I own a small (1000 sq foot) house in Venice California. There is a
separate 200 square foot garage which has been turned into a TV room.
I want to build a guest house, ideally incorporating the TV room.
What's the best, most cost efficient way to do this? Do I go to an
architect, or just fish for contractors and tell them what I want?
How much does an architect add costwise? How much value does he add?
Does anyone have an idea of what the cost per sq ft would be in
Is permitting a hassle here? Any experiences would be helpful,
particularly if they come from my neck of the woods.
Check locally about what they require for a permit. I am going to guess
they will require an architect to make up the plans. Some contractors could
do it and do a good job and many contractors will say they can.
With Kalifornia you had better check with the zoning folks first. You might
be violating the law here. Visit the building inspection department and ask
questions use a address down the street and just your first name.
They keep track of inquires here and do follow-ups when they have the time.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Al) wrote in message
Well, our neighborhood is zoned R3, meaning it's already zoned for 3
units. My concern is simply how difficult it is to get stuff approved
as it's being built. How much more difficult/expensive is it to have
an inspector coming around to check the wiring/foundation etc?
I work on a reality show that redoes houses in a week and we always
get 24 hour access to an inspector, who writes permits whenever we
need them. While I don't expect that level of service it would be
nice not to have it slow down the process interminably.
email@example.com (Relaxification) wrote on 15 Apr 2004:
That means it's zoned for three dwelling units per acre. Assuming
that you have an empty lot of roughly 1/3 acre, you can build a
dwelling unit on it - if you meet the requirements for setback,
minimum front, rear, and side yards, percentage of the lot the
house will cover, and probably a host of other things.
You get it approved BEFORE it's built. In the real world (not the
unreal world of "reality TV") if you start to build something that
has no permit, you are given a "Stop Work" order and told to get
one if you're caught. If you've violated building or zoning
provisions, you could be ordered to tear down what you've built.
The cost of the inspections should be covered in the price of the
permit - unless you need reinspections, for which you may or may
not be charged. It's not difficult at all if local inspectors come
when scheduled - assuming you know at what stages of construction
you must stop and call for an appointment.
In my reality, no inspector writes a permit. You visit the
building and zoning departments with your plans. You fill out some
forms and pay fees. They review your plans and either approve them
or demand revisions - or if you're not in compliance with zoning
regulations, disapprove them.
In your TV show, do pigs fly by as the inspectors happily write
permits when you call them at 2:00 in the morning?
To reply by e-mail, remove the obvious word from the e-mail address
I haven't noticed any flying pigs. The inspectors are pretty cool
about it, especially considering we've essentially torn down 12 houses
and rebuilt them, each in under 7 days. I'm talking about major work
here - adding a second story, redoing roofs, etc. I'm not expecting
it to be as easy in real life, or to have 100 workmen working in
shifts, 24 hours a day, either.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Relaxification) wrote in message
Try posting on < alt.architecture > for more chatter - some of it
more useful than the < alt.home.repair > thread.
I would suggest that you will be more satisfied with an architect
Zoning and the Building Permit will take some research and drawings.
Look at recently built work in the area for work you like.
Try to make the difference between quality of design and quality of
Ask the owner or builder who designed the project.
In my biased but humble opinion, an architect can add value to a
project in several ways.
Of course, not all architects, or builders, or clients are "good".
A carefully prepared submittal can make permitting quicker and easier.
A clear working drawings can save change orders and misunderstandings
A careful exploration of a client's needs and wants can lead to a
A carefully worked out arrangement can add to the ease of use.
With the cooperation of client and architect, the finished building
can add to the pleasure of use.
In Charleston South Carolina, architect's fees run from about 3% to
10% of construction cost.
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