Construction of Home Additions—What Owners Must Know First

Posted by Justin Havre on Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 at 6:49am

What Owners Should Know Before Constructing a New Home AdditionRising property values and a growing need for more space makes a home addition construction project sound like a keen idea. Yet, renovations involving new additions can be extremely pricey and stressful to boot. Here are some tips for mitigating constructing a new addition in your Erin Woods home without blowing the budget and questioning your rationality.

Evaluate the Home's Structure with a Design Pro

The value of hiring professional contractors, designers and architects cannot be overestimated when planning a home addition. Even if the work will be performed DIY, expert help can prevent serious, costly errors, especially in the initial stages. For example, a home's structure literally dictates what type of additions can be constructed through an evaluation process that considers framing and utility access.

Additions are attached to the home, so the frame must be able to support the new structure and connect in a way that is safe and confluent with the property. Questions to consider include:

  • Are the home's walls sturdy?
  • Is the home single- or multi-storied?
  • Will new foundation be needed?
  • Will the addition attach to the roof, floor, walls, etc.?
  • Will temporary supports be required during construction to maintain structural integrity?
  • Do major systems like HVAC, wiring, plumbing, etc. require upgrades or retrofitting?

Determine how many major changes need to be made and whether it's truly worth the time and investment.

Obtaining Building Permits and Meeting Local Codes

In addition to any home-relevant National Building Code of Canada regulations, other building and territorial codes must be followed to ensure occupant's safety and reduce liability to neighbouring properties. These will vary depending on the province and city the construction occurs within, so inquire about local codes before settling on a design. Restrictions homeowners may encounter dictate the size of an addition, siding options, energy standards and the dimensions of home additions. Some urban planning rules even require plans for add-ons to be signed and approved by technologists or architects. Fortunately, many permits and the instructions for obtaining them can be found though local and national government resources.

Consider the Extras Involved in Additions

Many homeowners forget about costs associated with expanding living space beyond what the eye can see. However, there may be a need to update the electrical panel to accommodate for energy use, which can run up into heavy-duty bills. If the space is to be a bathroom or indoor spa area, an additional sump pump may be needed. Other ‘hidden' costs might involve upgrading the furnace, installing new electrical panels, strengthening the foundation or dealing with special soil and grading conditions as a part of the project.

Keep in mind, that each ‘extra' needed to complete the project adds to cost. However, this is a perk of working with professional contractors, as they can typically get materials at lower costs. This means you can meet codes, get what you really want, and know that quality craftsmanship is all a part of the deal.

Obtain Home Construction Insurance

Home construction insurance to cover yourself is just as essential as hiring a permitted and insured contractor. When getting this temporary coverage, go ahead and inquire about potential quotes for covering the addition as a part of the home upon its completion.

The bottom line is that hiring a professional remodeling and renovation expert to guide the process and assist in overseeing the work done by experienced contractors can make or break the entire project. Home additions and DIY don't mix for the average homeowner, so don't hesitate to get the help you need for success.

Justin Havre is the top producing REALTOR® with RE/MAX First, Canada's very first RE/MAX brokerage. Calgary real estate is his passion; Justin specializes in Southwest & Northwest Calgary homes for sale. He can be reached at 403.217.0003 or contacted through this site.

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