2 family to 3 family conversion Haverhill ma

6 Replies

Hey everyone,

i made a deal on a great 2 family home in the bradford area of haverhill, one 2 bedroom unit and the other unit is also 2 bedrooms but has a second level which has 4 bedrooms of its own, currently i will be renting it as a 4 bedroom with extra space for family room, storage, den etc...
my longterm goal would be to covert the second level into another apartment, i know this process is hard and maybe unlikely but it does have 2 exits, great height and is alot of space to create another 2 bedroom apartment that would be about 1000q

i know the first is is talking to the building inspector, what do i need to bring with me?
is there any info i should know before hand?
just trying to get the steps prior to diving in

Hi, I did this. I owned a 2-family and added a 3rd apartment into the attic. I had a consulting architect - it cost me about $1,200 - who helped me with code issues related to fire and egress. I drew up all the plans myself. I was required to add exit signs in the shared hallways / stairs, and to add interconnected heat detectors in all units, and to upgrade all smokes in all units to be hardwired, and to create 1-hour fire separations between the three units, which we accomplished by painting the ceilings and walls shared with stairwells/common halls with intumescent paint. We had to provide the building inspector with the (Contego) intumescent paint specifications along with our plan for meeting the spec to achieve the 1-hour fire rating (3 layers as I recall). We had a similar situation to you - good arecttic egress, 2 exits - Not fully compliant as far as width but pretty good. We asked the building inspector to allow/accept the existing non-compliant but pretty good back stairway as an existing condition. He did, though we ended up having to move the door to the new unit to satisfy his safety concerns. My consulting architect found a pathway through the code that allowed us to do all this without installing sprinklers in the building... I don't remember the exact code pathway through which he accomplished this, but I do remember that it was relevant that the stairwells had windows in them... Unless you are already a building code whiz, like you are an architect, I'd definitely recommend getting some help. But, it doesn't hurt to start with a meeting with your building inspector - He may have already encountered something similar in town and has worked through the issues and made some decisions on how they will enforce/interpret the code as it relates to existing conditions....

p.s. check your zoning to make sure another unit can be added legally. If zoning allows it, it can be done, at a cost. These conversions are happening where zoning allows, even where sprinklers are ultimately required people are running the numbers and deciding it is worthwhile...go for it. you can figure it out.

hey Danielle
thanks for responding, so i looked up the zoning for the area where the property is and it came back as residential high density which i believe is what i am looking for

so is that based off 1 unit/ per a certain amount of space such as a half an acre or less

I'm happy to know some one has done the conversion, the illegal apartments seem like lawsuits waiting to happen