High-set house sold as 2 storey house.

Carried out by Peter Weddell, owner/operator of Qld Home Buyers Inspection Service

This post highlights serious associated problems that often occur from this type of conversion.  

Can the problems be economically rectified ?

Definately not, without removing all of the lower floor and rebuilding!

The bottom line. A high-set house is not suitable for conversion to a 2 storey house!

This high-set house that was supposedly converted to a 2 storey house, according to the agents brochure. The house had been inspected by a certifier only once, on completion of alterations to the lower floor area, not during the alterations, as would be required.


Serious faults with this house cannot be rectified, without major reconstruction. It would not be viable!

No weep-holes to lower external brick walls, also very unlikely to have damp-course barriers fitted during construction (common problem with high-set houses). This will allow rising damp, potential for rot to concealed wall framing timber also health problems with inhabitants.



There was significant undulation of the slab from expansion of the soil causing it to lift.



The ceiling heights of all lower areas advertised and used for living were under the local authority requirements for use as habitable areas.


High moisture meter readings

The meter readings were higher than usual indicating rising damp from the slab also high probability that there would not be a waterproof plastic barrier below. This is common practice for a slab built for a non-living garage-storage area. This is definitely not acceptable in habitable areas!


Rising damp: 

Exposed section of the slab showing rust to steel spikes of smooth edge strips (that secure the carpet) caused by rising damp from below the slab indicating a breakdown or lack of damp barrier below the slab.

High-set house sold as 2 storey house

Important notes:

  • The house was being sold as a 2 storey 5 bedroom, in fact only 2 bedrooms were compliant with local authority suitable for use as habitable areas. According to the buyer the house was priced to sell as a 2 storey house.
  • The lower floor area was originally a garage and suitable for storage only, not for living purposes.
  • Rising damp may be acceptable in garages, but can pose a health risk for inhabitants of living areas.

For independent Building Inspections Brisbane in all suburbs, Qld Home Buyers Inspection Service. qbis.com.au