Building on Challenging Sites

Building on Challenging SitesSure, they’re some of the most beautiful, but challenging sites come with whole heap of roadblocks when it comes to building, then fortifying, your dream home. It’s important to see the whole picture when you’re building your home from scratch. Don’t just envision your dream end result; think through the entire process and any heartache that may come into play. Don’t see these as full deterrents, but rather factors to keep in mind so that you can bring the best plan possible, to the planning table. Luckily for you, when you work with Restumping Melbourne, we’re well-versed in challenging sites. In fact, they’re some of our most favourite experiences. Because we know that we bring the necessary experience and passion to the table, the rest is just problem solving. Read on for our best advice on building on challenging sites.

It’s important to note that it is always an option to choose an easier site. Challenging sites do come with a higher price tag and longer timeline to completion. There may also be environmental impacts in play, which mean additional conversations and approvals by local governmental organizations.

Still reading? Okay, it’s time to get imaginative, and it’s time to be flexible. Start with three very specific questions:

  • What kind of characteristics does this site boast?
  • What difficulties do we see right off of the bat?
  • What workarounds are we already aware of, that can mitigate these challenges?

Always keep these in your back pocket, and you’ll be set up for success. Bring them up early when in conversations with your contractors, so that your contractors know that you’d like a seat at the table, you want to play an important role in the planning process.

As answers to these questions, you’ll want to discuss the structure of the property, like the topography and any existing artificial structures. Next, you’ll want to dissect the environment. These are two very different things. Your environment conversation more focuses on the climate, like how much rainfall the area will get, if it’s in direct sunlight, or if you’re working with some major wind in different seasons. Space, location and ecology are also factors that you’ll want to discuss at length so that you truly have the full picture.

Restumping Melbourne is passionate about each and every part of this conversation, but site slope holds a special place in our hearts. If your site has a slope that exceeds 30 degrees, it can change what options you have for architectural styles. Look at flat land house types or hillside homes. Both can be customized to work well on your existing lot, no matter what site it takes.

Are you ready to pull the trigger on your next dream home? Maybe you’re looking to take your current home to the next level? Be sure to give the Restumping Melbourne team a shout. We’d love to help ensure that your house is a home, and that it’s fortified for generations of important memories to come.


Asbestos Alert- 7-point Checklist

Asbestos AlertIt can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare – you come home and find out that asbestos has been hidden deep between the walls of your house, probably for at least a decade. For those unfamiliar, asbestos is a particular fibre that’s small, but can be deadly. It’s durable and resistant to all sorts of extraneous factors including fire and chemical reactions. It’s prevalent in today’s society, because it was such a common building material in the 80s and 90s.

Even if your newer home wasn’t constructed with it, many of the other buildings around you may have been. The reason it’s such a four-letter word for many is that it plays a big role in mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a deadly and rare cancer which can root itself in your heart, in your abdomen or in your lungs. Even though we’ve discussed asbestos at length in posts in the past, it bears reminding how easy a multi-point checklist can be when you’re trying to eradicate this major problem.

  1. Know your environment. A surprising one in three homes in Australia is impacted by asbestos.
  2. Know when your home was built. The magic year is 1987, so if your home was built before that, there’s probably some abatement that needs to be done.
  3. Back away from the DIY. Though it might seem like the smart answer right off of the bat, chances are that the headache and the price tag attached, are not worth it.
  4. Prepare yourself. We’re talking gear, hats, masks that protect you from the asbestos. Make sure that you’re totally covered if you’re even in the vicinity of an impacted area.
  5. Budget accordingly. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it. This is not one of those projects that you can afford to skimp on. Left unattended, asbestos can have serious effects on your health, and the price tag associated there can be much more devastating.
  6. Time to call in the experts. Now you know that you’re diving into an affected area, you want to ensure that you’re supported by someone who knows what they’re doing. Do your research and read up on referrals. The last thing you want to do is bring in the experts and find out that they don’t have quite as much knowledge as you may have thought.
  7. Watch them do their thing. It’s time to step back and leave this work to the professionals. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be educated in their process or the materials that they use. As you know, Restumping Melbourne and the team are firm believers that you should be properly equipped with the know-how and knowledge to take care of things on your own. Whether you want to or not, that’s another question. There are a couple of methods that they’ll leverage including frying.

