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Old 11-09-2010, 04:28 PM   #1
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New addition -- what's the process?

We bought a 1950's home and want to put in an addition in Hayward, CA. While we're DIYers and can do many things ourselves, removing and replacing roofing, foundation, etc is just beyond us. Help me fill in the steps:
  1. figure out what you want (done -- 360 sq feet of bumped-out hallway)
  2. get existing plans (done)
  3. get proposed plans
  4. find trustworthy General Contractor (HOW???)
  5. lay out timeline and materials list
  6. get all the materials together
  7. start work


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Old 11-11-2010, 01:03 AM   #2
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Not an expert here, but in your shoes I think my first step would be to start asking everyone I know if they have ever had anything like this done, who did it, (would they recommend them) what it cost, etc.

Then I would go down to the courthouse. Eventually you will need permits, but first I would find out A) if what you want is feasible (there may be restrictions you are not aware of), and B) how much of this the city will allow you to do yourself.


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Old 11-11-2010, 01:26 AM   #3
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There are limits on how much livable space you are allowed based on the lot size ... This varies by city. So very first step is to ask your local city building department what the maximum allowable square footage of living space is for your specific lot.

Assuming the delta between current sq ft and max gives you the room to build what you are looking for, then time to find a contractor. If you do this homework up front it shows the contractor you are serious and not a time waster ... Look online and in the local phone book as well as asking friends and work colleagues. Select 3 contractors to visit you to discuss the job and get estimates. Have a couple of back ups in case one doesn't show or doesn't want the job after that initial visit. Get references and ask to see photos of work they have done in the last 12 months. Make sure you actually contact their references. Ask them about the permit process ... If they side step the question or don't know then don't hire them. Ask if they will be present and to what extent or if they would be sub-contracting the work to someone else. Do they have a website, business cards, insurance and business license ... All indications of how professional they are. How will they handle inevitable changes which occur during construction? Will the contract be fixed price, or time & materials, or cost plus? If you don't know the difference do some research on Wikipedia.
All these things should give you a better sense of trust in your contractor.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by plot View Post
  1. figure out what you want (done -- 360 sq feet of bumped-out hallway)
  2. get existing plans (done)
  3. get proposed plans
  4. find trustworthy General Contractor (HOW???)
  5. lay out timeline and materials list
  6. get all the materials together
  7. start work
Where did you get the existing plans?
Your new plans should be in your hands when you go looking for the GC.

Finding a good GC is a lot of legwork
Talk to friends
Talk to real lumber yards (not box stores)
Talk to town office
Interview three - and give each one a copy of the SAME plan

One you've got a GC you like, go over some things that often don't get mentioned.

GC & you should be laying out the timeline together
GC will hire & manage the subs.
Work out a payment schedule.
Talk about working hours and how to gain & control access to your home.
Talk about dust control
Talk about the use of your bathroom facilities
Talk about parking & material storage
Show him where the power & water shutoffs are.
Talk about potential damage to the landscaping and what is the expectation when they leave.

You might make a checklist that the two of you go over and have him sign it.
Don't assume anything

Now if he's a good GC, HE will bring up these topics to help you feel at ease.
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:33 PM   #5
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The real estate agent would also be on my list. I'd like to get their opinion on whether or not it would be a wise investment.
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