Originally posted by @Colleen F.:
A sort of build diaries forum. I like the idea, I think it takes dedication to the writing though and I admire those people who find the time to share the project while they are doing it. And also share when they make mis-judgements along the way.
If work takes me to Atlanta I would have to try to go see it too because this one sounds interesting. Had this been an idea you were thinking of and looking for the right house or did you just see the house and find it was suited to being raised?
BOTH, We had been wanting to learn more about and execute / add a second story addition project to our experience / repertoire. We initially targeted this project as a Tear down / Rebuild, but given the amount of new construction currently in our pipeline and a good "feeling" about this going reHAB vs. reBUILD we chose to POP tha TOP!
What is the existing square footage? How many square feet will you add? What's the construction time frame target?
Ehhh...Boss...We need a BIGGER saw!
***** ALERT **** ALERT **** We interrupt this CAREFULLY scripted and “WELL” thought out thread to bring you BREAKING jobsite NEWS!!!
We STARTED “PRE-hab” on this project FRIDAY, and are already OVER budget!
We were planning on starting this at the end of next week, but our demo crew had an opening and we need to remove the back patio to make way for a footing for the expanded master bedroom.
The additional footings for the 2nd story addition under the existing house don't require any prior demo, and we want to do all our concrete work at once to save on pump fees, so we jumped at the chance to get this patio out of the way.
What we thought was just a 4” slab over a CMU footer… And What we thought would take a couple guys a couple hours….
Turns out to be MUCH more involved! Seems like the original owners owned a concrete company, and the patio is essentially several layers of STEEL REINFORCED concrete!
So the call comes in for help. We had to rent a jackhammer and bigger concrete saw and it still took ALL day JUST to get enough of the patio out to pour the footer. We originally wanted to take out the whole patio, but short of blasting with dynamite, it would probably take all week to chip this sucker out!
So with tool rentals and extra man hours we’re about a $1,000 into this project and this is all we’ve accomplished….
This patio just "reinforces" the fact, that when remodeling...expect the unexpected!
Time to get into the basement and mark some pier locations....
@Jon Klaus Existing house is 3/1 @ 1394' "NEW" house will be 4/3 @ 2,477'
We're looking at about 90 days to complete.
Originally posted by @Ryan R.:
Can you tell us more about the foundation requirements and changes needed to accomplish this? What type of foundation is this? What was the most important component to making this possible ( footer depth, width )? What tests did the engineer perform?
We'll get more into the specifics on the foundation and engineering in a later post, but SHORT version is this is a CMU "Concrete Block" foundation over concrete footer, engineer checks out integrity of existing foundation, floor system framing, and soil compaction. When we had final plan of "new" house, he calculated the new loads and determined where additional support was needed. We ended up needing to add 6 footings under the house for 9 new piers "3 are going on an existing wall"
DUE DILIGENCE PART 1
On a flip with a tight budget, we may pick a house apart to make sure the deal works, but for major renovation projects and new construction, Due Diligence is a bit different.
For this project we aren’t necessarily PRIMARILY focused on the conditions INSIDE the house, but on the conditions OUTSIDE the house. Here are the first 2 of things we check on our new construction of major additions.
SEPTIC / SEWER
This can be SUCH a dealbreaker, we check it first. The septic / sewer situation determines if a house can be expanded / built MUCH more than zoning. Generally, you have more options with sewer. Regulations regarding septic systems vary across the country. GET FAMILIAR with the rules in the areas you are investing in. This project is on sewer and the size of the tap was sufficient for our addition project, BUT a house ON THE SAME STREET that we put an offer on happened to be on SEPTIC. When we ran the math on the size of the lot and septic system specs for the county, there was NO “affordable” way to expand or build a bigger house, we had to KILL that deal.
Become friends with the county engineers, sometimes if a house is on septic there are opportunities to hook into existing sewer lines.
Become friends with a good septic guy and the county environmental health department, sometimes challenging septic situations can be overcome.
For septic projects you are generally required to get various soil tests done to determine the quality AND quantity of “good” soil. In most of Metro- Atlanta a “Level 3” Soil Test is sufficient, but in Fulton County, GA you also have to have a good ol’ fashioned “Perk” test along with the “L3”. If the seller does not have a current soil test that is sufficient for your permitting requirements, BE SURE TO HAVE THESE TEST COMPLETED DURING DUE DILIGENCE!
This determines things such as building setbacks, the types of structures that can exist on a property, and the size / height of structures that can exist on a property. A GREAT FREE resource for determining the specifics of zoning classifications in your area is municode.com If your area is not currently served by municode.com , Call your local building / planning / zoning office to get specifics on the zoning classifications AND to verify the zoning classification you “think” a property may be.
