Tag Archives: Remodel

Permitting Your Remodel. What to Expect.

All too often I come across clients who waited until they were ready to start construction before they began the permitting process.
Assembly of the Architectural Design, Engineering, and other documents needed to procure a permit can be very time consuming.
Normally, you should allow at least 3 months for all of the pre-construction requirements. But these days, it can easily go beyond that. I have one contractor friend who tells his clients up front that they should expect at least 6 months for permitting.
Now that so many municipalities are having difficulty keeping up with all of the submittals, things are tending to take a bit longer than normal. And every municipality is different as far as their staffing and procedures.

Here’s a breakdown

of the normal timeframe but these times can vary significantly.

Remodel Permits

  • Architectural- Finding the right fit for an architect can be a daunting task.
    As it always goes, the best in the business are very busy and could be backlogged for months and are most likely the most expensive. Don’t think you can have plans designed and drawn over the course of a week or 2 because that’s not going to happen.
    Plan on starting your search for the right architect or drafts person long before you plan on beginning construction. I would suggest allowing at least 4-6 weeks for the plans to be ready for Engineering once you have an architect on board.
  • Engineering- Although some Architects have in house Engineers, most in my area get their structural engineering done by outside sources or Structural Engineering Firms.
    There, your plans might sit for 2 or 3 weeks waiting for the Engineer’s review and markup. Typically the Engineer will redline, or mark up, the plans with all of the necessary structural elements needed to meet today’s Engineering, (structural), standards.
    The plans are then sent back to the architect for redrawing, then back to the Engineer for the Engineer’s stamp.
  • During the Engineering process you many need to assemble other documentation like truss calcs, which consist of a diagram of the roof truss layout and all of the truss design specs and load calcs. And, in California, you will also need to submit Title 24, or Energy calculations, showing how your project will meet the energy efficiency standards required in the State of California. Again, some architectural firms have an in house person who does their Title 24s. Others have them done by an outside source and these can also take 2-3 weeks.
  • Submittal for First Plancheck- Here’s where the municipalities, or different Building Dept. standards and procedures can vary.
    Sometimes, if they are too overwhelmed with submittals, they will send them out to a third party for plan check.
    I’m always skeptical when I ask at the Building Dept. how long I can expect to wait for the first plan check because if, by the time you actually submit the plans, they become inundated with a more than normal amount of submittals, the plancheck time can be extended.
    Once the plan checker is done reviewing your plans they will mark them up for corrections which will need to be done by the architect, (and Engineer if engineering corrections are requested), then the revised plans will need to be re-stamped by the Structural Engineer and re-submitted for the second plancheck. Although it’s very rare for the need for another round of corrections and a third plan check, it does happen occasionally.

Be aware that some areas have additional requirements. Like architectural review and approval of any Homeowner’s Associations prior to submittal for plancheck.

And in my area, Sacramento California, You may be living in a Citywide site review or Historical area that requires you to submit your intent with photos and exterior material samples, among other things, for Citywide Site Review which costs an additional $500. This is above and beyond the permit fees and can take as long as 6 weeks. You are unable to submit your plans for permits until Citywide Site review is complete and approved.
If you are getting “bids” for your project before you have completed County or City Approved Plans, you should expect pricing revisions as the Building Dept. may require additional work beyond the perceived scope to meet their standards.
These will need to be adjusted in price and could be very significant.

Many Contractors will not provide ANY pricing for projects without an approved, Engineer’s stamped set of plans.

On a final note, before or during the process herein, you will be doing yourself a great favor by making as many, and as specific selections of materials and finishes as possible. Without specific selections called out, your contractor can only provide allowances for these items which may not meet the standards you envisioned.
And make sure the final contract calls out as many materials and finishes as possible to avoid any confusion or holdups during construction.

Are You Really Ready to Remodel?

Contract Negotiations What to Expect
Although most of the content of this writing can be considered universal in almost all remodel projects, bear in mind that not all information herein is to be taken as “written in stone”.

As a 30 year Residential Contractor, I find that there are a handful of very important procedures that are taken far too lightly by homeowners who are prospecting remodels and new home construction.
The following are some of the steps that should be taken in the proper order to assure a smooth and seamless project.

Do your homework
There is a lot of due diligence that can be done prior to searching out your Project Contractor. Some of the things that need to be researched are; Continue reading Are You Really Ready to Remodel?

Our latest Master Suite Makeover

We’ve just completed another master suite makeover that we wanted to share with you.
The project scope of work included removing a wall between the dressing area and bathroom to make a larger Master Bath complete with new cabinets, plumbing fixtures, counter tops lighting and tile.
Removing the carpet in the bedroom area exposed a beautiful oak floor which was re-finished. We also added new lighting fixtures n the bedroom, baseboards and a fresh coat of paint.
Watch the video of the completed project here-

Is ROI the most important influencing factor for your prospective remodel?

If it is I’m afraid I have some bad news. According to the latest report published in the mainstream consumer media, CnnMoney.com, in it’s analysis of the 2010 Remodeling Cost vs. value survey.

“In general, anyone planning a home remodeling will pay a lot more for the job than they will get back in return when they sell. Only 60% of remodeling costs in 2010 would be recouped by homeowners, the report said.”

It seems that the payback on most remodeling projects will not yield the returns of years past.
So maybe it’s a good time to re-think the value of ROI in a broader perspective. The big picture might go beyond hoping the expense of the project can be recouped in the sale.

Consider, for example, the value of having the kitchen that is custom tailored and built to suit your specific needs. Or the master suite you’ve always dreamed of with the jacuzzi tub and dual shower heads. The advantages of a healthier indoor air and living quality for you and your family when investing in green products. The value of the relationships you’ve built over the years with your neighbors and the amenities you’ve grown accustomed to.
When considering the option of moving to a home “more suitable” to your needs, we need to factor in the expense of moving with real estate fees, actual moving expense, the unknowns of new neighborhoods, etc.
Another thing that should be taken into consideration is the fact that most people end up doing a substantial remodel on their new homes within 12 months of moving in.

So, do we go ahead and spend the money knowing the return might not be there? Spend the money on something that will produce a better return? Or do we opt instead for “greener pastures”?

Click Here for more on the survey.

What to Expect From Your New Home

After reading this article,(link below), by John Lemon in Fine Home Building Magazine,  I immediately clipped  and made several copies and declared it a must read for all of my clients. The article was published in 1999 and maintains a spot in my job completion folder to this day. This is a comprehensive overview of some of the things that can be expected after moving into your new home or remodel and how to handle them.

” Now that the punchlist is completed and the troops have departed I want to wish you luck in your new home”

Click here to read the .PDF