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Building an extension. What are the regulations in Canberra?

By turveytops7 - 12 October 2011 18

Hi All,

Does anyone know the regulations in regards to have an extension put on?

We are looking to extend our house and have plans approved but we are now been told that we need to have the new windows double glazed and that we need to have 5.0 rating batts in the roof but all this for only the new extension part.

The extension itself is only increasing the size of the house by 25% by putting on an extra bedroom and extra living area.

Thanks in advance

What’s Your opinion?


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18 Responses to
Building an extension. What are the regulations in Canberra?
rosscoact 4:23 pm 13 Oct 11

gertel said :

One architect told us he felt the gubbmint was insisting on the upgrades to existing windows etc to encourage people to knockdown and rebuild instead of renovate/extend. Means you end up with a 6 star house which looks better for them.

Yessssss. we play riot act bingo here in the office on when the first conspiracy theory will appear in any thread. And I’ve had my first win. And the pot is looking pretty healthy.

Well done and thank you.

Now back you your normal program

powerpuffpete 3:14 pm 13 Oct 11

Who certifies an extension? I thought ACTPLA approval was enough…

I’ve been considering double glazing to retain more heat during Canberra’s harsh winters but it’s too expensive…

I suppose as long as you’re not over-capitalising and will be living in the house for a while it’s worth it anyway.
Good luck with it all.

turveytops7 1:43 pm 13 Oct 11

Thanks for your replies everyone. It still leaves us confused though. Our architect (who has seemed very knowledgeable about all the other requirements) has not mentioned this, our plans have been approved by ACTPLA and it is only now that we are dealing with the certifier that it has been brought up. I would have thought if it was a requirement it would have to be mentioned on the plans. Anyway like someone said the extra cost compared to the total cost is not that much. It is definitely an expensive exercise to extend. We have had a number of builders encourage us to knockdown rebuild, but the total cost is out of our reach.

gertel 12:38 pm 13 Oct 11

Well I’m glad to hear (in one sense) that others were given the same sort info as us re the glazing requirement. The confusion surrounding the whole thing, along with the cost of the extention ($160,000 for an extra master bedroom with ensuite/WIR) helped us decide to move instead.

One architect told us he felt the gubbmint was insisting on the upgrades to existing windows etc to encourage people to knockdown and rebuild instead of renovate/extend. Means you end up with a 6 star house which looks better for them.

buildingquoteHQ 10:52 am 13 Oct 11

dpm said :

buildingquoteHQ said :

…..there are many interpretations getting around and different certifiers will approve different things.

….. Is it all about bribes then?.

Bribes would be much easier! Confusion (created by messy legislation) is the problem.

dpm 10:13 am 13 Oct 11

buildingquoteHQ said :

…..there are many interpretations getting around and different certifiers will approve different things.

Great, that’s just what I wanted to hear. Nothing shits me more than ‘the luck of the draw’ with certifiers. Is it all about bribes then? The whole planning area needs a reboot.

buildingquoteHQ 9:24 am 13 Oct 11

madamcholet said :

We were advised two different things by architects quite recently. One said that if we added an extension and left it open plan we would need to double glaze the whole house. If we had doors separating the house then only the new areawould have to double glazed. Bummer as we want alot of glass.

The other mobwho we decided t o go iwth for our plans said they didn’t believe for what we wanted it would be a requirement – and we want a room added that would be 32sq m.

I think you will find that the first piece of advice is more accurate, although as i have previously posted; there are many interpretations getting around and different certifiers will approve different things.

madamcholet 8:10 am 13 Oct 11

We were advised two different things by architects quite recently. One said that if we added an extension and left it open plan we would need to double glaze the whole house. If we had doors separating the house then only the new areawould have to double glazed. Bummer as we want alot of glass.

The other mobwho we decided t o go iwth for our plans said they didn’t believe for what we wanted it would be a requirement – and we want a room added that would be 32sq m.

buildingquoteHQ 11:02 pm 12 Oct 11

sexynotsmart said :

Lovebumps had two builders around to quote for adding an extra bedroom – 12 square metres of slab, three walls (10 linear metres), one window, extend existing roofline. Flat level site, no plumbing, no existing services to move.

Lowest quote was $110,000.

Replacement cost for the entire house is $250,000 (based on price enquiry with a company displaying at Crace).

So we’re no longer looking to extend.

FACT : Extending/renovating is generally double the cost per sqm than building a new home.

buildingquoteHQ 10:58 pm 12 Oct 11

Let me start by saying that there is no more confusing and misunderstood issue in the extension/renovation market than the energy rating/glazing requirements. To the rioters who are frustrated with the new homes EER rating system and its requirements; that system is a walk in the park in comparison.
Inexplicably, a few years ago the ACT government decided to use the “glazing calculator” which is part of the Building Code of Australia as a tool to measure the improvement of thermal performance in home extension projects, even though the tool was designed for use on new homes only. In many cases the ability to gain the “tick” required to get a pass was impossible; unless you were happy to have only a couple of porthole sized windows dotted around your new family room – regardless of how much you are willing to spend on the highest spec double glazed windows! There have been several changes made to the legislation to allow a more equatable result; with only limited success. The result is widespread misunderstanding of the requirements as there are many patch-ups fixing patch-ups in the current legislation.
In our building design practice we find out who the certifier is so that we can get an understanding of how that certifier interprets the requirements, and we have experienced many differing views resulting in many different ways around a problem. It has taken our office several years to get to a point where we have a little bit of confidence in dealing with these issues – but here is my best piece of advice…..

Contact Greg at Envirohome – 6262 7878. We have found his advice and knowledge invaluable. It is also worth talking to the certifier; there are some that will happily help you through.

Good luck

sexynotsmart 7:21 pm 12 Oct 11

Lovebumps had two builders around to quote for adding an extra bedroom – 12 square metres of slab, three walls (10 linear metres), one window, extend existing roofline. Flat level site, no plumbing, no existing services to move.

Lowest quote was $110,000.

Replacement cost for the entire house is $250,000 (based on price enquiry with a company displaying at Crace).

So we’re no longer looking to extend.

daddy 6:33 pm 12 Oct 11

We extended last year. Our specification to the builder was double glazing as well as ceiling and wall insulation. He never told us about regulations as we had already asked for the items to which you refer. This was to bring it into line with the existing house which already has double glazing and heavy insulation from reno 10 years ago. Yes, there is more expense involved. Yes, it is worth it. If you view the extra expense as a percentage of the job it is not that bad.

JC 5:22 pm 12 Oct 11

Surprised about needing double glass, don’t think that is specifically required. In regards to bringing the rest of the house up, a friend of my recently extended and was forced (notified) at the last minute about the need to improve the older part of the house. Don’t think it had to go to the same standard but certainly more than what it was, in particular roof insulation and changing the glass in some windows to safety glass.

mikal 4:15 pm 12 Oct 11

Oh, and my architect told me that you’re now required to bring the old bits of the house up to the same energy star rating, which is a surprise to me.

mikal 3:31 pm 12 Oct 11

This is consistent with what happened with our extension six months ago. In fact, we were forced to add low-e glass to our double glazing, but that might have been because we have lots of glass. The existing bits that we didn’t change did not have to be upgraded.

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