Don’t let the word second hand put you off. We are talking about perfectly usable recycled materials, that could spruce up your house design with some charm and still be kind to the environment.

Why choose recycled materials above new ones? Above all the reasons for that, the one thing that would matter the most to a homeowner is that recycled materials cost less. If you have a keen eye for second hand materials, here is what you need to know about how to use them in buildings.


How much Second Hand Material is there?

There is a reason why we are emphasising on using second hand materials. We waste a lot of materials even without putting them to any use. In Australia alone, each of use contributes to one and a half tonnes of waste every year. Imagine, how much it is around the whole world. Out of this, 40 per cent of the waste comes from construction and demolition.

If at least half of these materials could be recycled, it would contribute to a significantly less waste accumulation. It would also reduce the production of new materials, thus reducing energy consumption too. 80 per cent of the construction materials could be recycled to optimum use. These include timber, concrete, asphalt, bricks and other materials.


Where to find Second Hand Materials

There is a recycling centre in almost every part of Australia. Usch places will have access to recycled timber, roofing, joinery and other materials. These are far less expensive than new materials, and with little work, they could be as good as new. This extra work would not come to even a fraction of what you would spend on new products. Even without it, recycled materials can be used widely to add a vintage charm to the home design too.

If you are unable to find such places, you can ask the home builders Brisbane has to suggest some places. They would know where to find quality recycled materials.

Another way to get materials is to approach the demolition sites directly. You can come to an agreement with the owner and the builder to retrieve up the materials carefully and deliver to you. This will also ensure that they have taken extra care while demolishing and cause less damage to the materials. If done with the specific purpose of reusing again, even floor tiles could be retrieved intact to use it for another building.

You can also do a quick search on your own and even find materials for free. Landfill places would have perfectly good reusable materials, that has been thrown out.  Old bricks make an excellent feature for landscaping and pavements.


How to Use Second Hand Materials

Below are the ways in which recycled materials could be put to use.


  • Solid timber can be used to make doors and windows. All you have to do is sand them and paint it, It is better than any other material for its insulation and acoustical properties, plus it’s gorgeous.
  • Aluminium or timber could be used to make windows.
  • Timber that was previously used for structural frames could be used for indoor or outdoor furniture.
  • If you find metal roofing that is in good condition without any rust, that could be used for roofing again with some new paint.
  • Crushed asphalt and brick could be used for pavements, garden edging and driveways
  • Recycled timber could be used for countertops and cabinets
  • Glass bottled could be used as a design element to let in light.


It is not necessary to build an entire house from recycled objects. But it would be a good and conscious choice to do as little as you can, to help both your budget and the planet.

Design Elements and Second Hand Materials

Recycled materials are good construction materials. But they are even better as design elements in your house.

  • Second hand materials are often sought out by architects and designer for their aesthetic values too. Upcycling is another way of using second hand materials, especially as interior design features. You can request to you architect specifically to include such thoughtful ideas in the floor plans. Here are a few suggestions on how to use them.
  • Old cooking pots and tyres make for good pots the plants. Paint them in bold colours, and it adds flair to any space.
  • Plastic bottles are a great way to grow plants and use for a vertical garden.
  • Old guttering can be cut into lengths to make drainage holes and hold plants.
  • Old buckets with an extra coat of paint and a cushion could make for ottomans or cushions.

There are many things that are recyclable around the house. Take up a Do it Yourself project, and you can accentuate any old furniture hanging around and make it new. Using recycled materials is also becoming a popular method of home styling.

In fact, such unique furniture if bought outside would be even costlier than buying new furniture. Flea markets are no longer selling cheap items, but vintage furniture that is now considered a luxury.

Even old clothes are now being reused to make duvets, quilts and pillows that are becoming fashion statements. In construction, recycled materials have much greater use and methods of using them too.

People are starting to rethink the ideas of buying new things alone for a new house. Many architects and builders are specialised in modern house designs that integrate recycled materials well with the passive design.

Around the world, architects are encouraging such design models. Recycling materials are definitely the next step for construction that has to be taken more seriously before we deplete all our resources.

If you do not want to make major changes, start with small structures outside the house  Gazebos, patios could all get a revamp using recycled furniture and construction materials. Certain materials also become better with age, like properly treated wood. So you might even be getting a good deal.

For such construction projects, hiring the right builder is extremely important. Find the most suitable custom builders Brisbane for your project by contacting TrustCo.

House And Land Packages Brisbane

Cyclones are not that rare in Australia. The Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia, see the most in the country. The set building standards for cyclone prone regions were introduced only after 1895. Since there, there have been significantly fewer damages from this natural cause.

The cyclone prone territories in Australia encounter the Category C cyclones. This has a wind speed of up to 252 kilometres per house. Then there is the Category D of 317 kilometres per hours that hits the coastal areas of Western Australia.

Cyclones are often accompanied by heavy rainfall too. This causes flooding and storm surges resulting in large tidal movements in coastal regions. That is why every home needs to adhere to the rules and ensure that their houses are resistant to all elements that come with a cyclone.


How to Build a Cyclone Proof House

A cyclone proof house should be able to withstand the strength of water and wind right from its foundations. Here are a few things to consider

  • Foundation and footing of the house should be strong enough and set to the recommended depth to avoid collapse.
  • There should be measures taken to prevent moisture from entering a home like water- resilient exterior cladding and waterproof seals
  • The doors have to be reinforced with barrel bolts
  • The windows require shatterproof glasses along with shutters and mesh screens.
  • Sloped roof angled on all four sides withstand strong winds better, All roofing materials have to be screwed down, as nails could quickly come off during cyclones.
  • Guttering should be securely fastened to the house and roof
  • Add vents in the ceiling and roof to reduce wind pressure in case the doors or windows are affected.
  • Try removing trees with proximity to the house as they could fall on the roof and destroy the entire home.

