Should you renovate and extend or are you better off to do a knockdown and rebuild from scratch? Which option is best for you?

This is one of the most common questions our clients ask! Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. There are many variables that need to be taken into account when exploring your building options.  

First and foremost is planning constraints. In Brisbane there are character zones which, if applicable, will limit or prohibit the demolition of your existing home and also stipulate strict planning requirements about what you can do to the existing property.


Different zones have different planning constraints and overlays, which outline performance outcomes and acceptable outcomes such as property setbacks, development types, architectural design elements and materials.


Other planning overlays in Brisbane and surrounding suburbs include, zoning, heritage, traditional building character, neighbourhood plans, noise corridors, bushfire, flood, sewer and storm water and a long list of development codes.


Brisbane City Council has a free online interactive mapping service, which allows you to complete a quick property search to reveal the property zoning and relevant overlays on your home.


At Update Renovate, we offer a full property review as part of our concept service, during which we obtain a property report and provide infrastructure mapping. This is done before completing a concept design plan, to ensure we take into account all constraints applicable to your property.

Hamptons Style Second Storey Extension Facade

It will depend on your existing home and the type of result you’re looking for

In the new home market, you can find anything from budget investment homes to custom homes with small to large price tags. Typically, if you’re an existing homeowner and you’re looking at either extending and renovating or doing a knock down and rebuild. You won’t been looking at the budget home end of the market.


Update Renovate Managing Director Ray Hattin has first-hand experience in this realm. He and his wife had a three bedroom, one bathroom home in Mount Gravatt East. The house was built in the 1970s, had been well maintained and was in original condition throughout.


They purchased the home back in 2015, before kids, and are now a family of four with plans to make that five in the coming years. They recently completely renovated and extended this home with a second-storey extension and complete renovation, which has more than doubled the liveable space.


Their extended home is now a bespoke six bedroom, three bathroom residence with spacious deck, double carport, smart home wiring, premium ducted air conditioning, custom cabinetry throughout and a 10kw solar system.


Works were staged over three years and the family were only required to move out for a period of four weeks while the majority of the ground floor alterations took place. In total, the project cost $575,000. Had they knocked down and rebuilt the same house from scratch, it would have set them back somewhere between $750,000 and $800,000 including demolition fees and six months’ rent.

Contemporary Style Second Storey Extension Facade

Why did they renovate and extend instead of knocking down and rebuilding?

Ray and his wife certainly could have knocked down and built a new off the plan, five bedroom, two bathroom project home for a similar cost. However the level of finish and inclusions would be incomparable. In addition, they would have been out of their house for a minimum of six months and ended up with another cookie cutter home.


For the couple, this was a very simple decision. In fact, this family home is set to become the office and showcase display home (by appointment) of Update Renovate in 2021, so stay tuned for the grand opening!

What’s the takeaway?

To many people, a six bedroom home may seem excessive, however since the global pandemic and with the ever-evolving workplace, the need for a dedicated and well set-up home office is becoming a prerequisite in most modern homes.

In our experience, the decision to either knockdown and rebuild or renovate and extend comes down to your needs and the desired level of finish. As a general rule of thumb if you were to compare like to like, you would most likely be better to renovate and extend than knockdown and rebuild for a higher quality finish and level of inclusion.

However, if you’re more interested in value for money and are happy to be more limited in selections and finishes, a knockdown and rebuild project-style home would be worth investigating once the estimated cost of works reaches $400,000 – $500,000.

To put it bluntly, not every home is worth renovating and extending due to a combination of the existing condition, layout, site position and property constraints. Whilst knockdown and rebuilds are not something we undertake here at Update Renovate, we will most certainly advise you if we believe your house doesn’t have potential or if we think you should investigate the new build pathway.

Compare the Pros and Cons

The pros and cons of renovating and extending

Pros Cons
Stay in the house (excludes lift and build under) More expensive to build per m2 compared to new
Suitable for highest and low set homes Potentially hazardous materials to be encountered
No moving costs or rental fees (excludes lift and build under) Minor disruption (Depending on scale & design)
No real estate or stamp duty costs to sell and move on Typically requires additional upgrade/rectification work to plumbing and electrical services
Often the only option where demolition controls and planning overlays apply
Ability to stage the works over a number of years (dependent on scope and design)
Ability to add character or modernize your home (dependent on scope and design)

The pros and cons of knocking down and rebuilding

Pros Cons
More cost effective to build per m2 Moving costs
Less maintenance required Rental fees (during build)
More opportunities for modern lifestyle and design layouts (for less cost) Not suitable where demolition control overlays apply
Less character
Typically lesser quality finish with limited selections and standard inclusions

At Update Renovate, we offer a unique all-in-one design and construction service to remove the hassle and simplify your building journey. If you’re considering a renovation or extension project, or are interested in learning more about what could add value to your existing home, get in touch with Kevin and Ray to discuss your dream home today.

Our Happy Client’s Kind Comments

Why did you choose Update Renovate?

