Prior to starting a remodel or addition project first assess the existing property. What are the physical constraints that might limit the size and scope of the project, including setbacks, height limits, easements and grading issues? It’s also important to evaluate the structural integrity of the existing building. Does the property have soils or foundation issues that need to be addressed? These are important questions for each of the following types of remodel:
As Built Plans:
In order to create drawings for the new construction, the architect must have plans for the existing building. If plans exist, that’s great. If not, the architect must measure and create as-built plans for the building.
Many houses need much more than just a little more space or a new kitchen. Most homes built before the 1990′s and many built after that are woefully inefficient from an energy standpoint. Homes built before 1950 are suspect for having unsafe wiring. It’s a good idea to involve a contractor and/or an inspector to evaluate the integrity of the home. Consider an energy audit to determine the weak spots in the buildings thermal envelope and heating and cooling systems.
Components to consider:
The design process is similar to that for new construction. See the PROCESS page on this site.
Keeping Additions Compact:
It’s best to confine the remodel to one or two discrete units of space. If you need more room it’s much less expensive and disruptive to add one larger space than several smaller ones. A substantial amount of the cost goes to demolition and subsequent repair.
Remodeling can be time consuming, disruptive and dirty. Carefully consider whether you want to stay in the house during the remodel/addition construction. Often the builder can get the job done more quickly, with less stress and expense if the owners aren’t occupying the home during construction.