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Old 02-16-2010, 10:42 AM   #1
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What is an addition


What exactly constitutes an "addition"? Is it something that adds to the footprint of a home, or can an existing unfinished space be considered an addition? say for example an unconditioned basement room where the rest of the basement is finished... or a unfinished "bonus room"... would finishing that be considered an addition?

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Old 02-16-2010, 10:48 AM   #2
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What is an addition


Improving or finishing an 'occupied space' requires a Permit here.
Any place you might be normally expecting to be inside a building and making non-cosmetic changes needs to be done under permit. Especially if you are doing any changes to the structure or affecting the occupancy. Ie: making that room into an office or bedroom.

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Old 02-16-2010, 10:59 AM   #3
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Improving or finishing an 'occupied space' requires a Permit here.
Any place you might be normally expecting to be inside a building and making non-cosmetic changes needs to be done under permit. Especially if you are doing any changes to the structure or affecting the occupancy. Ie: making that room into an office or bedroom.
See this is where I get confused to heck... because the building department told me I only need a permit if its addition... but they wont expand on what an addition technically is here... but I told them what I want to do (finished an unfinished space that is already in the house set up as a 2nd floor room, just never finished) and they tell me no permit its not an addition... but it just seems hard for me to believe that isn't an addition because it wasn't previous living space and I would need HVAC extended into it and electrical extended to its own circuit... along with drywalling and putting in a sub floor (right now you can see through the joists to the drywall below... the builder never subfloored it... ugh)
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:03 PM   #4
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What is an addition


Agreed - sounds like a permit would be needed. However, if your building department says not so, I would document who, when, and what was discussed with the building department and move forward with the project.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:16 PM   #5
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What is an addition


Not sure there is one easy answer to your question. Generally, projects I work on require permits, inspections and licensed electrical and plumbing contractors to sign off on any conversion of space to a state of being considered liveable.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:20 PM   #6
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What is an addition


An 'Addition' is what ever the building department says it is.... That being said, I'd CYA.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:41 PM   #7
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Permit requirements vary wildly from state to state and municipality to municipality. BlueBSH, I live somewhat near you and no permit is required for me to finish my basement. In fact, my TWP doesn't even require any inspections, not even for framing or wiring. In most of PA, they don't care what you do inside of your existing house, but it's up to you to make sure it's up to code if you ever plan to sell it. Philadelphia and Allegheny counties tend to be more strict about stuff in general. I'm in Allegheny and find the permit requirements to be quite relaxed, especially compared to folks in other states.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:53 PM   #8
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Permit requirements vary wildly from state to state and municipality to municipality. BlueBSH, I live somewhat near you and no permit is required for me to finish my basement. In fact, my TWP doesn't even require any inspections, not even for framing or wiring. In most of PA, they don't care what you do inside of your existing house, but it's up to you to make sure it's up to code if you ever plan to sell it. Philadelphia and Allegheny counties tend to be more strict about stuff in general. I'm in Allegheny and find the permit requirements to be quite relaxed, especially compared to folks in other states.
Well at least someone around me (within 60 miles) has a similar situation... just kind of bugs me though not needing a permit... you read all the books and talk to people watch all the shows on remodeling and they all say you need a permit for this work, then talk to the government and its oh no you dont need one for that... it's like wait what, did I say something wrong or am I missing something here...
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:59 PM   #9
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What is an addition


A addition to me is adding on to footprint requiring a foundation etc. Finishing a basement or bonus room is not an addtion to me. The town might not require a 'building permit' but you still will need electrical permits and plumbing permits if any of that type of work is done.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:05 PM   #10
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The town might not require a 'building permit' but you still will need electrical permits and plumbing permits if any of that type of work is done.
Even this varies from location to location. As I said in my previous post, my township does not require permits for electrical as part of finishing a basement. They do not inspect it, either. They simply provide you with a copy of the code they follow and leave it up to you to follow it. It's in your interest to follow it, because it will be inspected if you try to sell the house, and not-to-code work will stop the sale from happening.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:35 PM   #11
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What is an addition


To cover yourself, I would write a letter to the Building Dept, detailing the work you plan and get a response in writing as to whether you need a permit.
Send it "return receipt" so you know they received it.
Not everyone who picks up a phone gives correct information.
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:12 PM   #12
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A addition to me is adding on to footprint requiring a foundation etc. Finishing a basement or bonus room is not an addtion to me. The town might not require a 'building permit' but you still will need electrical permits and plumbing permits if any of that type of work is done.

Ironically, I was just told by the person who does the electrical inspections for new houses, you do "not" need a permit to add a circuit or alter an existing circuit as long as it complys with the NEC... he said they only inspect new construction service entrance connections and panel work on new contruction or panel replacements... this town is starting to scare me if they dont inspect anything but new construction... ugh
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:31 PM   #13
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What is an addition


You seem to have very inspection free town. Some people would call that a good thing.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:11 PM   #14
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What is an addition


Some years ago I live in a small town in south Georgia. I wanted to build a 16x28' detached garage/workshop. I stopped by the house of the town constable/caretaker/everthing else guy to discuss requirements, permits, plans needed, etc. He followed me over to my house - where I showed him the area where I was going to build and talked about what I wanted to do in very generic terms just standing in the yard. He said all sounded good to him - I asked about the building permit - he said I had just got it...
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:28 PM   #15
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What is an addition


You all that don't need them, don't move to Mesilla, NM. You can't paint your garage without a permit. Historical towns suck.

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