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Everything you need to know about House Raising.

Everything you need to know about House Raising.

Why you should or shouldn’t consider raising your house as part of your home renovation project.

Jeremy Verhey, Maiker Constructions - 2nd September 2023


House Raising has become a standard practice in the suburbs of Brisbane. As I traverse the areas that Maiker Construction services, it's common to see home renovations being lifted on every other street. This practice offers an excellent solution for increasing interior space and improving outdoor usability, all while preserving the unique charm of a Queenslander Home.



Advantages of Raising a Home


Avoid Flooding


Raising a Home to Avoid Flooding


For homes that are affected by flooding or surface water drainage (overland flow) particularly in areas close to the Brisbane River or Coastal areas, raising a home offers protection. The Resilient Homes Fund is an initiative jointly developed by the Queensland and Australian Governments to assist homeowners impacted by flooding. The program offers a range of options to eligible homeowners, including retrofitting or raising their homes to increase their resilience against future flooding events. This co-funded initiative is part of the disaster recovery efforts following the 2021-22 rainfall and flooding events in Queensland. Maiker Constructions is an approved Queensland Government Contractor for the Resilient Homes Fund. 


Resilient Homes Fund - Queensland 
Flooding in Brisbane - Brisbane City Council 


Raising a Character Home


The Brisbane City Council's city plan has pinpointed areas where character homes and commercial buildings built in 1946 or earlier should be preserved and not demolished. Rather than tearing down these character-rich homes, we're required to keep their distinctive aesthetic, and in some cases, infuse them with modern design elements. In such scenarios, raising a house emerges as an ideal choice in maintaining that aesthetic look. Work to a home identified by Brisbane City Council as a character home typically requires an approval from council (Development Approval) to ensure the design meets their expectation in maintaining the character of the local area. Maiker Constructions specialize in managing the development approval process with our consultant Architects and Home Designers. 


Heritage or Character Homes - Brisbane City Council


Should you life your home?


In cases where the local council's character home regulations don't mandate the preservation of the existing house, it becomes essential to evaluate if raising the house is a financially viable choice for your home renovation project, or if it would be more practical to demolish and rebuild from the ground up. This process necessitates a thorough assessment of the house to determine what parts can be integrated into the raised house structure, and which parts the homeowner wishes to refurbish or replace entirely.


It's common for homeowners to desire substantial alterations to the existing layout, such as relocating kitchens to lower levels to facilitate better integration with outdoor spaces or creating more open areas within the home. However, to curtail costs, architects or home designers often attempt to retain the room configuration of the existing house. This approach often leads to homeowners accommodating a layout that may not align perfectly with their preferences or requirements.


The expense associated with raising a house is contingent on various factors, including the slope of the land, accessibility, the size of the house, its positioning post-lifting, and particularly, the extent of demolition and waste disposal needed to prepare the house for lifting and future renovation. The cost of raising a standard home, inclusive of demolition, typically ranges from $40k to $70k. Often the cost to rebuild the existing building that is saved as part of a house raise is similar to the cost of demolition and rebuilding the home new, only the client has more flexibility with a new build.


Before embarking on the design stage, it's advisable for homeowners to consult with Maiker Constructions and arrange a site inspection to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of house raising and assess if this is a viable and cost-effective solution for their specific construction project. If you are interested in this, please complete the form in the article below. 


Could we be your perfect builder?


Process For Raising Your Home


Building Design and Approvals

Step 1: Building Design and Approvals


A house raise requires a building approval and in the case of character homes will likely require a development approval from the local council. The process for preparing documentation for the building and development approvals can be found in the article: 


Process for Designing a Home


Step 2: Locate the Proposed Home Position


The first step in the house raising process involves surveying the site and setting up profiles on-site based on surveying points to position the final location of the home once it has been raised and if required moved on the site. This ensures that home is positioned in accordance with the architect or building designers plans and meets the council and state site setback requirements.

Proposed Home Position


Pre Raise Demolition and Asbestos Removal

Step 3: Pre-Raise Demolition and Asbestos Removal


Asbestos, once widely used in home construction for its heat-resistant properties, may still be present in many older homes, particularly in materials like wall claddings, insulation, paint, and floor tiles. It's crucial to note that the mere presence of asbestos is not hazardous; the danger arises when these materials become damaged or disturbed, releasing harmful asbestos fibers into the air. Exposure to asbestos poses significant health risks, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, larynx and ovary cancers, as well as conditions like asbestosis which can cause progressive shortness of breath, inflammation, and scarring in the lungs. If asbestos is identified in the home, a specialist demolition company is engaged to remove any asbestos materials from the site.

This step also includes demolishing required building components such as internal walls, ceiling linings, and external walls, while retaining essential structural elements to support the existing structure. 


Step 4: Install Steel Beams


As part of the design process, the structural engineer will specify the use of steel beams, under the coordination of the Architect or Home Designer. These beams will be positioned beneath the existing house, providing support to the floor structure previously upheld by posts or piers. The installation of the steel beams also considers the proposed final home design, allowing for larger spans and accommodating the layout of the ground floor.

Install Steel Beams


Installation of Timber Styes and Removal of Supports

Step 5: Installation of Timber Styes and Removal of Supports


Jenga-like timber styes are positioned under the existing structure and newly installed steel beams, providing crucial support to the floor structure while the house is being elevated. These styes shoulder the weight of the entire structure during this process. After the styes have been installed, any existing posts, piers, and other elements that were previously supporting the building are disconnected and subsequently removed.


Step 6: Lift House with Hydraulic Jacks and add Styes


Numerous hydraulic jacks are positioned around the structure beneath the steel beams. Two teams utilize these jacks to elevate the existing house, simultaneously inserting additional timber styes under the newly lifted section to uphold the structure until the desired height of the home is reached.

Lift House with Hydraulic Jacks and add Styes



Step 7: Earthworks


After the house is elevated to the appropriate height, machinery specialized in earthworks clears and digs out the area under and around the house according to the levels proposed in the architectural plans. This process prepares the site for the installation of concrete footings and steel posts that will support the raised home. The steel posts are then positioned and concrete is poured to provide a sturdy base, which includes bracing for these steel posts.


Step 8: Lower the House onto New Posts and Remove Stye's


The hydraulic jacks gently lower the house onto the newly positioned steel posts, which are then welded to the steel beams that support the floor structure. After ensuring the structure is firmly secured, the hydraulic jacks are taken away, leaving the steel posts in place as the final support for the structure.

Lower the House onto New Posts and Remove Stye


Further Help and Questions


Should you require further details on House Raising or how it could be applicable to your home, feel free to reach out to us. You can request a callback by filling out the form below, or schedule a site visit from our construction team by completing the "Could we be your perfect Home Builder" questionnaire and submitting a site inspection request.


We're excited about the prospect of collaborating with you on your home renovation and house-raising project.


Best regards,

Maiker Constructions.