How to plan for second story construction

For years I've wanted to expand our second story and think I'm ready to take the plunge. What's the best steps for moving forward? Should I first check with a lender to see how much I can afford? Do you need to talk to an architect before speaking to a building contractor? We have a partial second story and simply want to expand it over the rest of the 1st story. Any tips are greatly appreciated!
  10 answers
  • Glkirk Builders Inc. Glkirk Builders Inc. on Jun 03, 2013
    Probably not a big concern, but whenever adding to your home, either up or out, your local zoning dept. should be consulted. No need in getting architect or builder involved if zoning won't allow you to do what you want to do.

  • Euroshield-Roofing Euroshield-Roofing on Jun 03, 2013
    Recommend the following- zoning first, architect or design consultant, use design to determine appraisal and new loan amount, research contractors, secure at least two bids

  • Town and Country Living Town and Country Living on Jun 03, 2013
    Thanks so much to both of you. Never thought to consult local zoning first!

  • Also check with the construction office. They may want an engineer to certify the lower supporting structure is not deficient and can handle the weight of the addition. When you go to get bids I agree that at least two and better with three or four. You should supply the drawings to the bidders so they are all bidding on the same thing or you will get different pricing and not know why they may be miles apart on the price. Each builder alone will come up with their own idea of how/what to do for the work. If you supply the drawings they are all bidding the exact same thing. And make sure you get references and check them out. Good luck.

  • If you are expanding over the existing 1st floor and not going beyond the existing footprint, zoning should not be an issue. A good Architect can evaluate the existing structure for the addition, you may find that the area you are adding was not framed for floor loads and will need to be re-worked. Typically, foundation for the 1 story will be adequate for a 1 1/2 storey, but you will need to look at new loads down to foundation. Finally, pay for a good set of drawings so you can see what it will look like and you can get competitive pricing to be able to select a GC to build what you pay for. The money up front will save you money in the end.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jun 03, 2013
    I did a two story addition to my place back in 2001, I had a buddy draw up the floor plans ( He is an expert in autocad)...from there I got some bids, with numbers assigned the plans were submitted to the permit office, ( permit cost about 900 back then)They required structural engineering approval, The "plans " were modified by the engineer (cost of about $1200). During the 3 months of so of getting the permit approved, I was able to hand dig the footers required. In my locale you do not need a permit to dig holes in your yard, concurrent with the hole digging, I built some re-bar "sculpture". Two days after I got my "permit" we poured concrete. All I had to do was call up the inspector and have them verify the rebar sculpture that was now sitting in the bottom of my holes.

  • C & K Custom Remodeling C & K Custom Remodeling on Jun 03, 2013
    This can be done is many ways. I would suggest starting by consulting a couple of design / build companies in your area. They can get you rough numbers on pricing so that you can establish a budget. Once the budget is established a design / build company or architect is the place to start.

  • Town and Country Living Town and Country Living on Jun 04, 2013
    Thanks to all the great information!! I truly appreciate everyone's insights.

  • i strongly suggest that you find a local architect....they will shepherd you step by step through this process, including the permitting/zoning issues.

  • I agree with C & K, as we are ourselves are a design/build firm and this relationship works very well. Having actual construction experience is very beneficial when putting together the design and budget. I have also seen this system work when there is a good relationship between the homeowner, builder and architect. If everyone works together from the get-go, a much better end result is had. I'm sorry Midlantic Cont., but I disagree with the bidding environment. When you start making it about price, a lot of things get screwed-up. People miss and leave things out of there bids. It's even less of an apples-to-apples comparison. Make it about the quality and lot the bottom line!