Going up - Accessing the Advantages of Building Upward

8th Jun 18

To build upward or outward? It’s a happy conundrum for anyone planning a residential or commercial new build. In the simplest terms, the difference between building up and building out is that of footprint size. The reduced footprint of a multistorey building can greatly reduce build and land costs and afford more location options. Another advantage to building upwards is the ability to create a more functional and compact home or office. The inclusion of stacked closets can also allow the future option of adding an internal elevator with minimal cost.

How does building upwards reduce costs?

The cost saving of building upward is two-fold. One advantage being that multistorey buildings with stacked living or working space allow more square footage over a smaller footprint. This means less materials are required for the smaller foundation and shorter roof lines, and in turn – less cost. In effect, by building a second storey instead of a sprawling single story, you can create the same amount of square footage with about half the roof and foundation area. Add another story and the ratio swings further in favour of building upwards…

The other main spatial advantage is the smaller footprint and reduction of land required to construct a two- or three-storey home or workplace. Less land = less cost. The need for less land is especially beneficial to companies that want to build on an infill lot, get close to the inner-city buzz, or both. It also creates opportunities to sublease different levels of the building.  For the residential homebuilder, the reduced footprint could instead mean that they retain more section to cultivate as back or front yard for the family to play in.



Futureproofing with option for internal elevator

There’s plenty of evidence that our amount of inclusive design housing stock in Australia doesn’t measure up with our aging population. With a reduction in mobility, elderly people are often forced to move into a house with a better design or into assisted living. Careful planning and inclusion of universal and inclusive design concepts at the outset means people can stay in their home well into their twilight years.

One way to futureproof residential homes is to include stacked closets in multistorey designs, which sees a stack of closets carry up through each level. To begin with, the closet space will feature temporary floors and be used as storage area. Further down the track, the floors can easily be removed, and the space converted into a vertical lift giving access to all levels in the event of disability or reduced mobility. Creative designs like this one see a staircase wrap around the stacked space, which is currently used for storage and a reading nook, but features wiring and the necessary overhead and pit areas required for an internal lift.

Commercial buildings can take the same approach, implementing the means for employees or customers to easily move between levels with the help of an internal elevator. For both parties, the capacity to install a lift and give hassle-free disabled access will increase the value of the property and make it more attractive to a wider group of buyers in the event of resale.

Saving now and saving later

Not only will building upward save money in the early stages with the purchase of less land and building materials, including a stacked closet and allowing for an internal lift will make things cheaper in the long run. Building a multilevel design that allows for a lift removes the high cost of any substantial alterations potentially required to retrofit a lift shaft into a residential home or office building.

If you’d like to access the advantages of building upwards by designing a future-proof home or office that provides great value for money, contact your nearest Vestner distributor for more information.



Image: 'Glass Office Building' by Ricardo Diaz under CC BY 2.0

Written by

As National Sales and Operations Manager, Mark’s role includes building and maintaining business relationships, and managing and overseeing larger projects, all while keeping a watchful eye out for business opportunities.  Having a background in the health and disability sector provides Mark with the necessary understanding to assist clients when considering access solutions for people with mobility requirements.

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