unreliable or it charges too much or it will take 12 month because the father of the tiler is in hospital and the electrician cut his finger, you are doomed. Look for something easier unless you are game to do it yourself.

    Like I said, it is not hard, I've done it, I have built a 2 story building with cathedral ceiling and rafters 7 meters long and 12 Inc wide by myself and I was over 50 at the time.

    Yet I would never say to anyone you can do it. In fact I had carpenters refuse the job.

    When it comes to renovations there are two things that matter.

    To know within 10% margin how much it will cost and how long it will take

    To have access to tradesman that are reliable, and cost effective, be it yourself or another does not matter. In fact there is little advantage in doing it yourself unless you are unemployed. Your opportunity cost will kill you or it will take forever like those people who build their own boat for 20 years and end up selling it for junk and an astronomical loss.

    Another way to look at it is as follows. Get a couple of quotes from builders to do the job to lock up stage.

    Then muster the local tradesman and get them to quote you for each of their parts. Compare and see if you can do the builder and what are you saving by doing so.

    The carpenter is likely to be the more experienced in doing the part of the builder if he is old enough, and will tell you, if you are lucky, who must be called and when.

    Good luck and don't be discouraged by what I say. You are likely to do many mistakes the first time, yet you may learn and be able to do it better next time.

    Some valuabel information when it comes to renovations can be found here

    Profile photo of littleguybigworldlittleguybigworld
    Join Date: 2009
    Post Count: 6

    I'd like to add that if you have an existing laundry and kitchen upstairs, and wait to build in the house underneath with another kitchen and laundry, you may hit trouble with getting building approval.

    As Louise 'frangipannitea' mentioned, this would be considered dual occupancy and may need further town planning (material change of use) approvals from the local authority. This can be costly in regards to the time delay as well as the council fees. Not to mention the heartache.

    If you want a kitchen downstairs, call it a 'wet bar' on the plan.


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