Back to overview

Gain square footage by increasing the height of your home

08 April 2020

Moving up, a high-flying operation 

Cities are getting busier and more densely populated – raising the height of homes and buildings is becoming a common operation. By extending or raising the height of existing houses onto flat roofs, new homes are being created.

The optimisation of buildings by raising their height has been common since 1980 and has been done successfully in many large cities for several years, such as in Berlin, London or Paris where there is a serious housing shortage. This construction method can also yield significant results in rural areas, for example by increasing the height of a bungalow and adding a second floor.

The two advantages of such a solution are interesting: on the one hand, the consequences for the environment are smaller, and on the other hand, the added value a roof upgrade yields is generally considerable.

There are different building methods that can be employed:

  • A timber frame
  • Concrete
  • Heavy steel frame
  • Light steel frame.

This last construction method, light steel, suggested by beSteel makes it possible to add one, two or even three floors to an existing building without having to reinforce the existing foundations.

Steel frame construction has generated a quantum leap of progress for construction projects, not to mention the associated cost savings, reduced nuisance for neighbours, and the sustainability of the method.

Flat roof or pitched roof: which can have the height increased?

The height of any type of building can be increased: offices, the top floor of a building, or a house in the countryside, a flat, sloping or terrace roof… Anything is possible.

What does it take to upgrade? beSteel will carry out a feasibility study and do the calculations and then provide a detailed load diagram of the structure. The feasibility of the project is then checked. However, steel construction means beSteel has been able to fulfil 100% of all requests it has received.

Why the metal frame? In 75% of the cases, raising the height of the buildings was impossible using other construction methods because the point loads were too high. With light steel, the weight is no problem: the steel frame avoids the need to reinforce the existing foundations.


Height increases in the city

Steel frame

Engineering, design and production of the steel frame by beSteel. Construction time reduced by more than 40%.

Terrace or green roof

Accessible terrace, green roof and installation of solar panels.

Little change in the existing roof

Limited burden for the current occupants of the building.

Existing building

No changes within the existing building, no reinforcement of the foundation thanks to the steel frame.

The stages of increasing the height of a building

  1. Building permits
  2. Co-ownership agreement (if applicable), if shared ownership
  3. Choice of construction method: beSteel will be involved in this. We carry out the feasibility study for your project and refer you to the best construction partner in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Let us show you the way. Without the proper guidance, this method can sometimes prove to be an obstacle course. In close collaboration, the architect, beSteel, the construction company and the stability engineer form a working group to deliver the framework of your project in less than 8 weeks.
  4. Opening of the existing roof (if necessary) and construction of the new construction