Remember my big project in Irvine, the house I pretty much tore down to the studs? Wondering why you haven’t heard about it for a while? Permits. The city and I were doing the Cha Cha for the better part of the last three weeks while I secured the necessary permits for the remodel.
Permits are a vital part of the construction process for major remodels because they
ensure that what’s being built complies with national, regional and local building codes. Not all remodeling projects require permits, but for those that do, there’s no getting around them, nor would you want to. Construction done without permits where required can result in significant fines and penalties. The city might even come in and demo the unauthorized construction – something neither a homeowner nor a contractor ever want to see.
But more important, permits ensure that what your contractor is building is safe. It’s kind of like a checks and balance system, only it works a lot better than Washington does, but we’re still hopeful about that one.
In Irvine, we needed an electrical permit and a full building permit for the construction. We had planned on leaving the electricity as is, in which case we would not have needed the permit. But as the scale of the project grew and we decided to put in more lights throughout the house, we upgraded to a 200 Amp panel, and that’s what the permit allowed.
What will that mean for the clients? Well, suppose they’re having a party one night.
They’ve got lights on in the backyard and throughout the house. DJ’s pumping some tunes, or maybe there’s a band. Hors d’oeuvres are warming in the oven, air conditioner’s on, dishwasher’s going, you get the picture. One of the guests decides to turn on the bubbles in the Jaccuzzi and BAM! Circuit overload and bye bye electricity. And that’s when the real fun starts: people start falling over each other in the dark, drinks are spilling, food’s flying, glasses breaking – pretty ugly.
That won’t happen with a 200 Amper. This guy is Superman; really powerful. The breakers won’t jump, lights and music will stay on and the party will continue well into the night.
The other permit is for the construction, and now that that’s secured, we can start
the framing. Framing is basically where we build support walls out of wood which will allow us to knock down other walls to create an open floor plan.
You can see what I mean with these photos of the framing in the dining room. In the original home, a wall separated the kitchen and dining room (where the oven is), and you had to step down to the sunken living room.
That separating wall is now a relic of the past, and we decided to lower the dining room floor three feet so that it will be flush with the living room. What will be left is a beautiful,
open space in which the dining area can be extended out (because this family
entertains BIG). Plus, the higher ceiling will make the house feel much more spacious.
I know, it doesn’t look like much, but really friends, this is progress.
Here in the family room, you can see another example of framing. This family room was huge. Remember this?
We cut down the space a bit to make it more manageable (I do have a 68” TV that would have been perfect for this room but my wife wouldn’t let me give it away), still leaving plenty of seating and entertaining area. By doing that, we expanded what
used to be the laundry room on the other side, and now we have plenty of room
to make a nice office that can also be used as a guest room. The wall will go up soon, but here’s the wood frame.
So that’s where we are. Lots of dust, dirt and wood, but believe me, it will be worth it.
We’ll be finishing up the framing this week which will give shape to the final layout. We’ll also be installing the new plumbing for the bathrooms we’re building in the master
suite and fourth bedroom, as well as for the kitchen, and we’ll finalize the placement of the light fixtures and exhaust fans. If you’re a Bob the Builder type, you’ll find this stuff fascinating. If not, stay tuned anyway because soon we’ll get to the interior design part – colors, tiles, flooring, etc. The client has some ideas but will be looking for some input from YOU, so be sure to keep reading and don’t forget to share my blog with your friends.
Got a major renovating project in mind in Los Angeles, Orange or Riverside
counties? Contact Doron at 949-279-2011 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free estimate or design consultation.