Tips in finding the right contractor for house raising and restumping from articles by Black & White home lifting service in Brisbane, Sunshine and Gold Coasts.

building under contruction

Concrete Beams vs Steel Beams: Which One Will Work For You?

Building materials have come a long way over the past century, with new innovations that combine ingredients to produce super strong hybrid materials for use in building. The jury is still out on whether steel or concrete beams are best, so instead we will look at the different properties of each in terms of safety, cost, availability and environmental impact, and from there you can decide which you feel would suit your unique circumstances.

Safety Advantages

Concrete – It is believed that concrete is safer in terms of fire risk, as it does not require any extra fire proofing, and its weight, mass and strength enables it to perform well in both man-made and natural disaster situations. It has also been shown to have increased ductility (ability for deform rather than break, in response to stress), which makes it useful in areas of seismic activity, although this could be largely due to structural design rather than the material itself.

Steel – While steel can tend to soften and melt under extremely high temperatures, with the addition of fire proofing measures this material can really withstand greater temperatures and provide additional safety. This material also performs extremely well under high wind forces (with adequate engineering and design) because of its ductility.

Cost and Availability

Concrete – The price of concrete (with reinforced steel) beams can be quite costly in the short term, however, in the long term, their strength and longevity appears to give them an advantage over other materials. Availability is usually affected by where the materials are being sourced from and the demand and supply routes for the material.

Steel – Recent times have seen a rise in cost of most building materials and reinforced concrete beams appear to have risen in price equally to the hike in steel prices. While there is some debate about the availability of steel, due to a dramatic rise in construction in some Asian countries, it is believed that there is no shortage of steel, so it should not be too difficult to source if you are willing to invest in a long-term solution for your building project.

Environmental Impacts

Concrete – When considering the impact of freight miles, concrete is a material that is usually locally sourced and as such requires only a small amount of energy to transport it. In terms of its reusability, concrete that is no longer used can be crushed and recycled, although the recycled material that it is reinforced with, cannot usually be recycled.

Steel – Around 85% of steel is recycled, which is an advantage in some ways, although the steel fabrication is usually done at a great distance to building sites which could affect its travel miles. Depending on where you live, the distance to deliver the steel materials may add greater miles to the journey your steel beams will travel to reach your building project.

man in construction site talking into a walkie talkie

The Value of Experienced House Raising and Restumping Companies

Comparing an experienced house raising company to a new one is really a bit like comparing chalk and cheese. The expectation is very different as both are bringing different attributes to the job.

You may have heard the story about the large container ship that would not start. The company called in many different engineers, some of whom were the best in the world and nobody could get the engine to start. Eventually they called in a very old man, who had worked on ships his whole life. The first thing he did was look over the ship from top to bottom. Then he took a small hammer and gently hit the engine in one particular spot and the engines roared into life. He sent them a bill for $10,000. When they asked for the bill to be itemised he sent a reply which said: ‘1. Tapping with a hammer $2 and 2. Knowing where to tap ‘$9998’.

When Albert Einstein said that ‘the only source of knowledge is experience’, he summed up in those seven words exactly why choosing an experienced house raising company is going to be your best choice over a new and inexperienced company. But let us break it down in even more detail by looking at a couple of different aspects of it.

Experienced Staff

When choosing a company to do your house raising work for you, you are basically choosing a group of people to become a part of your life for a period of time. The process of house raising can take some time, and as such, these people will become a part of the family. It is in your best interest to choose credible people who are going to be trustworthy. An established company will have this on their side, with staff that they have worked with over a period of time, that they will be able to guarantee are going to do the right thing by their colleagues as well as you, the customer. A new company does not have this track record on its side, which means that there could be a risk involved in the people who are brought on the scene.

Equipment and Site Management

It is true that a newer company would likely have newer equipment, which may be more attractive than an older company that would generally have older equipment. But which company would have a better idea about how to use that equipment? The experienced company would know the best way to use the apparatus based on the terrain that it is being used in, because they would likely have experienced many different scenarios that the newer company may not have done.