None of this should scare you. We live in an age where these services are easy to render and professionals are easy to find. Questions? Comments? Give us a shout. The Restumping Melbourne team would love to hear from you.

Happy Holidays from Restumping Melbourne

While the weather may indicate otherwise, tis the holiday season. Even if the ground isn’t blanketed with snow, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get into the holiday spirit. It’s time to plan festive family get-togethers. It’s time to gather around tables filled with loved ones. It’s time to unbutton the top button of your pants and really get into the delicious treats that tend to make the rounds during the next month. (We’ll worry about that whole diet and exercise thing once the new year rolls around).

It’s a time of joy, a time of reflection and a time for planning ahead. So first, the joy! The best part of our jobs, each and every day. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our amazing community for another wonderful year. We couldn’t do it without you, and we can’t thank you enough. It seems like we blinked and this year passed by in a flash. There were monumental political decisions and seismic shifts in the ways that society works together. But we only continued to see the values and the principles come to life that we’ve begun to expect from both our teammates and you, our customers. We feel so blessed to get to work with you, to add value to your houses and to turn your houses into homes.

Next up, the reflection. Again, the gratitude is a really big piece of this, but we also want to think about where we could have done better, what changes we can make to ensure that your homes are fortified at their best. As we look to the year ahead, we promise to only continue to grow and improve. As no doubt you’ve read on the blog in the past, we don’t believe in finish lines. We don’t believe in mountain peaks or cruxes. We believe that there is always room for improvements and enhancements. We take great pride in showcasing the feedback that we receive from you. Where other companies may have breakrooms littered with jokes and comic strips, ours is wallpapered with both the positive and the constructive. And it bears reminding that we appreciate the constructive just as much, if not more, than we do the positive. So keep it coming! We hope that our partnerships with our customers will continue into the new year and beyond, and we want to make sure that you’re set up for success.

Finally, the planning! What will we tackle in the coming months? A lot. No teasers yet, but just know that we have some good stuff coming. We will continue to research the best in materials and innovation. We will continue to think through process shifts that cut down on the time it takes to fortify your home. And we will continue to info-share, so that you feel properly educated about the work that’s being done on your home.

In summary, we will continue to seek feedback, we will continue to listen, and we will continue to share. Looking forwards to another awesome year, thank you team!

Does Building a Basement Make Sense for You?

Does Building a Basement make Sense for You?There’s something niggling you about the rental property you’ve just bought, or you’re worrying about why it’s not doing as well for you as you thought, but you can’t work out why. After all, you’ve ticked off most of the blocks on the list of requirements for a good ROI – like location, accessibility to amenities, and the rest. But there’s one thing that is missing, and maybe that’s space. Baxton Property Management in Hobart suggests digging deep in search of a solution, because giving your ROI a lift could lie in going up and under with a basement.

Adding usable space

When thinking of renovating to add space, going downwards may be the last idea that comes to mind. But it’s a very real option for Australian investors who own timber-framed structures, traditionally supported by stumps or concrete piers.

Restumping companies like Restumping Melbourne, through years of experience restumping Australian homes, have all the know-how needed to jack up your house, and create a whole new space underneath it. This allows for extending the space without the need for a new roof or changing the basic design and layout of the existing house.

The resulting new usable space in the basement will be larger than you would get adding on an extra room, allowing you various usage configurations. You could provide the extra storage area or secure parking tenants put high on their wish list for the perfect rental, or you could create a second self-contained rental area, or even decide to do all three. Ideas for using this space are limited only by your imagination.

Why choose going down rather than up or out?

