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Additions and remodeling: Questions and Answers

1. Can I build or remodel the way I want?
  There is a lot of room for variation in design and layout, but there are also a lot of rules. Basically, there are two types: building codes that control the details of construction, and zoning ordinance that control not only what you can build but where you can build. It’s always wise to contact the planning department of your city to check the options.
2. When do I need a building permit?
  Generally, any project that calls for a foundation, walls, even new window installation or door replacement, requires building permit
3. What is the process of getting the building permit?
  The complete building permit and inspection process consist of assembling blueprints for your project, filling out various forms about the building’s square footage and such, getting your permit approved (and paying a fee), having the inspector check crucial stages of the job on site and, finally, obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy when the job is done.
4. What information do I need to submit to the city?
   The best way to find out what information you need to provide to the building department is simply to ask them. There is no one rule. You may find that few blueprints are enough in a rural area with small building department. In densely populated areas, you generally need a complete set of blueprints. The full set typically includes a cover sheet, plot plan, complete existing and proposed floor plans, four elevations, foundation, roof framing and one or more pages of detail drawings, often shown as section through the building, that covers crucial framing connections and other aspects of construction, Energy compliance calculations, if you adding a living space.
5. Where do I find a contractor?
   We can refer reliable contractors. You can check with a better business bureau, they will assist you with a list of professionals in your area. You can also apply for a homeowner builder permit and do most of the construction yourself.
6. How much will building plans cost?
   In most cases, there is no need to hire a certified architect or structural engineer for home remodeling or additions. Our fees generally range from $2000 to $7000. For commercial property and new construction, the prices are higher.
7. When structural calculations are needed?
   Structural calculations are needed if you are adding a second floor, two story addition, removing bearing walls, vaulted ceiling, etc. We can refer you to a fairly priced reliable structural engineer.
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