Published : 20 April 2016

A common question to ask yourself when extending a property is whether to go up, or out. But, as anyone following Channel 7's popular TV show, House Rules, will have seen, sometimes UP is the only choice.

Generally renovators will extend their home outwards, adding extra rooms, or simply transforming an attached garage into a room.

Adding extra rooms at ground level is considered more cost-effective. It also keeps the property all on one level, which is sometimes a must if accommodating elderly or disabled family members.

However, while this is an excellent option if you have a decent sized block of land, it does not suit every renovation. You will lose valuable garden space which, if you have children or pets, is not always desirable.


Adding space - and views

Given the choice, many property owners would opt for extending upwards, despite the extra cost. And there are several good reasons for this.

Firstly, it means you can successfully extend your home without stealing any of your garden. And secondly, depending on where you live, extending upwards could give you the views you never had before.

The latter is especially valid if you live in the Hinterland or on the coast. It's amazing how going up just a few metres can suddenly open up a whole new vista which not only gives you pleasure, but will add to the value of your home if you sell.

Another great reason for going up, rather than out, is that you can use that extra space as a parents' retreat, essentially barricading the kids downstairs! Imagine that large master bedroom, walk-in robe, ensuite, and maybe even a small lounge for some peace and relaxation away from the hordes.


Council restrictions

However, before you get too excited about your new parents' pad, you'll need to talk to an expert, as there are several things to take into account. For example, it could be that the current design of your home would make it impossible, or very expensive, to extend upwards.

There's also the extra physical weight of a second storey to be taken into consideration, along with any local council height restrictions.

And, even if you tick every single box, there might be a disgruntled neighbour to deal with!

If your property already has some form of roof space, that's a good start. But it's not essential.  As House Rules illustrated, you can literally lift the roof off a property and add an extra storey.

The first step is to think about why you need an extension, and what you hope to achieve. Note down whether it's because you need extra bedrooms, a second bathroom, a parents' retreat.


Plan and budget

Then you can even check out local council restrictions yourself, to find out if your plan is even possible.

The next step is to sit down with a professional and explain exactly what you would like, your budget, time frame and so on. They will take it from there, looking after everything from planning permissions and materials to hiring plumbers and electricians.

If the roof is coming off, that is a specialist job that requires many skills, not to mention some form of temporary roof to protect your home, and you, from the elements.