As specialist renovation builders, we only work with older homes. We have an extensive understanding of the technical building methods and different cosmetic finishes found in period homes across Melbourne and we have the skills and experience required to fix them. We expertly repair, enhance, and extend Victorian-era terrace houses; we extend and bring tired California Bungalow weatherboards back to life by reinstating their original period features; and we modernise, reconfigure, and extend dated 1970s brick veneers.
Some of the renovation-specific skills we employ when working with older homes are:
- Knowing how to remediate, strengthen, and bond old brittle house structures to new concrete slabs
- Correctly connecting new walls to existing walls to avoid differential movement and cracking
- Levelling and straightening old floors to blend neatly with new floors
- Identifying the structural repairs required to improve the liveability of existing buildings and prolong their lives
- Being able to recreate period features, such as verandah fretwork, tessellated tiles, corbels, and cornices from old photographs and historical drawings
- Creating harmonious junctions between old and new, and blending modern architectural extensions seamlessly with the period features of the original home
- Selecting energy-efficient products and materials that suit the character of the original building while enhancing its thermal performance and energy efficiency
- Providing sensible, balanced advice on which parts of a home are fixable, and which parts warrant demolition
Our extensive technical knowledge of older homes means we can provide design advice in the pre-build phase that saves the client’s time and money later. A common situation in which this is required is dealing with ‘copy–paste’ engineering designs. We have found structural engineers often provide generic, mass-produced structural designs that are not specific to the individual characteristics of an older home. This is where we can advocate on the client’s behalf to ensure that the design is made more suitable and cost effective for the job. This advice can save the client thousands of dollars if we are engaged early in the pre-build phase.
Below is an example of where we were able to offer useful advice to a client with a period home in Richmond.
- After reading the soil report in conjunction with the proposed engineering design, we identified that the footing and slab design was not suited to the soil profile found on the site, nor was it suited to the extremely narrow Victorian-era block. We were able to provide practical advice to the engineer to change the concrete slab design to better suit the block and the soil type.
- The engineer had also designed first floor supports which would have seriously compromised the fire-rating of a shared party wall. We identified these problems early in the build and provided a ready-made design solution to rectify the problem and preserve the fire-resistance of the wall without delaying the build.
If you are planning a major structural extension or renovation, Northern Building & Carpentry Pty Ltd are renovation experts who provide unparalleled workmanship, efficiency, and communication. Please get in touch to discuss how we can assist you with your next project.