Proper planning: How to add a second storey to your house

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Proper planning: How to add a second storey to your house

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Ultra modern Modern houses by FRANCOIS MARAIS ARCHITECTS Modern
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Whether it’s to increase your living space or up your home’s value, adding a second storey is always a big step. But just like everything else under the sun, careful planning is required before any work starts, especially since you’ll be working with first-rate professionals like restoration experts and/or architects. 

So, just how do you go about adding an extension to your home without wasting time and money?

We’re glad you asked! Here is what to keep in mind…  

1. Adding a second storey: Where to start

Whether you’re adding a guest bedroom or man cave, the design stage should be the first step in any home extension project. A custom plan will be needed, which can be completed with the help of a professional draughtsperson such as a building designer or architect. 

It is vital to appoint a builder registered with a professional and reputable organisation. In South Africa , two primary building bodies exist: the Master Builders Association South Africa (MBSA) and National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).

Word-of-mouth recommendations is also a clever way of seeking out professional help – ask friends and family members who they’d recommend and draw up a shortlist. And of course there’s the ever-expanding collections of professionals here on homify that also provide additional info such as location, portfolio projects, contact details, and customer reviews (where applicable). 


2. Adding a second storey: Is there enough space?

Knowing exactly what that extra space will be used for will help determine what kind of alteration is the best choice. It will also give you an indication of how much space you will need to follow through successfully with your home plans – which is also where the help of a professional will become invaluable. 


3. Adding a second storey: What about my neighbours?

If you are making major alterations to your property, keep in mind to notify your neighbours and how your plans will impact them (i.e. noise disruption, view obstruction). And if you share a wall with them, remember that your second-storey project might damage their property. 

homify hint: By law, your plans and designs for any building / renovation project must be approved by the relevant local authorities. Liaise with the planning department of your local municipality to enquire whether Planning Permission is needed – that way, you ensure you commence this exciting project the correct way from the start. 


4. Adding a second storey: Will it ensure more light for my home?

A little extra sunlight and warmth is always welcome in a home. Thus, this should be one of your chief priorities, especially if you are adding a living room or any other space where you plan on spending lots of time in. 

But keep in mind that while lots of sunlight may be wonderful in winter and help to reduce the amount of artificial heating required, the opposite can be true for summer. To avoid this, double-check with the architect / designer / builder about the amount of sunlight the windows will be exposed to when including large windows and/or glass doors in your design plan. 

5. Adding a second storey: Do I need to move out?

The Hills Wildlife Estate Clubhouse by Swart & Associates Architects Modern
Swart & Associates Architects

The Hills Wildlife Estate Clubhouse

Swart & Associates Architects

Obviously it can cut down on costs if you don’t have to find alternative accommodation for the duration of the project. However, adding a second storey, which involves quite an amount of renovation work, could also severely disrupt one’s daily routine. 

In these circumstances, check with the professionals if it’s possible to have the extension project staged so that you can move from one part of the house to the next. Just bear in mind this usually takes longer to complete. 


6. Adding a second storey: How long will it take?

There is no one-answer-fits-all, as no two renovation projects are the same. However, in the majority of cases, adding a simple second floor can take between four to six weeks. But this is only if you’re adding a small amount of space under an existing roofline and don’t need a full team of tradespeople for the job. 

For a bigger project that involves significant renovations to your existing home, that timeframe could be increased to last from three to six months. 

Always check what the professional’s estimated timeline is when discussing your project at the very start, and get this in writing. There is always the possibility that the project might finish earlier, but lay down the ground rules for completion right from the beginning to avoid living on a building site for months and months. 

The more you know, right? Let’s try and answer the question of How much does a home extension cost in South Africa?  


Are you considering adding a second storey to your house? What would it be used for?
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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