Every regional council would have set up specific standards for the region depending on the strength of the cyclone to be expected. It is essential to follow them strictly to reduce the impact on the house. Without them, it not only poses a threat to the house but also to the safety of people inside. It is always better to expect higher winds and build homes strong enough. Regular maintenance is still necessary to make sure that the house is in shape for any unforeseen damage.


With damages, the maintenance costs could get extremely high, and if damages are in foundation or structure, it could drag its impacts for a long time.


Look out for Rust

Even if you have followed the standards, it is essential to check up on the house design features and reinforcements to make sure they are strong enough. Rush is one of the worst causes of damage from cyclones. If the roof coverings, bolts, fixing plates or any pat is showing signs of rust, they have to be treated immediately. Any material that is rusted is not strong enough to stand up to cyclonic winds, and the rain would fall right through the roof.


Loose Fixings

In the tropical climate of Australia, timber tends to expand and contract, It is a common phenomenon, but continuous expansion could lead to loose fixings making it more fragile. You have to ensure that the fixings are tight and add extra if required.


Timber Rot and Termite damage

Without proper treatment, any timber can rot. If used in structural frames or even in the decks, it could cause severe damage to the house. Termite infestation is another thing that affects the strength of the timber. Check regularly for both these damages and replace the affected timber.


How to Protect an Older House

Older houses might not be built precisely to the current standards of cyclone prone houses. So it is even more critical to take precautions to minimise the damage. The part of the house most affected would be the roof. A combination of high winds and torrential rain could prove to be extremely catastrophic and even partial damage to the roof could make the situation dangerous.


You might need to hire one of the master builders Brisbane has who are experienced with such aspects. They can check for the parts that need upgrade or reinforcement and bring it to the current standards. The following sections might require urgent inspection.

  • Roof sheets and connections
  • Roof frames, trusses and sheaths
  • Roof to wall connections
  • Floor  to foundation connections


Other points to keep in mind


  • The roof gables are the most vulnerable part of the house. Wider gables have lesser strength to withstand strong winds and are one of the first parts that would need reinforcement in forms of extra bracing and anchoring.


  • Doors and windows are the next most affected parts. You would have to replace older windows with shatterproof glasses and fix barrel bolts on doors.


  • The wider garage doors can also sustain damage and if attached to the house, extend the damage to the house too.


  • Separate smaller structures like patio roofs, gazebos and carports could easily be lifted off and carried to other properties causing further damage. Even solar panels, flashings, satellite dishes, antennas all pose the same threat. Ensure that these are also adequately reinforced.


  • Any leakage caused by cyclones also has to be attended quickly. The water could damage walls, floors and spoil the interior completely.


The first thing to do is to check with the local authorities in which zone you fall under and take the necessary steps to ensure that your home is safe. It would also be wise to hire one of the local builders Brisbane, to do regular checkings of the house to evaluate its condition. Cyclone proofing might cost you money, but that expense would be far less than the cost to cover damages if a cyclone hits.

If you are building a new home also, such matters have to be inspected regularly. The rules might also change frequently depending on the predictions, and the older your home gets, the system might also be outdated. Make it a point to check with the council about the latest ways to cyclone proof your house.

Start with finding the right licensed builder for the job. Contact TrustCo to reach out to the best in Brisbane.

Timber is found in buildings in every nook and corner of Australia. The country is blessed with dozens of indigenous species of wood. Many of the timber is suitable for construction. What is tricky is choosing the right one for your house. Not all wood is the same and best for every purpose.

Read more to find out about choosing the Australian Timber for a building.

How is Wood Graded

The food is first milled or sawn to flat and square before using for construction. In Australia, timbers are graded based on their suitability for different applications. The milled or sawn food are classified using the following gradings.


  • A visual inspection checks for visible and visual defects like long cracks or checking, visible knots and others.
  • Using a machine, the next level of grading is done to measure the stress level of the timber. This is to measure the ability of timber to withstand stress and is not a standard procedure followed everywhere.
  • Mechanical stress grading is the third way to check the elasticity of timber. A timber with good elasticity can handle stress better. It is used for softwoods and hardwood suitable for domestic timber construction.


Timbers are further classified based on how they are fit for specific purposes. It is separated into various classes, with each one suitable for distinct construction. Class One timbers are best for ground contact, and Class Four should only be used above ground level. These classes also have durability rates with Class One being the highest above 25 years and Class 4 the least. A few examples of the types are


  • Class One: Tallowwood, Blackbutt, Spotted Gum, Forest Red Gum, Ironbark
  • Class Two: Bluegum, Karri, Jarrah
  • Class Three: stringybark, Mountain ash,
  • Class Four: Oregon (Douglas Fir)


Using Australian Timber for Building

Though Australian timber could be used for structural components, it is rarely employed for structural frames in the country. Treated Structural pine is the most used for framings and easier to work with. Australian timber comes in beautiful colours and thus mostly used for exterior and interior elements including flooring, decking and furniture.


Here is a list of the popular timbers and their uses.


BlackButt – This is a Class One timber with colours ranging from blonde to honey brown. New South Wales and southern Queensland has a lot of New England Blackbutt trees and are primarily used for general construction. .A related species is also found in Western Australia and is used for general construction, flooring and panelling.


Mountain Ash – Commonly called the Tasmanian Oak or Victorian Ask, this timber is used for interior flooring and timber framing. The blonde timber is also an attractive option for doors and drawer front. It gowns in Tasmania and Victor and is the tallest species of timber in Australia.


