How to Prepare for a Home Addition Project

By Kayla Keena

Contemplating  a  home  addition  involves  getting  deep  into  details  beyond  flooring  and  paint colors. Adding living space to an existing home creates a substantial disruption to your living situation and your landscape. Whether you are  adding  a  bedroom for an elderly relative who needs care, a long-desired sunroom, or improvements intended to increase your home’s value, think about how to prepare for a home addition project.


Property Lines, Permits, and Insurance

The design  is the fun part, but marking your property lines and obtaining  necessary   permits   are   essential   to   the process. Encroaching    on    a    neighbor’s   property,   violating    zoning regulations   by   adding   too   much   height,   or    crossing the required setback may mean you have to  tear  everything  down and start  all  over  again.  Find  out  if  it  is  allowed  and  what’s prohibited in your location prior to beginning your project.

Part of preparing for a home addition  is  hoping  for  the  best,  but  preparing  for  less  than  that.  Your  builder  should  provide a certificate of insurance naming you as an additional insured, as well as proof of worker’s compensation and other liability insurance. On top of that, check with your homeowner’s insurance about risks you may be responsible for and what is covered, if your home is damaged during construction.

Prepare Your Landscape

If you’ve been saving for this home addition for years, the little sapling in your yard may have grown to  become  a  mighty  maple or oak. Identify trees that could be affected by construction and take steps to protect them. Accept that some plans may require tree removal. 

Determine   how   your   contractor  and  workers  will  get  their  tools  and  equipment  on  to  your  property.   They   will   need an unobstructed path to their work area, and that path may be right across your front yard.  

Think about how to accommodate workers’ needs for a restroom. Will the contractor provide port-a-potties and are they allowed in your locale? You will also need to consider how your contractor will store tools. Find out  if  they’ll  be  taking  over  your garage with saws, air compressors, and concrete mixing equipment. Ensure your wiring can handle any large equipment, such as floor sanders, the contractor may use.  

Also,  attend  to  fire  safety.  A  few times a year, you may read on your local news app that a home under renovation burned to the ground, and the blame is laid on a tool that was left connected or running. Talk to your builder about what procedures they have in place to prevent such mishaps, like checklists for when workers begin work and when they quit for the day.

Stay or Go

Decide  whether  you  will  move  out  during construction. If moving out isn’t an option,  plan  for  disruption  throughout your home. Dust can get everywhere.  Your  contract should include   defining   who   is   responsibl e  for   erecting  dust barriers  (thick plastic walls, floor to ceiling, and taped down) to do the best possible job of containing dust to the 

work area. Building on any scale involves considerable banging, vibration, and noise. Consider packing away precious heirlooms and your favorite knick-knacks. Cover furniture with dust and drop cloths and retreat to a limited area of the house. If the addition will disrupt your kitchen, laundry, or bathrooms, figure out a workaround. Your contractor may be able to help create a temporary kitchen, but any new connection to a sewer requires permits and inspections.

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