The more common choices of going up or out both have their difficulties. One of the main ones is that you are losing space to gain some. Expanding your house’s footprint by adding rooms means sacrificing a large part of the garden, and perhaps getting a bit too close for comfort to the neighbours next door, if your plot is small. Going under and building a basement instead could also prevent infringement of local council restrictions on how much of your stand a house can occupy. Aesthetically, the up and under approach is also more likely to fit in well with the original structure, instead of revealing obviously that it is an add-on.

Adding a second storey? You will need to consider various issues, such as whether or not the walls and foundation will support another storey, how you will connect in the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, and how you are going to fit the necessary staircase into the existing floor space. And what about the roof? You can’t always save the old roof, and even in those instances where you can, it will have to be off while new walls are built, and your house will be vulnerable to rain and storm damage in the interim.

The concept of making space down under is a fairly novel idea for Australian home or rental property owners, but is gaining popularity as a feasible alternative to building up or out when looking to add space. As property management specialist, Baxton knows how rental property owners are always looking for ways to increase their ROI, and Restumping Melbourne has all the expertise necessary to do so.

Guest Author: Baxton Property Management

Mitigating Water Damage

Mitigating Water DamageIt’s been a tough couple of months for Mother Earth! We saw earthquakes, we saw torrential downpours, and we saw hurricanes, which displaced millions. While it’s been heartbreaking to watch, it puts everything into perspective, doesn’t it? Here at Restumping Melbourne, our goals stem from educating properly about healthy levels of risk. A big piece of this is disaster-readiness, and ensuring that our valued customers know how to handle anything that’s thrown their way. That’s why, today, we’re discussing what to do, after water damage has taken place.

But first, let’s talk about what to do before water damage. Early awareness and consistent education are keys to prevention. You can’t really stop a flood from entering your home, but you can ensure that you’re equipped with the tools to make it through the storm. Get together with your family or roommates and discuss exactly what you would do in any stressful scenario. Having a plan in place, and ensuring that you’re all on the same page is key. We’re also passionate about double-checking your insurance coverage. There is such a thing as “underinsured”.

Fast-forward, post water damage – what are you to do? It’s time to clean up. Safety is paramount here. You want to be vigilant about broken items and floating debris, but you also want to be award of the mould and bacteria, which may be present in the water. If you can’t call in the experts, at least make sure that you’re wearing protective gear like work boots, thick gloves and masks.

Next up, it’s time to remove the most cumbersome items. This can be challenging emotionally and physically, but we prioritize it because these items can be so time-consuming to remove. Know that family, friends and loved ones all come together in a time of crisis and you can easily lean on them for support.

Now, you’re probably wondering- who is going to remove the water? Sometimes, it’s just too dense or accumulative to handle yourself. If a room is more than halfway under water, please make sure that you’re working with an accredited company or contractor. There are DIY situations, however, where you can save yourself a pretty penny. If the water removal is minimal, you may be able to do it, using a shop vacuum to extract the water.

Once the water is out of the space, we’re sure that you want to decompress a little bit. But it’s time to disinfect. As mentioned above, any flooded areas are ground zero for bacteria and mould. Scrub your floors, walls and ceilings using a disinfectant. Then, do it again. There’s no such thing as overachieving during this step.

Finally, it’s time to rebuild. In the most literal sense of the word, you may have elements of a room, which need to be completely rebuilt. But it’s also time to get excited about the future ahead. Maybe you were thinking about redesigning that room anyways. It’s time to begin your next chapter.

Questions? Comments? Reach out to our team, and be sure to check out our blog for more information about taking care of your home.

Renovating from the Bottom up – Restumping May Save your Investment

Renovating from the Bottom up - Restumping May Save your InvestmentA property is only as stable and solid as its foundations – that’s pure common sense. So if something goes wrong down under, like the stumps that support it start to rot, crack or sink, it could wreak havoc with the integrity of the whole structure. If it’s not dealt with soon by specialist restumpers or reblockers, it can be a nightmare for any homeowner. But for investors in rental properties, it can be a total disaster. Baxton Property Management outlines the problems it can cause for the property investment sector, in a guest blog for Restumping Melbourne.

