When first considering whether to build an addition there are many big picture things to consider, from Architectural considerations to numerous regulatory items. Here’s a summary of things that should be on your checklist:
First of all, do you really need an addition to achieve your goals? Many times there are solutions that involve simply using your existing space more efficiently and improving flow and traffic patterns. Considering how to re-purpose seldom used rooms is an excellent way to gain more space without actually adding new space.
On the exterior, are there ways a new addition can be added that will enhance your homes appearance? Often a question for a professional designer, this still should be considered as part of your initial thinking.
There are often several other areas besides a standard building permit that a proposed addition may need to reconcile with. Even when you can’t meet some of these basic requirement a process with the governing town committee can often result in approval. Some are easier than others.
- Zoning; Is your lot large enough? Do you have room within building setbacks?
- Wetlands: do you have a stream, pond, or wetland within 100 feet of your home? If at all close this will require a survey and wetlands engineer to delineate wetlands borders and determine how close your existing home and proposed addition will be
- Historical: Is your home located in an official historic district within your town? Some newer homes are still governed by these requirements if in one of these districts. Many older homes are NOT in one of these districts. If your home is in one of these zones, a committee will want to approve various aesthetic choices, typically in view of the street to be in sync with their idea of what is appropriate. This can be somewhat subjective.
- Septic system/board of health: In many towns in the suburbs without town sewer homes have individual septic systems. These are sized to fit a home’s inhabitant capacity; some additions will trigger your house being interpreted as having a larger potential capacity, regardless of whether you intend to or not. This can be an expensive additional Scope of Work to your potential addition plans.
Discussions with sensitive professionals can often find solutions and approaches to all of these issues. Before going too deep into getting attached a dream addition consider if any of these items may be an opportunity or a hurdle.