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Building & Renovating, Purchasing a House

Buyer Beware of Second Storey Additions to Homes

Having a second storey in a home brings many benefits. There’s more living space, lovely views, it can add value, and the extra level doesn’t eat into outside yard space. But if you’re a buyer on the hunt for the perfect two storey house, beware of second story additions.

Second storey additions are a popular form of renovation and come with no shortage of benefits. However, caution is advised. Quite often houses with second storey additions aren’t as good as they look.

What to look for in second storey additions

Is the house structurally sound?

Just because adding a second storey has benefits doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea. If a second storey has been added onto an unsuitable original home that isn’t structurally sound, it raises plenty of red flags. Quite often, second storeys are added without the advice of an architect or registered builder. Adding a second story adds a substantial amount of extra weight to the existing house and some houses, particularly older ones, simply cannot handle that much pressure.

Also, when a second storey is added, so are electricals and plumbing. If a registered (and reputable) builder wasn’t used to carry out this work, it’s highly likely there could be some hidden problems. This is where a building inspector is absolutely necessary. They will identify whether the house is structurally sound. They’ll check the structures, particularly roofing and the foundations during a pre-purchase inspection. The outcome of this inspection will help you determine if you want to proceed with the purchase or not.

Second Story Additions

Has the second storey been council approved?

In Brisbane, a renovation as extensive as a second story addition requires planning and/or building approval and/or other permits from the Brisbane City Council. These approvals and permits are to ensure the renovation complies with local zoning regulations, the neighbourhood plan and building standards if the property is in a fire, flood or cyclone zone. If an extension to add a second storey was carried out without the owner gaining any council approval, it will put you, the buyer, at risk if you purchase the property. You could risk having to spend a lot of money to get the structure approved, rebuilt or even knocked down! To check if a property has the necessary building approvals, click here.

As a buyer, whether you’re aware that properties have had second story additions or not, a building inspector is always the best professional to check whether or not the homes are safe and risk-free.

Got your heart set on a two storey property? Contact us to check it over for you.


About Andrew Mackintosh

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.

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