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JaredC 08-03-2012 04:27 PM

Purchased home with addition with no permit.
Hello everyone!

I hope this is the correct area for me to post this, I felt the topic could have possibly been posted in a couple different forums.

I've been dealing with a problem for the past 3 months now, so this break down may be long-winded, but I want to make sure I provide enough information for everyone in hopes that someone has some insight on my problem.
-My wife and I purchased a HUD home a year and a month ago, the home was sold "as is".
-There was an additional built on to the back of our house that we used as a family room.
-We had our house appraised for a refi 2 months ago after owning the house for about 14 months, and while the appraiser was in our house, he said the addition was no where noted on the tax records, nor did it have a permit from the city.
-The appraiser prior to our purchase did not notate anywhere that the room had never received a permit from the city, nor that it was not on any tax documents.
-The bank will not allow us to close our refi loan without a permit from the city.
-I've been speaking with the city the past two months, and they came over about a month ago to check the add on out.
-They said they would need a signed and stamped letter from a Engineer stating that the add on was structurally sound and safe, and that if they can get this letter they won't need to come back, they
can just pass it through, and give me my permit, which will allow us to close out on the loan.
-I had a friend that has his BS in Engineering (not a certified engineer yet/doesn't have a stamp) come over and work out all the structural information, and dimensions, and worked up a quick drawing.
He punched in all the info on to some engineering website, and he said it showed that the way everything was built, vs spacing, vs length of house, payload, etc. came up good. He just doesn't have
a stamp to approve it.
- I finally paid an engineer to come over and see if he thought it was up to code enough to sign and stamp off on the room, here are the issues he brought up:

-I do not think the exterior footings work, although I do not exactly how they are done. I suspect it is a post and beam on concrete post footings similar to those in the middle of the floor. I don’t think they work because they are not 30” below grade and the concrete footing is not sized properly to transfer the floor and roof loads to the ground.
-The floor structure is acceptable as framed, it is bolted to the foundation and has beams at the midpoint of the span and presumably a beam at the exterior wall. the floor joists are sized properly to carry the floor load.
-The roof is not sized properly. the 2x6 roof rafters are overspanned. We do not know the connection to the existing house or the connection to the exterior wall.

From his response, I’m guessing the two areas that I’m going to need to have fixed are the roof and the footings. Doubling up on the joists in the roof won’t be too hard, if all I will have to do is take down the drywall, and add a joists in between each original joist to double up and ½” the space between joists. My biggest worry is the footings…. Is it even possible to add footings to an existing room already built? Utah law requires 30” down into the ground.. I just can’t fathom how I would add footings, 30” down into the ground, on a room that is already built.

To give you guys a brief idea of what my addition looks like, it looks like it was built on a deck. The room is around 28’ x 12’ long, it has about a 1’ to 2’ crawl space that can either be accessed from the drain/windows from the basement, or by taking off the side paneling on the exterior of the house. Ive provided a picture of the exterior, interior, and a couple pics of what it looks like underneath to give you guys an idea.

This had been a complete nightmare, especially being a first time home buyer. I’ve definitely learned one thing out of this whole experience, and that’s don’t buy a HUD home :laughing:

Any help, advise, input, would definitely be appreciated. I've got a guy that was suggested to me by a friend that does remodeling coming over tonight to take a look at it, hoping he might have some input. I'll update as more information becomes available.

joecaption 08-03-2012 06:31 PM

No way for anyone here to know from here, but that sure looks like it was just built on pier blocks sitting on the ground. A major no no.

Now your stuck with having to find a mason, not a contractor to dig a footing and add a block foundation. Not cheap after the room already been built, but do able.

Know you can see why over and over we stress "get a permit".

user1007 08-03-2012 06:37 PM

Thanks for your post. Although lengthy I hope those who wonder if they should get permits for work or just sneak on additions and things read it to see what the purchaser goes through when all is not in place. Obviously you bought as is but it is still strange someone did not spot something in the title documents?

It sounds like your city building department is being fair and rational about things although you will have to pay the piper something I am sure. At least it sounds like they had no major inspection issues. You were wise to approach them ahead of time to see what they wanted and expected you to do rather than trying to play cat and mouse.

As far as enhancing the foundation there are ways to do it so do not panic. They may not be especially inexpensive and save for doing some of the dirt work will probably not be a diy project. You won't know how much you can do until the project is scoped out for you. The excavation needed may chew up pieces of your yard for a time too so be prepared for that.

I would continue on the path you are on but look for some estimates from contractors that do foundation work on existing structures. An engineer, architect or building designer will know who they are in your area. And you may need more specific drawings, sign-offs, permits and inspections.

Of course we are in August already so finding all the contractors and subs before weather turns could be an issue to keep in mind.

I hope the appraisal of the added square footage of the addition is not going skyrocket your taxes. Hopefully the value added now that the addition will be legit will please the bank?

Keep us posted? Good luck to you!

beenthere 08-03-2012 06:58 PM

Moved to Building and Construction forum.

GBrackins 08-03-2012 09:10 PM

see if you can discuss with the engineer that wrote your report on various ways to mitigate the problems. they may have some good solutions that others may overlook and since they've been there I'm sure they have already given it some thought .....

tough situation to be in, I feel for you .....

Good luck!

JaredC 08-06-2012 11:08 AM

I wanted to thank you all for your quick responses, I really appreciate everyone taking the time to add their thoughts and input.


Originally Posted by sdsester (Post 980826)
Obviously you bought as is but it is still strange someone did not spot something in the title documents?

I completely agree, it makes absolutely no sense at all, which is why I decided to get a Real Estate Lawyer involved. (as more of an on the side thing, as I am not waiting for a response from him to move forward)

I had my contractor come over on Friday, he took a look at it, and said it was definitely doable.... but that it definitely was a mess. From what he could tell, they basically just took an existing deck, and inclosed it, without doing anything properly.

I have his engineer that will be coming over, to basically come up with a fix, draw something out, and than my contractor will give me a cost. At that point in time, the wife and I will basically have to come to a decision on how much the room is worth it to us, because he had warned me it could end being much more expensive of a project than we may be hoping for. If that's the case, he had suggested putting up a door, and knocking the room down, turning into a deck, which would be much cheaper of an option.

I'm honestly ok with either option. I'd prefer keeping the room, but getting this refi done, and my house up to code is my primary concern.

I'll keep you all posted. Thanks again for every ones help and input!

user1007 08-06-2012 11:49 AM

If you would like the addition, you might ask the contractor for a comparison of cost to tear it off and do a proper addition to trying to retrofit what you have. Something tells me the numbers could be close to each other. Fixing what you have might save on materials but I imagine it will be labor intensive.

Sorry you have to go through all this. Hope the real estate attorney can help you recover some costs.

JaredC 08-06-2012 01:46 PM

That is a fantastic point. That option hadn't even crossed my mind. I'll definitely make sure to bring that up to him this week.

Thanks for bringing that up!

robertcdf 08-06-2012 04:00 PM

Easy as pie... Remove everything from the room, pull the carpet and set it aside (reusable) remove all the floor sheathing (or old decking), dig proper piers (speced by the engineer) with NEW beams, 2' in from each end (joists cantilevering over the beams) and in the center (or however as needed based upon floor joist span as speced by the engineer). Pour all new piers and let them cure, then remove the old beams, and posts. All the frame is now sitting on new proper piers, and it shouldn't be too difficult to dig with the floor sheathing removed. You already know how to handle the roof issues so I don't need to comment on that.

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