If you’re thinking about building an addition to your home, there are a few important things to keep in mind, so your project goes as smoothly as possible. Below are a few tips to bear in mind, and to help keep you on track:
Determine Your Needs
Regardless of where you’re planning to build your addition, it’s helpful to sit down and ask yourself questions about what your needs and wants are for the space. For example: do you like to entertain while cooking in the kitchen? Do you tend to throw your jackets in a particular corner? Is your dining room too narrow for your dream seating arrangement?
Even if you have a clear idea of the kind of addition you want, bringing in a consultant can be money well spent because they can point out issues or make helpful suggestions that you may not have considered before.
Know Your Zoning Laws and Regulations
Once you’ve settled on what you want and what your budget will be, find a reputable architect and have them sketch out an approximation of what your addition will look like.
This is an important step because the person who designs your addition must be aware of the local zoning laws and regulations. He or she can advise you about any setbacks or potential issues before you begin building, such as how far the structure must be from property lines and the maximums for square footage and height.
If what you’re looking to build is outside of standard regulations, you will have to either change your plan or apply for a variance, which can be a long and drawn-out process. Enlisting some professional help early on can help you avoid this process altogether.
Decide Who Will Be In Charge
Some people opt to hire a general contractor to handle all of their renovations for them. This includes pulling permits, overseeing the construction process, and inspecting the quality of the floors and paint job. On the other hand, a more “hands on” homeowner will choose to supervise the project.
Hiring a general contractor can add anywhere between 20% - 40% more to the cost of the project, but it can be a boon for homeowners who don’t have the time, energy, and technical skill to supervise, inspect, and make sure that all work is done according to code and meets regulations. And, if you’re doing the project yourself, you’re also more susceptible to making mistakes (along with the time and cost to fix them) than a contractor.
Plan Your Progress
Particularly in cases where you’re acting as your own general contractor, it’s critical to know which jobs must be done in which order to correctly build your addition. For example, if you’re building a ground-level addition a new slab will need to be poured, but if you’re adding a second story addition over an existing section of your home it won’t be necessary.
Then, the next thing to do is to secure all of the necessary building permits so you can begin working. The frame needs to be built, then installing the windows, doors, and buttoning up the roof follows. Once the room is secured from the elements the process of adding the plumbing, electrical, insulation, and other steps follow.
There are also many stages, which a building inspector will have to sign off on for the work to continue, so be sure to plan for unexpected delays and surprises as a result.
For More Assistance
Building a new addition to your home is an exciting process, and can breathe new life into your home when done properly. Just make sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into, that you consult with professionals along the way, and that you plan, plan, and plan some more!