Blue Gum – Comes in a variety of species including Forest Red Gum, Southern Blue Gum and Sydney Blue Gum, There are also variations in the colours with the first being red, second pale and the third a slightly darker shade respectively.  All three are used for flooring and furniture.


Brushbox –  Brushbox comes in many colours from greyish pink to dark brown. Sapwood grows in the rainforests of Queensland and New South Wales and is used as a flooring material.


Jarrah – Jarrah is one of the most demanded Australian timber. It is highly durable and has a beautiful range of colours from rich red to brown. If not treated, the tone could turn greyish that adds another layer of beauty. It is used for decking and a wide range of interior elements like flooring, handrails, furniture and even in joinery.


Karri – Karri was the most extensively used structural timber before treated pine took over. The colours range from pale pink to reddish brown. This coniferous softwood is mainly found in Queensland and is now used for furniture, woodturning and joinery.


Ironbark – Ironbark is a Class One timber and one of the best available for underground use. It is extremely dense and is not always utilised for house works for flooring and decking. The wood is most commonly used for railway sleeper, bridge construction etc. that require rot resistant and dense wood.

Spotted Gum – This name is used for four different timber species that comes in colours from green-tinged honey to brown with stunning purple streaks, The Class Two timber is used in general construction, flooring and decking. It is highly durable and bushfire resistant.


How to Choose Australian Timber

Like mentioned before, the timber in Australia is not widely used for structures. It is sought after for its appearance and durability. Residential builders Brisbane use these timbers commonly in landscaping elements like flooring, decking and benchtops. The timbers are also prominently used for furniture and interior design.


There are three things to consider while choosing Australian timber for your home design.


  • Aesthetics – The timber is admired for its beauty and vibrant colours. The grains and colour combinations are thus the most important part of the Australian timber. Choose something that works well with the new home designs and interior decor.
  • Durability – The timber has to have high durability especially if you are using it for outdoor purposes.
  • Bushfire rating- in Australi, this is a very valid consideration. Check with the standards to ensure that the timber has a strong bushfire resistance.


When it comes to interior applications, aesthetics are given more priority than the other two. While building a house, you can check with the designer home builders Brisbane to see which timber is best to work with. Certain woodworkers many prefer specific types of timber for the furniture and other elements.


Every timber would need occasional maintenance. Even if it is treated, it is just like having to polish furniture. When it comes to outdoor spaces, the decks would have to be refurbished, and the interior floorings would require sanding and polishing too. It is with certainty one can say that the Australian timbers are among the best in the world.


Are you looking for ideas to use timber in your new house,? TrustCo can help you to get in touch with the building designers and best builders in Brisbane TrustCo.

Most of the repair in the house could be put off for a while until you have figured out the money. But when it comes to the basic structure of the house, it wouldn’t always be in yours or the house’s best interest to wait up.

If you have found yourself in such a situation, this article would be useful to know about the foundation repairs and how much would it cost.


How to Check Whether you need a Foundation Repair

Problems in foundations happen more frequently than you might expect. Structures are usually involved and depending on the type of foundation and soil structure, the foundation might need reinforcements. There could be a shift in soil due to many natural factors like erosion. The levels of moisture, the replaces soil after construction could all contribute to the compression of soil.

The build’s structural integrity depends on its foundation. However, cleverly design the foundation is, nobody has a cent per cent hold on how weather could affect the soil. It does not necessarily mean the foundation work was bad; sometimes nature has a stronger hand.

These changes will show as cracks on walls on the brick houses. If it is a timber house, keep an eye out for following changes.

  • Windows might stick while trying to open and close
  • Doors will be difficult to open because it does fall into place with the frame
  • Interior walls might show a few cracks.


There might be many other reasons for such changes to appear. The best option would be to get the foundation and the structure checked out with even the slight indication. It is not advised to wait until the damages are obvious and the foundation sinks. The longer you take to fix the problem, the more extensive the damage would be.


Costs of Foundation Repair

There is no specific rate for foundation repairs; it is dependant on a variety of factors. For starters, if the foundation is difficult to access, that itself would create a problem. There are many ways to repair the foundation problems, without demolishing and starting from scratch. It would be best if you know what kind of foundation you have to explain it to the builder Brisbane has.

There are two common ways to reach the foundation; piering and slab jacking. Repairs that require massive equipment like hydraulic piers would cost you $10,000 and more. Minor cracks could be sorted out as less as $500. That is why it is essential to identify problems at the earliest.

Foundation problems could occur not only because of natural causes but also because of low maintenance. If the foundation already has some issue that is not immediately attended to, it could lead to irreparable damage. The house would no longer be safe to live in, and by the time you realize that you need repairs, it might be too late already. The sooner you acknowledge the problem; the cost could also be controlled.

Structural Reports

If you notice any foundation issues, the first thing to do would be to hire a professional to check on the building. An experienced structural engineer would be the best person to approach. Make sure it is not the engineer you worked with to get an unbiased report of the problems and the best possible solution.

This would be better than talking to the home builders Brisbane you already hired for the job. After you get the report, you can approach the repair professional with your structural report to get the work done.

You can also go to the repair team in the beginning, but this would usually require for the repair team to hire a professional for which you will end up paying anyway,

Read here of the most commonly used methods to address foundation problems.



Piering or piling involves the technique of driving steel pipe pilings to repair the damage. It is positioned under the foundation, and the foundation is raised using hydraulic lifts to the correct position. Iy would require multiple piers depending on the extent of the damage.