Why are Rental Properties Vulnerable?

Rental property is particularly vulnerable, as any problems with the structure not only impact owners in terms of the costs of repairs and possible rebuilding, but also in the potential loss of rental income that is at the very core of their ROI. In addition, as they do not occupy the premises themselves, the chances are strong that the problem will not be identified before the damage has become fairly advanced. There is also the possibility of injury to tenants, or damage to their property, should the problem not be addressed timeously.

It therefore becomes vital that investment property owners and their property managers become alert to the signs of the stumps that support the foundation starting to rot, crack or sink, both at the purchase stage, and in the course of routine property inspections. Routine checks of stump condition are also recommended. This involves digging down next to any accessible ones to see whether there are signs of deterioration, and is certainly necessary before undertaking any renovations.

This is essential where the property has wooden floors, as they are highly likely to rest on wooden stumps. These were popular in older buildings in Australia, but have a tendency to fall victim after a couple of decades to mould, rot, or termite infestation. However, concrete and steel stumps are also not impervious to deterioration because of moisture and rust.

Signs that Restumping may be Necessary

At first it is not so bad. A tenant might notice that if they drop a bottle, or anything round on the floor, it rolls towards one particular side of the room. Or they might hear some of the floorboards starting to creak under their feet. These could be early signs that the stumps which support the whole house could be starting to show their age. But the tenant may not immediately see the importance of this in terms of the structural integrity of a building they occupy, but do not own. Their reaction might simply be to start looking for another rental.

If they stay, they might notice it’s getting harder to close windows or doors, or see gaps under the skirting boards as the floor starts to sink. Then fine cracks start to appear in the plaster and, later, in the walls themselves. It’s a scary situation, and quite rightly so, as changes in the base can lead to structural damage to the building with serious consequences which could end with your rental property collapsing.

Solving the problem

However, there is a solution. Specialist companies have restumping, or reblocking, down to a fine art, and can solve the problem by replacing the stumps that are starting to fail. To accomplish the task, the house is lifted with a powerful jack in the area which needs repair, the offending stumps are removed, and are replaced with new and stronger ones. The earlier the signs are noticed and action is taken, the simpler the job and the more likelihood of a positive outcome. The longer the problem is left unresolved, the greater the chance of structural damage and the need for more complex, lengthy and costly solutions.

As the future of your rental property rests (quite literally) on the stability of the stumps that support it, it is vital to make sure they don’t let you, your property and your investment down. Working with a specialist property management service like Baxton, makes managing your property and keeping an eye on repairs and maintenance a lot easier. They also have a wide database of reliable contractors like Restumping Melbourne, developed through a century of collective service in this sector.

Guest Author: Baxton Property Management

Making Smart Real Estate Decisions

There’s a reason that purchasing a home is high on the top ten list of most stressful life events. As context, marriage, divorce, and starting a new job also made the cut. It’s a financial investment, as well as an emotional one. Whether you’re purchasing your home to live in immediately, or as an investment for later on down the road, this is not a decision to take lightly. But with smart planning and the right resources, exploring real estate can be easier than you think. That’s why today Restumping Melbourne has prepared a handy checklist to ensure that you’re making the smartest real estate decisions.

Understand the real estate purchasing process

You’ve found the home of your dreams and you’re ready to make it yours. We’re looking at five main steps– making an offer, reviewing a disclosure, appraisal, inspections and final loan review (as applicable). In some states and countries, these steps will vary, but this is a good core list to study.

Research cash flows and returns

If you’re not planning on moving into your future home immediately, chances are that you’re looking at it as an investment. As with any investment, you want to understand what you’re going to make on it. First make a list of expenses related to the new property and understand how much cash that you’re shelling out. In a column adjacent, forecast how much money this property will bring in on an annual basis. This may be through consistent monthly rent, or it may be as a Airbnb or short-stay. There’s no universal best practice, but it’s important that you know what works for you.