As far as site management goes, the newer company may not have the most effective management protocols in place. However, a more established company would have already spent years troubleshooting and working out exactly the best way to go about doing the work and managing all aspects of the renovation.

A well-established company such as Black & White Houseraising & Restumping have the years of experience that ensure the quality of their work as well as countless different types of jobs under their belt, which would assist them in the quoting and advising stages of the process.

Adhere To The Laws Or Else: House Restumping And Raising Laws, And Their Purpose

It seems that there are so many different policies and laws around everything we do, that at times it makes us wonder if they are just there to create revenue for the government. However, when it comes to house raising and restumping the laws are there for one purpose – to protect you. For a house raising and restumping company, knowing and adhering to these laws is not just about keeping their license; it could be a matter of life and death, so we take them very seriously. If you employ the services of a company that does not follow the laws, you may be opening yourself up to litigation so it is important to choose a reputable contractor such as Black & White Houseraising & Restumping.

Why Is Licensing So Important for Safety?

When it comes to raising or restumping a house a lot can go wrong. For a business to get a license it means that they have demonstrated that they have completed the safety training to carry out the work that they are doing. You would not want to put the wellbeing of your family in the hands of some cowboy who does not have the experience, expertise and knowledge needed to not just do the work, but to do it as safely as possible. For this reason, ensure that you choose a company that has the required licences and are legally able to do the work that is needed.

Protection for Your Home

Another important issue with using a company that does not have the required licensing or does not adhere to the relevant industry laws is that it could impact your home directly. Work that is not carried out by a qualified expert could be deemed unsafe or unlawful, which may lead to it needing to be demolished under law. In this worst-case scenario, the local council may come and force you to vacate your home while it is being rebuilt, which would leave you out of your home, and out of pocket. Adhering to the safety and other laws is not just protection for you personally, but for others who may be visiting your home and/or working on your premises.

Peace of Mind

Imagine if you went to a restaurant and there was no chef, but instead it was someone pretending to know how to cook. There are many different factors that could even cause you physical harm. For a start, you may not know if the plates and cutlery have been cleaned appropriately, and the food may be past its use-by-date. Also, the flavour may not be pleasing to you. As you can imagine, there are lots of factors that need to be taken into consideration with any work that is carried out, and when it comes to house raising and restumping this is even more important than in the restaurant scenario. Employing a licensed, experienced and lawful company to do the work ensures professional workmanship, which provides peace of mind for you both while the work is being done, and into the future.

construction workey wearing yellow polo shirt and green safety helmet

Four Safety Rules On A House Lifting Site

When you think about the task of lifting a very heavy structure off its foundations, raising it up and replacing it onto new foundations, you might be able to imagine that this is no easy task. It requires professional expertise and experience that only comes from many years of doing this work and fine tuning the process so it can unfold as smoothly as possible.

Every site is different due to the location, condition of the ground and the design of the building, but there are some key safety rules that need to be factored into the planning process and followed for every lift.

Hazard Assessment by Authorised Professionals

One key factor that comes before anything physical happens is a complete hazard assessment of the area, including accounting for gas, electricity, water, sewerage and asbestos risks. This will mean inspections and planning in relation to disconnecting the appropriate pipes as needed, as well as planning for when they are to be reconnected. The hazard assessment will also need to factor in weather conditions, the stability of the structure that is to be moved, as well as that the ladders and fall protections are in place.

Appropriate Equipment

As you might imagine, it is important to ensure that all of the appropriate equipment is available and ready to be used. Workers (and anyone else who goes into the site) must be wearing appropriate personal protection equipment, which includes steel capped or safety boots that cover the toes and protect the feet. Long sleeves and gloves are worn to protect the arms when lifting items with sharp or rough edges.

