Thinking extension or addition? Beware the ‘Jack of all trades’!

If you’re considering a home upgrade, then you know there are many different companies competing for your business and offering many different ways to improve your lifestyle.

There are lots of builders out there and many deals to be had.

The building game is tough.

A disturbing trend in recent times is the home extension and second-storey addition industry has attracted a lot of ‘Jacks’.

You would think this works in your favour, but many of these builders are not specialised and simply churning projects.

Signing with a jack-of-all-trades could turn into your worst nightmare ever.

A key sign you’re talking to a jack-of-all-trades and not a specialist is how rushed everything is.

In particular, if you’re considering a second-storey addition it pays to team-up with a true professional that is highly experienced in big projects.

A key sign your dealing with an experienced specialist is the attention and time given to pre-planning and frank discussions about what is achievable.

An experienced specialist will never rush you.


Whilst your dreams and goals are always a priority, an experienced specialist will be up-front about what is realistic, what is achievable and what needs to be sacrificed.

Some of your ambitions and hopes may get a reality check, but it’s very important to be realistic and completely aware of goals versus reality during the pre-planning stage.

Here are some of the key considerations when planning and designing a big home improvement project such as a second-storey addition:

  • Engineers Report
    • Existing structural support and any additional structural support needed
    • How much weight can the existing structure hold?
    • What needs to be added to hold another level?
    • An experienced builder knows how to handle on-going engineer’s inspections, so final approval is a formality
  • Soil Report
    • If analysis of your soil reveals any issues that makes it difficult to build, then you may incur extra costs to proceed a second-storey addition
  • Electrical and Plumbing Report
    • How the new second floor can be serviced with such things as electrical and plumbing has a direct impact on the design
  • Ground Floor Report
    • There are other structural issues to be considered such as where will the stairs go
  • Planning and Building Approval
    • Second-storey additions are complex and need to be designed with the Council in mind
    • There are additional standards and codes that need to be met when building up, not out
    • An experienced builder knows how to handle on-going Council inspections, so final approval is a formality
  • Living Arrangements
    • It’s likely you’ll need alternative living arrangements during a second-storey addition and will need to prepare for this as early as possible
    • Second-storey additions are quite intrusive and will expose the ground floor
    • Services such as power and water will be turned off for periods at a time
    • An experienced specialist will know how to protect and weatherproof the existing ground floor and other structures
  • Insurance
    • An experienced specialist will ensure you have an adequate amount of the right type of insurance
    • Should something happen, not having the right insurance cover will be a disaster
  • Blending
    • Achieving a seamless blend of old and new to keep the existing character of the home and its location is something only an experienced builder can achieve

A second-storey is not a project that should be rushed into.

Your builder should not be distracted by churning through many other projects.

The help of a highly-experienced, big project builder will ensure no nasty surprises.

How do you find the right big project builder with the specialist experience required?

  • How long have they been in business?
    • The building industry is tough and builders come and go
  • Can they show you a history of similar projects to explain?
  • What testimonials do they have?
    • Can you speak to some previous customers?