We have a home, which built before 50 years, now we are planning to built one more home on top [ terrace] , Is it right to go ahead & built new home on terrace ?

or do we need to check any other things before building new home ?

As the current home is 50 years old, will it survive if we build new home on top ?

Our Main intention is to keep the terrace secure....

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The FIRST things to check are the laws of the country you live in. In most first-world countries, you can't just build anything you like anywhere you like, even if it is properly designed and safe. You start by drawing some plans and getting them officially approved by someone ... $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Apr 22, 2019 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot @alephzero , we will do that, but can you please tell what exact things we need to check , is that a soil or anything else ? please guide me..... is there any proper procedure for that?what procedure civil or structural enginners will follow and tell us ? $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2019 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ This may seem like a good idea, but in many locales this would mean that even the rest of the house will need to be taken to current code. This may not be what you intended, as it may mean a lot of work on electricity, plumbing etc. of the old part $\endgroup$
    – joojaa
    Apr 23, 2019 at 5:39
  • $\begingroup$ @joojaa Thanks a lot.... Can you tell me Is there any way to test ? someone said : civil engineer will make a big hole of 5-6 feet & check the condition there, is that true ? $\endgroup$ Apr 23, 2019 at 10:29

3 Answers 3


Yes, you should check that the foundation and intermediate floors will carry the extra load.

  • $\begingroup$ Let me add, just starting building is a very bad idea. Chance is the building was never meant to have extra load like this, never mind after 50 years of deterioration of the construction. OTOH it will be possible to 'fix' it to hold the load. In many areas regulations prevent new construction but allow renovation and expansion of existing ones. There are firms that can turn a ruined wooden hut into a glass&steel apartment building, replacing parts without ever passing a phase of 'the original is torn down' - essentially no matter what the state of the old building, it can be adapted. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Apr 22, 2019 at 12:59
  • $\begingroup$ @SF. are you addressing the OP? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 22, 2019 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ yes. .......... $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Apr 22, 2019 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ @SF. well it came straight to my inbox. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 22, 2019 at 13:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ From what and how you ask, you need an architect and a structural engineer, people with the skills and knowledge to evaluate the property properly. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 22, 2019 at 13:52

Please consider this as a major modification to your building structure. In my area, there are laws that govern this type of modification and require that the design be performed by a qualified professional engineer.

It is very unlikely that your house will tolerate this modification as is. An engineer will do an in depth review of the building, and work with you and your design team to determine what will be required to make the change.

There are many possibilities to make it work, but it will be constrained by your budget and the ability of the construction team.

*The civil / structural engineers will likely want a full assesment of the existing structure. Types and sizes of materials used, method of construction. For the soil they may not need to perform any test, but a geotechnical assesment of your site is highly advised (this will make sure there are no problems with the site and provide for a more optimized design of any new foundations that need to be built.)

I would recommend having a contractor (or someone very knowledgeable about construction) on your design team as early as possible. Much of what can be done will hinge on the ability of the constructors.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot.... Can you tell me Is there any way to test ? someone said : civil engineer will make a big hole of 5-6 feet & check the condition there, is that true ? $\endgroup$ Apr 23, 2019 at 10:27

You have to investigate your existing building and compare it to the local codes.

It may turn out that the expenses of upgrading the existing foundation and walls to the new code to make them safe for a second story, are too high.

Many of the cities have free or reasonably priced initial engineering consultation in their building permit department.


After the comments by the OP.

I can only tell you the steps needed to be taken in California, but it may be similar at your place.

  • you go to your building department with a very rough sketch of what you plan to build.

  • They send a geologist or technician to pick up available documents and data about your project and visit your home.

  • he may give you a report of allowable soil bearing and drainage codes, etc, or he may decide that you need to provide a geology- soils engineering report.

  • Soil engineer asks you for a more refined plan of your second floor reviews those and digs trenches to collect samples and give a report addressed to the city as to competency of your soil and details of modification to the foundations and bearing walls and seismic provisions, etc.

  • You hire an architect and engineer to design the addition. Or you can prepare the plans and specifications by certain home designers if the existing foundation and first story deemed to be strong enough.

  • In many cases the modifications of the existing building to make it strong for additional support for second floor prove to be more expensive than demolition and new construction of a two story building.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot.... Can you tell me Is there any way to test ? someone said : civil engineer will make a big hole of 5-6 feet & check the condition there, is that true ? $\endgroup$ Apr 23, 2019 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ Yes as per.of the geotechnical work they may dog a pit or perhaps test borings from around the site $\endgroup$
    – ShadowMan
    Apr 23, 2019 at 15:18

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