This project is located in unincorporated Dekalb County Georgia and is zoned R-100, a quick search on Municode for keyword "R-100" under Dekalb County, GA reveals the following:
This determines our "BUILD BOX" or the area of the lot we are allowed to build in. Our surveyor will also use this info to calculate lot coverage and floor area ratios that will determine how BIG a structure we can build.
Next Up... Survey SURPRISES!
@Todd Whiddon Awesome post. Looking forward to learning from your experiences on this project.
Originally posted by @Azeez K.:
@Todd Whiddon Awesome post. Looking forward to learning from your experiences on this project.
Awesome, except for the pic of the nasty toilet. I think Todd is trying to scare away would be rehabbers.
@J Scott @Karen Margrave
I really like the Open House Idea, How can I offer up a open house for any of my projects without really sounding like a sales pitch.
I think new investor can really benefit from visiting a construction site and asking questions about certain aspects of the means and methods of how projects get built. A general understanding the process goes a long way.
@Jon Klaus If you think THAT toilet is nasty, you should see @
CENSORED's upstairs hall bath!
First Q&A Open House Monday 10/20 11-12pm
Time to start swinging hammers! Our "PRE-hab" Q&A open house will be next Monday 10/20 11-12pm. Not selling anything. Not Pitching anything. Simply an opportunity for those following this thread to get a "Behind the scenes" look and ask questions about WHY we are doing the things we are doing on this project.
We will have several other open houses during the various phases of this project, this one is more for those interested in seeing the "before" phase.
For everyone that has already expressed interest I will PM you the details, anyone else that wants to join us send me a PM or respond in this thread and I will get you the details too!
Not trying to jump ahead here, but what did you find for joists in the ceiling of that one story?
I've been playing with a pop-top with "near passivhaus" renovation on my own bungalow - which happens to be structural brick, but with an existing set of 2x6 joists in the attic floor which will all need to be removed/replaced/sistered. However, your mention of raising the 1st floor ceilings to 9' has just given me another idea ....
Due Diligence Part 2 - Survey Surprises!
I once LOST about 30k on a deal, that had I done a proper survey during due diligence, I would have NEVER bought the property in the first place! I won't go into the full story here, but there were some less than honest sellers involved, a house that was split in half by a tax sale, and a buyer that didn’t know what he was doing, “ME”.
On the bright side I learned about tax liens, went to a tax lien auction and successfully won the tax sale on the other half of “my” yard. I also learned the BENEFITS of a full survey make my investment in them PRICELESS, so I ALWAYS “try” to do them during due diligence. Sometimes when purchasing from a wholesaler or the property is just “THAT HOT”, I don’t have the opportunity and it’s a risk I have to weigh.
On new construction and addition projects more than likely your municipality will require AT LEAST a boundary survey, most of our projects in and around Atlanta are in jurisdictions that require 2-3 pages of survey, site-plan and other mumbo-JUMBO.
QUICK DUE DILIGENCE TIP
When getting ANY kind of survey done, or even if you don’t get a survey, call in utility locates “dial 811” to have underground utilities marked during due diligence. "Get permission from property owner" Your surveyor can then mark them on your siteplan for future reference during your project. On this Pop Top, there is a gas line marker in the front yard, we can’t find another one anywhere up or down the street so we HAVE to find out where this sucker goes if we plan on purchasing this house.
That’s Southern for “O’ Snap!” Our survey reveals part of this house is sitting OUTSIDE the current building setbacks!!
This could be a PROBLEM!
While we will have to work this fact into our plans for the second story addition, all is not lost. We will either have to get a Variance “which could take months and risk not getting approved” or a Letter of Non-Conformity “which could take about a week and also risk not getting approved”. We’ve had this issue on a few other projects the last couple years and have a pretty good relationship with the folks at the zoning department so we’re gonna,
Go for the Letter of Non-Conformity….
Another lesson from the school of hard knocks!! Hope it all goes well and you get your variance. It would seem if that's a common problem in the area that Planning would be willing to work with you. Fingers crossed! Good luck.
Nothing a few bottles of Johnny Walker won't solve. :)
Original Wisdom by @Cal C. "Nothing a few bottles of Johnny Walker won't solve. :) "
Actually our contact at the zoning office prefers Courvoisier...
We're OFFICIALLY Non-Conformed!
Since part of the existing structure encroached over the current building setbacks "a REALLY common occurrence when dealing with older homes" , we needed to get a "Letter of Non-Conformity" from the County before we could get our renovation permit. This letter is basically an acknowledgement from the county that the structure does not comply with current code, and that the work being performed on the parts of the home that are "out of bounds" will not alter the size.
