‘However location of the stairs needs to be taken into account,’ he says.
‘Building a second storey means that you lose space – on both levels – with the installation of a staircase. That might mean the loss of a bedroom or study; they do take up a fair bit of space.’
So, are spiral staircases the solution?
‘I try to talk my clients out of them,’ he says. ‘It’s much more difficult to get furniture upstairs with a spiral staircase. I also think that walking down a spiral staircase is potentially dangerous unless the steps are really wide.’
A second consideration is cost.
‘While there’s not the need to put down a slab you still have to put a second floor up there,’ Cameron says. ‘Those costs tend to cancel each other out. In the end, what matters is the number of rooms. If you’re looking at something small – like putting on one bedroom with a bathroom – then I’d recommend an extension. But once you get beyond 70 square metres on the second level, you start getting better value for money than a ground floor extension.
This option suited the clients in Wynnum West who required a master bedroom with ensuite, walk-in robe, balcony, sitting room and linen closet as well as some lower floor renovations.
Another consideration is determining which option will involve the least mess and dislocation to the homeowner’s lives. ‘Ninety-five per cent of clients for whom we do a second storey stay in the house,’ Cameron says. ‘We do have to get into a few rooms and put in extra braces and posts. While it’s a building site, our concern is always to cause the least inconvenience as possible to our clients.’