9223 Amber Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70809
dalrymplem@gmail.com
(225) 806-1406
Louisiana Contractors License Numbers:
Residential-88665 Commercial-47782

Processes

Our Process

Building

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Before jumping into a construction project, there are a number of basic elements that need to be considered:

  1. Will the desired project fit within the boundaries of your property?
  2. How much will it cost to complete the project?
  3. How long will it take to obtain a completed set of construction documents and the building permit?
  4. How long will the construction process take?

In this post, we'll focus on building a new structure or an addition.

First, it is important to look at your property's plot plan to see what your options are for adding a new structure. If you do not have a copy of the plot plan, a professional survey may need to be done, especially if your lot is less than one acre. When looking at the plot plan look for the following key items:

  • Property setback requirements - Sometimes they are on the plot plan, and other times you may need to see your local governing authority. In addition to what may be required by your local governing authority, you will also need to consider deed restrictions that you are bound to follow if you're building in a restricted subdivision. Water Well location or municipal source, Septic System type and location, drainage and utility servitude and right of way set backs must also be considered.

This image represents the information needed in order to add structure to a piece of property - It shows the existing building slab, the driveway is outlined in red and a storage building is in burgundy toward the bottom. All points of the structure relative to property lines have been noted.

Second, once you have a clear idea of the limit of the area in which you can build, you'll need to sketch out a rough draft in the case of an addition or select a floor plan for new construction in order to determine an approximate budget. Included in the rough draft should be the basic size of the structure to be built and the features that will be included room by room, wall layout, room sizes, and types of finishes desired for things like the exterior walls, roof, surrounding paving/hardscape and the interior flooring, counter-top, cabinetry, trim, and fixture requirements. After we've gathered all of that information, we can develop a rough budget in order for you to decide if you want to modify the plan in any way prior to moving toward the full set of construction documents.

Third, now that you have a fairly clear idea of what you want to build, a full set of construction documents will need to be developed that include the floor plan, elevations (the way the building looks from each side), Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing details, roof assembly, hardscapes and paving, drainage pathways, and a host of specifcations related to appliances, fixtures, hardware and trim.

  • Additionally, for commercial projects, the plans will need to be reviewed by the State Fire Marshal and various safety and handicap elements will need to be included in the the construction documents. After the plans are developed (and reviewed by the Fire Marshal as required) we will then submit to the local permit office for review and then obtain the building permit. We can work with plans developed by your independent Architect or draftsman if you've already gotten to this stage and we offer Design-Build service for you if you need. It can take a few weeks to a few months to fully develop a complete set of plans and specifications and go through the process to obtain the building permit for a new structure or addition. At this stage we'll also revisit the budget and revise as necessary and develop a timetable for construction.

Fourth, now that the permit has been issued, construction can get underway. There are a host of decisions to be made during the course of construction and to expedite the entire process it's a good idea to do as much shopping and planning related to all of the "Owner Select" items that will need to be selected during the down time between plan completion and issuance of the permit.

Room additions are not unlike building an entirely new home, particularly if the room addition includes a kitchen and/or bathroom. Most, if not all, of the standard trades that are required in building a new structure are also necessary for building an addition. It is also important to note that a room addition project can be disruptive to the occupants of the existing building. With a little upfront planning this disruption can be somewhat mitigated but do not expect a hassle free effort when undertaking the building of an addition. Though it may be relatively small in size, it is a very involved construction project. Further, many additions and major remodels have one other element that heavily influences the time schedule and that's demolition. Demo typically has to be done in a careful manner in order to preserve and/or not damage the existing space and it usually impacts the time by a few days to a couple of weeks and possibly longer when trying to salvage specialty materials thus some addition/remodel projects can take just as long to complete as a whole new building.

The following is what is required by the permit office for New Construction projects - some or all of these may be required on additions and remodels as well:

  1. Submit Flood Zone Determination Form
  2. Apply for Plan Review, pay review fee
  3. Submit Complete set of Plans, Specifications, and Rescheck
  4. Submit Proposed Elevation Certificate
  5. Submit plans to DEQ division for Environmental Review
  6. Address comments from permit office and DEQ after review
  7. Upon satisfactory responses to reviews, Permit will be issued.
  8. Make arrangements for temporary power
  9. Electrical temp pole inspection
  10. Set Forms for foundation
  11. Rough-In plumbing, get inspection
  12. Dig footings, Treat for termites, place vapor barrier and steel
  13. Set In-Slab Electrical and Mechanical, get E+M inspections
  14. Order Foundation Inspection

At this stage the foundation is completed and then construction of the building shell takes place, after the structure is erected, the following will occur:

  1. Plumbing Top-Out, Gas Test, get plumbing inspections
  2. Electrical Rough-in, get inspection
  3. Mechanical Rough-in, get inspection
  4. Upon passing M,E,P inspections, get framing inspection
  5. Insulation, interior finishes can now be installed
  6. Final Mechanical Inspection
  7. Obtain and submit Elevation Certificate
  8. Final Electrical Inspection
  9. Final Plumbing and sewer Inspection
  10. Building Final Inspection
  11. Issue Certificate of Occupancy

We're often asked how the lending process works for construction projects, the short answer is: It depends! If you're paying for it with cash on hand, it's essentially "pay as you go" and you'll be invoiced periodically as work is completed. If you're getting a loan, your lender will have their own structure that you'll have to follow and accept if you wish to use their money to build. For a personal residence, if it's an addition or remodel, that's typically done with a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. With new construction, most lenders will issue a construction loan and after the project is completed that loan will be closed out and the balance is typically rolled into a long term mortgage. Regardless of what sort of loan you get, the values lenders are willing to dole out revolve around whatever the independent appraiser determines the project to be worth upon completion.

Appraised value is often a point of contention between the borrower and the lender - especially with custom construction projects. If you live in a neighborhood with dozens of homes that have fiberglass tubs and showers, laminate counter-tops, faux wood floors and no millworks, the fact that you put in an extra twenty thousand dollars into your residence with a custom tile shower, granite counters, and solid wood flooring MAKES NO DIFFERENCE IN THE APPRAISED VALUE! Appraised value is based strictly on what homes in your immediate vicinity have sold for in the last six months. Extra living area, extra area under roof, extra bathrooms significantly influence appraised value but you typically get little, if any "credit" for having higher end interior finishes.

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