Getting Started On That Room Addition
Are you expecting a new addition to your family? Are the in-laws coming to stay? Are you a victim of the boomerang generation? Whatever the reason may be, you need more space! Don’t get caught up in the red tape of building codes and state laws. Arm yourself with knowledge. Here are a few tips to get you started on that new room addition to your home.
Building Codes & Land Law
Building codes and land laws could easily stump your average home owner. A good tip to know is that most states, instead of making up their own regulations, follow an international set of regulations determined by the International Code Council (or ICC). International building code or IBC applies to almost all new buildings. International Existing Building Code (the set of codes you would refer to in this instance) applies to the alteration of your home. These codes are updated by the ICC every three years. It should be relatively simple to obtain a full list of these codes if you just search the ICC’s website.
Building Out vs Building Up
Another principle decision you must make when adding on to your home’s structure is where you will build the addition. You must decide whether your family will be best suited by a vertical or horizontal addition to your home. There are pros and cons to both building up and building out of your home. Here’s a brief layout of just a few of those:
Pros – Building out provides the least disruption of your daily life. Your family won’t have to change their routine too drastically. Also, if you are building a small add-on, you may be able to do a “bump out” and avoid any foundation alterations.
Cons – Building out on your land could cause you to run into zoning law issues. You also lose a portion of your yard when you build out instead of up.
Pros – Building up saves your yard from being altered. It also keeps you from running into zoning restrictions and floor-area-ratio limitations. The red tape that can result from building out instead of up can outweigh its benefits altogether.
Cons – If you choose to build up, you need to account for about 80 to 100 square feet for a stairway to be installed. You should also realize the amount of disruption your daily life will suffer. Your contractor may have to tear out ceilings and walls to install extra structural support for the upper level. It’s costly, and not very visually appealing. As long as that doesn’t pose an issue for you or your family, it’s not that bad of a con.