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Adding a Second Story to a House

Adding a Second Story to a House
Second story additions are one way of making more space for your family. In this article, I discuss various aspects that need to be taken into consideration, if you are attempting such a project.
DecorDezine Staff
With a growing family, you start feeling the need for more space in your house. Adding a second story is a prudent and economical way of adding more space. Such additions are major house remodeling jobs, which require one to take a lot of issues into consideration, before going ahead.

There are two ways in which you can make the space in your house grow. One is horizontal growth, through building up of more space around, by buying land around the building. The second, more economical option is to grow vertically upwards by adding another story to your house. Building a second story is increasingly preferred by a majority of people, who need to have more space. Some people even add a story to a garage, to create small living quarters or study rooms.

This kind of a project gives you an opportunity to rectify your mistakes and create additional amenities that you couldn't add before. Buying new land and building over, generally costs more, than adding another story to an existing property. Let us see what is the recommended procedure to go about, in case of second story additions and what are the conditions which make this a feasible move.

Things to Consider

This major home construction operation will require cost analysis and meticulous planning, before you can go ahead.

Get a Permit From Local Authorities
To build another story, a permit from a local or zonal authority is generally needed. There are certain norms about how high a structure can be built in certain areas. That is why, you need to get a clearance from the local authorities. You will have a permit, once you submit a design plan.

Contact Local Architect and Contractor
Next thing to do is contact your architect and get his advice on the feasibility of the project. You may want to tell him about what your expectations are, about the number of built rooms on the second floor, and the extra amenities. This will help your architect to come up with a design for a story addition, which is consistent with your existing house plan and does full justice to your expectations. You need to contact local contractors to get an idea about the cost per square foot, to build a new floor.

Structural Considerations
One important thing that will be checked by your architect or structural engineer is whether your existing house foundation and wall structure can withstand the additional weight of another story. He will calculate the amount of reinforcement that will be needed.

Creating a Design
After structural solidity is taken into consideration, you can get an architectural plan created. This will involve a lot of issues, like the way in which the plumbing system for the new floor will be added, the construction of stairways, electrical wiring plan, and other such considerations. The entire plan will largely be influenced by your original floor design and foundation of the house.

Calculating the Cost Per Square Foot
After you have a ready plan in your hand, you can make an estimate of the total cost involved in constructing a second floor. This will include the cost of remodeling the roof and putting in a new slab, flooring, roofing, plumbing, and adding all the other necessary amenities. A major deciding factor will be cost of the building materials and of course, labor costs. Consulting a local contractor will give you a total estimate about the cost of building. Make sure that you keep room for an additional 15% to 20% increase in costs, which may arise due to contingencies.

Going for the Construction
With the plan in hand, permits from local authorities, availability of funds, and hiring of contractors, you are ready to begin construction. You may have to relocate your family to some place, till the construction job finishes. Make a planned building schedule and see to it that things go according to it.

So, these were the most important factors that need to be taken into consideration, while adding a second story to your existing house. Take advantage of this opportunity to completely remodel your house and make it a more spacious and comfortable dwelling, for days to come.