From the very first meeting with Kevin and Ray we felt very comfortable and there wasn’t the hard sell that we have previously experienced when we attempted this project with another company. Ray couldn’t of been more helpful, during the design stage we were trying to cut costs and he was more than accommodating, offering suggestions and making amendments to suit our needs. All of the tradespersons were very professional, approachable and accommodating and most importantly we felt totally comfortable with the crew at our property at all times.

Finally we are absolutely happy with the final outcome of our second storey extension. We would definitely use Update Renovate again for our next project and recommend them to anyone looking to extend.

Wayne & Sue Power, Bracken Ridge

Would you choose Update Renovate for your next building project? Yes

We are very happy with Update Renovates work completing our extension. During both the design and construction processes, we greatly appreciated their flexibility to accommodate changes, professional advice and ideas. Also the minor maintenance jobs they completed around the house were a real bonus! Thank you!

Melinda & Geoff Ericksson, Eight Mile Plains

We would love to say thank you to the whole team,

Firstly Ray, thanks for being so prompt to my barrage of emails and questions, you were always so helpful that I never had any doubts. Secondly we cannot sing the praises of Rob and Lachy enough, they are not only talented carpenters they are also lovely guys who made our building experience very enjoyable, so much so that our 2 year old was in tears when they finished. We love our new home and don’t know how we lived without the space. So finally, thanks again you have a great team.

Matthew & Jenna White, Ipswich

We are very happy with the end product. The professional service and advice provided throughout the project was both helpful and greatly appreciated. Specifically thanks to Ray and all the Update Renovate team who had a hand in the extension and renovation.

Would you choose Update Renovate to complete you next building project? Yes

Would you recommend Update Renovate to family and friends? Yes

Roger & Lynn Lane, Upper Mt Gravatt

From the initial quote through to the final completion of the job, Update Renovate were both very professional and thorough. All the tradespeople were polite, on time and the whole process was simple and well managed. We are very happy with the result and would not hesitate to recommend Update Renovate to other customers.

Would you choose Update Renovate to complete any future building works? Yes

Ken & Gill Miller, Carindale

The carpenters and all the tradies that came to our house where great. Most noteworthy, the plaster repairs are seamless and the tiling is terrific. Many thanks to Kevin, Leigh, Peta, Dave, Phil and everyone involved. We are very happy with our extension and have already recommended Update Renovate to a few friends and family.

Sally-Anne & Adrian Waller, Carindale

How do you rate the building and construction stage?

All the Update Renovate carpenters on our job were both very friendly and professional. Dave and Phil were always able to answer our questions and were able to accommodate the small changes we made during the build. We are extremely happy with the work that Update Renovate has done for us.  We love our new house.

Hamish & Natalie McLean, Holland Park

How do you rate the initial consultation and concept design stage service?

We were very happy with the initial consultation with Kevin. He was both open and honest and had some great ideas that we hadn’t even thought about. Also we felt reassured that he knew the full building process, had a good understanding of building regulations and most importantly he wasn’t just a salesman for the company.

Hamish & Natalie McLean, Holland Park

How do you rate the initial consultation and concept design stage services?

Excellent and very accommodating. Both Kevin and Ray contributed simple and practical ideas that resulted in an excellent functional design that met our needs and budget. They provided great advice, were quick to make changes and respond to our questions.

Scott Shooter & Melanie Wilson, Wakerley

Would you use or recommend Update Renovate again in the future?

YES 150%. We are completely thrilled with the result. The whole process was simple and practical. Furthermore the team was excellent and very considerate of our needs while we lived and worked from the house. 

Scott Shooter & Melanie Wilson, Wakerley

Thank you all for the excellent work you have done on our house over the past year. Everyone was polite, considerate and helpful and all work of an excellent standard. Thank you Kevin for your patience with us and the calm, efficent way you tackled all our requests and problems as they arose. Special thanks to Tim and Peter the tiler for their meticulous attention to detail, we are very happy with our new improved home.

Shane Roberts, Camp Hill

Great response to concerns and rectified issues as they arose, not that there were many. Very flexible, we had to delay start date and team was understanding of that. Staff who worked on the site were fantastic, very helpful and friendly. Happy to explain and seemed very proud of the work they did. Office team also very responsive and got back in reasonable timeframes.

Julie & Marshall Newton, MacGregor

Fantastic service from start to finish. Very happy with the process and end result of our renovation.

Simon & Hollie Strong, Mt Gravatt

Ray, Kevin and the Update Renovate team worked with us from start to completion and guided us every step of the way. They took great care to help us create our vision and welcomed our input and feedback.  Throughout the entire project, communication was of the highest standard and we always knew where things where at. The team were always respectful of not only our family, but also our neighbours. We stayed in the house through the build, and the site was always left clean and tidy and the team went out of their way to make this as seamless as possible.
We could not be happier with the finished project and highly recommend Update Renovate.

Jason & Fiona Strong, Mt Gravatt East

We would definitely recommend Ray, Kevin, Rob and the team from Update Renovate. They are a very organised outfit who delivered exactly what we wanted in excellent time and outstanding quality.

Simon Hartigan, Holland Park