If you’re going to need mortgage financing, shop around

Gone are the days when there was one avenue to procure a mortgage. This is now a market all on its own and you’ll want to do your homework so that you get the lowest rate. When your rate is lower, you pay less in interest over time (generally a 15 or 30 year period), which means more money back in your pocket. If you’re a student, or newer to the market, you may even qualify for special exceptions.

Reach out to your potential homeowners association (HOA)

Much of the time, you’re not just investing in a property; you’re investing in an area. We’re not talking about looking at the finances of your neighbours, but rather the state of the HOA’s finances. If you move into the neighbourhood or complex, where will your dollars be going? Have they invested them wisely in recent years and do you generally trust their instincts?

Know if your investment is standard or non-standard

This doesn’t mean that you’re investment is less special or important, non-standard investments refer to land, vacation rentals, flipping properties, etc. The area that you live in may have special stipulations and rules for what money you can make on properties like these.

Questions? Let us know. And be sure to check out our blog for more information around your home.

The Science Behind Restumping

The Science Behind Restumping

We harp all day long about the benefits of restumping. We wax lyrical about the euphoria that you and your loved ones will feel once your home has been properly fortified. And we do it for good reason. Homes that are properly restumped, reblocked, or underpinned are worth more, they’re more comfortable, and most importantly- they’re safer. But we spend all day long sharing the different benefits, the process, the key players that help make this happen. How are you supposed to know the why behind our work? Today, let’s take a step back and look at the reason that underpinning, restumping and reblocking came to life as necessary pieces of foundation fortification.

The number one reason behind the need for any of these services is natural shifts in the earth. It doesn’t need to be a 7.1 earthquake, like the one that unfortunately occurred recently in Mexico city. Earth, especially water soluble varieties like clay and silt, just moves over time. It moves because the tectonic plates beneath the earth are moving, minute by minute, year over year. Think about Antarctica. Did anyone ever anticipate that we’d end up with two different continents in the next 50 years? Preparation is key.

So, natural movement of ground just happens. But when heavy rains like hurricanes or tropical storms take place, this process is sped up significantly. When water interacts with the ground beneath the structure, it causes the soil to expand. As you can imagine, this is not ideal for the foundation of a home, as it is either spread too thin, or pushed in directions that the architect didn’t plan for. Key examples include homes that are built on hills, because it’s a regular occurrence that they may be pushed to lower altitudes without warning.

There are also human variables, which play a role in the need to restump a home. You may be looking to expand it in size. You may be looking to build lower levels like basements, or upper levels like attics. When your home was originally designed, the foundation was designed in a specific way to properly support the planned weight above. When this weight changes, that can put undue stress on the fortifying pillars beneath. This is the number one cause of foundation damage that homeowners tend to forget. It’s understandable. After all, you can’t see the foundation, or feel the pillars that are holding up your home. Not unless, you’re looking to explore a potentially dark and wet crawl space below. Just know, that any updates to your home, require keeping your foundation in mind.

None of these are anything to be terribly concerned over. That is, if you’re working with a company like Restumping Melbourne. We know that each property is as unique as its owners, and we’re dedicated to identifying a solution, which will fit the bill perfectly for you. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Restumping Melbourne team. We’re excited to make your home safe and comfortable.

How to Navigate Building Inspections Time

How to Navigate Building Inspections TimeThe search is over, the papers are signed, even the escrow period is complete. You’ve made it through with relatively few bumps and bruises, and you think the journey is over, right? Wrong. Let the fun of building inspections begin. This can be a tricky time to navigate, especially if you’re not used to the process. You don’t want to be taken advantage of, when it comes to the cost of the inspection, or the results that they share with you. But you also are looking for a comprehensive analysis of anything that could be wrong with your future home. Luckily for you, Restumping Melbourne is no stranger to such things. Read on for your pocket guide to building inspections.