Proper Lifting Techniques

The machinery for lifting the house including cranes, jacks, skid steer loaders and all other heavy-duty equipment must be maintained and used appropriately. Operators must have the appropriate training and expertise suitable for working in all conditions when using the equipment. Any work that is to be lifted by hand must be done according to safety standards, with appropriate equipment or staff to ensure that the load can be carried safely.

Blocking Materials

There must be adequate safety measures to ensure that the house is firmly secured in the event of a jack malfunctioning, with appropriate materials in place for holding the house in position until the new foundations are permanently secured. All precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of people who are on the site, as well as protecting the structure from slipping and becoming damaged in the process.

For any questions relating to safety please do contact one of our staff at Black & White Houseraising & Restumping and we can talk you through the whole process.

Big white villa with swimming pool

Top Five Benefits Of Raising Your House

Raising your house is a big job, and nobody will tell you any different. It can be a costly and time consuming exercise but the benefits far outweigh the challenges involved, and it can give a tired house a new lease on life. At Black and White Houseraising and Restumping, we have assisted a great many families to expand their lives by adding extra space and value to their home, while protecting their belongings from the risks of flooding.

Create Space

Let’s face it, families tend to grow bigger over time, often when we least expect it, and often, the plan that we started out with, needs to be re-evaluated and expanded on, to accommodate the growing family. If the family home feels like it is bursting at the seams, raising the house can be the answer to create more space so that everyone has room to move. Living in each other’s pockets like sardines can cause friction, but like many families, you will be amazed at how much extra space you can have for living in peace and harmony together when you raise your house.

Add Value to Your Home

The property market is filled with homes that look and feel almost identical to each other, which often turns buyers away if they are looking for something unique. In raising your house, it gives you the opportunity to utilise a new design, which can create a space that really has something special, and is a pleasure to live in, as well as adding value to the house. Extra rooms for living space and storage are sought after by prospective buyers who are willing to pay a little more for something that accommodates their needs.

Fresh Stumps

If there is one worry that you don’t need on your mind, it’s the foundations of your house. Stumps deteriorate over time due to weather, moisture and pests, and they will usually need changing every ten years or so. The peace of mind in knowing that you have another ten years under your belt is worth the work involved when raising your house. So talk to us today about your ideas and hear how we can help you make them happen.

Get Above the Floods

In Australia, we are a country that is prone to flooding as well as droughts, so protecting your family and belongings from flooding is a precaution that all must take. Similarly, water does tend to change course over time, due to construction and environmental factors, often leaving the unaware to be faced with flash flooding where previously it was not a problem. Raising your house enables you to keep everything high and dry, to enjoy your home without the fear of unwanted water causing damage to the structure.

Cool It Down

Being in a cramped space on a hot day is one of the most unenjoyable aspects of Summer, but raising your house can allow for it to catch more breezes, as well as giving space to allow the air to flow throughout the house. Talk to your architect or designer about eco-friendly designs that make good use of the natural air flow to the home. Adding tropical plants around window areas often cools the space down too, so be sure to look at all of your options so that you can incorporate them into the design for maximum benefit.

Top Five Steps To Finding The Right House Raising Company For You

Most people are under the impression that only the old-style Queenslander houses are the variety that can be raised, but this is a misconception. In actual fact, most residential houses can be raised, especially if you have the right company to do the work. The reasons for people wanting to raise their houses are varied, but it will usually be because they either want to make more space, there are foundation problems or water damage that requires urgent attention, or both. Here are five steps to finding the right contractor for you.

Assess the Work

Your first step is to decide what you actually want to get done. This means making a detailed list of what work you need to have completed, as well as how you are going to go about doing it. Depending on the work that you are having done, there may be some contractors who can handle the majority of the work, or you may need to bring in various contractors from different fields.

Research Companies

Doing your research is going to assist you with getting a good look at who is available in your area and what they are able to do. During your research, you might want to consider how much experience the company has had with the type of work that you need done. Usually a company that has been in the business for a long period of time, will not only have the best equipment but will also be able to put you in touch with other contractors that you may need. Be sure to make some calls to get as much information as possible about each company before you make your decision. Then narrow it down to a list of two or three, so that you can get a couple of quotes in order to make comparisons.

