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bmt1970 03-04-2010 11:39 PM

time to build simple addition
Hi all - we are planning to build a single story 1 room addition off the back of our 2-story house. Pretty simple - demo the existing deck that is there, the land is flat, build a 20 X 23 square room, attach to the house and create access via a large opening (5 ft wide) in a load bearing wall (new beam will be exposed). The existing roof will not be touched. I have been told this is basically the simplest type of addition one can build: 1 story on flat land, no plumbing, no kitchen work, no custom built-ins, no fancy cathedral ceilings or such. Maybe a couple skylights, but basically a square box.

Here is what I dont understand - why does it take so long? I have been told by a contractor to expect 3 months even with me finishing the interior painting, trimwork and carpeting myself. This seems like a long time to me. I understand its more than a box and construction isnt easy - but this still feels at least a month long to me? Is he just trying to "milk" my project and make it sound more complicated than it is? I mean, how long does it take to build 80 linear ft of perimeter wall foundation (crawl space)? It seems once that is establsihed the floors and wall should start flying up pretty quickly. My entire house was painted in 2 days - same with the roof and gutters. So that cant be the hold-up. What takes so long - electrical? Drywalling?

Any thoughts? Feel free to tell me if I am just plain naive..

lemon714 03-05-2010 12:33 AM

I think 3 months is accounting for anything that can go wrong, and guess what?...there is always something.

This would be my schedule:

Engineer to spec the header size to carry any and all load points involved with your opening, accompanied with a stamped drawing. I can figure it out myself but its easier to get him to size the footings for the foundation for this new structure. Again accompanied with stamped drawing.

Pull permits. If your contractor asks you to do it, stop. Find a contractor that is legal and can pull them themselves. Any electric you run , electric permit and inspections.

Dig for footings and foundation.

Pour footings. Footing inspection.

Pour or build CMU foundation. Foundation inspection.

Frame and sheathe walls and roof. Framing inspection.

Dry in addition. (Roof)

Windows / Doors

Rough in electric. Rough in inspection.

Insulate. Insulation inspection (if your state requires)

Drywall- tape and finish.

Finish electric. Final electric inspection.

Prime /paint/trim

Final building inspection and C.O..

To do it right and legal there is alot that goes into this. In Philadelphia where Im located I listed the inspections I expect (may have forgotten 1 or 2). Other states have more, so please find out as much info as possible. Ask lots of questions and check the answers you get. Lowest price most likely means youll get what you pay for.

"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after low pricing is forgotten!"

Five Arrows 03-05-2010 12:58 AM

Permits and waiting
last house i did took 8 weeks for the permits to be issued. In a perfect world you could have everything booked end to end but it never seems to work out that way. You are right there isn't three months of constant work. Subs don't like to work on top of each other and in some cases one has to be finished before the other starts. Each phase gets an inspection. Got to have a signature before you go on to the next thing.

One other thing. There is a lot more dirt than meets the eye that needs to be removed. It decompresses when it is dug. You weren't planning on doing that yourself?

AtlanticWBConst. 03-05-2010 06:28 AM

I always add "time" to any estimated project duration. I'd rather look like a super star getting it done early, than like a sloth, for being late.

Example: I am starting an addition in the beginning of april. The work includes installing hardwood in the main home, remodeling the kitchen, among other things. My projected time frame is 2 months. That is in the perfect case scenerio (accounting for all inspections).

Rule Number 1 in construction: Nothing ever goes as planned.
Rule Number 2: You cannot plan for the unknown. There are always some unknown factors that pop up in remodeling and building/attaching additions.

If I know it will take me 2 months, I tell the home owner 6 weeks, possibly 12 weeks (3 months)....because I cannot control the Building Dept's inspection schedule, or the weather.

FWIW - The framing, roofing, windows, siding - goes pretty quick - after that, it slows down. Electrical, plumbing, insulation & inspections does that. The drywall goes fast too, but the finish work (trim, tile, painting, etc) - takes time = to get the details just right.

Scuba_Dave 03-05-2010 07:42 AM

I've found that everything takes longer then I expect
Digging the foundation, footing, walls, inspection & backfill could take a week or more depending upon your area

Is the contractor the GC or are you coordinating to have all the different items (foundation/electric/carpentry/roof) completed ?

I think adding on some extra completion time is not a bad thing

bmt1970 03-05-2010 12:49 PM

time to build simple addition
Thanks all - To be clear, I meant 3 months from the first day actual construction begin. At that time I would have all permits and stamped plans. Its the 3 months of actual buiding the structure that seem long to me.

I understand you cannot schedule for the unknown. I don't want the lowest price and certainly dont want to cut corners. However, I am concerned that things are slow here in POrtland (Or) and someone might try and milk my project for as long as they can. I would also like a GC who has a little fire in the belly and is motivated to work as efficiently as possible.

Sounds like you are saying 3 months is reasonable. I will of course get multiple bids and talk with other GCs.

Tom Struble 03-05-2010 01:18 PM

why wouldn't a gc want to work as efficiently as possible?sooner he gets done the more he makes

or are you being the gc and bringing in by the hour help?

in which case id figure another month

bmt1970 03-05-2010 01:48 PM

No - I am not going to be the GC. I am turning over the whole thing except painting the interior and putting up the mouldings and casings.

lemon714 03-05-2010 02:01 PM


Originally Posted by tomstruble (Post 410074)
why wouldn't a gc want to work as efficiently as possible?sooner he gets done the more he makes

or are you being the gc and bringing in by the hour help?

in which case id figure another month

It's nice to see other CT people over here helping.
Lemon=BFox on CT

on topic: usually the greatest things in life take time. Plan it right with some unexpected leeway and this will turn out great.

Good luck


Tom Struble 03-05-2010 02:06 PM

absolutly! Mr Fox good to see you here too:thumbup:

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