First up, let’s get back to basics. What the heck is a building inspection? Also known as a property inspection, it can uncover design defects in the structure of the building, issues with the stability of the structure and conditional damage. A lot of the things that experts unearth are buried deep or difficult to find. Think of them as a support staff for when you’re riding the euphoric high of being a new homeowner. Examples of what they may find? Structural cracks, faulty roofs, evidence of termites, and rising damp.

It may be tough to source a building inspector that you can trust. You can rely on your broker or real estate agent to have recommendations. Just make sure that they’re accredited by Australian Standard. Research different rates, but know that the investment is necessary. A building inspection that unearths minor problems now, can save you thousands of dollars later. Bonus points? If you find significant issues before you sign on the dotted line, you may even be able to negotiate down the price of the home OR ask that the sellers mitigate any problems that are identified.

Building inspections are not all-encompassing, so we want to set expectations before you reach out to your company or consultant of choice. It’s their job to identify the problems, not necessarily to tell you the range of pricing for the solutions. It’s also not in their scope of work to take a closer look at plumbing or draining, paint, appliances or any of the electrical wiring.

Now we’ve gotten to the meat of it—how much is this going to set you back financially and how long is this going to take? First, the financials: Ballpark? A few hundred dollars. You may see that the companies you’re reaching out to are consolidating a building inspection with a pest inspection. This is not a red flag, rather, potentially a way to save even more money. Who wants to find out retroactively that there is a pest infestation in-between your home’s walls? Not us at Restumping Melbourne, that’s for sure. Now on to timeline, a building inspection will take between two-three days, not a timeline that will interfere with your daily schedule or obligations.

Bottom line—this is a good thing. Questions about building inspections? Let the Restumping Melbourne team know. We’d love to hear from you.

How to Build a Home- Part 1

How to Build a Home- Part 1Here’s a request that we get all of the time. Can you provide additional insight into how a home is built? Simple, but important. And we’re more than happy to answer. Because Restumping Melbourne is committed to reinforcing the foundation of your home, we understand how important homes are. We want to treat them with care, set them up for success, ensure that you and your loved ones will be safe and secure for generations to come. But why haven’t we been able to step back a little bit, take a gander at the bigger picture and provide this valuable insight to our customers? Well, today’s the day ladies and gentlemen. Over the next couple of posts, Restumping Melbourne will be walking you through these important steps. Let’s take a look at how you can build a home:

Build the foundation

Make sure that the site is prepared and pour the foundation. A lot of pre-work takes place before this step, but it’s a step near and dear to our hearts. This is where Restumping Melbourne shines, ensuring that the foundation is poured using only the best materials and smartest practices. This is also the step when footings (what connects the house with the earth) are installed.

Complete all rough framing

What on earth is rough framing, you ask? Rough framing is the roof systems, the walls, and the floor—they create the skeleton of the home, also known as the shell. This is also the step when the sheathing (plywood or strand board) is affixed to the exterior of the walls. Next, it’s time to install the roof, the windows and the doors. All of the sheathing is covered with a house wrap, which does not allow any liquid to infiltrate. No rot or mold entering this home!

Complete the roofing and siding

With the shell and the house wrap in place, you can begin to complete the roofing and the siding. This is a busy step, with lots of different players involved. It’s time to say hello to your electrical and plumbing teams, who can begin to run the necessary pipes and wires throughout the property. You finally have the room to drop the larger fixtures like bathtubs and sinks, so this is when these arrive and are installed, as well. Your HVAC team will install ductwork, as well as a furnace if necessary. Once your roof is in place, you have yourself a “dried in” house (layman’s terms—the trendy lingo you’ve been looking for!). One item of note—you’ll want to ensure that all plumbing and any HVAC duct work is completed prior to any wiring. It’s a little bit more tricky to run pipes and ducts around wires.

It’s important to note that many of these steps are bookended by important inspections by a variety of team players and organizations. Your neighborhood and city councils will definitely weigh in at some point. There are many different provisions in place for both your safety and the safety of those around you.

Stay tuned for future steps in How to Build a Home.