Home Renovation Project Updates

Anstead Project Photo Update

A photo update from our home renovation project under construction at Hawkesbury Road, Anstead.

Designed by Local Concepts.

This project involved removing some walls from the ground floor level of an existing house and replacing load bearing walls with steel beams and new columns.

Structural engineer : Cornell Engineers Brisbane.

Home Renovation

5 Must-Have Features of a Home Renovation

I’m Matt Cornell. I love structural engineering.  When it comes to renovating, these are my 5 must-have features for any home renovation project.

High ceilings

When the air-conditioning isn’t on, the next best way to improve the ambiance of a room is to have beautiful high ceilings. High ceilings allow air-flow and dramatically improve the feel of a room.

If you are raising an existing house or adding a building extension, don’t feel that you have to match existing wall heights. Aim for a 2.7m wall height if you can. If you’re feeling really luxurious then you definitely must have 3 metre high ceilings.

High ceilings in a living room or bedroom drastically make a home more appealing and more valuable to me.

Built-in Ethernet cabling

Televisions and computers (and soon fridges) need high speed internet to make them really useful, and high speed internet is best and most securely served by traditional blue or yellow cables.

Wireless is fine for Ipods and tablets, but to get the most out of your leisure time, open your electronic gadgets up to the world of fast internet. The best time to run these cables during a renovation is before the wall cladding goes onto the walls. After that getting internet to your 3 televisions and 4 computers becomes a lot more difficult and expensive.

Connect every bedroom and every living area with Ethernet cables for the absolute best value. Run all of your cables back to a central location, install a data switch and a small rack next to your modem and experience the benefit of having a connected house.

Exposed Hardwood

There is nothing as beautiful and warming as a solid hardwood feature in a house. I love hardwood staircases and hardwood flooring. Use recycled timber for a more timeless aesthetic feel. Carpet and tiles look wonderful, but feature hardwood timber to add big value for me.

Street Appeal

Having a luxurious house hidden behind a dingy façade is a little old fashioned. A beautiful house starts with a front elevation that has a huge wow factor.

Big WOW means different things to different people, but for a building to have WOW factor it must have a commanding presence. It must have shapes and overhangs to shade the walls. It must have windows positioned to provide privacy to the internal spaces. It must have a link to heritage and character of the street and yet be unmistakable in its presence.

Great street appeal adds huge value for me.

Reverse cycle air-conditioning

When renovating in Queensland, adding air-conditioning is a “must have” because air-conditioners add big value to homes. Better still it must be reverse cycle air-conditioning.

Air-conditioning is affordable to everyone now that energy efficient air-conditioners are available. I prefer split systems over ducted systems because I am only in one room at a time and I’d prefer to only heat or cool that room.

In your next renovation throw out the old window wall air-conditioners and get a professional to install split systems into every living room and bedroom.


If you’re planning a home renovation or a new home, how many of these features will make it onto your features list? Speak to your building designer and Cornell Engineers about how to add real, timeless value to your next home renovation project.

Home Renovation Project Updates

Corinda House Renovation Photos

I did the driveway slab pre-pour inspection at our Corinda, Brisbane job yesterday.

I used the opportunity to take a few photos around the site. The builder is James Maguire Construction.

The building designer is NEO Building Design.

Structural engineer is Cornell Engineers – Structural Engineers for Queensland.

Back slab and rear wall
Build in under rear view
Front stairs
Build in under new stairs
Back stairs
Build in under back patio
New wall
Build in under front view
Internal stairs
Build in under internal stairs
Home Maintenance and Repairs Home Renovation

5 Home Renovation Products from Sika

Renovating or building? These are my favourite five Sika construction chemicals that you’ll need for your next home renovation.

Contact Details for Sika

Fresh update! This page features our favourite Sika products; but the best way to get hold of a Sika product is to contact Sika directly. Check out this link:

Sika MonoTop-Primer

If you’re patching cracked or broken concrete, Sika MonoTop Primer is what you apply to the old concrete first to make sure the new concrete sticks. Brush, roller or spray on – it’s easy to apply and will improve the bond between old and new concrete.

Get Sika MonoTop Primer from Bunnings


Multi-purpose flexible joint sealant for use inside and out. Seal the gap in brick control joints, around windows and doors and wall and floor penetrations.

This stuff sticks to concrete, brick, tiles, moist metal and most timber.

My favourite use for Sikaflex-Pro is to seal the  gap between concrete paths and brickwork walls to prevent water running into the ground adjacent to house footings. It’s great because, when installed correctly, the sealant flexes open and closed without tearing.

Get Sikaflex-Pro from Bunnings


If you’re building a retaining wall or a basement then you need to make sure water won’t come through your wall. SikaTite-BE is a water based bitumen  emulsion that can be applied on the soil side of the wall. Spray, roller or brush on.

When I specify a bitumen based waterproofing membrane – this is the black stuff I’m thinking of. I also like to specify it as a treatment for DuraGal galvanised steel to stop it rusting where it is in contact with concrete.

Contact Sika directly.

Sikasil C AP

A range of coloured silicone sealants to match the colours of your kitchens and bathrooms. These arty-farty colours will blend in nicely with the look you’ve got going.

Seal the gap behind the new kitchen bench and along the side of your new bathroom vanity. So much more in sync with the vibe than sticking to white, colours like Taupe, Ivory, Pewter and Stone! Pretty fancy and jut perfect for your renovation.

Grab it at Bunnings


Wanna get stuck? DIY renovators that want to stick something to something else – or itself – will love this stuff. Handy aerosol adhesive for multipurpose sticking.

Please don’t use it to fix plasterboard to a wall or to glue coins to the footpath – it’s more suitable for art and craft, repairs, and making stuff. Those TV renovators probably use tonnes of this stuff.

Get Stuck at Bunnings


Cornell Engineers are structural engineers in Brisbane and Mackay.  We work with and specify construction chemicals regularly and these were our favourite 5 products form Sika.

When working with construction chemicals, please read and follow the instructions. That’s why we provide links to the Product Data Sheets – please use them.

Thanks for checking out our page on Sika Construction Products. Let us know your favourite products if you get a chance!!

PS. and thank you Sika Australia!

Home Renovation Project Updates

New Farm Renovation, Brisbane

Cornell Engineers are pleased to announce they have been awarded the structural engineering design and documentation of the proposed renovation of a duplex unit in New Farm, Brisbane.

Director, Matt Cornell, said “This building has a lot of hidden potential. The owner has great insights and will be able to turn this property into a gem!”

Cornell Engineers provide structural engineering for new houses, extension and renovations in Brisbane and Mackay. The Brisbane market is performing really well and a tasteful renovation and extension makes great sense. Matt Cornell said, “We’ve had some great feedback from clients. We offer a personalised and intelligent structural engineering service and that complements committed and involved owners and builders. We particularly love working with our home owners and designers. I guess that’s what makes us a little bit different to the current offerings in the market.”

Rear wall to be removed
This wall will open up into a new light-filled courtyard.
Before Photeo - Reno Project
This building will get a spruce up with some minor structural upgrades.