FAQs when extending a home

Extending your home to make space for a larger, growing family can be a huge process. We are making it easy for you by tackling the gruelling questions before you embark on your new project.

Home extension in progress
ARTICLE Carol Watson

How do I decide if I should sell my house or extend it?

If you love the area you live in, then extending your home may be the right decision. With careful though to the design, you can create the house that you want and put those moving costs and stamp duty funds towards the renovation.
Outward home extension in progress

How do I decide if I should extend upwards or outwards?

Extending up will save your valuable outdoor area and unlock any potential district or water views, whilst providing clearly defined living and sleeping zones within your home.
Extending out, if you have ample outdoor space, is often easier. There is less chance of infringing on your neighbour’s light and privacy, and you do not have the expense and space requirements of a stairway to the second-storey.

Should I manage the build myself or use a renovation builder?

A renovation builder has overall responsibility to deliver the result on time and within budget. They will use their knowledge and expertise to deal with any delays or disruptions and the many trades and authorities that need to be involved during the process. Costing a renovation builder into your budget is highly recommended.

How soon in the process should I engage an expert?

It is best to have a renovation builder on board right from the get-go. A renovation builder will provide the cost of the exact work to be undertaken based on the concept drawings and working drawings translated from your initial ideas.
Trade worker measuring beams for a second floor home extension

My plans have gone into council. How long will it take for approval?

Each council has its’ own process and the length of time will depend on the simplicity or complexity of your build. Are there any submissions from neighbours, has your renovation builder included shadow diagrams, have they addressed light and privacy, floor space ratio, etc. Resolution of disputes will impede the process, so the more work done up front to identify and address potential issues, the quicker the process will be. Your renovation builder will take care of this for you.

What happens after I receive my DA approval?

Once approval has been granted, your renovation builder will obtain a construction certificate before they start work. This can be issued by a private certifier or by your local council. Your renovation builder will need detailed structural plans in place at this stage and will ensure they are in compliance with the terms of your DA approval.
Second floor home extension build in progress

Should I use an architect or building designer?

To work as an architect, you must have the necessary formal tertiary education and be registered with a state-based architecture board. A building designer can have similar or extensive education but in some states there is no requirement for accreditation or registration. A renovation builder will choose an expert right for the job, and one who can work within your budget and timeframe.

Should I live in or move out during the extension renovation?

If you can move out, then this is definitely the better option. The builder can get on with the job, have freedom to work in all areas and will not have to devote time to cleaning and packing up each day. Think about the dust and noise, as well as access to appliances, hot water and power during the work.
Outward home extension using double-brick walls to create a more eco-friendly home

What steps can I take to ensure my home extension is eco-friendly?

Recycle and reuse materials where possible. A double-brick wall has lower thermal transition, making your interiors cooler in summer and warmer in winter. LED lights are energy efficient and more cost-effective. Installing water tanks to feed the laundry, toilets and garden, and the use of low VOC plants, will all contribute towards a healthier home.

Can a modern extension blend in with my older style house?

Yes, it can. The choice of finishes for ceilings, walls and floors is fundamental to creating a seamless integration of the old and new. Match your architraves and skirting boards with those used in the existing house and run the same flooring from old to new to eliminate any visual delineation between the two spaces. Your renovation builder should be able to source materials and finishes to also match the existing exterior cladding of your home. Using the same style and colour scheme throughout will create a seamless fusion of old and new.

How can I get light into my new home extension?

Bi-fold or stacker doors will open up the back of a home and provide good access to natural light. Skylights or roof windows are another great option and can provide ventilation too. Sun tunnels are suitable for areas, such as hallways and bathrooms, that may not have access to any natural light. A lighter colour scheme when decorating will open up your space and make it feel a lot brighter.

Have a look at our House Extension Cost Guide which featured in Renovate Magazine

Get in touch with Refresh to discuss your home renovation project

If you would like to discuss extension ideas and options for your home renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh Renovations consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.

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