Home additions in Northern Nevada “6 things to consider”
- Know your flood zone: Many home lots in the Northern Nevada area lie in flood zones this can affect your ability to do the addition you may be planning. In some cases the size of the addition you can do may be limited, the finish floor level may need to be higher than the existing construction, or certain types of construction may not be allowed, for example you may have to build a new slab foundation next to an existing wood foundation to meet flood zone requirements. A design professional can quickly research your situation and let you know your limitations.
- Be aware of county codes and other restrictions: All counties have building codes that regulate things such as building location, height, roof pitches, overhangs and other architectural features. If your home is in a housing development with C.C.R’s (Codes, Covenants and Restrictions) these restrictions may go further, limiting square footage and if you can have a detached structure for example. If you are in an environmentally sensitive area you may be under the jurisdiction of an organization such as the T.R.P.A. (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency). In these areas you may not have the ability to do an addition to your home. A design professional with experience in these matters should be consulted to see what your options may be.
- Hire a qualified designer and engineer: Hiring the right design professional is your best first step to a successful addition project. Check references, get advice from local builders, talk to other homeowners in the area who have built their own homes or have done additions. You can usually find out who has a good reputation in your area with minimal effort. A good designer will help you realize avenues and possibilities for your project that you most likely would never think of. Save money, heartache and time by hiring a qualified designer. A good experienced engineer will save you money through “value engineering” That is not “over engineering” a project to provide a factor of safety with extra building material that is not necessary. A good designer will have a working relationship with the best engineers in the area.
- Do not over design for your area: It is important to know the homes around you. Your addition should not make your house twice as large as any other in your neighborhood. You want value for your addition dollar for future resale.
- An addition should not look like an addition: The initial thought for many home owners is to design additions in existing roofed areas of your home, examples being garages and covered porches. Usually this leads to bad design as a family room in a garage is almost always in an inconvenient location away from other activities in the home. Adding space in covered porch areas encloses existing rooms leaving them with limited exterior views. Many of these solutions also lead to an home exterior that looks as if it was added on to. An existing driveway leading to a new bay window where the garage door used to be is a great example of what should be avoided. A good designer can bring fresh ideas to the process. Designing up with a partial second floor on a single story home is often a great way to make an addition appear as original construction.
- A general contractor can save money: Many home owners look to save money with the elimination of a general contractor. This is not always the best idea and can actually cost money and time over the course of the project. A general contractor will have rapport with local building officials and inspectors. They also will have a working relationship with all the sub-contractors that will be involved, and know the best individuals to hire. They can monitor workmanship, timeliness and will get a better price from sub-contractors in most cases than if you hire them. General contractors also have knowledge in finding systems and products that work well in the Northern Nevada climate.