Project In Progress: Dining Room Expansion

This is a project that I have been working on for a while. For a variety of reasons, we have only just applied for the building permit. Two main situations have held up the project: gaining Planning approval took a ridiculous amount of time – and we didn’t have any opposition to the project! After the Planning Department ensured that there were no comments or objections from the neighbors, it took them 8 weeks to prepare the two page letter of approval.

Floor plan of the revised design. Copyright 2015 David Locicero, architect.
Floor plan of the revised design. Copyright 2015 David Locicero, architect.

The second situation had to do with our project’s place in the structural engineer’s work queue. It is not uncommon for small projects to have to wait for engineering services. Once he started the engineering, he turned around his documents very quickly. But there was a snag. The scope of the structural work was more extensive than we’d anticipated. The house was built long before current seismic codes and had some, shall we say “eccentric” floor framing – so we have to completely reframe the floor under the dining room and replace an entire wall below with new shear panels. The owners decided that if they had to spend all that money on structural work, they wanted to maximize the addition and decided to revise the design to expand the size of the addition.

The revision to the design meant that the structural had to be revised again, less of a problem than having to go back to the Planning Department and have the design reviewed again. Fortunately, the scope of the revisions were such that we didn’t have to go through the entire review process again, but we did have to revise the drawings, submit them to the planner and he had to prepare an amendment to the original letter.

20 years ago this would have been a 3 or 4 sheet project. Now we need a dozen Architectural drawings and 4 Structural drawings.
20 years ago this would have been a 3 or 4 sheet project. Now we need a dozen Architectural drawings and 4 Structural drawings.

We went in to the Building Department last Wednesday to apply for the permit. It is a small addition, but for some reason, we were unable to have the drawings reviewed at the counter. The counter staff decided they had to take the drawing in to review them. Now we are looking at an addition 6 to 8 weeks wait to get the permit.

So we wait. The contractor is already selected. The affected rooms have been emptied. And we wait.

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