This method is one of the most expensive approaches due to the excavation and the tools. But it provides a permanent solution that would not be affected by changes in the soil or the building structure.  


On average, the piering costs could be broke down as follows.

  • $300-$1,500  for the Structural engineer and report
  • $500-$3,000 for  Ground assessment
  • $1,000-$2,500 to prepare the ground
  • $1,340 per pier typically 8-10 piers are required for an average home.


Slab Jacking

Slab jacking involves lifting the foundation back to its place by using a slab made of grout mix and jacking it up. It is not suitable for all types of foundation damage, especially with changes in buildings structure and surrounding earth. For every drill hole. Approximately $150 is required.



This is the process of laying a foundation under the old one to reinforce it further. It could cost $100,000 or more, again depending on the condition of the existing foundation. Underpinning today has many techniques that are not that expensive. If the problem is minor, you can use a Concreter to repair the foundation. There is also the method of interjecting resin to the soil to stabilise it.


Hiring the Repair team

Just like hiring new house builders Brisbane, for repairs also, it is best to look at more than one quote before choosing the team. Request for quotes from the best home builders Brisbane based on the structural report itself.


Different builders would also have different approaches, and you can go for the best one for your house and budget. It is necessary that even for foundation repairs, that the builders have prior experiences and valid insurances. Based on the expense of the damage, you might also need some repairs done on the exterior walls like filling the cracks.

If you are unsure about where to find an expert team for foundation repairs, contact TrustCo. We can provide you with the best Brisbane builders list for you to start with.

It is a common known fact that sloping blocks have a way of draining your money out. As exceptional as the views might be, you still need to be extra cautious while proceeding with a sloped land.


So how much more would a sloped land construction cost you? There are many a factor to consider before taking up a property with a contour for your building. Here are a few upsides and downsides for you to consider.


Sloping Blocks vs Flat Blocks

So why do sloping blocks cost more?


  • Design – Sloping blocks need an expert design to use the contour to the advantage. Without a proper house design to reflect on the merits of a sloping block, the point of spending extra on the land is lost. It would also require strong structural backup, hence needing an engineer to design the same.
  • Access – Sloping blocks might be comparatively tricky to access. Even within the plot itself, moving the materials require more effort than a flat block.
  • Foundation – Along the lines of the structure of the building, the foundation is another aspect that needs extra care when it comes to slopes.
  • Excavation – depending on the foundation, and the layout of the land, site alterations including excavation and cut and fill would be necessary.
  • Landscaping – landscaping not only pertains to beautifying the garden. Sloping blocks would require additional landscaping work like a retaining wall. There are also a few other factors to consider like drainage and erosion.


Upsides of a Sloping Block

It is not all uphill on a sloping block. There are many advantages to building on a sloping block. The foremost reason why the sloping block is favoured would definitely be the unobstructed views.


Along the views comes the abundant natural light and ventilation. With thoughtful design, all these features could be used to benefit the building in many ways. Passive design elements could be integrated using the right building elements and flow in the floor plan. Sloping b  house designs Brisbane, being in a tropical climate could go for timber homes as they use less energy for air conditioning.


The sloping block is also an excellent investment opportunity. While the cost of the building might be higher, since there are only a fraction that is available with panoramic views, it could get you high returns. Many people are looking to buy downward sloping b  house designs and renovate it later to their needs.


Most Important aspects

Above all, in any house, the most important concern is safety. Every home is built for a long term plan in mind, even if you sell it to someone. Thus there should be no compromise in the quality of the structure.

The quality of design in the sloping block is the prominent feature. House on sloping blocks is generally considered on the side of luxury. The more stylish the homes are, the more demand it would have.


At the same time, it is also necessary to build according to the taste of local demographics.

Quality of construction is even more critical due to the risks that the layout of the sloping blocks entails.


How to Design for Sloping Blocks

It would be in your best interest to hire an architect to do the house design. They are more qualified to take up larger complex jobs. Ensure that the architect has experience dealing with such blocks.


Building designers are also a good choice. But if it is a large development, it is essential that you go for the most experienced person who knows what specifically the site and the homeowner require.


Getting Approvals for Sloping Blocks

Once the design is finalised, the requires drawings have to be submitted to the local council for approval. You would have to lodge a Development Application (DA) or Construction Certificate depending on the project.

The process and processing time of approvals differs from one council to another. To ensure that it does not take long, all the documents have to thorough and all necessary information supplied at the time of initial submission itself.


Costs of Building on a Sloping Block

For a standard building on a flat plot, the costing could be split into

  • 50 per cent for materials
  • 35 per cent for labour
  • 15% per cent council fees and permits


It also changes the on the type of construction materials. Generally, the cost would fall somewhere between $1200 to!700 per square meter for a house with a single storey. For a multistorey, it could rise to $3000 per square meter.


If the building is not a sloping block, you should be prepared to add 20% of the budget up to one meter of the slope. Bove that it could increase even more. At the least, it would add another $50,000 or above.


Requesting Quotes from the builder

For sloping blocks, the experience is the key factor. There are builders specialised on working with sloping blocks and whose expertise would be a strong point. Request quotes from sloping block buildersBrisbane, who can anticipate potential problems and match the costs right from the beginning.

The builder will have to access the site first before quoting the costs. This way, you could avoid variations caused by the site conditions that will cost you extra.


Hiring the Builder

After receiving the quotes, check for the following aspects before choosing the builder.


  • Is the builder thorough with the site conditions and requirements mentioned in the tender
  • Does the builder hold valid insurance and give proof of the same
  • Prior experience in working with sloping blocks
  • Value of the costing
  • Construction schedule
  • About the references mentioned that you could follow up.


