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FAQ

I hope this has been informative and helpful and As always feel free to e-mail or call with any questions not answered here and I will be happy to either answer them here or e-mail you directly. Let’s make another great house together!

When do I need a permit?
You are typically required to have a permit if you increase the square footage of your house or make structural changes. Some towns also require them for roofing, siding,
windows and bathrooms. -A quick call to your local building dept will determine this.
What is required for a permit?
Depending on what you are doing structural changes will usually require drawings, if the total cost is below $10,000.00 these can usually be done by your contractor.
When do I need an Architect?
This is usually determined by the cost of renovations (usually above $10,000.00) and whether it is structural, once again a quick call to the building dept. will decide this. Most contractors will not estimate large jobs without stamped plans
How long does it take to get Architectural drawings done?
Most architects will take between 2-3 months, sometimes 4-6. Our architect can usually provide them in less than a month, and at a very reasonable price.
What is a setback?
A setback is the minimum distance between structures on your property and the edge of your property. In other words your house or garage or pool, may have to be at least 30′ from your front property line ,20′ from your back property line and 15′ from your side property lines. These #’s can change within your town and even on your street it depends on the zoning of your house. Once again a quick call can give you this answer.
When do I need a variance and what is it?
A variance is a request you make to the town for you to, build beyond your zoning minimums, you may want to build beyond your setbacks or cover more
square footage of your property than you are allowed or even make your house taller than is allowed.

Usually it is not to hard to get a variance for one of these,but you have to go before a review board and it takes a couple of months, the more variance s you try to get or the further you encroach on what
your property is zoned for the harder it is to get approvals for.

What is a plot plan and When do I need it?
Also known as a survey, your plot plan should be in with the papers you received with the purchase of your house. I t looks like a scale drawing of your house on your property, if you were looking at it from an airplane. You will need a copy of your plot plan to apply for a permit if you are adding structures or changing existing ones.
What is a frost line and how does it affect construction?
A frostline is how deep the frost goes into the
ground during the winter, it is different in different areas. Your footings for any new structure are required to be below the frost line that depth in our area is typically 36-42” deep. If you r footing is not deep enough the structure could heave or move during the winter and cause damage to the structure. Some small stand alone structures like sheds are exempt.
What is an Egress window ?
An egress window meets certain minimum opening requirements, and allows a person to escape there bedroom in the event of a fire.
Where do I need an egress window?
Required in all bedrooms. A 2nd door can also fulfill an egress requirement.
Is my basement too deep for an egress window?
An egress window can be installed in a basement, that would not normally acommadate one,in conjunction with a window well.
Can I put an apartment in my basement?
Yes, you can. You can not have separate services or “legally” charge rent. But you can put what is commonly referred to as an in-law apartment in your
basement with its own kitchen and bathroom.
How long does it take to get a permit?
In most cases, if all your papers are in order ,and you do not need a variance, you should receive a permit in 2 weeks. But it doe s vary from town to town.
Why do I need a contingency fund?
It is just good practice not to build out to the edge of your budget. And as a precaution you should have 10-20% extra for unanticipated repairs. This does not necessarily mean your contractor is taking advantage of you,he really does not know what is behind your walls until he opens them up, he does not come equipped with x-ray vision. Some extra s you
could run into are; Termites, mold, faulty wiring,leaky pipes or bad construction practices within the walls. It is actually a good thing when your contractor finds these things and fixes them rather than
covering them up, because they are only going to lead to bigger problems later, some potentially life threatening. The vast majority of our work has no unanticipated extras, less than 5%, and I have never
charged 20% extra, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.
What else do I need to consider?
When undertaking a large remodel you are going to want to know if your “mechanicals” can handle it. Do you need to up grade your electric service? If you have a 200 amp service most likely no, If you have a 100 yr old 50 amp, most likely yes. Is your furnace, AC unit and hot water heater, adequate, up to date and sized properly for the anticipated extra loads required. A scrupulous contractor will tell you these things going in, rather than letting that and other things be an unanticipated extra so they can low ball the job to get your signature and down payment and hammer you later. Buyer Beware!