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Old 02-09-2009, 08:52 PM   #1
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Complexity of Addition

We are attempting to determine if we can/want to/should build a modest addition on our 3 level DC rowhouse. We have met with a number of contractors and architects and there is a tremendous disparity in the budgets they are suggesting. Some seem to think it is a fairly easy build out, while others suggest it is very complex.

As you can see from the attached photos, there is a portion of our home that dips in, approximately 10.5' D x 5' W. We would like to enclose this space, gaining between 40 sq. ft and 50 sq. ft per floor for a combined addition of 120 - 150 sq. ft. The basement level will just be a simple finished space, the next level will have a powder room and the upper level will have a full bath.

For what it is worth, all the systems in the house, plumbing, HVAC and electrical are sufficient to handle the addition and would not need to be updated.

Some of the contractors have indicated that the basement level, of course would be very easy, the second level would actually be built on top of the basement "party wall" (where there is currently a short non structural brick wall) and the upper level would be cantilevered. Others have been less specific but seemed to indicated that it would be complicated and VERY expensive.

I know there are many variables, but looking at the attached photos, any thoughts? How difficult does this appear to be? If you were to do this yourself (I won't, I love to work around the house, but this is way too big), how would you do it? I know that prices are so fickle, but in very general terms what do you think a build out like this might cost?

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Complexity of Addition-rear-angle-2.jpg   Complexity of Addition-rear-angle-1.jpg   Complexity of Addition-rear-close-up.jpg   Complexity of Addition-rear-basement-entrance.jpg  


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Old 02-10-2009, 06:09 AM   #2
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Not an architect, but I agree it would not be inexpensive. It has to be tied into the party wall and that opens up all kinds of problems, physically and legally. You will gain a small amount of space, but at what cost. Really depends on your budget.


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Old 02-10-2009, 06:31 AM   #3
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The price will be inordinately high for the space gained. Seems like a waste of resources. If you were going to increase the space, why not put it on the back of the house.
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:55 AM   #4
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You're talking fire-rated construction at that party wall, and that will not be cheap. There are very possibly some logistical problems with that as well. Your walls will have to be rated to protect you from your neighbors and vice-versa. That cannot be done from one side, it must be done from both. You'd only be able to access your side of the wall for attachment of the sheetrock, and access to both sides would be needed in order to get the rating. So you'd be paying to work in your neighbor's home as well. Plus, it is unlikely that windows or doors would be allowed that close to the firewall.

I'd wager that for what it would cost you to add less than 150 square feet of space in the proposed location, you could build several times that elsewhere on the structure.

Not sure if resale is on the horizon, but added value of the project would be negligent, especially when compared to cost.

I'd drop this idea like a hot rock.
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