Once you have discussed all these factors with your architect, it is necessary to enter into a signed agreement with the contractor. The contract should explicitly mention


  • Detailed scope of works
  • The timeframe for the work to be completed
  • The total price of the contract
  • Scope for variations
  • Schedule of payments


The agreement has to comply with all the legal requirements before you start with the construction.


Find out about the best builders in Brisbane suitable for sloping blocks by contacting TrustCo.

Even before planning to build your own house, the first question you want to ask yourself is how much you can afford to spend. The extent of your requirements and the team you hire would all depend on this significant factor.


Estimating the cost would give you an approximate idea of how to proceed during the build. The costing depends on a myriad of factors when it comes to construction. Let us take a look here are different scenarios.


Cost Estimation of a New Home

While considering to build a new home, the first thought should be given to the property. With the current market values in Australia, the land prices are much higher than what the construction of a new building would cost. But this, of course, would depend on what you are building.


Different states and cities in Australia have significant differences in construction and land prices. It could vary from, $233 per square meter in Hobart to $933 in Sydney. On average, the cost of a new build falls between, $1100 to $1500 per square meter. There are also other factors that affect this price such as

  • The quote put forward by the builder
  • The location of the site
  • The area of the floor plan
  • The quality of construction materials.
  • Conditions of the site.


This price per square meter is excluding the services fees of the architect or the designer, or any other factors outside the construction. It does not include the costs of getting building permits, approvals, and the other necessary elements like insurance. If the site has a slope, it would add an additional 10% or 20% more to the cost. Below are the average cost estimates per square meter from a different area in Australia.

  • Brisbane – Between $1700 to $3400
  • Adelaide: $1550 to $3400
  • Melbourne: $1365 to $2700
  • Sydney: $1550 to $4350
  • Perth: $1420 to $2263
  • Canberra: $1530 to $2500


These are above the national average since they are popular cities. Small towns will have a much lower rate.


The quality of the construction materials used is another prominent deciding factor. Whatever the budget is, the new home Builders Brisbane have to comply with the standards and regulations set by the building councils.


There are many new trends coming up that has a significant reduction in costs. Prefabricated or modular houses are one such category. Any direction you go, ensure that the architect and the house builders Brisbane are aware of your budget.


Cost Estimation of Home Additions and Renovations

Home renovations and additions tend to cost more than building a new house. One main reason for this is that the remodelling and additions include a part to restructuring the existing home and then work on it as a new one. There are also chances that there would be complication along the way. New home construction also takes lesser time than additions, depending on the extent of it.


If you take a room extension, say for 10-meter square area, according to the current rate it would cost you

  • $57,000 to $68,000 if it is  a budget room
  • $119,000 to $143,000 for a luxury room and
  • $82,000 to $98,000 for a room with ensuite bathroom.


Typical home extensions have much larger areas than 10 m2, and the cost of that could get only higher. If there are more parts included in the renovation or addition, it could affect the costing too. Here are a few scenarios to bear in mind.

  • Bathrooms cost more for additions
  • Kitchen extensions are costlier than bedrooms
  • Demolitions are expensive
  • If the parts of the building are difficult to access, the costs would be higher.
  • Depends on site conditions
  • Type of fixtures and fittings ranging from budget, standard or luxury.


Along with this, a home addition would also include the other charges that come along with new home constructions like the council fees, architects fees, and cost blowouts. If you are looking to have a cheaper alternative, experienced builders could help you with that.


A licensed builder who has plenty of experience working with different house designs Brisbane has would be able to offer expertise on how to proceed with an addition. This could make you consider to avoid hiring an architect but a drafter who can help draw the relevant floor plans alone.


A builder might be capable of creating their own drawings, but you will need the proper set of drawing to get the required council permissions. Unless it is a complicated situation that demands the supervision of an architect, this is a good way to approach it.


Another way to reduce home addition costs is by working on a structure already existent on the property and remodelling it to suit your needs. If you are hoping to add a guest room or workspace, even a shed or the garage could be transformed into any space and integrated well into the existing house. Remodelling smaller structures cost much less than additions and extensions.


Granny flats and sheds also open opportunities to gain additional rental income. In a city, this space could be considered big enough to be a studio apartment itself. For smaller spaces also, modular designs are kits also available. You can further customise it to suit your needs, but the expenses of it would be minimal compared to adding a new structure itself.


Conclusively, the costing depends entirely on what kind of house you want to build and where you want to build it. Even with the average construction costs across the country, it is the minor details that would add more expenses.


The costing could also depend on the type of builder and the quality of work. There could be a notable difference between the costing done by multiple builders. It is hence crucial to compare each quote and figure why the difference.


Low costing does not always provides the best value. Clear any clarification regarding the estimates before you hire the builder.


Start by finding the best builders Brisbane has. Reach out to Trustco, and we are more than happy to help you find them.

When it comes to houses, many among us think the bigger, the better House is considered a direct representation of a person’s wealth in our society. It is hence understandable, the obsession we have for bigger houses.

But such demand, however, has not resulted in any decrease in construction cost. In fact, the prices of real estate and construction have only been spiking up.  If you require a home addition done to meet your family’s needs or even as an upgrade to your home, here is a small guide on how to approach it.


How to Plan for Home Addition

The first step on the checklist of planning for a home addition is to decide what the requirements are. You have to be clear about the needs yourself before you approach any architect or designer about it.

An initial assessment of the state of the building by the designer or one of the Brisbane builders is necessary to evaluate how the addition can be planned. It is essential to know whether the structure can withstand more load or whether you would need to add further reinforcement.

