Adding on a Home Addition

Building a Home Addition is a Cost Effective Way to Gain Living Space

By Mark J. Donovan

Adding on a home addition to your house is an excellent way to develop custom living space for your home. In most cases adding on a home addition is much more affordable then trading up to a larger home.  In addition, building a home addition eliminates the need for having to uproot your family from the neighborhood and schools that they are comfortable with. Adding on a home addition, however, takes a lot of planning and it is disruptive to the family for awhile.

Building a home addition is not as complicated as you may think, particularly if you hire the right general contractor for the project and have a well thought out plan.

Over the years I have added on home additions to a number of homes. In the home that I currently live in I added on a home addition (family room) on one side of the home shortly after we moved into it. A few years later I added a garage addition onto the other side of the home.

In both cases I acted as my own general contractor by hiring the various subcontractors necessary to complete the project.

Key to adding on a home addition successfully is thorough planning and coordination with the subcontractors. It is also imperative to have a good set of blueprints or detailed drawings of the home addition. The drawings are absolutely necessary for obtaining building permits and for enabling the subcontractors to bid out the job accurately.

Home Addition Bid Sheets

In order to obtain building permits for building home additions, it is imperative that the structural drawings show cross-sectional views of the home addition construction. The building inspector will want to be able to fully understand the construction of the home addition from the concrete footing up through the roof. Dimensional information is also required on the drawings as this provides scale and structural information regarding the home addition.

When hiring a general contractor or subcontractors for adding on a home addition, it is extremely important to find the right ones. Ask neighbors or friends that have used contractors recently to see if they can give any recommendations. Also check the yellow pages and internet to find local contractors in your area. There are also national home addition contractor referral companies that maintain contractor databases. Contractor referral companies, such as Remodeling Affiliate are excellent resources for providing pre-screened, qualified home addition contractors. adding on a home addition

Contractors in their database have been thoroughly researched to determine if they are reputable. The cost of one of these contractor referral companies is free to the homeowner. You simply fill out an online form for your specific home addition needs and they will forward on your information to 3 or 4 contractors in your local area. The local contractors will then contact you to set up a time to meet with you and better understand your requirements so that they can bid on the project.

When interviewing potential contractors for adding a home addition onto your home make sure you check their references. Typically the longer the reference list that a contractor provides to you the more likelihood that he has a solid reputation.  A long reference list usually means that he is proud of his work and has a longer history in the business. However, don’t go by just the length of the list, call 3 to 4 of the references. Typically I like to check a couple references that were associated with home addition projects done recently and then another couple that were done 2-5 years ago.

So to conclude, adding on a home addition is a great way to add living space to your home.

It is one of the most affordable routes to go for gaining living space and causes the least disruption to your family. However, before embarking on the path to building a home addition onto your house, develop a detailed set of home addition plans and make sure you hire the right home addition contractors.

For more help on adding on a home addition, see’s Home Addition Bid Sheets. Our Home Addition Bid Sheets provide you with the knowledge and information on how to plan a home building project, and what to look for when hiring contractors. They also include detailed cost breakdown tables and spreadsheets for estimating your own new home construction building costs.

Related Information

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