Before you start construction on your new home addition, you'll need to jump through all the hoops of getting everything properly permitted. But in some cases, this could require upgrading of some of your home systems or even reconfiguring your addition plans to meet city code requirements.
Here are some system capacity considerations and setback considerations to keep in mind before finalizing the plans for your add-on.
1. Septic Capacity
Did you know that you have to list your home based on the number of bedrooms the septic is sized for (if this number is smaller than the actual number of bedrooms in the house)? If your septic is sized for a 2-bedroom house and you add a one-bedroom addition, you'll need to upgrade your septic in order to get the proper permitting. And, of course, to avoid septic failure.
2. Electrical Panel Capacity
The circuit breaker box (also called the main electrical panel) isn't just where you go to reset tripped circuit breakers. This service panel actually dictates how much power your home can use at one time. If you have a 60- or even 100-amp rating on the main breaker, your panel may be too small for a large modern home with an addition.
In this scenario, you may want to upgrade the electrical panel before starting your construction process.
3. Setback Distance
Your local area will have regulations about how far your house needs to be from the edges of your property. You'll have to observe these setback distances to avoid violating regulations. If you planned to put an addition in your side yard but that would leave too little distance to your property line, consider placing the addition behind the house or making it narrower.
Other setbacks required include distance to the septic tank, the leach field, or a water well. These distances can vary based on where you live, so be sure to check your local county and municipal regulations.
Going against building code or local regulations, or starting construction of an add-on without all the correct permitting, can result in hefty fines and even being forced to tear down the addition. So be sure you get any kinks worked out of the plan before you start trying to get a permit to build your add-on.
If you're getting a little lost in all the complications of building code and planning details, talk to your local building contractor to get help with the planning stages of your add-on.