It is only after that the architect can proceed with the plans for the addition. Depending on that, you can request quotes from home builders Brisbane and hire one. It is always recommended to hire an architect because they can offer you solutions and creative ideas that might not be obvious to others.


Getting the Building Approvals

Another important part to consider for home additions are the approvals from the local council. It is also essential that you check with the council even before planning to see whether there are any rules and regulation in place that restricts any development.

Depending on these rules you might need either a Development Application or a Construction Certificate. To get both of these, you would need to submit a set of documents as required by the council that would include a set of drawings by the architect, evaluation by external agencies.

The process of approvals varies from council to council and region to region. The processing time also ranges from 30 to 100 days. The lack of any documents could delay the process further.


Building Contracts

Before you officially hire anyone, it is essential to sign a contract with them. It protects you by law and the interests of all the parties. With the contracts itself, there are a few sorts.

Standard Contract

Standard contract kit is available to buy from organisations like the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and the Master Builders Association (MBA). These contracts are best for small scale project that usually has fewer individual requirements. Avoid this for more extensive scale, expensive and complicated construction works.

Fixed or Lump Sum Contracts

This is the most commonly used type of contracts. This will have the final cost of the project as agreed by both the parties upfront in the agreement. There would also be provisions for variations and contingency.

Cost plus Contracts

Cost Plus contracts do not put any limit of the budget, and the builder will include the profit margin above the cost of materials. For this kind of contract, you have to be prepared to have flexibility about the budget and construction unless specified otherwise.


Preparing the Budget for Home Additions

Costing of the budget is measured by a lot of factors. It not only includes the design considerations but also the existing condition of the home.

  • You can get an approximate value by
  • Calculating the additional area that will be added to the house.
  • Finding the average construction cost per square meter for home addition works
  • Multiply the price per square meter to the area, and you will have an approximate cost to expect.
  • Add the usual amount for labour custom council approvals, extra material charges if you have any specific materials in mind.
  • Add a contingency plan of 25 to 25% extra to the budget to give you some extra room.

Before hiring an architect, you need to know for yourself, how much you can afford to spend on the home addition. It is only based on these that the architect can work out the requirements and the extent of the addition.

Calculating Building Costs

For a major job like home addition, here are a few more ways to break down the costs.

  • 50% of total costs for materials
  • 35% for building approvals
  • 15% for labour costs

In addition to this, if you are hiring an architect or designer, their fees would also include, If you are hiring a broker to get a mortgage loan, count that too in.

Calculating the costing by yourself will only give you an approximate amount. You would need a cost estimation from the builder or a third party to provide an accurate amount. It would be wise to request quotes from more than one builder to see which costs offer the best value. Furthermore, you can hire a costing specialist to check on the quotes and advise you on how to proceed.


While Hiring a Builder

After sending out the tender, you will receive the cost estimates from builders. But don’t hire house builders Brisbane offers, just based on their costs.

  • Take a look into the following things while you hire a builder for a home addition.
  • Whether the builder has the required certifications and licenses
  • Do the builder hold valid insurance for the type of construction
  • Does the builder have prior experience in home additions
  • How the costing has been done
  • What is the proposed completion date of construction
  • Check for previous client testimonials and references

It is only after checking each point carefully that the builder should be given the job. You can even weight in your own personal preferences while forming your team. Home additions might be done while the family is still residing in the house. This means that the builder you hire has to be trustworthy too.

You can start making a plan for home additions by talking to TrustCo about the best building designers, and the best builders Brisbane has who can offer their services for you.

Embodied energy in building refers to the energy that is consumed during the process of building construction. It includes the energy required to extracting, processing, manufacturing and delivering of the products to the construction site.


Why is Embodied Energy Important?

Embodied energy gives an approximate indication of the environmental impact of the materials used. Many materials have a maximum effect on their surroundings in the initial stages. This energy could constitute 20% of the building energy consumption. Reducing this energy will further the overall environmental impact of the building.


This energy is considered over the lifespan if the building and at times, a  material with a higher embodied energy might have lower operational energy. To increase the energy efficiency of the buildings, thus embodied energy is of utmost importance.


How to Measure Embodied Energy?

Embodies energy is measured as the quantity of non-renewable energy per unit f the material. It is expressed in kilojoules or megajoules per unit weight or area. The process of calculating this is complex and could be done only be knowledgeable professionals.


Usually, the materials with higher embodied energy are considered to have a high impact on the environment and the lower embodied energy materials the lower. But it is also necessary to take into account the course of the energy throughout the span of the building.

  • Low embodied energy building materials
  • Here are a few common characteristics of materials with low embodied energy.
  • Recycled materials have low embodied energy than new materials
  • The durability of materials reduces embodied energy over time
  • Easily separable materials use less energy
  • Local materials require less transportation energy thus reducing the embodied energy
  • Renewable energy resources use up less embodied energy.
  • Reducing wastage of materials
  • Using standard sizes instead of custom designs


The embodied energy can considerably be reduced by making the processes of extraction and manufacturing more efficient. Even aspects like the mode of transportation, the fuels used, the travel distance will all play a big part in the calculation of embodied energy.


Embodied Energy of Construction Materials

Many of the common materials used in construction have higher energy. The more process materials require the more energy it consumes. To generalise, materials like wood, soil and stabilised earth has much lower energy compared to materials like ALuminium, acrylic paint and PVC.


Check the official website of the Australian Government to know more about the embodied energy of different construction materials.


How to Reduce Embodied Energy

There are many ways to reduce the embodied energy consumption of the building. It is essential to look at it in the long term and not just during the time of construction. For instance

  • In a hot climate, lightweight materials use less energy
  • For places with extreme summer and winter conditions, a highly insulated home would consume less embodied energy
  • Use of passive energy resources will reduce energy consumption.
  • Placing windows that allow winter sun and block summer sun.
  • Cross ventilation across rooms
  • Insulation to reduce energy consumption.