Get a Free Quote

Organise with the companies on your shortlist for them to come and give you a quote. Companies that have been in the business for a while, such as Black and White Houseraising and Restumping, will generally offer a free quote. This will usually involve an initial phone call and then someone from the company visiting your home to assess the work and providing you with a quote.

Can They Work within Your Timeframe?

Another part of choosing the correct company is by assessing when you want the work done and whether the company can fit in within your timeframe. There may be a waiting list or your first choice of company may not be available when you want the work done, which means you could change your dates to suit them, or find a company that can accommodate your needs.

Book a Company and Start Preparing Your Home

Once you have made your choice your house raising company will provide you with a checklist of what needs to be done to prepare. Follow their instructions to ensure that there are not issues when the work is being done.

How To Prepare For Restumping : What’s Involved In The Clean Up

If you are considering the restumping of your house, there are particular preparations that need to be made to get the area ready for the work that will take place. This includes making the work site ready for people to start moving around under the house, and if you are like the rest of us, you are bound to have an accumulation of things that you are storing under there. This is often referred to as ‘the clean up’ stage, which, as the name suggests, involves clearing the area to prepare for the work to be carried out.

Clear the Area and Remove Plinth boards

The first thing that we do is to clear an area around the side of the house to make an access point for the work to be carried out. The plinth boards are the boards that go under the house, and are what sit between the house and the stumps. During the house raising process, these boards are one of the items that need to be replaced as often they will show signs of wear and tear as well. So after the area around the stumps has been cleared the plinth boards are removed.

Remove Rubbish and Obstacles

The next step is to remove any rubbish and obstacles that are still sitting around under the house. This is an important safety step because it allows a clear workplace for the rest of the work to be carried out. So not only will you be getting new stumps, but under your house will get a clear out, too, in the process!

Position Jacks in Place

Once the area has been cleared, the jacks are positioned in place. During this step the safety of both the house owners and the workers who will be carrying out the work, is of great importance. We ensure that all safety precautions are taken to prevent any accidents occurring to anyone involved. Once the jacks are positioned and firmly in place the rest of the work can begin.

The Black & White Houseraising & Restumping team gets to work, knocking out the old stumps and digging a hole for the new stumps to be positioned into place. Before you know it, the work is done and you can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that you have a solid foundation beneath your feet.

Things To Consider Before Choosing Professional Restumping

When tackling a home renovation project, the first thing you will want to consider is whether to restump the house. The foundation of the house is the most important part, as without a strong foundation, it would be a complete waste of time to do any other work to a house. The best thing you can do when renovating is to work from the bottom up, and deal with the most important part first, the foundation, and go from there. Here are some things to consider before choosing to engage the services of a professional restumper.

Is the House Worth Restumping?

One glaringly obvious question to ask is whether the house is worth going to the trouble of restumping. If the house itself has issues such as termite damage, dry rot throughout, or has been badly constructed to begin with, then restumping it will mean that you are throwing your money away. If the house itself is not in good order, it might be a better idea to take the whole house down and start afresh.

Restump or Raise?

If you have had the building inspected and deemed it worth saving, the next thing you might want to think about it is, how high? If you are planning on raising the house to restump it, you might want to go the extra mile and have it raised enough to build extra rooms underneath. This would often mean a bit more of a long-term financial investment but creating more space could really change the house significantly and increase its resale value.

Choice of Stumps

So once you have made your decision about what you want to do with the house, you will need to choose which materials you want to use for your restumping project. Most of the older stumps were timber, which need to be replaced anywhere from 15 years to 80 years, depending on other factors such as wood used, soil conditions and other external factors. Most new stumps are made of concrete with galvanised steel inside, which will last a lot longer than the average timber stumps.