We had to submit a letter requesting the Letter of Non-Conformity, Proposed Elevations of house, legal description, and photos of all sides of house. A few days after we submitted our request we got a call saying they wanted us to get a variance. We reminded them of some similar projects that they had issued letters for us before and they said they felt this one was different, but that they would discuss it further. A few anxious days passed until....
We GOT IT! Now we just have to get with our Architect and Engineer to assemble the rest of the stuff we need for our Renovations Permit.
First of all I want to thank you for documenting the details of this project. I'm an investor in Cobb and North Atlanta and have learned a ton from this post. Keep it up, it's a wealth of information and education. Thanks for being a teacher.
If you don't have a Structural Engineer as part of your RE Investing team, finish reading this post, and then drop everything else your doing and get one! Maybe it's because we buy so many old crappy houses, but it seems like more and more of of projects require beam calculations, foundation reinforcement, and point load placements. Having someone you trust on speed dial that can handle these types of situations can save LOTS of TIME and money!
While the foundation LOOKED good to me, I really wasn't 100% sure everything I should be looking for. Not only that, but an Engineer's letter is REQUIRED for most projects like this for a permit.
I meet our Engineer at the house and have to admit, I was abit anxious about this meeting.
My hopes and dreams of our first Pop Top project could be CRUSHED if he doesn't like what he sees.
I thought we would start in the basement. I was wrong. He wanted to walk INSIDE the house first to look/feel for low spots and settling cracks so he could then trace the problem areas to the basement. Makes sense. This is why he makes the BIG bucks.
We find a couple dips in the floor and then proceed to the basement. The door is stuck... Wait just a sec...
We're in! We walk/crawl the entire perimeter looking for cracks, bowing, and other things that keep foundation remediation companies in business. Everything looks good.
"On a side note we are actually working on another Pop Top project down the street from this one and everything did NOT look good!!! We are having to REPLACE an ENTIRE wall of the foundation!! I'll post details of the wall fix for that house on this thread in the next few weeks!"
We then check out the areas of the floor system where we saw problems upstairs. Sure enough the beams and joists are overspanned. He tells me this is VERY common in older homes. We will have to reinforce these areas with additional piers and new beams. Luckily our framing crew is well versed is this type of remedial work, and really even though it may sound expensive, adding piers, beams, and reinforcing / jacking up the existing floor system isn't that big a deal and is relatively INEXPENSIVE if you have the right contractors on your crew.
After a throughout inspection and measurement of the perimeter walls, existing piers, and existing floor system, my engineer produces what appears to be a medieval torture device. If my armpits looked kinda soaked just worrying about the foundation...I now look like I just jump into a pool.
"Did I forget to pay my last bill????" Did I make one too many bad Engineer Funny Ha Ha jokes"
I am relieved when instead of probing me, he starts probing the soil. He has to ensure the soil under the house has enough compaction to support additional footers and piers for the extra load we will be adding. The dirt checks out. Engineer's letter in my Inbox!
@Terry Burger Thanks for Following along! Our office is actually in Marietta! I think a coffee collaboration is IMMINENT!
With the existing foundation looking good, our engineer now needs to review our proposed architectural plans, calculate new load requirements, and make a plan for additional foundation and floor system supports to handle the second story addition.
He bills by the hour and since this one is pretty basic, a simple sketch will do. I've also attached a plan for our other current Pop Top project that is alittle more involved for comparison.
Foundation Plan, Check
Orange Spray Paint, Check
Having a clue how to accurately measure and mark out these footer locations..... We'll see!
I've learned when it comes to foundations, it's rather important for everything to go PRECISELY where it is supposed to. I trust my foundation guy to do the right thing, but I want to mark out where I think they should go, and then have a few other people check my math JUST to make sure! Also, another benefit to me doing this is I found a GAS LINE and a WATER LINE right smack dab in the middle of one of the new deck footers. Had my foundation guy showed up to dig and these lines were in the way, he would have not been able to finish while I scrambled to get another contractor over to take care of removing these. Luckily, I marked these the same day I had my demo guys over taking out the patio so a quick SNIP SNIP and we are good to go!
While our structural engineer was busy with the foundation plan, the engineer at the lumber company was also busy making an EWP "Engineered Wood Products" layout for the I-joists we will use for the second story floor system.
Time to start diggin'!
@Todd Whiddon That is incredible stuff! Thanks for taking your time out of your insane schedule to write this.
@Todd Whiddon This is great stuff, thanks. Any schedule for the second open house? I will be attending.
@Terrence Smith hopefully sometime next week, I'm trying to time it the same day the "roof comes OFF"!
This is some valuable content that you are sharing. The next time you have an open house I would like to get the opportunity to attend. I'm just getting started with BP and house flipping in the Atlanta area. As I learn along the way it's good to see other being successful in the business.
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