If the house is poorly insulated, even if the construction materials have low embodied energy, the house design will demand more energy use. So optimising the home for energy efficiency has to work hand in hand with the use of proper materials.


Over time, highly durable material can reduce the amount of embodied energy used in the course of the building. If energy efficiency is a serious concern for you, consider the following factors.


Size of the House

We tend to buy bigger houses that we actually require due to many reasons. Whatever the house size may imply, and even if you can afford to maintain it, it would still have a huge impact on the surroundings. Energy consumed for lighting, heating, cooling and appliances constitutes humongous energy that’s disposed of. Build a house that is right for your family, rather than building one that is vast just for impressing society.


Use of Alternate and Recycled Construction materials

Alternative materials have very less energy. For example, stabilised earth uses the energy of only 0.7 megajoules per square meter. So construction materials made from this earth like mud bricks and blocks offer low energy and provide excellent insulation. Aluminium and PVC have higher energy, but it requires less maintenance over the years.


Use of recycled materials is also encouraged for construction. You can source them from recycling centres that sell timber, recycled parts from buildings like windows, door frames, bricks, tiles, polyester and even furniture. Such materials can also be used as many interior elements including countertops for the kitchen. Recycled materials are also less expensive and require little to no processing to bring them back to excellent condition. Local builders Brisbane can help you find recycling centres that have the reputation of selling quality materials.


Reduce Waste during Construction

Waste of materials during construction is not uncommon. There might be an excess of materials or the remains of what that has been used. Paint cans can stay for a longer time, but don’t buy extra just for the sake of precaution.


There should also be measures taken to use building waste. Broken bricks could be used for paving, landscaping, garden edging and as a strong base for pouring concrete. Even concrete debris could be chipped down and used for flooring with a binding material.


Recycled materials use 95% less energy than new products. Especially materials like aluminium, plastic and glass used when recycled will reduce the impact on the environment, reducing its embodied energy to less 10 % of its energy as new material.  Many brands are focusing on using such materials for furnishing also. That would be a good way to approach energy efficiency in your home.


Remember that the energy for the same material in one location and another would be totally different. It would depend on a large extent on how the material is transported from its source. While choosing to build an energy efficient building, it is relevant to discuss with the designer home builders Brisbane and architect so that the house design and construction could be chosen expertly.

Find house builders Brisbane who have expertise with energy efficient buildings by contacting Trustco.

Every construction comes with its own set of requirements. It would take specialised professionals to undertake jobs that cater to their specific fields. For taking as massive as building your house, you do want to pick the right construction team.


A home addition or extension might be even more complicated than a new build. Though both fall under the category of renovation, it is still a tough question on which way to go especially when you are not sure of the difference.


Difference between Home Addition and Extension

Home addition in builders’ terms means that you are enlarging an existing room. A home extension, on the other hand, means the addition of another room. Either way, both of these approaches will require knowing down a few walls and adding some extra space.


It would depend on the size of the extension and the methods to see if the renovations might disrupt the inhabitants of the house. If there is a way to seal off an area, while the other essential usable spaces are unaffected, then both the options offer the residents not to require having to stay elsewhere.


Additions and extensions usually mean that you are adding a space that is not already in the footprint of the house. So in most scenarios, it would involve working with the exterior part without disturbing the rest of the building.  


Another approach is to add another floor to the house. Now, this would inevitably mean that a part of the roof would be affected unless the stairs come as a part of the addition. Ensure that the roof is covered at all times so it will not damage the interior particularly if the family is staying there.


Custom house builders Brisbane has, always try to make the construction process as smooth as possible, without disrupting the family. But if there is a member who is allergic to dust from debris, even with the sealing off, it might be better for a temporary relocation.


Choosing the Builder for Home Addition and Extension

Not every builder is equipped to deal with the requirements of home additions and extensions. It is complicated than a new build and would require more expertise. Look for the following things in the local builders Brisbane while choosing for this particular work.


  • Licensed Builder – Hire only builders who can show a valid license for the course of conduction. It proves that they are competent and has insurance in case any mishaps or accidents happen.
  • Renovation builders Brisbane–   Home extension builders Brisbane you hire have to be specialised in home additions and extensions. They will have knowledge and experience about how to tackle problems in such constructions by reducing the maximum impact. They will also get the work done as quickly as possible.
  • Builders Warranty Insurance – It is essential that the builder is ready to take out the warranty insurance and offer you the certificate. Check whether the insurance covers construction, materials and workmanship.
  • Check the track Record – before hiring any builder, talk to their previous clients and find out how the builders work still stands. Even with the portfolio of the builder, it would be wise to get direct testimonials of earlier clients; a trustworthy home builder will not hesitate to give you references.
  • Compatibility with the Builder – How you can work around the builder is a crucial factor. You will need the help of the builder to get the approvals and permissions from the council. If you are hiring an architect or designer to plan for the addition, make sure that all members of the team can work well with each other and communicate effectively.


Costs of Home Extensions

The cost would be the deciding factor for many builds. It is essential to have a budget and plan the construction around it. Here is a rough calculation based on the current market to give you an idea.

  • Approximately $1350 per square meter for single storey extensions
  • Approximately $2100 per square meter for double storey extensions
  • Between $1500 and $2500 per square meter for loft and space conversions.


The costing would depend entirely on the requirements. You can even convert spaces that you use less like the basement, cellar or the garage. A garage conversion might cost lesser than the basement or cellar due to the difficulty in access and the process.