Building Permits and Relevant Paperwork

Before you can go ahead and get the restumping underway you will also need to organise building permits and other relevant paperwork. If you are choosing the services of a professional such as Black and White Houseraising and Restumping, they will provide information to you about what is needed and the costs involved.

house and family paper

Replacing House Stumps Requires Professional Expertise

Most modern homes in Queensland, that is, homes built in the past 40 years or so, are now concrete slab constructions, which are a complete turn-around from the methods used since European settlement. In pioneer times, houses were built on timber stumps and it was not until mid-20th century that the timber stumps were replaced by concrete. As time passed the timber stumps aged, becoming rotten and defective and it is now a multi-million dollar business to have them replaced.

Trust Only Experienced and Competent Operators

The types of stumps that are used in Queensland are either CCA (copper chrome arsenate) treated pine or concrete. Connecting the new stumps to the bearer is a crucial part of the operation as any shortcuts by dubious operators will place the whole structure at risk. This is why selecting an experienced and trusted contractor is absolutely essential.

The Black and White House Raising company is a member of the Master Builders Association and holds a BSA licence, as well as being fully insured. With 12 years of experience in raising and restumping homes, they guarantee their work and operate in all suburbs in and around Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

Some Hints to Sort the Best from the Rest

They are happy to offer the following information to people looking for reliable and experienced contractors, as they know that their operation meets all of these criteria:

  • Obtain quotes in writing and specify the type of stumps to be used and their spacing.
  • Request that when the work is completed, the floor will be brought reasonably back to level that is, within 10mm.
  • The work must be performed to meet the relevant building standards and regulations.
  • The contractor obtains the necessary building permit or permits.
  • If floorboards need to be removed, to what state are they to be restored and whose responsibility is it to remove and replace floor coverings.
  • The start and finish dates of the project.
  • The full cost including GST.

Compare Quotes Carefully

When comparing quotes, make sure that the items in all the quotes are the same. A lower price may mean that some part of the operation has been left out, which could cause major problems later on. One way that unscrupulous operators save costs is by not supplying sufficient stumps. The homeowner is usually unaware until the floor becomes uneven or cracks appear in plaster walls.

The standard of professional restumping provided by Black & White House Raising can be verified by contacting some of their many satisfied clients. For genuine, reliable service at very competitive prices, give them a call.

couple in their new home

Choosing the Right Restumping Service for Your Home

Restumping and house raising can be very beneficial to homeowners in many ways. It is a great solution for houses that constantly have to deal with rising waters during strong rain and storms. Restumping is also a viable solution for homes that are having structural problems due to termite infestation. Old houses with timber stumps are sure to need  quality restumping intervention or the building could be in danger due to structural instability.

While it can be easy to know if a house needs a restumping and house raising job, it is not as easy to find the right restumping service. With so many companies offering restumping and house raising services, there are a few points that can be considered to find the right company.

Assess Their Technology

Much of the success of a restumping and house raising work is dependent on the technology that is being used. Make sure that the company is equipped with the latest technologies  in jacking systems to safely lift the house.

Reputation

Naturally, the company that homeowners should hire must have good reputation. It would be good to do a background check on the companies offering restumping services in the area. Ask their former clients for some feedback to get an insight on the quality of work. It is advantageous if the company is a member of reputable groups such as the Master Builders Association. It would be advantageous if the restumping company has extensive experience working with homeowners and professional builders.

Expertise and Available Services

Every homeowner will need a specific type of restumping work, depending on the existing situation. The house may simply need a replacement of the stumps or it may have to be relevelled to correct the defects caused by stump damage. The house may desperately have to be raised to be safe from torrential rains  and flooding, or the homeowner may just want to move the house to another site, perhaps to make room for a subdivision of the lot. The homeowner should be selecting a service based on the work that needs to be done on the site.

Insurance

It is important that the company hired is fully covered by insurance. There are dangers involved in restumping and house raising work, so there is always that possibility of an unwanted accident happening. But if the company is fully insured, the homeowner does not have worry about accidents and liability.