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.

Should You Worry If You Are Buying in a Flood-Prone Area?

flooded neighbourhood

Flood prone areas are those that are flat areas surrounding a large body of water. Brisbane is an example of a flood prone area because the city is built around the Brisbane River, which is prone flooding during storm surges and other severe weather events.

Because Queensland is a tropical region, it can also be prone to cyclones which bring heavy rain with them. Often, the question of whether you should or shouldn’t buy in a flood prone area can be a moot point if you are prepared and take precautions to prevent your home from suffering the ill effects that may occur due to flooding.

As we will discuss, the risk of living or buying a home in a flood prone area can be mitigated by taking some precautions.

Know Where You Stand

The first question is to find out if you are buying into a flood prone area. This can be found from looking at the flood maps, council records and reading up on the history of the area.

The local city council of your area will have records of all the major flood events that have happened in the area, for you to gauge how often there has been flooding, and how severe it was.

What Risks Do Floods Bring?

Flooding can cause a lot of damage to people, homes and infrastructure. Excess water can completely destroy homes, or it can lead to long term issues such as mould, wood rot, rust, bacteria and more.

Usually when there is too much water in the ground it can affect the sewerage pipes, which can cause unpleasant surges of faeces to come up through the ground and invade homes.

How to Work with a Flood Prone Home

Whether you have already purchased and discovered later that it is in a flood zone, or still want to go ahead and buy the home despite the obvious risks, there are ways of being prepared.

One of the best ways of working with your flood prone home is to have it raised above the flood waters. This would mean that you employ a company such as Black & White Houseraising & Restumping to assist you with lifting the house up and creating space between you and the surging flood waters.

Not only would you ensure that the house is kept high and dry, but you would have the advantage of extra space underneath for a rumpus room or other area for the family to enjoy together.

Another way of ensuring that the flood waters do not pose a problem for you is to keep low laying areas of the home free of items that would be damaged by water. This might mean having the downstairs flooring made of material that can withstand water, installing exterior electrical items above ground level, and having insurance that covers you for flooding.

There are ways of working with the ebb and flow of nature, and it is all about preparation and forward thinking.

woman in the middle of a house construction

The Dos and Don’ts of Raising a House

Relocating and raising houses is a practice as synonymous to being Australian and more specifically, a Queenslander, as these traditionally built houses named after the people who come from the ‘sunny’ state. These iconic wooden houses, made for the warm Queensland climate and designed in such a way that moving them, or raising them to suit the changing tides of life is par for the course, are as much a way of life as the summer storms that roll across the land. If you happen to be lucky enough to own one of these beautiful buildings, you may be considering raising it up to create more space for the family, or for a new project. Here are some of the dos and don’ts that will assist you in the process.

Do Research regarding What Planning Approvals You Will Need

Although, we would like to think that we live in a ‘free country’, the fact is that there are a lot of areas where the government needs to feel included in the process of how we choose to live. One of these is in giving its approval for any work that is carried out to upgrade, develop or raise houses that are located within its jurisdiction. Unfortunately, if you fail to seek approvals, pay the fees (if applicable) and obtain the relevant paperwork, the council may deem your property to be illegal and force you to tear it down. So be sure to research and get the relevant planning approvals before you begin.

Don’t Finalise Anything Until You Have Consulted Your House Raising Team

This point goes well with the point above. Along with that process of obtaining planning approvals and other relevant paperwork, you will want to consult closely with your house raising team, to ensure that everybody is on the same page. Don’t finalise anything until you have consulted with them and made a commitment together regarding how the final product is going to look, and what is needed to make it happen.

Do Choose an Experienced House Raising Team

If you have not already found a team to conduct the house raising work for you, be sure to do your research and find one that has the experience and knowledge to do the work to the highest standards. An experienced house raising team, such as Black & White Houseraising & Restumping will come to the job with a huge amount of experience, well trained staff, well developed policies and procedures as well as the latest equipment.

protect home from floods

Bracing: Earthquake and Hurricane Proofing Your Home

During times of the recent past, it has been a very rare occurrence for earthquakes or hurricanes to hit Australia, but with the changing weather conditions there are several questions about what we can expect for the future. For many families there is a renewed interest in preparing for the unexpected. The fact is that we really have no idea what the future will bring in terms of severe weather events, so it might be time to talk about some areas where we can prepare for the elements to change. Ideally, a circular shaped house is useful for resisting hurricane damage but sometimes we have to work with what we have already and make necessary preparations for an uncertain future.

Prevention from Uplift

In the event of a hurricane, a key area that could cause loss of property or life is in how well the house is able to avoid being lifted up and away during high winds. This means ensuring that there is a ‘continuous load path’. In a nutshell, this is ensuring that the key elements of the house including walls, foundations and floors are all fastened together to ensure that they hold strong in the face of high wind events. Bracing of the roof and foundations with steel connectors and strapping will assist the house from flying away from its footing. Talk to Black & White Houseraising & Restumping about extra bracing for your home.

Protection from Penetration

An area that can contribute to both the weakening of the structure, as well as causing damage to items inside the house is penetration of window areas. Two ways that this can be remedied or prepared for, is to install shutters to the outside of the house or to install impact resistant windows to ensure that they are not punctured by flying debris.

Avoiding Flooding

One of the major issues with any kind of weather event is flooding. Obviously, the best choice would be to build in areas that are not prone to flooding. However, sometimes this is impossible to predict with changing flood paths. For some people the task of raising their home above the flood path is a worthwhile and successful exercise that gives them both peace of mind while keeping their home and family high and dry.

Earthquake Proofing Interior and Utilities

Much of the damage that occurs during an earthquake is due to large items falling and crushing other items. This can be remedied by securing large pieces of furniture to the inner walls and floor, and utilities such as water heaters, air conditioners and gas cylinders are securely fastened into position. Additionally, it is important that you know the location of the shut off valve for gas as well as how to turn it off.

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.

House Raising 101: 5 Steps For House Raising You Can Do

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.