Another point to acknowledge is that the less used spaces like these would require services by the electrician or a plumber, making the conversions more expensive.


Whether to Extend Home or Move

There might be many reasons that you choose for a home extension. To start, you are happy with the location and amenities and the existing House. There might only be very minimal changes required for you to upgrade the home. It might be difficult to uproot to another place and start over. If you have been consistent with the mortgage payments, it would also be easy to find another loan for a home extension.


If you think the move would be better for your family, compare the cost of both. A complete move would be expensive than a home extension. There might be many approaches to renovating your house for your needs that might not be obvious to you. That is why it is relevant to know your options before making a decision. For this, you have to consult with an architect or builder.


Something as simple as garage conversion or extending to the yard could provide possible solutions for your current problems. The most important thing is to find the right builder for any construction. An inexperienced builder might not even be capable of resolving the unforeseen issue that comes with renovations.


The right builder can help you through the council process, and give advice on lending money. Many extensions could be done in stages too. More than the creative knowledge e of the designer, it would be the practical knowledge of the builder that would come to your aid for a home extension.

Contact Trustco and we can help you to find an expert among builders Brisbane to consult for a home extension.

The initial concept of any house design is first developed as a basic single line floor plan. It is from that drawing that the design further evolves into detailed drawings, sections, space visualizations, and 3D renders.


One can say that floor plans are the base on which the entire building rises on. So unlike most of the other design diagrams, as a homeowner, you are going to see a lot of house plans. It is for the very same reasons that you should be able to understand the basis of the plan, how to read it and grasp its essence.


What are the Floor plans?

A floor plan represents how the inside of the house would look from the top view. It is a cross-section, cut horizontally 3 or 4 meters above the floor level, showing the basic layout, and openings of the house.


Each floor of the house will have its own floor plan. There would also be detailed plans for interiors, flooring layouts, and other required specifications.


What is Represented on a Floor Plan?

In a simple house plan of a single floor, there are walls, windows, doors, and the furniture layout drafted in detail. It will also show in hidden dashed lines, any roof patterns of sloped roofs or any part that is above the 4 feet section line level. To an inexperienced eye, it might still look like a lot is going on on the paper. Floor plans are always drafted to scale, so every element will be to scale.


Here are a few points explaining the most important features you see on a floor plan and how to decipher it.



  • Walls – The most critical part of both the house and the floor plan, the wall are depicted by double lines. The outer walls are thicker, and the inner walls are thinner depending on the material.



  • Doors – Doors depicted in the floor plans not only show its position but also in which direction the door swing is. There are different representations for different types of doors like the swing door, sliding door, etc.



  • Windows- Similar to doors, windows are also shown in the floor plans. However, there are many types of windows, and each cannot be presented uniquely in the plans. So there would be a common block for windows with a callout for detailed diagrams. The joinery drawings will further show in detail the specifications of doors and windows.



  • Floors- Floors are depicted with the general pattern in the floor plans. There would be another flooring pattern floor for each room, showing how the tiles should be laid out and in what designs.



  • Stairs- Stairs that are seen within the height from the floor level where the section is cut are shown in solid lines. The steps above are represented with dotted lines. An arrow will point in which direction, the stairs are leading and the turn direction, whether clockwise or anticlockwise. The stair is another feature that requires further callout to detail its rise and tread dimensions, specifications, the design of handrails and balustrades.



  • Furniture and Fittings- Standard furniture layouts are also shown in floor plans to get a feel of the space. For rooms like the kitchen and bathroom, a plan will also show where the fixtures are placed like the sinks, stove, etc.

Every aspect shown in the floor plan will have another detailed drawing that is on a bigger scale for the builder’s benefits. There are many details and representations that the craftsmen understand like what thick lines and thin lines represent, what a dotted line means and such minute details that in construction could make a big difference.


Symbols and Figures on Floor Plan

Every floor plan uses a set of universal symbols that are understood by the building team all over the world. Every single line on the floor plan means something; there would be no unnecessary dots or arrows without it having a further meaning or direction. That is why it is highly imperative to ensure that the floor plans are done without any error.


The builders are supposed to follow the floor plans to the T. If the builder is not experienced, they might not be able to pick up minor errors and come to a judgment on their own. So if the plan has any mistakes, it could lead to severe damages in construction.


The floor plans are supposed to comply with the set of standards laid out in the Australian Standard AS 1100 in its part 301 of Architectural drawing. Every drawing will follow the same rules so every member of the team can read the plans.


Drawing Layouts

Apart from the floor plan itself, an architectural drawing will have a few more components as listed below.


The Title Block

Title block usually shows the project and the plan in a glimpse. It will include details of the client, the location of the project, the architect’s name, the name of the draughtsman, the title of the drawing, the date it was drawn and the dates of the revisions made.


The title block will also show the floor area, the footprint and the carpet area of the building. It is also essential to note in which unit the measurements have been calculated, as, on the plan, only the digits would be marked.


Scale and Orientation

Every floor plan will have a north point marked for the reader to understand the orientation of the site and the orientation of the building on the site. It is a common practice to have all the set of drawings to be oriented the same to avoid any confusion. There would also be a written ratio of the scale and a visual indication of it.


Cross References

Many floor plans will require additional drawings to detail out specific sections of the house. Not every construction detail could be represented by floor plan alone. That is where the diagrams like sections and elevations become useful.


So the plans will also have cross reference symbols to show which drawing to refer for details of the particular part.


The best Brisbane builders can make the whole process of construction a little easier for you. Find yours on Trustco to embark on the journey of building your dream house.